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Guest Review: Cookes of Dublin in Downtown Disney

We’re welcoming back Melissa Sue Sorrells Galley with a review of Cookes of Dublin!

I found myself sitting alone in my room at Pop Century with a free evening. It was getting late, and the parks were closing early, so I decided to take myself on a date to Downtown Disney.

When I got off the bus at Pleasure Island, I had no plans for dinner, but I knew I was hungry. The line for Raglan Road was daunting, and I wasn’t in the mood for Fulton’s, so I headed into Cookes of Dublin.

Pleasure Island

Cookes of Dublin

This hidden quick service gem is located right on the water at Disney’s Pleasure Island. You might walk right by it on your way to the Marketplace without even noticing it if you weren’t weak with hunger. But next time you head to Pleasure Island, make sure to keep your bellies empty and your eyes open because Cookes is worth a stop.

Let’s head inside!

Atmosphere

The first thing you’ll notice about Cookes is that it’s small. Not too many people include it in their Disney dining plans, and you should be thankful. As soon as you enter, you’re standing at the ordering counter, but before you bumble your way through the order, make sure you stop to take in everything they have to offer, including burgers, seafood, and salads.

Ordering and Queuing Area

Info Board and "Mission Statement"

Once you order and pay, they’ll give you a table number, and you can grab a seat. Even though this is quick service, the staff will bring your food to you. The dining room, though small, made me think of Earl of Sandwich, decorated with photos of the Cooke family, tracing their history back to 1938, when they opened the first Cookes in Ireland.

There are about 12 tables—both booths and bar-style seating—with room for about 30 guests inside the quick service spot but there’s a nice-sized courtyard outside filled with seating options. Unfortunately, I visited on a rainy night, so I found a nice table for two in the back of the restaurant.

Seating Area

While you wait for your food, you can grab napkins and straws, fill your self-serve drink from the soda well and stock up on your condiments. The station includes cocktail sauce, Dalkey mustard, tartar sauce, and ketchup as well as Tabasco, steak sauce, Heinz yellow mustard, and malt vinegar.

Sauces

Self-serve condiment station

Confused by Dalkey mustard? I was, too. Its wholegrain mustard made in Ireland, and the Cookes version is very creamy with vinegar overtones.

Also note, there is no serviceware at the condiment bar. Your forks, spoons, and knives will come with your food.

Eats

The Cookes menu is simple and uncomplicated, and all of the food is made “almost to order,” which means the food is hot and fresh, which I think makes it worth the wait. (You can access the full menu on the Cookes website.)

I ordered the lamb and beef pie with chips, a doh bar, and a drink.

The drinks are huge!

The pastry on the pie was nice and buttery and perfectly cooked. The filling was delicious by itself as well as with the pastry and it paired very well with the Dalkey mustard. It had a nice round flavor and felt very wholesome.

The fries weren’t anything special, although I did love the addition of the malt vinegar—you can’t find that just anywhere.

Beef and lamb pie with chips.

Beef and lamb pie cross-section.

The doh bar was delicious. It was a deep fried Snickers bar—complete with nuts and caramel—but it could have been any nutty candy bar, really. It doesn’t matter, and while you’re eating it, you’re not thinking about what it used to be. I loved the texture of hot, sweet batter, the gooey fillings, and the crunch of the peanuts.

Doh bar, in all its glory.

Here’s the best news: though Cookes only serves soda, tea, water and coffee, you can order a beer or cocktail from the Hole in the Wall bar next door and bring it into the quick service dining room!

The Hole in the Wall Bar

Overall

This is an excellent find! For less than $20, I got a ton of food. I easily could have shared it with another person, but luckily I didn’t have to!

The restaurant is clean, the menu is varied and the food is hearty and surprisingly traditional. I’d go back in a second, and I hope you’ll add it to your next Downtown Disney itinerary!

Have you been to Cooke’s or to the Hole in the Wall Bar next door? Let us know your reviews!

Melissa Sue Sorrells Galley works in higher education communications in upstate New York, where she lives with her husband, Robert, and her cavapoo, George. She’s is the co-editor of Mouse on the Mind.

