Words: Shamim de Brún
Images: George Voronov
It doesn’t matter if you’re a certified Dub or if you’re brand new to the city, we all get choice paralysis when it comes to picking places to eat. It can feel like there are so many options that it becomes impossible to find the one that’s just right for your mood. We have curated a guide and map to address that.
Are you looking for the perfect third-date spot that shows you’re serious without breaking the bank? Do you need somewhere to go when you’re pinching your pennies but can’t face another night in front of the TV? Most importantly; do you just want to go somewhere and be guaranteed it will taste good? Inspired by Bon Appetite’s NYC 100, Char are celebrating the diversity of Dublin dining with the release of an evergreen dining guide. Welcome to the Dublin 100: a curated collection of vibe-based recommendations designed to eliminate choice paralysis.
Obviously, there are well more than a hundred truly excellent places to eat and drink in the city, but there is just no way to include them all. After much bickering, we feel that this list reflects our vision of Dublin’s essential eating experiences.
If you want this list on a map click here. When the choice paralysis demon strikes, you can just pull up your map and boom, you’ll be able to filter by your nearest Char-endorsed spots.
Leigh anois go curamach!
The Place for When Getting a Coffee Is as Important as Having a Little Treat
Here, they don’t choose one or the other they make coffee and treats that just won’t quit. At The Morning coffee is more than a mere beverage; it is an elixir, a catalyst for contemplation and connection. Currently, it’s our resident former barista’s favourite spot to get a coffee, and she wouldn’t say that lightly. If you’re emotionally prepared for a revelation, it’s the brown butter cookie. We’ve all had cookies, but this little ditty from Chef Kevin Powell makes me so emphatic that I have had to take a cold shower just to write this. Top that off with the sun-splitting good vibes that create a culture of joy on any given morning, and you have yourself the makings of Breakfast at Tiffany’s level of romanticising your life.
Order: The Cookie and a Filter Coffee – €8.50
The Place for When All You Really Want is Butter, But You Have to Look Normal.
When we talk about seasonal, hyper-local and sustainable places, we often forget that this little-cafe-that-could has been doing it since before it was cool. Phoenix Café have been growing and making their own bits with only stuff from their garden since 2006. This is an old-school cafe with the chops to prove its merit. The slice of bread alone is a culinary experience I think everyone should have on their bucket list. That, with a bit of butter, is enough for me. Add a bit of jam if you need something sweet. Then, you can sit in the courtyard and laugh about how Winston Churchill used to do the same thing when he lived on that property as a child.
Order: Bread & Butter with a Pot of Tea – €5
The Place to Go When You Wanna Feel Like You Can Change the World
Leinster Street’s Bang Bang Café is more than just a caffee shop/deli. It’s an inspiration; a grocery store with a twist. What they have achieved in such a short space of time becoming a heart of activism, advocacy and community in Phibsborough would make you feel like you could do the same. Just speaking to the duo behind this venture you’ll find yourself filled with vivre. As well as being physically nourished and caffeinated. It’s got a little bit of everything to help you make the world a better place for you and others.
Order: Sambos landed between €6.50-8.95 and an 8oz Americano is €3.
The Place to get a Post-Ride Grab-and-Go Breakfast
Proper Order/ No Messin
Listen, we’ve all been there, the morning after a good night, and no one is ready to rally and be seen in public. But also, yiz aren’t going to actually make a batch brew yizzerselves. Proper Order gives you the best of every world. It makes quality coffee, stocks No Messin baked goods and is inherently set up for grab-and-go. There are no sit-in options, and people in the queue are usually on their way somewhere. So they won’t be chatting to the head on you. It’s faultless, and the quality will definitely impress your bedfellow. Especially if they’re into pastry.
Order: It would be €7.60 for an 8oz drip and their fabled Cardi B pastry or €8.10 if you wanted to upgrade to a 10oz for those tough days.
