Words: Shamim de Brún
Dublin has a plethora of culinary strong suits these days, making it hard to know where to go. So every month, we will rank the five best restaurants of the moment. The main criteria are that they must be serving an experience worth going out of your way for.
This essential list covers the entire city and spans every cuisine and price point. It will satisfy all your depraved dining needs. From where to get a banging bargain bite to where to blow half your paycheck on dinner.
This list answers the question, “Where should you eat if you only had one night left to eat?”
Hen’s Teeth are as innovative as they are wiley. When you think you have them pegged, boxed and rounded off, they subvert your expectations with a flourish. This flavour-packed food has been some of the most talked-about in the city. Their lunchtime fare features serious sandwiches and salads. The curated natural wine list and well made artisanal coffee rounds out the vibrantly coloured picture.
From their carvery to their cocktails and their affordable tasting menu, chef Killian Walsh has been knocking ball after ball out of every park in Dublin 8. Killian has a well-founded reputation for being brilliant, as fans of L’enclume and Pied à Terre will know. He’s done a heck of a job on the new tasting menu. Managing to pack flavour and variety into a focussed and crucially affordable selection while working with many local producers.
A cornerstone of Dublin dining since it opened off Clanbrassil House in 2016, Bastible was finally awarded a Michelin Star in the 2022 guide. They do one thing, and they do it impressively well: a tasting menu with an excellent vegetarian version. While the menus are subject to change with the ripening of available ingredients, their new Spring menu is a thing of beauty and shines as bright as this season’s diamond. Featuring growers’ Champagne almost as coveted as the food their wine list is stylish and fizzing with personality. The staff are chill but knowledgeable, and everything arrives at the table without hassle or pretension. This spot is worth trekking across the city in the lashing rain for. If you’re lucky enough to get a reservation.
Kevin Powell, the creator, is constantly fiddling with and refining the menu at Table Wine with hyper-seasonality at its core. This means you could go back every fortnight and, in all likelihood, see at least one new dish. The lads behind natural wine hub Loose Canon have really hit a homer with this one. Table Wine’s crab sandwich is rightfully everywhere. A new classic signature dish has been born. It is a decadent buttery experience that everyone should go out of their way to experience.
The menu speaks to an Eastern European influence that is noticeable though accidental. Their wine list is peppered with juice you can’t get anywhere else so the city cork dorks have been all over it since day one. Table Wine has taken up more column inches than Skete and Ye, and rightfully so. It has gone from a ‘one to watch’ to one of the best restaurants in Dublin since masks became optional. That sourdough comes free is just the cherry of an added bonus.
This little but fierce neighbourhood restaurant did a David and Goliath to collect two Michelin Stars in less than three years. Riding the wave from there, Liath don’t look like they’re slowing down. Having just launched a new Spring menu, chef Damian Grey is next opening a new, more casual restaurant beside Liath named Phase One. With a name like that, it looks like this is only the first unique step for the team behind this gleaming beacon of a local restaurant. Liath makes for a very intimate dining experience that can’t be imitated or replicated. The chefs themselves tell the customers about the dishes, which pulls you in like a rippling tide. The food has focuses on bold, original dishes. There are excellent wine pairings available to enhance the experience, but Liath is all about the food for me.
Each is centred around the five tastes – salty, savoury, sweet, bitter and sour. Each could stand on their own, but when they come together, it’s like listening to your new favourite song for the first time. Made all the sweeter because you can’t play it on repeat. This is a must-do-at-least-once experience worth selling your gold teeth for.
Library Street opened at Setanta Place in Dublin 2 in December and has received nothing but rave after rave since. This is no different. I am here to rave about it. Just this week, Library street was inducted into the Michelin Guide. The guide praised the boutique urban fine diner for its “electric” atmosphere and “laughter”. It’s the best craic fine dining in the city.
Their Paris Brest has been stunning visitors since day one, and the overall cadence of Kevin Burke’s food is pitch-perfect for Dublin. Library Street straddles the line between affordable and expensive exceptionally well. Dishes start at four euros meaning you could easily eat here affordably working your way through some small plates and sticking to wines by the glass. You could also blow your budget and go balls to the wall on some high-end wine and a plethora of plates. With a chef like Kevin, who is as nimble and quick as a fairytale Jack jumping over a candlestick, everything comes out so good you’d swear the man behind it was a reincarnated ancient Celtic god of food from the cheapest eat to the most lavish bite.
This is the best restaurant in Dublin right now so grab your friends, reserve a table, and revel it.