Photo of Claddagh Irish Pub exterior

July 03, 2009

Large Portions, Equivalent Prices: Claddagh Irish Pub Review (View Listing)

4

Price: 3 out of 4

Lyn (Guest Reviewer)

I have been to Claddagh quite a few times now, both for lunch, dinner, and a Christmas (I think) buffet.  I am always full when I leave, and generally happy with the food, but feel a bit guilty because even without alcohol, it is not cheap to eat here.

The truth is that if the portions were a little smaller, the prices could be more reasonable.  I would then probably frequent the place since I -love- the atmosphere…more in a minute.  However, though sandwiches are available and provide plenty of food for a more reasonable cost, ($7-11), entrees which is where you can get meals unavailable elsewhere (shepherds pie, Guinness stew) are big enough for 2 people ...and they cost as much as 2 meals!  Indeed, most dishes cost $12-20.
Now please note, I am a big eater.  I never have trouble finishing off part of an appetizer, a meal, soup, and dessert at any place.  Claddagh is the exception, the only place I can never quite finish my meal.  As to actually sharing a plate…I don’t know if that would be allowed.  It might be worth a try though.  A lot of food also reheats pretty well, so if like me you can’t quite finish, you can always take it home.

As for the food itself, I don’t have any real complaints.  It’s good quality Irish pub fair, with great salads, soups, entrees, and desserts.  I’ve only had one experience with the food that was bad, occurring when the place first opened and I received some shepherd’s pie that was cold.  A microwaving later it was fine (though considering how long it took, I thought at least a free dessert was in order!)  After those “new restaurant jitters” got out of the way though, I’ve never had a problem. 

Claddagh also offers buffets on some holidays, including X-mas.  The food at the one I went to was quite good, offering some of the menu staples like Guinness stew, along with bangers & mash (delicious!), omelets, Irish scrambled eggs (fancy scrambled eggs), assorted breads and spreads, and so on.  I am afraid I do not remember the cost, but I don’t recall it being any worse than other buffets in the area… so around $25-30 I think.  It’s definitely worth keeping in mind if, like my family, you hate cooking holiday meals. 

Now.  Atmosphere.  That is the key highlight of Claddagh in my opinion.  Taking up a corner of the Westfield Shopping Center, the venue is quite large, with multiple rooms. Decorated to resemble an old home, each room has its own character.  Besides the main bar for instance, there’s a “library”, a quaint homey area, and a stone castle-like nook among others.  The division helps to cut down some of the noise, though the music is sometimes a bit loud.  Since it’s usually a collection of Irish jigs and reels, or of contemporary Irish rock (Cranberries, the Coors, etc), I don’t personally mind, but it can be troublesome if you want to have a conversation.
Still, all in all, there is a sort of quaint elegance to the place, and a homey atmosphere. The servers, though, don’t always seem to feel the comfort…

For some reason, servers in every Irish-style pub\restaurant I’ve been to (I think especially of a similar place in Sarnia and another in Hiroshima) are surly. Claddagh is no exception.  Oh, the workers are polite enough to be sure, but not what I would call friendly or welcoming, at least not in my experience.  Indeed, many of them are positively cold, even if one does order a pint or two.  I have never had an actual “problem” with anyone there, though, and don’t think of it as a major deterrent. 

So, all in all, Claddagh is definitely worth visiting, if only to enjoy the unique atmosphere.  The food is good, and a bit different than what you get in other restaurants in the area, though it’s expensive.  Still, for a date with a special someone, an outing with old friends, a special event dinner, or simply a fancy night out, this Irish pub is worth checking out.

We Recommend

APPETIZERS
Baked Brie: My favorite menu item, a big wheel of brie, lightly fried and served with delicious wild-berry jam and soda bread. ...I could probably use some more bread with my brie to be honest but it’s delicious whatever the case.

SOUPS
Soups vary by the day but they’re always wonderful.  They are always served with more of the deliciously sweet soda bread.

ENTREE
Shepherds Pie: There’s nothing really unusual about this except that you can’t get this delicious dish most places.  For those that don’t know, this is a thick stew with bits of ground beef (and I think lamb), carrots and peas, topped with a mound of whipped potatoes.  It’s a favorite meal of mine.

Guinness Stew: A thick stew made with braised beef in a Guinness-laced gravy.  It’s very thick so unless you’re sharing, plan to take some home.

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