Located near Phoenix Park, Spruce is a restaurant/bar/bakery flanked by loads of greenery in an offbeat location. The restaurant sits on a wooden patio and when we dropped by for dinner, was already enjoying a healthy sprinkling of diners.

The restaurant comprises an intimate indoor dining space, with a private dining room and a cheese room/wine cellar. The alfresco area is covered, with trees all round and a little pebbled water feature below us—a pleasant, garden party vibe.

The menu is not large, but quite varied. We kicked off our meal with the ahi tuna tartar with ciabatta and avocado, which, although expensive, was supreme—the tuna was juicy and fresh, and the ciabatta and avocado made for a nice blend of textures. Next up, we tucked into our mains of whole roasted snapper with herb salad and lemon jam, steak frites, béarnaise and herbed chips and rotisserie chicken with roasted potatoes and sautéed broccoli. We liked that the snapper was served whole—a nice departure from fillets—and the fish was fresh and tasty. The lemon jam and salad brought out the flavors perfectly. The steak frites arrived as a small‑but‑thick medium‑rare slab, which was suitably juicy and succulent for the most part (it got a bit tough toward the end). We loved the herb fries, but couldn’t finish them. Ditto for the chicken: It was not bad (although the breast meat was a bit stringy), but a little too much.

For dessert, we ordered a steamed ginger date pudding with toffee chocolate sauce, which we loved. The friendly staff tried hard to attend to us and were generally successful. As we were leaving, for instance, we commented on the cheeses in the window and the staff invited us into the cheese room/wine cellar for a tour. It was this friendliness that has scored Spruce extra points.