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20 Comments

  1. Colonel Mustard says:

    And don’t forget to mention the HP sauce, which I see shining out from one of the photographs! To those from Ireland or the U.K., and to we Anglophiles on this side of the pond, it is the king of all condiments, suitable for any occasion or food, from beans-on-toast to chips (not to be confused with crisps)!

  2. Billy H says:

    This is a great place for a meal or snack, and even when it’s packed they are usually pretty quick. One of my favorite snacks on property are the rosemary chips from Cookes. I’m not sure how they make fried potatoes, rosemary, and sea salt so good, but they do.

  3. Allison says:

    Is Cookes on the Disney Dining Plan as a quick-service credit?

  4. Anna says:

    My family has eaten here three times. My Dad loves the thick cut piece of fried fish with chips. My mom and I have enjoyed the Chicken & Mushroom Pie. I’ve also had a cup of potato & Harp ale soup that was tasty. However, the warm, creamy bacon & cheese dip is the best. Dunk your fries or your pie crust in this stuff!

  5. Shiraz says:

    Cooke’s is one of my favorite spots to grab lunch or dinner, particularly on solo trips. I love their Chicken and Mushroom pie.

  6. Alan says:

    If the weather isn’t rainy, grab a table at The Hole in the Wall bar and then go to the Cooke’s counter and place your order. Unless it’s super busy, they will carry it out to your table. They have expanded their menu over the last few years, but the scallops have been around for awhile and are just so good. The combination of the two places is a great way to spend a couple of hours, especially at happy hour in the late afternoon.

  7. Pudge the Fish says:

    I had a chance to dine there one evening on a solo business trip. The food was great, gigantic scallops and chips with some malt vinegar. As stated, it was a bit small (and also very noisy on the evening that I was there.) I wasn’t brave enough to try to doh bar, too messy for a humid September night. I’ve always been a huge fan of Raglan Road and Cookes certainly impressed too.

  8. Laura says:

    We live in Orlando. We love this place~yummy! Get your beer next door and enjoy the food!

  9. I approve of any place that offers up tabasco without having to ask! But I have to disagree with the previous commenter’s love of HP sauce. I tried it in London and honestly, it is one of the few foods in the world that I don’t ever need to experience again.

    The description of the doh bar is making me sad I missed out on Cookes!

  10. Colonel Mustard says:

    Tracy: I suspect it is one of those sharp, savoury flavors that men tend to prefer (after reading your comment I tried to think of an instance where a woman expressed a liking for it, and I could not come up with one). When all is said and done, it’s not really much different from American “steak sauce,” except the Brits tend to put it on far more than meat.

  11. Colonel Mustard: valid point–my husband loves it!

  12. Jym says:

    As someone who doesn’t care for Snickers, I’m happy to report that if you bring them a different candy bar (Milky Way for me), they will make it like a Doh Bar. Mmmm

  13. I love HP brown sauce!! It’s a must on our British fried breakfasts ;)
    It’s good to know that malt vinegar is available at this place too, its difficult to find in WDW!

  14. Julie says:

    Love the fish with malt vinegar. We used 2 QS to feed 2 adults and 2 kids. Definitely stopping again when in Downtown.

  15. melissa sue says:

    Thank you, everyone, for the comments!!

    @Allison: Sorry for not covering that in my post! Cookes IS a QS credit on the Dining Plan.

    @Jym: EXCELLENT tip! I didn’t even think to ask them if they’d fry up another kind of candy bar!!

  16. jdhwsp4me says:

    Been past there, but never stopped. Sounds good. Thanks for the review, will try it next trip in May.

  17. Gary K says:

    Only one thing to say. The best food deal at Disney, period.

  18. Jennie says:

    Wow, I bet I’ve passed this place hundreds of times. I’m sad to think of all the times I missed this food. We leave for WDW in 2 days. I may drag everyone here the first night. Thanks for the review.

    Jennie

  19. Stefanie says:

    Can you take your food from Cooke’s & sit at one of the tables at the Hole in the Wall bar?

  20. AJ says:

    Stefanie — You probably can if the bar’s not too busy. Sometimes they have “guards” over there! ;-)

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