You will almost certainly eat potatoes at some point during your visit to Ireland, that much is almost a given, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a huge variety of meals on offer with restaurants serving cuisine from around the world and serving refreshing twists on Irish classics.
The country prides itself on its farms and the bounty of its seas meaning many restaurants serve incredibly fresh food with fish often being sold the day it’s caught no matter where you are in Ireland.
Galway Bay oysters and Dublin Bay prawns are popular seafood dishes while many pubs serve traditional fish (usually, but not always, cod) and chips. Salmon, associated with many Irish myths, is a popular meal, particularly smoked, while chowder and seaweed are becoming more widely available.
Most restaurants only serving Irish produced beef and you’ll find some fine steaks on menus. If you want something a little more exotic, there are Mongolian barbeques, fine French eateries, and some great Italian pizzerias throughout the city. These days, you can enjoy a meal from a different country every night of your stay in the city if you’re so inclined.
So when hunger strikes after one of our famous day trips from Dublin you’ll be spoiled for choice. Below are some of the best restaurants in Dublin with prices based on an average main course. Many have cheaper lunch and early bird menu options as well.
Busyfeet & Coco Café – A bohemian style café which is often busy puts the focus on wholesome grub with organic ingredients taking central stage. This café is best known for its sandwiches and salads. Particularly noteworthy are the Mediterranean quesadilla wrap, grilled goat’s cheese salad and walnut and raisin toast, and the tomato tapenade. This is also a good place to go people watching.
Typical main: €9
Location: 41-42 South William Street, Dublin 2
Cake Café – Weather permitting, you should try to get a table outside to enjoy your meal in the flowery restored courtyard. Another location which places a big emphasis on organic and local ingredients. A good lunch option is the Cashel Blue Cheese and hazelnut but as the name of this establishment suggests, it’s the tarts and sponges which really shine.
Typical main: €11
Location: The Daintree Building, Pleasants Place, Dublin | www.thecakecafe.ie
Damson Diner – American and Asian cuisine comes together at this retro 1950s’ diner. Food is served quickly but is of fine quality and highlights from the menu includes Louisiana crab cakes and grilled sea bass served with bok choy. There’s also a fine selection of steaks and burgers while a cocktail is a must.
Typical main: €15
Location: 52 South William Street, Dublin 2 | http://damsondiner.com
Dunne and Crescenzi – Offering a broad but simple Italian menu the staff create fantastic dishes using the finest imported ingredients with highlights including salami and chesses served on warm bread which is a great lunch option. There’s an extensive wine menu and this is a good place for large groups.
Typical main: €14
Location: 14 South Frederick Street, Dublin 2 | www.dunneandcrescenzi.com
Fade Street Social – Owned by former Michelin star chef Dylan McGrath, you’ll find a bar, restaurant, and tapas bar in this cavernous space. Most courses are meat dishes served with a contemporary Irish twist such as the squab pigeon with smoked bacon and thyme tapas or the lamb stew which comes with potato mousse, celery leaves, and lovage.
Typical main: €22
Location: 4 Fade Street, Dublin 2 | www.fadestreetsocial.com
Fallon & Byrne – Over an upmarket food store of the same name, Fallon & Byrne is located in a grand former telephone exchange building and has a large deli with an extensive wine cellar, and fine French brasserie.
Dining options include pink grapefruit, pan-fried bream with sweet potato, cauliflower puree, burgers, and rabbit loin.
Typical main: €24
Location: 11-17 Exchequer Street, Dublin 2 | www.fallonandbyrne.com
The Good World – Just around the corner from Fallon & Byrne on Georges Street, this is one of Dublin’s finest Chinese restaurants. While the interior may be a little dark, it’s a fairly good place for groups. The dim sum portion of the menu is a particular highlight and you’re unlikely to find it better anywhere else in the country. As with most Asian restaurants in Ireland, you won’t miss out on much if you skip dessert (if you are looking for something after your main, The Good World is near Murphy’s, one of the best ice cream parlours in Dublin).
Typical main: €14
Location: 18 South Great Georges Street, Dublin 2
The Green Hen – A French style bistro in the heart of Dublin, The Green Hen is decorated with tongue-firmly-in-cheek movies posters and black and white pictures of French movie stars leading to an informal atmosphere. Notable dishes include the rosti potato with spinach, roast lamb, and boudin noir (blood sausage). A rhubarb crème brulee is an interesting Irish take on the French classic.
