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First Dates and the gibson hotel – A Match Made in Culinary Heaven

There have been many iconic love stories throughout the ages, from Lancelot and Guinevere to Romeo and Juliet and even Noah and Allie from the popular Nicholas Sparks book.

Beautiful love stories never fail to capture our attention. We love to watch people find love in novels or on the silver screen. And just like all good love stories, the tale of First Dates Ireland and the gibson hotel is one that will go down in history.

From their initial meeting, there was an immediate burst of chemistry between the pair and since then, the relationship has blossomed, going from strength to strength.

Now, three years down the line and the relationship between First Dates and the gibson hotel couldn’t be stronger.

Thousands of people tune into RTE’s First Dates when it airs, with this season already off to a great start. The official First Dates restaurant, coda eatery, is home to a lot of love and fans of the hit show can now experience this for themselves.

At the recent launch of the First Dates restaurant, I couldn’t wait to sample the very same menu the daters experience while on the show, and of course, receive the very same TLC the staff provide to every guest.

As you walk through the beautifully decorated coda eatery restaurant, your eyes are immediately drawn to the love heart balloons, the subtle red lighting and the candles gracefully placed around the room, setting the perfect atmosphere.

The First Dates set menu includes a glass of prosecco or a deliciously sweet love potion cocktail that truly works its magic as you peruse the menu.

With five starters on offer, guests can choose from crispy duck croquettes, Ardsallagh whipped goat’s cheese, tartar of mackerel, black fig and apple salad or a butternut squash veloute.

As a cheese fiend, I couldn’t resist the perfectly creamy goat’s cheese, which satisfied all the cheese cravings I could possibly have that night.

My guest chose the crispy duck croquettes, which were served with spiced celeriac and Jerusalem artichoke, blackberry gel and toasted almonds.

Moving to mains and with a variety of options available, from juicy beef burgers to salmon fillets and butternut squash dish, there’s something on the menu for every palate.

My guest enjoyed the succulent 21-say aged rib eye steak, which was accompanied by buttermilk onion rings, charred scallion, pepper cream sauce and chips shaped like the jenga pieces from the popular game.

Casting my eyes around the room as I devoured my salmon, which was served with beluga lentil risotto, red cabbage and baby carrots, I couldn’t help but put myself in the shoes of those nervous daters, waiting anxiously by the bar for their blind date to arrive.

When you dine at the First Dates restaurant, you can choose between a 2-course and 3-course menu. Now, I’m a firm believer in dessert, especially when it’s a chocolate raspberry heart – what more could you want from a love-themed dinner in Dublin’s restaurant of romance?

The raspberry and white chocolate heart was a true sweet treat and the creamy chocolate paired perfectly with the fresh fruit and raspberry gel.

In a recent interview with Chef Igor Cikarev ahead of this season’s premiere, I couldn’t resist asking him about the food served to the participants of the hit show. He highlighted the raspberry and white chocolate heart as a particular favourite among guests:

“We’ve got a lovely dessert, a raspberry and white chocolate heart which was an absolute best seller. So, it’s all great to harness the ingredients of the season and it’s something I’ve always done but I do it much more now.”

After extracting the desired information about the dessert, I also made sure to ask Igor about the most popular dishes among prospective couples (for the good of the country’s dating hopefuls of course!):

“Honestly, there are three dishes which are the most popular: a 21-day-aged Rib Eye Steak, a Sea Bream dish and also the Black Angus Burger.”

Maybe those particular dishes hold the secret to love? But just like the show’s contestants and the dating world in itself, the menu changes over the seasons and Igor and his team love seeing how people react to the new dishes:

“Because the show gets great publicity, we get daters from all corners of Ireland. I always find it amusing when I serve something different on the menu, something a little bit outside of people’s comfort zones. The reactions can be great.”

Gibson Hotel

Urban and cool while also remaining personal and comfortable, the gibson hotel is located in an easily accesible location. Coda eatery, meanwhile, is both stylish and informal and boasts a delicious range of dishes, prepared by Chef Igor Cikarev and his team.

So from the beginning of a wonderful love story in 2016 to the steady relationship these two now enjoy, it’ll be exciting to see how First Dates Ireland and the gibson hotel continue to thrive in the future.

If you fancy dining in the First Dates restaurant with a loved-up menu just like the show’s dining options, why not try our exclusive First Dates 3-course dining experience, which includes a glass of prosecco or a love potion cocktail.

Watch First Dates Ireland every Tuesday at 9.30pm on RTÉ2 or catch up on RTÉ Player.


Sarah has always had a great love of travel, food and photography. Following her journalism degree at DCU, she developed a passion for travel writing while living in Spain.

Sarah loves exploring new places and sampling the local cuisine. Working with combines her love of food and travel.

A big people person, especially when it comes to hearing other people’s stories, Sarah loves interviewing chefs, food producers and more.

Sarah Glascott Sarah Glascott

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