Gleeson’s of Booterstown sits on the side of Booterstown Avenue. The bar and lounge are decorated in a contemporary style, while the restaurant features comfortable seats and well spaced tables. The Food Corner to the front does a very good range of ready meals which come from their own kitchens.Upstairs Gleesons have recently added a 16 bedroom luxurious Townhouse making this making this an ideal place to stay if you don’t need to be in the city centre., and down the hill of course is the sea and Booterstown nature reserve.
Frank and Nora Gleeson bought Sarah Murphy’s pub & grocery shop in 1954. After doing away with the grocery end, the bar was extended and became a thriving business in the late 50’s and 60’s. Gleeson’s was one of the first pubs in Dublin to serve quality hot lunches in the 1960’s and today sons John and Ciaran Gleeson have continued serving good quality home cooked food in the pub and restaurant and now also available to take home from the Food Corner.
The bar is very comfortable, with coloured sofas and bucket chairs to rest your weary limbs while the restaurant area has a large contemporary rug which centrepieces the room with shades of blue and swirls. Seats are a mixture of the comfortable and practical, with leather banquettes vying with more traditional tables and chairs. The walls are a midnight blue, and the windows and ceiling brilliant white. The picture window down the side of the main dining room is quite lovely, there are feature light fittings and a fire is burning in an antique fireplace.
Food is served all day, with coffee and pastries in the morning, through lunch and into the evening. Dinner offers a good selection of dishes, with pan fried plaice, roast salmon and lemon sole goujoins. For land lovers there is a half roast crispy duck, a homemade burger and a choice of steaks.
We shared a crab tostada to start. Circles of crispy tortilla were stacked with crab meat between them, creating layers of sweet meat and a crunch. Homemade fresh guacamole was served on green leaves and we made our own bites by deconstructing the little tower and adding the guacamole and fresh lime juice. I am always a little underwhelmed by crab starters; there is usually too much of everything except the crab, but this fresh dish with its different textures was a delight.
Main courses brought the food scientist her lemon sole goujons, which were crispy and light and have plenty of soft white fish inside. I had the pan fried plaice with a lemon beurre blanc. The fish was perfectly cooked and there were two generous fillets. The sauce was served on the side, so if you were looking for a healthy option, you could not get much better.
Homemade profiteroles are a staple in Gleeson’s and we shared a portion of chocolate creamy loveliness with tea and coffee. We had arrived early, about 6.30, but as we were leaving all the tables were full of locals out for a bite and a couple of bigger family or work groups, which on the Wednesday night in March is reassuring.
Gleeson’s is a proper family business that has fine tuned their offering to the heights. Its continued popularity is a testament to the attention and care that has seen the business evolve since the 1960’s, always striving to get that little bit better, and add the next inevitable layer. The Townhouse, managed by Aisling and Mary, is warm and inviting and the guesthouse is warm and inviting, and I imagine the beds are super comfy, it’s just that type of place; it’s almost impossible to believe it’s anything less than the best it can be.
Regulars will read this and nod, if you’re not one, rectify that omission and drop down for dinner or a drink. Sunday lunch is busy and a walk along the coast afterwards is a Sunday delight.