The Place to Get a Bun Worth Commuting to the Very Edges of the Earth For
The Rock Bakery
Listen, Skerries is not actually that far away. It’s on the DART line, you can get there nice and easy by car and would you believe they even have a Dublin Bus that goes there. The 33. But it can feel like it is just so far away. Well, for anyone who has ever tasted The Rock Bakery’s buns, it is not. People genuinely come from all around and queue like Apple devotees every single weekend just to get their hands on these. They never fail to impress. Plus, they’re by the sea, so it’s a win-win for those willing to commit to the pilgrimage.
Order: Blackberry and Pear Bearclaw (changes seasonally) with a 12oz Latte/Cappuccino comes out to €8.00
The Place for When You’re as Nerdy About Coffee as You Say You Are
Coffee nerds be nerding in this iconic and unique space. They have open, welcoming, great staff and unbelievable coffee made in whatever way your little heart desires. Figuratively ticking all the boxes off. Bish bash bosh. Of course, the big sell here is that Cloulpicker has their own roastery. They’re very particular about the sourcing of their beans. So you know you can chat the ear off the barista about farming techniques, carbonic macerated beans, and every step between there and actually drinking the coffee. It’s a mecca for coffee dorks.
Order: Home-roasted Cruz Alta, Brazil flat white with a milk chocolate Alfie from Gorditas would cost €7.10.
The Place to Lessen Your Sorrows with Bread
There is something undeniably wholesome about The Fumbally. A collective of creatives and food enthusiasts who came together to make a space that Sian Conway calls ‘warmly communal’. Aside from that, they make delicious food, in particular breakfast. They are renowned for their bread. So many other businesses get Fumbally bread delivered. It has such a good reputation and good bread is one of the key ingredients to a good day. It is the giver of life, after all. If you need a little soul hug in your life, this is the place to pop into.
Order: The Tuscan Beans with Bread is €13.90 these days
The Place Where Seasonal Surprises Come Wrapped in Pastry
Fable is well-known and well-loved among Dublin’s pastry aficionados. It is a place where, if you wanted, you’d never have to get the same thing twice. Every time, it would be a little joy wrapped in pastry. This year, we have been blown away by their twists on seasonal varieties. The rhubarb was a particular favourite.
Order: Whichever is in season – usually €4.50
The Place to Romanticise Your Life When It Rains
There is something inherently romantic about Bread 41. Whether that is because of its Parisian feel or that pastry is the true language of love, it’s hard to tell. There is genuinely nothing more cinematic than sitting in the window of Bread 41 when it’s raining. The shadow of the train bridge above. The droplets running down the window. Combine that with the lamp-like lighting, beautiful ceramic mugs, and the heat from the woodburning oven then you literally have Blue as the Warmest Colour kind of romance. People always wax lyrical about their pastry, morning buns and sausage rolls, but the Custardos are the thing. Bruléed lemon vanilla custard encased in a shell of their signature croissant dough. The perfect bite of sunshine on a romantic rainy day!
Order: The Custardo and a little latte – €7.90
The Place When You Have €2.50 and Want to Know How Good a Jambon Can Be
Francis Street & Fairview
It may sound French, but the Jambon is an Irish icon. These days, the humble deli jambon has lost its mind and sits at two euros on a Spar shelf. If you’re thinking ‘fuck that’ and want to taste the true potential of the humble Irish Jambon, there is only one place to go. Two Pups. Two Pups is many things to many people. Maybe the people will riot that it is the Jambon I am evangelising and not any one of their many, many, many other accomplishments. My god, though, does it blow the mind and spatter brains on the wall. Pair it with their high-end next-gen third-wave coffee, and you have yourself an actually flawless breakfast experience.
Order: The Jambon €2.50
The Place to Embrace Tart as the Ultimate Forgotten Breakfast Food
A good tart is chronically underrated sometimes. It’s time tarts get recognition as the breakfast-lunch crossover food of champions that they are. If there is one place that knows their tarts, is it Daddy’s. A Char favourite since we flickered onto your small screens in 2019. This low-key, high-quality spot is a neighbourhood favourite that can’t be gatekept. It deserves to take centre stage for its big seasonal tarts and honestly endearing staff. It’s a place that can’t be beaten.
