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What's good to eat in Dublin?


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It will be my first time in Ireland this coming May. Spending some time in Dublin and was wondering what to eat in terms of Irish food and where to eat?

Any suggestions are welcome.

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A lot depends on whether you want to eat Irish food in Dublin, or eat well in Dublin...

In any case, restaurants I like include (in roughly decreeasing order of price)

- Thornton's (lunch deal strongly recommended)

- Chapter One

- One Pico (can be hit-or-miss, but very good when it hits)

- Pearl Brasserie (or their new venture, Locks)

- Dax (not 100% "Irish" food per se, but a restaurant I really like)

- Winding Stair (relaxed environment for the price, but good food)

- Butcher Grill (I haven't been, but people I trust recommend it)

- l'Gueuleton (again not really Irish, but a perennial favourite)

- Juniors (excellent sandwiches at lunch, good honest food at dinner from an amazingly small kitchen)

and my personal favourite:

- Alexis (take the Dart to Dun Laoghaire, and try the midweek taster menu -- best value in the city for such top-drawer cooking.)

Strongly recommended for those wanting something more traditionally Irish (I haven't been):

- The Pig's Ear

Other recommended restaurants I haven't been to:

- Coppinger Row

- La Maison

That should get you started. Hopefully there'll be other suggestions from other posters too. I'm definitely forgetting a few newer ones, cos I don't eat out as much as I used to and a few have passed me by. You should be able to find menus for most/all of these restaurants online to get an idea of what to expect.

Dublin (and Ireland in general) has some great food if you know where to find it, but beware of walking into any random restaurant, especially in tourist areas, as there's a sporting chance it will leave you underwhelmed. You're definitely doing the right thing researching before you go.

If I think of anywhere else, I'll let you know. Enjoy the trip!!

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I second Simon's suggestion to research to avoid being underwhelmed. We spent a week in Kinsale a year or so back. It proclaims itself to be the "gourmet capital of Ireland". If true, it would be very disappointing.

John Hartley

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I couldn't agree more Harters. Kinsale dubbed itself the "Gourmet Capital of Ireland" sometime in the early seventies and it stuck. It wasn't true then and it certainly isn't true now.

I have copied a list below that I posted previously-apologies for the length.

In terms of Irish produce, at the moment there is some great local shellfish available so if you order Dublin Bay Prawns, Scallops or Lobster you should eat very well. Likewise, lamb is in season but quite expensive. We also have some excellent smoked fish products here so somewhere like Winding Stair is a good place to sample great local smoked produce from producers such as Frank Hedderman or Woodcock Smokery.

Brunch:

Odessa – Cool vibe, very good Eggs Benedict and juices. Avoid for dinner!

Espresso Bar , Ballsbridge – Usual brunch staples done very well. Good place for celeb spotting too!

Green 19, Camden Street – Essential hangover food for Sundays!

Rolys Café, Ballsbridge – A bit noisy sometimes but very good scrambled egg and smoked salmon!

Panem Café, Ormonde Quay – Seats about 6 people but makes fantastic croissants and stuffed savoury focaccia.

Cheap Eats:

Dunne & Crescenzi, South Frederick St - Italian anti pasti, panini, pasta etc

Yamamori Noodles, Georges St-Decent sushi and good noodle dishes

The Exchequer Gastro Pub, Excehquer St - All the usual gastropub staples

Michie Sushi, Chelmsford Lane, Ranelagh – Tiny place but best sushi in Dublin IMO

Manifesto, Rathmines – Really good pizzas and simple pasta dishes.

Mid Level Lunch/Dinner:

Pichet, Trinity Street - Contemporary bistro - very popular

Winding Stair, Ormonde Quay-Modern Irish Cooking, great wine list

La Maison, Castlemarket St - Classic French bistro cooking in bright, modern room

Nona Valentino, Portobello – Interesting Italian cooking in bright room by the canal.

Juniors, Bath Avenue – Great buzz, simple dishes cooked well.

L'Gueleuton, Fade St - French style brasserie with an Irish twist

Pig's Ear, Nassau St- Good quality Irish cooking with nice views of Trinity College

The Brown Bear, Naas – High quality gastro pub ( www.thebrownbear.ie). In the middle of nowhere but worth the journey!

Dillinger’s Ranelagh – Small space but cool vibe, great cocktails and solid cooking.

Eatery 120 Ranelagh – Good bistro fare and decent wine list

Camden Kitchen, Grantham Street – Small but bright, modern space. Cooking is good and inventive bistro moderne style.

