Photo Dimitry Anikin | Unsplash
Where to Eat in Dublin
The Fair City’s food scene goes from strength to strength, as an influx of young international workers mix with a local population that is the most youthful in Europe, creating a thriving arts scene and a myriad of diverse, excellent restaurants.
Ireland itself has rediscovered its culinary identity in recent years, based on world-class local produce and a stream of talent returning from working in the best kitchens around the world. Dublin, as the nation’s capital, is well placed to capitalise on this movement, and there is no shortage of great places to eat in the city. Dublin enjoys a vibrant and eclectic nightlife, attracting visitors from far and wide, and locals make use of a city centre that is easily navigable by foot, has a cosmopolitan and international aspect, but feels very local. Add to all that the great food, the easy-going nature of the locals, and the exciting vibe on the streets, and Dublin is a gastronomic destination to rival anywhere in the world.
Chapter One | Instagram
Chef Ross Lewis’s basement restaurant is an institution and as much a part of the area as Dublin’s Gate Theatre and the Hugh Lane Gallery. For nearly 30 years, Michelin-starred Chapter One has been a beacon of the highest culinary standards and has helped Ireland re-establish a sense of self-confidence in its culinary identity. Lewis himself is responsible for training and empowering a generation of young Irish chefs, something he received recognition for this year with Michelin’s Mentor Chef Award. Serving elegant cuisine with an emphasis on the freshest local produce, the restaurant's atmosphere is warm and welcoming, with a touch of Irish class.
Nestled in the picturesque fishing village of Howth, north of the city, Mamó is perfectly placed to get its hands on the freshest fish straight off the boats in the harbour. Mamó is an easy-going restaurant that has made a big impression in its relatively short existence, serving consistency excellent European-inspired food based on the best local produce.
No other restaurant in Dublin right now represents a newness in fine dining like Variety Jones. Appearances are dark, edgy and interesting but with chef-owner Keelan Higgs working away in an open kitchen it has the welcoming, cocooning feeling of a city jazz club. The food is inventive and fresh, lively and expertly put together, with Higgs cooking over an open fire, so no two dishes are ever quite the same.
The flagbearer for modern French cuisine in Ireland for over 30 years, Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud fuses playful modernity with classic French technique in a design-forward setting. Ireland’s most lauded restaurant, and the first to be awarded two Michelin stars, is located in the Georgian Merrion Hotel opposite Leinster House. This establishment has seen boom and bust in the city, but rises above it all with consistent dedication to culinary excellence.
The rising star of Irish gastronomy, Aimsir, awarded two Michelin stars after only 6 months, is outside the city, located in Cliff at Lyons in Kildare. About an hour from the city centre, this restaurant, run by husband and wife team Jordan and Majken Bech-Bailey is well worth a visit, like a parallel universe of country elegance and sophisticated modern cuisine that is breath-taking in its scope and vision.
Photo Paul Gartland
With a kitchen packed full of culinary talent, boasting Finnish chef Mickael Viljanen at the helm and local chef Mark Moriarty as the sous chef, the two-Michelin-starred Greenhouse exudes confidence and accomplishment. The food is sophisticated yet surprising without being overworked and built on a classical foundation but with lots of creative expression on the plate.
On the city’s south coast, in the sleepy, salubrious suburb of Monkstown, you’ll find Bresson, an unfussy, classy French brasserie that quietly gets on with the job of serving classic French cuisine with warmth and character. Named after the French photographer who captured people in their natural habitat, this restaurant has become a cherished part of the village in a very short time. With one foot in the past and another in the present, Bresson keeps its eye on the future with long term plans to become part of the fabric of Monkstown. Definitely worth a trip out of the city for a leisurely meal in a Joycean seaside setting.
Photo Shantanu Starick
A lively, hip and easy-going bistro vibe, Uno Mas serves quality Spanish cuisine close to the city centre. With friendly staff and an eye on value for money there’s a vibrancy about Uno Mas that will appeal to everyone. Sometimes everything clicks and you get a place that just chimes with warmth and authenticity, with very good food and a worthy selection of wines. We challenge you to not leave this restaurant beaming from ear to ear.
John Kavanagh - Grave Diggers
Photo Grave Duggfers | Facebook
The pub is such a fulcrum of daily Irish life that any visit to Dublin should include a culinary experience in one of the city’s best. The Grave Diggers, so called because of its proximity to the city’s biggest cemetery (itself worth a visit), is a pub visited by Anthony Bourdain when he stopped by Dublin, and he was thoroughly taken with the food, the drink and of course the craic. A traditional, local pub that welcomes visitors as much as regulars, it’s a chance to eat well and sink a few pints of the black stuff.
Photo DAX | Facebook
A very French restaurant with crisp white table cloths, located in the cellar of a Georgian townhouse near Fitzwilliam Square, DAX exudes class and a sense of occasion. Classic French technique meets local Irish flavours for a modern culinary experience with a touch of old-world class.