New year, new weekly series - yaaaas!
One thing I get asked most by my mates is suggestions for dates in Dublin, places or activities that are a little out of the ordinary or cool.
There are so many deadly places in Dublin to go but how do they measure up when it comes to dating?
Here at Lovin Dublin, I find most of the reviews I write are based around new openings and what the place has to offer. In true Éadaoin fashion, I like to push the boat out a little and try something different.
Welcome to Datin Dublin - A series that is dedicated solely to how suitable a venue or activity is for a date.
I'll be analysing it all - from the lighting to the messiness of the food and everything in between.
It's a new way to look at a venue and it also gives me the chance to go back to some of my favourite spots in Dublin instead of always heading to the "next hot thing"... I mean of course this series is just for you, to help you up your dating game and make your crush or partner fall for you even harder... but hey you can't blame a gal for wanting to have some pretty stellar dates herself, all for research purposes of course.
This week my boyfriend and I hit The Ramen Bar.
The Ramen Bar can be found on South William Street, right in the heart of the city. They serve ramen (of course) as well as appetizers, buns and baos.
So how does it measure up for a date?
The Ramen Bar is located on South William Street, it's really easy to find and it's bang smack city centre. This makes for a stress-free meeting point and also a fair commuting time for both parties no matter what side of the city they live in.
There's a few different seating areas in The Ramen Bar, my boyfriend and I were sitting to the left of the main restaurant area entrance. My seat was pretty hard to slide into and it wasn't the most comfortable. You want to look relaxed and comfortable on your first date so it maybe wasn't the best in that sense.
The ideal seating area for me on a date is a booth because you can get close to your date and maybe even give them a lil smacker on the lips. I went to kiss my boyfriend at one stage and we both had to perch and stretch over the table - not ideal.
There is much more seating around and upstairs which would have been better for date night.
Lighting for a date is key.
You want to go somewhere that's a little dark, sultry and sexy and The Ramen Bar is exactly that.
The whole venue is lit by the lights at each table so you're pretty much just focusing on your date while you're there and they are just focusing on you - nice and intimate.
Ramen is a bowl of happiness. You've got all the good stuff - meat, veg, carbs and a broth and it's not too unhealthy either. The ramen I had was super delicious, huge portion too so I even got some for lunch the following day.
I chose the "Garlic Lovers" and my boyfriend got "Kokoro Torisho", both were fab but I much preferred his to mine - it was fresher and lighter.
Is it the best thing to order on a first date though?
I'm really comfortable around my boyfriend so I was happy to slurp the noodles and drop the odd bit of chicken because my chopstick skills aren't the best. I can't imagine I would have felt that way if it was a date in the early days.
Eating noodles is pretty unseductive.
You want to have a chill and comfortable atmosphere on a date - no loud music or groups of sports fans screaming at the television behind you.
I love when you're on a date and even though you're in a restaurant or bar you feel like you're in your own little world.
The atmosphere in The Ramen Bar was exactly what I look for. We were able to chat away, hear each other, and chill out. The staff were also really chatty and friendly which I loved.
It is a busy venue so there was a few times I saw the manager rushing around and looking stressed, when I asked her if I could have a doggy bag she didn't look too impressed and I felt like she was rushing us out a little bit.
Apart from that, it was really enjoyable experience.
Likelihood Of Bumping Into Someone You Know:
If you're on a first date, you probably want to avoid any awkward encounters, right?
There are a few restaurants in Dublin that are often really quite, little hidden gems with only five or six tables. They are the dream when it comes to a first date.
The Ramen Bar was pretty busy when we were there and it's a pretty hot spot right now. I actually ran into two people I knew on the way out too.
If you're looking to keep your dating life on the DL, this maybe isn't the best place - it is dark inside though, so at least once you sit down you're pretty much left alone.
We had two bowls of Ramen and stuck to the tap water so our bill came to €32.50.
€16 for a main is kind of a middle price-range and pretty sound for a date.
As date nights go, this was really affordable.
(I was buzzing as it was my turn to cover it!)
So does The Ramen bar have that "romance factor"?
I mean, it's not somewhere I'd think of as romantic off the top of my head but it does have some really high ranking points of interest like lighting and atmosphere.
Would I be coming here on Valentines day?
Romance Factor: 4/10
Overall, I really enjoyed this venue for date night, more than a lot of other places I've visited as of late. The food was stunning and the venue is really cool.
I think it's a great place for a date but maybe not a first date.
There's definitely more charming places out there that will wow your crush and maybe even bag you a second date - so long as your flirt game is strong.
I'll definitely be coming back there - I'm glad I'm with my boyfriend a year though because I know him seeing me slurping those noodles wasn't my best look!