Order: Seasonal Savoury Tart is currently €13 a slice and comes with a little side salad.
The Place Where The Full Irish Breakfast is a Religious Experience
The full Irish is many things to many people, and there are many places in the city doing their thing with it. But the Kingfisher sticks to the classics. There are no fancy new-fangled flourishes. It is the same high-quality full Irish that they have been serving for a hundred years. And it comes with chips. Real chips. Chipper chips. It is a feast to be savoured, and it will convert the sceptics to believe in the power of the full Irish to heal all that divides us. I swear if you could get warring nations to sit down over this particular breakfast together, we would have world peace. It was sent to us from the deities above to heal the world.
Order: The Full Irish €16.00 and it comes with tea and chips.
The Place for When Your Chicken Craving Hits First Thing in the Morning
Chicken is a deep and true love in many Irish people’s lives. Sometimes, especially after a feed of pints the night before, you can awake with a deep and urgent need for chicken. But there are few places that can satiate this powerful craving as well or as succinctly as Dillingers. Known as the king of Brunch for all the right reasons, this Ranelagh local is the only place I would trust to do breakfast chicken justice while I quaff a mimosa in peace.
Order: Chicken & Waffles €18
The Place that TikTok Has Yet to Discover
There are many ‘hidden gems’ littered across the wilds of TikTok. Many of them create self-sustaining content ego-systems. Where creators cycle through them, eating and content-ifying the experience. So much so that the phrase ‘hidden gem’ has almost lost its literal meaning. Lovin’ Spoon, however, remains a safe haven. It is a really classic local spot with a stalwart staff who do it all themselves. It’s a queer-friendly space, a builder-friendly place, and a tourist-friendly place all in one. It delivers breakfast and lunch at an incredible value even in this age of ‘cozzy livin’ babes’. This is the place we take our own out-of-city visitors when they’re in town for breckie.
Order: The Veggie Breakfast €8.95
The Place for the Booker Prize-Winning Breakfast
The Commons at MoLI
St. Stephen’s Green
Okay, so you can’t actually win the Booker Prize for breakfast. That is reserved for literature. But my god, could you sit and indulge in some quality food over a book in the shade of a beautiful tree after wandering through the Museum of Literature here. You can also pop in without visiting the museum. The courtyard here is Char’s favourite long lunch spot. Whenever the sun is shining, you’ll catch us basque-ing in it with whatever we’re reading. The Domni Kemp headed spot is well known for its quality produce and relaxed atmosphere, but it’s also one of the few places you can get a decent glass of wine with a beautiful breakfast. And that is a hell of an accomplishment.
Order: The Skillet of Eggs and an Albarino €20
The Place Where Breakfast is the Most Important Meal of the Day
Portobello & Dun Laoghaire
Listen, we were always told breakfast was the GOAT when it came to meals. Or at least that it should be revered as such. Bibis took that, and they ran a golden mile with it. One of the most consistently suburb breakfasts in the city. You literally can’t go wrong. If you are a breakfast in all its myriad forms devotee, then you have to check out Bibis. It has maintained its reputation for so long for a reason. It does breakfast, right.
Order: The Turkish Eggs – €16
The Place for When Your Friends Force You to Go to Brunch
Ranelagh, South Circular Road, Arnotts, and Capel Street
Listen, Brunch is complex. Or maybe it’s our relationship to it that’s changed. These days, there are more brunches than ever, but they don’t always prioritise the quality of the food on offer. So if your gaggle of gals and gays are on the bunch train any weekend, then you should try to steer them to Brother Hubbard. Not only do they make seasonal, local, Irish breakfasts with a Middle Eastern twist that are genuinely good, but they also have wine and cocktails. This might not be the place to bottomless your way through Brunch, but if you have to brunch, it is one of the hands-down tastiest, most considered options in the city. Plus, it’s right by Panti Bar for afters.
