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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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!
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.