Ultimate Food Guide to: Dublin’s Best Guilty Pleasure Meals

Words: Emily Mullen

After much racking of brains, trawling of the internet and broken down email threads we are proud to present, The Ultimate Dublin Food Guide: Guilty Pleasure edition! A guide that cuts through the mire of food and drink reviews made by every Tom, Dick and Harry, with opposable thumbs and access to 3G.

The notion of a guilty pleasure meal is a bit of a strange one since if it’s something you want to eat you shouldn’t feel guilty about it. Think of a guilty pleasure meal more like a meal that you order as an absolute treat to yourself and no one else. A meal that never fails to pick your mood up and make you feel infinitely better about yourself, life and the world in general because god we all need some of that every now and again.

An interesting aspect of the answers that we got in was that our contributors almost always described their Guilty Pleasure meals taking place while they were on their own. So a lot of these places listed below are good for a solo dining pursuit. Interesting that there’s something about a guilty pleasure that isn’t shared with others, making it an exceedingly personal thing different to each person. Another understanding of guilty pleasure is that they are real treats for those that took part, things they feel like they shouldn’t be doing every day, whether financial (like Eric Matthews who opted for a series of fine dining restaurants for his) or choosing food that is both unctuous and sometimes a little bit unhealthy.

Some of our contributors including influencer and cookery book co-author James Kavanagh objected to the term “Guilty Pleasure”. He told us, “I don’t feel guilt with pleasure. And I can’t stand food snobbery. I can find the same happiness & satisfaction in a filthy takeaway or packaged sandwich as I can in a Michelin-starred restaurant. I’m in love with the whole spectrum of food.”

The answers have been surreptitiously gathered up, and secreted into one big ol’ list. Let us tell you the secret password and in a secret location deliver you The Ultimate Food Guide to Dublin’s best Guilty Pleasure Meals:

10. Spitalfields

For Michelin-Listed Food & Pints

Spitalfields is a pretty special place since it’s a pub that’s got a Bib Gourmand to its name. It’s got authentic and hearty food, that is both comforting and exciting. One of those places that you can be relaxed in, without a starched tablecloth in sight. Serial-restauranteur Niall Sabongi’s made Spitalfields top of his list, telling us that one of his favourite things to do is to sit up at the bar on his own.


Dublin 8’s 25 The Coombe

Opening times:

Thursday-Saturday 17.00-21.00

Sunday 13.00-16.00

For more information visit the website.

9. Eddie Rocket’s

Ain’t No Finer Diner

Eddies has to be one of the oldest spots on this list. Founded in 1989, the chain has dominated the Irish food scene. The 1950s interior is instantly recognisable and holds a particularly fond place in the hearts of many Irish people who will remember family trips, first dates and everything in between taking place on those distinctive red and white seats. Eddies was top of the proprietor of 3FE Colin Harmon’s list, who told us “if I’m in a huff you’ll find me in Eddie Rockets having a boneless wings basket and a strawberry malt. Do not approach.”


For a full list of the locations visit the website.

Opening times:

For a full list of opening times visit the website.

8. Mad Egg

The Saucy Meal

Opened in March 2018, Mad Egg has since extended to four locations across town. The ethos of “the best damn chicken you have ever tasted” has paid off, the team sling free-range chickens in burgers, tendies and any other which way they come. Foodie and FM 104 presenter Crossy said “I love Mad Egg on the top of Camden Street. oh my days the chicken, the sauces, the dirty/fancy fries…. unreal!”.


Dundrum Town Centre’s Unit G5 Pembroke District

Millennium Walk’s 6 Jervis House

Dublin 2’s 2 & 3 Charlotte Way

Blanchardstown (delivery only)

Opening times:

Dundrum Monday – Thursday 17.00 – 21.30 Friday – Saturday – 12.00 – 22.00 Sunday 12.00 – 21:30

Millennium Walk Monday – Thursday 17.00 – 21.00 Friday – Sunday 12.00 – 22.00 Sunday 12.00 – 21.00

Charlotte Way Monday – Thursday 17.00 – 22.00 Friday – Saturday 12.00 – 22.00 Sunday 13.00 – 21.00

Blanchardstown Sunday – Thursday 17.00 – 21.30 Friday – Saturday 17.00 – 22.00

For more information visit the website.

7. The Butcher Grill

The Meat Feast

Guilty pleasures can mean different things to different people, but for some there is no greater pleasure than absolutely stuffing your face hole. The Butcher Grill certainly fits the bill for that criteria, the neighbourhood steakhouse excels in their treatment of Irish beef. Known for their roast dinners, made up of plates piled high with stuffing, veg, Yorkshire puddings and potatoes in all there various ways. Co-owner of Brother Hubbard Garrett Fitzgerald opted for Ranelagh spot for his guilty pleasure meal, telling us “a big steak always feels like a bit of a guilty pleasure so The Butcher Grill really does an excellent job with some great options as well as superb service and cocktails.”


Ranelagh’s 92 Main Street

Opening times:

Monday-Wednesday 17.00-21.30 Thursday-Saturday 17.00-22.30 Sunday 12.00-16.00; 17.00-21.30

For more information visit the website.

