The Port House Cava

There’s no dearth of options when it comes to eating out in Dublin, but The Port House Group’s offerings around town (there are five) have got to be among our favourite for a guaranteed good time, thanks to a winning formula of top-notch tapas matched by serious drinks. Located in a converted townhouse on vibe-y Camden Street, this outpost is inspired by wine cellars, with a cavernous interior that’s all exposed-brick walls and flickering candlelight, making for an effervescent atmosphere even if you’re visiting early in the week. Basque pintxos are the name of the game here – order for the table, roll up your sleeves and get stuck in. Standout dishes include grilled Spanish black pudding topped with fried quail eggs and tender Galician octopus. Don’t miss the meaty, chilli-scattered prawns either. Drinks-wise, you’ll do a tour of Spain, beginning with cava, continuing with rioja and ending with a vermouth for the road. Salud!

Mr Fox

One street over from Dublin’s revered Chapter One, Mr Fox makes a cunning case for Northside dining. Don’t be dissuaded by the unremarkable surrounds of Parnell Square, this blithe dining spot makes diners feel instantly at ease. First-grade fare prepared by chef Anthony Smith is served in cosy, red-brick dining quarters while walls are flanked with punchy screen-prints of notable Irish landmarks. Diners can expect moreish plates including a lip-smacking barley risotto served with butternut squash, sage, chestnut and parmesan and a lick-the-plate-clean barbecued beef cheek accompanied by a decadent horseradish-infused gratin. Desserts are nostalgic, playful iterations of the ice creams from our youth – the blood-orange “Super Split” is the perfect blend of sharp and smooth.

Brother Hubbard (North)

This independently run café and restaurant serves all-day breakfast, excellent salads and delicious pastries and cakes in a cosy, cheerful atmosphere. It credits all the local suppliers and companies it works with – from the fishmonger to the interior designers – and makes virtually everything in-house. Try the Moroccan special followed by a chocolate brownie. It regularly features in the McKennas’ Guides Top 100 Places to Eat in Ireland.

Bunsen

Put simply, this is a really good burger joint. The patties are generous and the soft bun envelops simple fillings of tomato, lettuce and ketchup. Bunsen Burger sticks to basics with a menu small enough to fit onto a business card. Try the hand-cut fries. Gluten-free and paleo options are available.

The Winding Stair

Up a very treacherous staircase is The Winding Stair, a restaurant that overlooks the River Liffey and serves dishes with an emphasis on Irish produce. Originally a second-hand bookshop, this eatery still retains a smaller version of the store on its lower level, where you can read a book accompanied by a bottle of wine. High ceilings, exposed beams and grainy wooden tables make it a good place for a casual date or a quirky business meeting. Try the seasonal greens, short ribs and bread pudding.

F.X. Buckley Steakhouse & Bars

With five restaurants spread around Dublin, FX Buckley has been an established company in Dublin since the 30s. Having started life as a butcher’s shop, it expanded to steakhouses, and now serves top-notch cuts with indulgent sides. It aims to give each customer the piece of meat that suits their preferences for fat and flavour. Try the t-bone with creamy cauliflower on the side.

Hang Dai

Don’t let the dubious-looking takeaway door fool you, Hang Dai is a far cry from your standard Chinese. Order the roast duck and dumplings with a Hang Dai Sour cocktail to chase. Its trippy interior is an unorthodox blend of subway carriage and Rubix cube, with neon signage thrown in for millennial measure. Disco music is turned up from the last service until the wee hours, making this is a great place to transition from dinner to drinks to dancing.

Meet Me in the Morning

It’s hard to imagine that brunch could ever be unpretentious, but Meet Me In The Morning really rallies. Simple and serene, Meet Me in the Morning – a tribute to Bob Dylan’s song of the same name – is a place for socialising. There is currently no Wifi for customers and laptop free. A small menu puts on emphasises on produce and taste. Local sourcing plays an important role with honey direct from the owner’s father’s hives in Roscommon, organic milk from Coolanowle Farm in Laois. If you can limit yourself to one dish, make it Nut Eile – roasted hazelnuts blitzed and mixed with raw cacao slathered onto toasted slices of Le Levain sourdough and sprinkled with sea salt.

