The Irish don’t have much of a reputation when it comes to gastronomy. I grew up in France but I am actually half Irish so I’ve been going to Dublin yearly to see my family pretty much since I was born and I have to say that I’ve always found my peeps to be great cooks. Not that that’s representative of the country’s culinary culture as a whole, just saying that I was already aware that not all Irish families eat bland porridge for breakfast and boiled potatoes for the rest of the day.
In a twist of events I actually got the chance to move to Dublin in 2015 – it ended up being only a 9 month pit stop but I’ll forever be grateful to have had the opportunity to know my roots and people a bit better. In the process, I also got to know Dublin and its food scene so for all y’all wondering where to eat in Dublin, I might be able to help. I didn’t manage to cover all the restaurants in the city (obviously), but here are some of my fav’s.
On Exchequer street, Cornucopia is a vegetarian’s paradise – for those of you who love your meat and think you’ll come out of there having only eaten a bowl of leaves, you couldn’t be more wrong. You won’t leave hungry, trust me; the food there is hearty and delicious and the soup is always a winner. Around 12 euros a meal.
Also located on Exchequer street, Fallon & Byrne is a pretty high end store – pricey, but great quality. It’s definitely worth checking out their wine cellar, fruit selection, cheeses and so much more really. But let’s not forget, this place is also a deli. If you’re looking for a fit sandwich, GO THERE.
With a location on Dame Street and Camden Street, Bobo’s Burgers became one of my regulars. Even after finishing one of their massive burgers and fries, my brain would beg for more despite the fact that I was nearing almost certain implosion. I think I used to go for the bacon cheeseburger. If there’s two of you, share a side of fries – the burgers are so big you can barely take a bite out of them. They also have a portobello mushroom burger which my veggie friend found verrrr noice indeed.
=> Bunsen burgers are also meant to be very good – arguably the best in the city. On Wexford street.
F. X. Buckley is a MEAT place. They have multiple locations in Dublin (they’re also a butchers if you’re interested) but I used to always go to the Pembroke Street one. My fav’: Medium-rare rib-eye steak and pepper sauce with a side of mash. The Cheesecake for dessert is a winner. Their red wine is FABULOUS. And honestly all meats and sides are incredible. I tried really hard to stop myself from going there too often because it is on the pricier side… but every once in a while, so so worth it – it is actually the best meat I have ever had. Keep an eye out for their early bird menu too for easy savings. And please. Please. Don’t forget to book. They can get super busy on weekends.
Something which might surprise you if you’ve never been to Dublin before is that the city is dotted with a gazillion burrito places. Okay, it’s a fairly small city so maybe not a gazillion. But like, a LOT. One of my favourites has to be Pablo Picante (again, several locations – they all serve beer aside from the one in Temple Bar). I used to get the rice-free burrito called the Señor ‘Slim’ Delgado (I’m not being a total carb-phobic girl, I just genuinely think it’s their best one) or Pablo’s Paleo box. The Smokie Classico is also meant to be good (Smokie being the sauce they put in).
=>Boojum is also notorious for making a killer burrito but I’ve never been so I can’t say. Also beware of long lines.
The Bleeding Horse is actually a bar/pub, and frankly I wouldn’t have dreamt of going there for food myself, but I ended up there one lunchtime on a Saturday and ordered their pizza – I think they do regular ‘pizza+beer for 10 euros‘ deals – and it was delicious. Went back a couple times to make sure it wasn’t just a fluke – nope, their pizzas are delish. You can’t really tell but they have a covered smoking area and a few tables outside when it’s nice out. On Upper Camden street, reasonably priced.
I wouldn’t recommend going out of your way to go to The Barge for food but if you’re around on a Sunday and you’re looking for a home-cooked style roast, this place is awesome. The carvery portions are big and the food is very comforting. The Barge is also a great place to go for a drink on sunny days as you can get your drink at the bar and cross the road to sit by the canal. On (relatively) warm summer nights, you can find crowds of people outside drinking and having fun. On Charlemont Street, Dublin 2.
Leo Burdock & SMS
Two great places you should try for fish’n’chips: SMS (aka Super Miss Sue) and Leo Burdock. Leo Burdock is an institution so if you’re looking for the true Irish experience, go for that. I nevertheless recall having a stellar experience with SMS’s chips, but I’ll admit to being mildly intoxicated at the time. Dot dot dot.
Yer lookehn fer ribs are yeh? Look no further than Bison Bar & BBQ. Wouldn’t recommend if you’re only in Dublin for a few days as you can find ribs pretty much anywhere in the world but these are smashing and very fairly priced and come with a choice of two sides. There’s the added bonus that you can sit on an actual saddle – selling point for me right there.
Quick tip: If you’re trying to avoid the line to get into Workman’s Club next door, you can access it from inside Bison Bar.
Pygmalion is a tapas place. Gets really crowded outside when it’s not freezing where they have vintage furniture and the likes, so you feel like you’re in your very own living room – wonderful for people watching. Had tapas there once and I was really impressed. I mean I wasn’t expecting much since this place is a tapas restaurant, a bar and a nightclub all at once, but honestly the tapas were better than any of the ones I tried in the city (and I’ve tried Lola’s and the Port House a few times). Service isn’t always the best. Drinks were good, nothing stupendous but not bad at all. Right in the center of town, you can’t miss it. Definitely more of a spot for the younger crowds. If you’re going with your parents, go for Las Tapas de Lola. If you’re having a romantic date, go for the Port House (it’s very dark and cave like inside by the way – but in a good way).
Across from Pyg’s you’ll find Grogan’s. That my friend, is an oldie but goodie. Aside from pouring one of the best pints in Dublin, they make a toastie sandwich you won’t forget. Add Coleman’s mustard and a pack of crisps. Nothing fancy, but just right after a few pints.
For chicken wings, try Elephant & Castle or Canal Bank Cafe. They are….. there are no words. For the Canal Bank Cafe, note that you can share a half-portion of chicken wings as a starter for two people. Or a half portion with a side as a meal. Or a half portion as a mega starter given that the meals are mega too. One normal order of chicken wings there represents a serious meal for just one person… Both places are terrific dining destinations (with killer brunch options) so don’t limit yourself to just the chicken wings.
This is already a verrryyyy long list and there are so many more wonderful places to delight your tastebuds.