6. Chimac

The Cheeky Chicken Feed

Chimac is one of those places that is both equal parts wrong and oh so right. While we shouldn’t feel guilty treating ourselves, it’s easy to feel a little husk of guilt when you step through those grey doors, because what’s inside is so delicious you we want to have Chimac sauce dribbling over your chin every single day. Andy Noonan was a big fan telling us, “Chimac always hits the spot.”


Dublin 2’s 76 Aungier Street

Opening times:

Tuesday – Sunday 12.30- Late

For more information visit the website.

5. Aobaba

The Capel Street Gem

Known for its outrageously good pho, Aobaba is one of our more unassuming guilty pleasure spots. Set on Capel Street, the Vietnamese restaurant serves meat and vegan soup options, alongside Banh Mis and bubble tea. Andy Noonan is signed up member of the Aobaba fan club, as is chef and director of Conbini Condiments Holly Dalton, who told us “food and guilt don’t go hand in hand for me but if you’re talking about a proper feed without spending a fortune it has to be Aobaba. The Pho and Banh Mi rulers of Dublin. Come here for the carb load of a lifetime.”


Dublin 1’s 46A Capel Street

Opening times:

Monday-Sunday 12.00-22.00

Image credit: @petitejennyjung

4. Bunsen

Big Burgers

Bunsen make it very hard for us not to have a guilty pleasure lunch/dinner/dessert burger every day since they have dotted themselves all around the city. You can’t move but for the smell of the delicious cooked to order burgers. There is something specifically guilty-pleasure-esque about burgers and the inevitable chips that go along with them. The beauty of a burger is that they are unapologetically bad for you, and fully embrace their space in the guilty pleasure food grouping. It’s understandable that Bunsen is featuring so high on this list since it topped our Ultimate Food Guide to Dublin’s Best Burgers. Bunsen got a vote from Andy Noonan and Mona-mie baker Daniela Carnevali.

Locations: Dublin 6’s 97 Ranelagh, Temple Bar’s 22 Essex Street East, Dublin 2’s 3 South Anne Street, Dublin 2’s 36 Wexford Street, Dublin 2’s 53 Dame Street, Dublin 4’s 24 Baggot Street Upper, plus more around the country.

Opening times: For full information on the opening times of each location visit the Bunsen website.

3. Uno Mas

The Fancy Pleasure

All guilty pleasures were not created equal, with some of our contributor’s pleasures being pretty fancy options. Eric Matthews listed Uno Mas in his top, he told us “the food is knockout the wine list is great” while the co-owner of Piglet Enrico Fantasia recommends sitting “at the bar and order all their tapas and small plates. And when you are finished, start all over again.”


Dublin 2’s 6 Aungier Street

Opening times:

For more information visit the website.

2. Reyna

The Complex Kabab

Guilty pleasures don’t get much more pleasure-filled than a kabab. Run by a nephew and uncle team Reyna, offer a modern Turkish twist to the typical kabab fare. Selling a range of vegan and veggie options, alongside sweets like baklava and içli köfte. Co-owner of Mister S Paul McVeigh gave Reyna a vote, alongside presenter Nico Reynolds who told us “I f*cking love that place- I go in there and grab more than I need- there are parts of the civilisation that we live in that get beaten down a lot and I’m just glad that I get to see the age of decadence where I eat far more than I need to and I wallow in my own filth for a little bit, those are the good parts of whatever this late-stage capitalism is”.


Dublin 2’s 29-30 Dame Street

Opening times:

Monday-Sunday 12.00-22.00

For more information visit the website.

1. Passion 4 Food

The Guiltiest Pleasure

A consensus can sometimes be hard to get in this town, but most will agree that Passion 4 Food sells the best kababs in Dublin. It’s for this reason that it tops our Guilty Pleasure list because few dishes are wrapped with guilt and pleasure quite like a kabab. It could be the meat formed onto massive skewers that turn and turn our hearts, or the bread that’s laden with shredded veg and poured deep with sauces, or it’s all of it together that makes it so special. Traditionally something you get on the wander home from a night out, it’s seen as something of a nighttime treat, something that can only be gotten when the sun goes down (which is of course untrue). Holly Dalton, Riggz Castillo and Paul McVeigh all gave Passion 4 Food high scores on their respective lists.


Dublin 2’s 24 Camden Street Lower

Portobello’s 27 Clanbrassil Street Lower

Opening times;

Camden Street Monday-Sunday 12.00-23.00

Portobello Monday-Thursday 13.00-23.00 Friday-Saturday 13.00-23.30 Sunday 13.00-23.00

For more information visit the website.

Honourable mentions: Wynn’s, Kinara, Wigwam’s cassava fries, Fish Shop’s fish & chips, Musashi’s gyozas, Yeeros’s chicken sandwich, The Ramen Bar’s Chicken Karage Ramen, Castello’s Spice Bag, Fusco’s curry roll, Happy Endings, l’Gueuleton, DiFontaine’s Pizzeria, Masa and Soup Ramen.

Still hungry? Try our Ultimate Dublin Food Guide to Dublin’s Best Pizzas

Related Articles