The Green Hen, Wicklow Street- Usual bistro staples. Can be hit and miss but when it’s good it can be very good.

Bang Café – Awful interior design but decent mid level bistro cooking!

China Sichuan – The best Sichuan cooking in Dublin. Worth the 25 minutes or son on the Luas from St. Stephen’s Green.

Wolfe’s Artisan Bistro, Capel Street – Very new and right on top of their game. Very good quality ingredients cooked simply.

Café Bon, Malahide – The little sister of Michelin Starred Bon Appetite but IMO a far nicer experience. 30 minutes on the Dart from Pearse St. It’s a nice way to spend a Sunday!

The House, Howth – Really chilled out spot. I’d recommend for brunch on a Sunday particularly.

Cellar Restaurant at Merrion Hotel – Very nice space for a Hotel restaurant and good quality ingredients cooked simply.

Locks Brasseries, Portobello – From the same stable as Pearl Brasserie but less formal. Very good quality bistro food in relaxing room by the canal.

High End - Relative Good Value Lunch/Expensive Dinner:

Thorntons, St. Stephens Green - my personal favourite in Dublin. Great lunch deal at the moment for stellar cooking. 1 Michelin Star but tipped to win back second.

Chapter One, Parnell Square - Very popular, high end Irish cooking and service. 1 Michelin Star.

Salon des Saveurs, Aungier St. – They only do tasting menus at night but prices are very reasonable for the standard of cooking on offer. Very good lunch and early evening deals at the moment.

Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud, Merrion Hotel- Currently Ireland's only 2 Michelin Star. Sublime service, very good food, very expensive.

One Pico, Schoolhouse Lane- So far overlooked by Michelin but excellent lunch deal for the standard of food and service.

Pearl Brasserie, Merrion St- Stunning room with great service and excellent quality cooking.

Dax, Merrion Street – Decent tapas in the bar for moderate price, very good food and service in the dining room and exceptional wine list.

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Not sure if it's still there, but I remember having a fine time in Gallaghers Boxty House in Temple Bar quite a few years back. Boxty being an Irish speciality, which is essentially a potato pancake filled with various ingredients. I think I had mine filled with cured pork (rough cut boiled ham or bacon pieces) and cabbage and then topped with 'white' sauce. It was homely, it was stodgy, and it was delicious! What you might call 'Man's food'. Also worth visiting for the 'craic' (though not necessarily the food) is the porterhouse on the same street. They now (at least for 15 years) have a sister pub in Covent Garden in London. Both of these places might be a tad touristy but I think they are fairly cool because they brew their own beer. You can't buy Guinness in them, but they do make their own stouts. One stout is made from an Oyster base and it made me laugh to see it it on the menu with the warning 'Not suitable for Vegetarians'.

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Thanks for all the suggestions everyone. Those are wonderful options.

I'll probably give Pig's Ear a try for the traditional Irish food. Thornton's too for lunch. Will check out all the rest's websites too.

The boxty also sounds interesting.

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Great list Patrick, good to have an update on the forum. In case you haven’t twigged it JC, Patrick O is the co-owner of Alexis Bar and Grill and Simon’s recommendation is a very good one.

I don’t know if you saw Bobby Flay’s Ireland, the St Patrick’s edition, but Alexis was one of the featured restaurants, and the voiceover went something like: “some say these guys are the future of Irish cooking”. It’s great food and great value. Excellent produce that is skilfully cooked. I cannot understand for the life of me why it doesn’t have a Michelin Bib Gourmand. It’s in Dun Laoghaire which is by the sea, a short train ride (on the Dart), well worth the journey… and you can go sleb spotting in Dalkey afterwards.

It’s a while since I’ve been to the Pig’s Ear and The Winding Stair, but both are good for ‘Irish’ food, if I had to pick, I’d be more inclined towards The Winding Stair. The Camden Kitchen is also extremely good, great lunch menu (I think early bird too), and more centrally located is Pichet, which is very good. Coppinger Row is also very buzzy and some v nice food. And yes, good choice going to Thornton’s for lunch. Guilbaud is the two star option, but less exciting.

As for the boxty... not something us locals are diving into all the time, very much on the tourist trail. If you want to go native, order a pint of Guinness with half a dozen oysters in Davy Byrne's pub.

BTW, if you're in Dublin on a Saturday, it's well worth checking out the Farmer's Market in Temple Bar.

Edited by Corinna Dunne (log)
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