Finding a place to eat that doesn’t serve Mexican food in Dublin is a challenge – it almost feels like there’s one on every corner now. The city is rapidly filling up with burger joints or burrito bars and it can be a struggle to find somewhere unique and different to eat. With Valentine’s Day on the horizon, everyone is searching for the perfect date spot which they’ve never been to before and that will really impress that special someone.
I had walked by The Tram Café a number of times and always questioned what this random 1920s tram was doing in the middle of Wolfe Tone Square. It wasn’t until a friend was telling me about a date she went on that I realised it was an old tram that had been renovated into something so much more. Once hearing this, I knew I had to visit and see what it was for myself. I had only heard good things at this point, so my expectations were high.
Built in Philadelphia in 1902, the ownerless tram was left in a field in Co. Cavan. Dave, the man who discovered it, and John, the man who renovated it, saw enormous potential in this tram and felt that it could be transformed back to its former glory. After much persuasion to the Dublin City Council, they were granted the historic location of Wolfe Tone Square on Jervis Street, Dublin 1 for their new venture. The café itself stretches out the back of the tram as it has a marquee attached and more heated outdoor seating at the front, which is smoker friendly. There is little to no wait time for a table here, even at the peak lunch times and the staff are incredibly helpful with any enquiries you may have.
The menu here is small and concise, mostly just a variety of salads, sandwiches and soups of the day. Upon arrival at the café, I noticed a sign saying, “now serving crêpes and omelettes” and it was that moment I put the menu down and uttered the words ‘ham omelette’ to the waiter. There was no question about it. Food arrived within minutes of placing the order, which I was both impressed and wary about. As an omelette mega fan, this needed to amaze me. I immediately dug in and I was in awe. This was up there with omelettes the French make, which are the best I’ve tried. The friend I dragged along with me ordered the banana bread and was given the biggest, most decent slice we’d both ever laid our eyes on. We both got our usual cappuccinos which were as good as any we’d usually get. The food was excellent for a café that was once in a field in Cavan.
With the food and coffee being exceptional, it distracted from the atmosphere of the café. Maybe it was because it wasn’t too busy, which I found strange for two o’clock on a Saturday afternoon, but there was something missing which I could not quite pinpoint. The café was stunning, don’t get me wrong – the ceiling covered in fairy lights, vintage interior, it was perfectly suited for a unique Valentine’s day spot. After thinking about the café once we’d left, however, I remained unable to figure out what exactly it was lacking. Nothing specific stood out yet the feeling of something missing was unwavering. As it was only this minor aspect, my memories of the place are still of high regard.
Value for money 8/10
The Tram Café is a great spot to eat. The food was superb for a lunchtime snack and although the atmosphere was not as expected, the café itself was definitely worth eating at, even if there was not a major wow factor. The price list on the menu was extremely affordable, giving students a good chance at a lovely date for Valentine’s day. The price was brilliant for the quality of food served. There was nothing over €5 on the menu which is as good as it gets these days. Despite the atmosphere needing some work, the place is overall fantastic. It had tasty food, friendly staff and beautiful interior. There wasn’t much room to go wrong here, especially stemming from such a simple yet distinctive idea. It was easily accessible, located in the centre of the city only around the corner from the Jervis Street Centre. It is a perfect date location, but you have to be early as it closes at six o’clock most days of the week. The Tram Café deserves a 4 out of 5 rating as it really did hit the spot.
Image Credit: DublinTown.ie
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