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 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 week. Basque pintxos is the name of the game here; order for the table, roll your sleeves up and get stuck in. Standout dishes include grilled Spanish black pudding topped with fried quails’ 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 vermut for the road. Salud!

  • +353 1 534 9732
  • Go to Website
  • 21 Camden Street Lower
    Saint Kevin's
    Dublin
    D02 HH92

Mr. Fox

One street over from Dublin’s revered Chapter One, new kid on the block, 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 cosified, red-brick dining quarters; walls are flanked with punchy screen prints of notable Irish landmarks. Diners can expect moreish plates ranging from a lip-smacking barley risotto served with butternut squash, sage, chestnut and smoked ricotta to a lick-the-plate-clean BBQ beef cheek accompanied by a decadent horseradish-infused gratin. Desserts are nostalgic, playful iterations of the ice creams from our youths – the Clementine “Super Split” is the perfect blend of sharp and smooth.

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 birds-eye views of 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 3 Arena 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. Menu items include an 8 oz centre-cut fillet (top with Dublin Bay prawns and order the sundried tomato and horseradish butter for added punch), spatchcock chicken and rustic bean stew, as well as a zingy tuna tartar and a satisfying duck confit served with shitake arancini. Portions edge towards the XL – meaning only grill items will require sides. If room can be made, finish with the tiramisu.

Avoca Café

This breakfast, lunch and tea spot sits at the top of Avoca, a picturesque department store lauded for its fresh approach to Dublin shopping. Try fluffy pancakes with bacon in the summer and a bowl of steaming porridge in the winter. Cakes in the afternoon are a must. Expect to run into visiting Irish-Americans and attractive mothers lunching.

Brother Hubbard

This independently run café and restaurant serves all-day breakfast, excellent salads and delicious pastries and cakes in a cosy, cheerful atmosphere. They credit all the local companies they work with – from the fishmonger to the interior designers, and make virtually everything in-house. Try the Moroccan special followed by a chocolate brownie. The pulled-pork sandwich won best sandwich in Mckennas’ guide (an Irish Zagat).

Bunsen Burger

Put simply, this is a really good burger joint. The patties are generous, and the bun soft enough to absorb simple toppings 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 available.

The Winding Stair

Up a very treacherous staircase indeed is The Winding Stair, a restaurant that overlooks the River Liffey and serves dishes with an emphasis on Irish produce and meat. Originally a second- hand bookshop, The Winding Stair still keeps a smaller version of the store on the lower level, where you can read a book with 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.

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.

Chapter One

Exposed brick and stone walls glow as subtle light filters through the windows and illuminates the collection of modern and contemporary art in this subterranean restaurant. The food here is sophisticated and elegant, a confident step forward from the many old-fashioned Dublin restaurants serving jumbo shrimp cocktails and caesar salads that appeal to Irish Americans visiting the homeland. Expect dishes of cured Clare Island organic salmon, fresh peas and yuzu jelly as well as roast asparagus over a playful tapioca risotto, broad beans and sheep’s cheese. A foie gras parfait was to die for.

  • +353 1 873 2266
  • Go to Website
  • 19 Parnell Square North
    Rotunda
    Dublin 1

FX Buckley Steakhouse

With five restaurants spread around Dublin, FX Buckley has been an established company in Dublin since the 1930s. They’ve organically expanded from butcher shop to steakhouses, and serve top-notch meat in several cuts with indulgent sides. They aim to give each customer the right piece of meat, depending on their preferences for fat and flavour. Try the T-bone, which has both with creamy cauliflower on the side.

The Pig's Ear

Head to this gastro-pub for hearty dishes of Irish-influenced cuisine in a smart atmosphere. Chef Stephen McAllister focuses on simplicity and whips up classics like scotch eggs and chicken supreme. Make sure to try the heavenly cheesecake served in a jam jar.

Forest Avenue

Run by husband and wife team John and Sandy Wyer, Forest Avenue is the long-time leader in Dublin’s diversified dining scene. Named after the street where Sandy grew up in her native Queens, New York, the informal surroundings make for a suitably chill dining experience. Self-proclaimed as ‘a neighbourhood dining room,’ Forest Avenue, located on Sussex Street, serves modern food using excellent seasonal ingredients. The menu changes frequently and features a 5 course tasting for €58; a small considered wine list is also available.

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.

Hang Dai Chinese

Don’t let the dubious looking takeaway door fool you, Hang Dai Chinese is a far cry from curry chips and 3-in-1’s. The menu serves up roast duck and dumplings, and the Hang Dai Sour is hard to bear. It’s trippy interior is an unorthodox blend of subway carriage and rubix cube, with neon signage thrown in for millennial measure. With lashing of disco music from last service until the wee hours, this is a great place to transition from dinner, to drinks, to dancing.

  • +353 1 545 8888
  • Go to Website
  • 20 Camden Street Lower
    Saint Kevin's
    Dublin
    D02 T275

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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