Typical main: €22
Location: 33 Exchequer St, Dublin 2 | www.thegreenhen.ie
Il Primo – This Italian has a reliably regular clientele who come back time and again for the friendly atmosphere (even if it is somewhat cramped) and of course, the food. Risotto takes pride of the place on the menu and the potatoes and vegetables roasted in duck fat variation is probably the best of a fine bunch. There’s also a huge wine list.
Typical main: €21
Location: 16 Montague Street, Dublin 2 | www.ilprimo.ie
Jaipur – Serving a modern take on Indian cuisine along with traditional dishes such as chicken tikka masala with more unorthodox dishes including pork vindaloo. The karwari butterfish served with tamarind flavoured broth is a must while the Jugalbandi course allows you to try out five appetisers. Depending on whether you want your dishes hot or mild, your meal can be heated up or toned down to match your tastes.
Typical main: €17
Location: 41 South Great Georges Street, Dublin 2 | http://jaipur.ie
The Jewel in the Crown – Another Indian, this serves more traditional fair including kormas, curries, and stir fries. It’s being going for over 20 years and is often packed even during the middle of the week, always a good sign. Tandoori meals are a speciality and there’s a good selection of side dishes too. Meals can be as spicy or as mild as you like.
Typical main: €14
Location: 5 South William Street, Dublin 2 | www.jewelinthecrown.ie
L’Gueuleton – Serving authentic French cuisine and generally reasonable rates, this no-reservations accepted eatery is often crowded and with good reason. To begin, a good starter is the duck egg mayonnaise while the rabbit cooked with red wine is a delectable main. Desserts are to die for, such as the passion fruit cake served with chocolate sauce.
Typical main: €22
Location: 1 Fade Street, Dublin 2 | www.lgueuleton.com
La Maison Restaurant – If you’re looking for fine French food in Dublin but want if for slightly less than elsewhere, this is probably your best bet. A welcoming menu is on the cards and a particularly good starter is the smoked salmon rillette. For your main, there’s a roast duck served with mashed potato and carrot and ginger puree. For dessert, the chocolate fondant is a definite standout.
Typical main: €20
Location: 15 Castle Market, Dublin 2 | http://lamaisondublin.com
Mao – Serving spicy Southeast Asian food inspired by Vietnam, Indonesia, and Thailand, Mao has quickly expanded and now operates numerous branches across the city. Some of the most notable dishes include chili squid, chicken lemongrass salad, and sea bass with scallops.
Typical main – €14
Location: 2 Chatham Row, Dublin 2 | www.mymao.ie
One Pico – The langoustine risotto is the place to start while the mains demonstrate a clever use of local ingredients. Good options include roast veal with pearl onion and truffle and the pomme sarladaise, a southern French take on mashed potatoes. There are set price lunch and pre-theatre menus which offer the best value.
Typical main: €31
Location: 5 -6 Molesworth Street, Dublin 2 | www.onepico.com
The Pepper Pot – Located in the covered courtyard of the Powerscourt Town Centre, this café serves a good selection of sandwiches and soups but it’s the salads that garner the most attention. You may want to check out the goat cheese, chorizo, and vine tomato salad before moving on to a fine Victoria sponge cake.
Typical main: €8
Location: Powerscourt Centre, South William Street, Dublin 2 | www.thepepperpot.ie
Shanahan’s on the Green – Located in a 250 year old Georgian building, this American style steakhouse is worth visiting for the decoration alone. You’ll find JFK’s rocking chair which was once stored on Air Force One in the Oval Office bar which commemorates every US president with an Irish connection and serves some of the best Bloody Marys in the city. Irish Angus steak and Atlantic sea bass are fine main courses while the cookie crust cheesecake is a great way to finish off your meal.
Typical Main: €44
Location: 119 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2 | www.shanahans.ie
Thornton’s Restaurant – Dinner is served on a set, three course menu with highlights including lamb noisette and the apple tarte tatin and soufflé desserts. The renowned Sheridan’s of Dublin supplies the cheese course.
Typical Main €45
Location: Fitzwilliam Hotel, 128 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2 | www.thorntonsrestaurant.com
Yamamori Noodles – If you can use chopsticks, this Japanese noodle bar is one of the places you should. Menma, dried bamboo served with spring onions, is a favourite while Yamamori also serves chicken teriyaki, baked lobster (a house special), and sushi.
Typical main: €19
Location: 72 South Great Georges Street, Dublin 2 | www.yamamorinoodles.ie