What's up with the Irish, really? They got it, you don't. Plain and simple. They have the coolest accent, one of their most famous actors is called McAnally (seriously??), they have leprechauns, in the 90's I had a huge crush on the Corrs sisters (no, not the drummer), they have the best whi... Okay, no, they don't. That honorable mention goes out to the Scots and, yes, the Japanese. What's more about the Irish is that up until they lost their Indian chef at Paddy Whelan's, they cooked some really great non-Irish grub. Okay, that guy was technically not Irish... And now we have another Irish place cooking some really good, non-Irish stuff.
The restaurant in question is called The Trinity Bar, and you will find it in the not-so-sexy Galerija Riga. Having never been to either the UK or Ireland (or Scotland, for that matter... alas), I can't really say anything credible about what an Irish pub should look like. That being said, The Trinity Bar to me looks genuine enough to have me fooled. The pub is mainly made of polished wood with a big, horseshoe-shaped bar occupying the center and lots of tables, chairs and stools all over the room. For my personal taste, I would have preferred a more booth-y pub instead of the large, open space there is now. However, this open space makes the pub more mingle-friendly, should there ever be enough people to actually mingle. If you're the anti-mingle kind of person, there is also some kind of back room with lounge chairs and a couple of flat screens on the wall for watching your favorite sports.
”what's up with the irish, really? they got it, you don't"
The Trinity Bar has a little bit of everything on the menu – from classic pub grub via Irish national food to finer meat and fish dishes. I've actually been to this place quite a few times beyond what is required to write a fair review, and it's all because of the delicious pasta Carbonara that they make. When the chef is having a good day, I'd even stretch as far as to proclaim it the best Carbonara in Riga! Opinions differ, however, whether or not a proper Carbonara should contain cream. This particular one does, which might be good to know. Also, I sometimes wish that they would be a bit more generous with the ”carbon” (those of you who are familiar with the history of this dish will know what I mean), but the waiting staff will be happy to help you with this.
I was equally happy with the Irish fish pie, which is technically not a pie, but some great seafood stew with vegetables and mashed potatos. I might ruin the surprise now, but if you order this, be warned that hidden inside is a loosely boiled egg. If you don't like yolk suddenly running all over the place, you might wanna order some other dish. They also serve pizza at The Trinity Bar, but although they are quite tasty, I'd have to say that for the price (€8–10), they sure are tiny. The only dish I'm not exactly thrilled about is the burger, which isn't bad by any means but is just a filler on the menu. I was also really looking forward to trying the cottage pie, but for some reason they didn't have it (guess this was only temporary).
The Trinity Bar is a nice, relaxed oasis in this modern but ugly shopping mall, and if you need a break in your shopping I can definitely recommend that you pop in and have a bite (or a sip: from what I remember they have a pretty good selection of whiskies). However, I wonder if their business isn't hampered a bit by their location. My bet is that they would have a lot more guests if they moved someplace else, to Old Town or just anywhere but this mall. Considering the quality food and the friendly service, they definitely deserve it.