Dublin restaurants: Delicious food from fancy to rustic
You may have heard the old reputation about food and drink in Dublin (and the rest of Ireland for that matter). The drink probably got the better end of the deal.
Well, those days are long behind Dublin. Ireland’s capital city has had a dynamic restaurant scene for some time now, and the food is just one more reason to add Dublin to your travel list.
Here’s a small sampling of Dublin restaurants you may wish to visit on your next vacation, chosen with an eye toward variety in price, dining experience and food types to appeal to different types of travelers:
This is where you go if you want a sophisticated night out at a restaurant that has a Michelin star. The chef is Mickael Viljanen of Finland, and he’s known for serving up creative fare that’s earned him two Best Chef in Ireland awards, in 2011 and 2015.
Diners can enjoy multi-course meals for the entire table. For an idea of what’s available, there’s a six-course tasting menu that includes hand-dived scallop ceviche and passionfruit souffle with ginger sauce. Lunch course offerings including Wicklow lamb and steamed cod from Donegal. Greenhouse has an extensive wine menu from across the globe.
Michelin writes that Greenhouse is a “stylish restaurant with turquoise banquettes and smooth service.” It’s mere steps from centrally located St. Stephen’s Green.
The Greenhouse, Dawson St., Dublin 2, Ireland; +353 1 676 7015
Also Michelin-starred, Chapter One is one of Dublin’s most consistently well-rated upmarket restaurants.
Boasting a mile-long list of accolades, Chapter One offers new takes on Irish ingredients, but make no mistake, this is not “nouveau Irish cooking,” rather something else entirely wonderful.
A four-course evening dinner menu may offer intrigues such as Japanese tapioca, stuffed quail with violet asparagus and warm 68% chocolate mousse with flavors of Guinness.
There’s a menu just for vegetarians that highlights potato gnocchi. The wine list is truly vintage — all come with a hefty, but worthwhile, price tag.
Chapter One, 18-19 Parnell Sq., Dublin Ireland; +353 1 873 2266
Restaurants such as Hugo’s are carving the Dublin’s path to “culinary capital” status.
Opened in 2007 and firmly rooted in European cuisine, Hugo’s draws on fresh and artisanal Irish ingredients to create combinations for the restaurant’s ever-changing menu. Emphasis is placed on hearty proteins paired with inventively prepared seasonal vegetables.
Hugo’s French bistro-like blue exterior, complete with twinkling candles, is almost as charming as the menu. With nearly 60 varieties available by the glass, the wine list leaves few wanting.
Hugo’s, 6 Merrion Row, Dublin 2 Ireland; +353 1 676 5955
The Pig’s Ear
The Pig’s Ear brings to Dublin a touch of the “death of fine dining” trend so prevalent across the pond in London.
Seasonal Irish ingredients are cooked inventively, but approachably. The restaurant’s location in a Georgian building overlooking Trinity College doesn’t hurt — creaky wooden floors, high ceilings and big windows lend a country-chic vibe.
A few tidbits plucked from the menu include green beans, plums and almond salad; roast chicory with butternut squash; slow-cooked duck leg; pork belly and scallops; and a dark chocolate tart made with stout ice cream and mulled cherries.
The Pig’s Ear, 4 Nassau St., Dublin 2 Ireland; +353 1 670 3865
Opening its doors in 1957, Trocadero touts itself as Dublin’s theater restaurant. And you will find photos of the acting set adorning its rich wooden walls. This is the place to go if you’re looking for old-school atmosphere with yesteryear glamor.
There’s an emphasis on steak and lamb and locally sourced Irish foods.
A spin down the a la carte menu will reveal smoked and beet cured salmon, Chateaubriand for two, Barbary duck breast, creamed spinach and rhubarb and almond tart. You can also pick from a pre-theater menu and a group-set menus of three or four courses.
Trocadero, 4 St Andrew’s St., Dublin, D02 ET32, Ireland; +353 1 677 5545
Irish food is delicious and has come very much into its own, but most of us want variety too. Neon comes to the rescue with Thai chefs serving Asian street food since 2012.
The atmosphere is relaxed and informal, and patrons get to make their own desserts. Prices will appeal to the budget-minded.
Menu items include butterfly prawns, beet salad, massaman curry with your choice of protein or vegetable, rice noodles with tofu and Asian greens and a wide variety of wok dishes.
Neon, 17 Camden Street Lower, Saint Kevin’s, Dublin, D02 TX94, Ireland; +353 1 405 2222
Dunne & Crescenzi
This chic Italian spot is a labor of love for Irish-Italian couple Eileen Dunne and Stefano Crescenzi, who opened it after relocating from Rome in 1999. Originally a shop, the business grew steadily into the full-fledged restaurant and wine bar it is now.
While it may be a power-lunch destination for local politicians and media types from the government offices across the street, jeans-clad tourists are equally welcome to sit at the simple brown tables.
Here, you can enjoy Dunne & Crescenzi’s best-of-Dublin cheese plates, bruschetta selection and fresh mozzarella bar, along with evening dishes such as scialatielli pasta with shrimp bisque, Doran’s prawns and mussels and cherry tomatoes.
Dunne & Crescenzi, 14-16 South Frederick Street, Dublin D2 Ireland; +353 1 675 9892 (check their website for other locations)
This venture from husband-and-wife team Peter and Jumoke Hogan actually gives you two locations a very short walk from each other, each with a distinctive approach.
The more casual location on Benburb Street offers the tasty basics: classic beer-battered fish and chips along with other dishes such as mussels and grilled scallops, along with a selection of wines. You can get reservations, but it caters to walk-ins.
If you’re in the mood for more sophisticated fare and have more to spend, head to their Queen Street location, where they showcase seasonal Irish seafood. You might find items such as turbot broth, cockles, razor clams and sea herbs on the menu. You should make reservations here.
Fish Shop, 76 Benburb St., Smithfield, Dublin 7, Dublin; +353 1 557 1473
Fish Shop, 6 Queen St., Arran Quay, Dublin 7; +353 1 430 8594
L. Mulligan Grocer
About a 10-minute walk to the Liffey on its north bank in the Stoneybatter neighborhood, L. Mulligan Grocer feeds both body and mind. If you’re there on the last Sunday of each month, you can join a charity quiz on subjects such as Greek mythology and 1980s cartoon supervillians.
However, you can enjoy its seasonal and rotating menu any day of the week.
items you might find on the menu: Scotch eggs (vegetarian or pork) and cockles and mussels for starters. Free-range chicken Kiev and pan-fried cod for the main course. A cheeseboard or sticky ginger pudding for dessert, paired with a recommended whiskey. (They’re serious about their drinks here).
L. Mulligan Grocer, 18 Stoneybatter, Dublin 7; +353 1 670 9889
Temple Bar Food Market
It wasn’t so long ago that Dublin was considered a culinary wasteland (maybe a little unfairly). But as times have changed, so has the food landscape of the city, especially in the Temple Bar district, which now hosts a food market each Saturday.
More than a farmers’ market, this is a place to come and eat, to grab some seriously fresh Irish cheese, pesto and a loaf of bread baked that morning and sit along the Liffey for a picnic.
Temple Bar Food Market, 2 – 5 Wellington Quay Temple Bar, Dublin 2