Sprezzatura

If you’re a sucker for premium pasta joints such as London’s Padella or Bancone, book a table at Sprezzatura. Each pasta dish here is made from Irish produce and costs €10 or less. It’s a relatively fresh addition to Dublin’s culinary scene, but it’s already attracting global attention.

Peruke & Periwig

Looking to woo that special someone? Look no further than Peruke & Periwig, a madcap restaurant, craft-beer bar and cocktail lounge split across three floors on Dublin’s busy Dawson Street. It’s a whimsical boudoir of a restaurant, worth visiting for the sumptuous decor alone. Elaborately framed portraits illuminated by candlelight loom over diners who, sat on plumped-up velvet upholstery, are invited to gorge on a menu of traditional Irish fare.

Locks

Okay, this restaurant is a close contender for Dublin’s best date spot; if you nab the right table, you’ll have the canal trickling away in the background. Inside, it feels like a cosy cabin. Walls are whitewashed, chairs are upholstered in aubergine-coloured velvets and there’s an original, stone fireplace which crackles comfortingly during chillier months.

Yamamori Izakaya Sake Bar

As fusion cuisine goes, we think this restaurant’s combination of Japanese and tapas (that’s “Japas” by the way) might just be our favourite. It has two sites in the city. Our favourite is their original North City restaurant which has a whiskey bar in the basement – the perfect setting for a digestif after you’ve worked your way through a healthy stack of gyoza, black-rice sushi and ramen-inspired small plates.

Eathos

It’s a lunch spot which serves dazzlingly bright bowls of veg-based grub as well as a devilish selection of exquisite, home-baked treats. Health nuts will go wild for Eathos’s salad bar – the “protein counter” – while most of its stockists are local, a boon for those concerned about food miles. Such is the restaurant’s popularity that it has two outposts: Lower Baggot Street’s option is more of a sit-down vibe, while Upper Baggot Street has a café feel.

Paulie's Pizza

This place serves Dublin’s best pizza. There, we said it. These Neapolitan-style pies are doughy delights, drizzled with olive oil, unusual toppings (butternut squash purée, anyone?) and underscored by wood-fired crispy bottoms. There’s pasta and risotto for those who’d rather not.

777

You can expect a loud Mexican party, but an elevated one here – there’ll be no novelty sombreros at 777. Sip on premium tequilas while slurping oysters and dipping in and out of Latin-inspired fish dishes. Head here on a Monday evening for two-for-one margaritas – they’re award-winning, so our serving suggestion is to keep the second to yourself as a chaser.

  • +353 1 425 4052
  • Go to Website
  • Unit 7 Castle House
    South Great George's Street
    Dublin 2

Ryleigh’s

Ride the elevator up to the seventh floor, exiting at Ryleigh’s – an all-glass dining room that sits atop The Mayson hotel. With views across Poolbeg Lighthouse and the Dublin Docklands, Ryleigh’s draws a crowd, but after the music aficionados and revellers have paid their bills and departed for 3Arena you’ll find it easier to nab a table.

En route to said table, you’ll pass a swish horseshoe bar (perfect for a post-dinner tipple) and banquettes occupied by bankers and corporate types. Right at the back, you’ll note an open kitchen which specialises in steak.

Queen of Tarts

Two sisters who trained as pastry chefs in Manhattan returned to Ireland and established a bakery and pastry shop that delivers desserts sure to evoke nostalgia for your grandmother’s cooking. The rhubarb tart, apple crumble and victoria sponge are delicious.

Avoca Cafe

Brother Hubbard

Bunsen Burger

The Winding Stair

Queen of Tarts

Chapter One

FX Buckley Steakhouse

The Pig's Ear

Luna

Forest Avenue

Meet Me in the Morning

Hang Dai Chinese

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