Order: The Brunchy Eggs on homemade Georgian sourdough toast €14.95
The Place to Go When You’re Hungover and Have No One to Blame but Yourself
Declan and Donal’s
There have been so many hangover cures touted through the ages that we could write a whole deep dive on them. The only one that actually works is time, water, and big-ass breakfast bap from Declan and Donals. It replenishes the salts. It’s got protein for growth and repair. There’s bread for soakage, and it’s got enough joy packed into it to liven your spirits. Especially if you suffer from the fear.
What makes this so particularly great is that if you are too hungover to people, you can just tick the boxes on the sheet of paper and hand it over. They’ll make it exactly how you want, and quickly, too. As an added bonus, it’s budget-friendly at only €6.95 for a sizable feast. The spreadable white pudding is a particular love of mine.
Order: The breakfast roll €6.95
The Place That’s Worth the Half-Hour Queue on Your Lunch Break
Pig & Heifer
Amiens Street & Pearse Street
There are places that just always have queues and will always have queues. So if you ever want to try them, you better prepare yourself for the queuing. Pig & Heifer is at the top of that list. It’s one of the best sambos in the city and, despite being somewhat awkwardly placed on the D2/4 border, is always busy. Everyone in the queue is there because of their love for the place itself. Nothing bonds two strangers more quickly or deeply than a shared love of a good sambo. I wouldn’t be surprised if you told me that there had been several people married who had met in the queue for Pig & Heifer.
Order: Mile High Club €12.95
The Place With Up And Coming Energy
No Permanent Home
Bahay are like a band after their first EP. Everyone is talking about them. While they have no permanent home or regular slot, they do be popping up often and going at it awful hard. They sell well, they sell out, and they somehow manage to do it with a smile on their face. There are many who will swear their bahn mi cured them at every festival this year. You can tell this dynamic duo is going to go on to do next-level big things. There’s an energy that vibrates off them and into their food. Fueled by culture, love, and family, they just make really good food. Their new book will be out at the end of the month, so keep your eyes peeled for their recipes.
Order: Battered Longanisa Sausages €7
The Place for The Hands-Down Best Sandwich of Your Life
Ah, you knew it was coming. Anyone into lunch in Dublin will know this spot was guaranteed to feature sooner or later. 147 Deli is so known for its quality of fare that they have cult specials fans. People queue up every week to see what the team has concocted. You can always rely on it to be good. There are no dud sandwiches here. Instead, every single one deserves your care and attention because it has been prepared by a team who gives all the shits in the world about the work they do.
Order: The Reuben €15
The Place to Lunch in The Sun of a Thursday
Merrion Square Market
Thursdays in Merrion Square
Is this cheating because it’s not just one place? Probably. But Merrion Square Market is such a mainstay in Dublin food culture that you can’t leave it out of any definitive list. Even if it only rolls around once a week. It is quite probably one of the best food markets the city has to offer. You can get cookies baked fresh right on the spot in the park. You can get beef and potato pancakes or you can get goat meat and so much more. Plus, when it’s lovely out, there is genuinely nothing better than sitting in Merrion Square with your mates after you’ve all gotten something completely different to each other and then eating together. Doubly so when the sun creeps out during the work day.
Order: Aji de gallina from Peruvian vagabonds Chilli Pepper for €12.50
The Place That Feels Like a Bohemian Irish Bazaar
Saturdays and Sundays in Blackrock Village
If you delve into Blackrock town and take the right turn, you’ll end up in Blackrock Market. Teeming with indie eateries; it’s like a modern Irish bohemian bazaar but for food. Nestled in its enclave of charming, narrow alleys are some of the city’s finest spots. There’s 3 Leaves, Shaka Poké, Korean Burrito, El Cellar, Sea Shanty and many many more to choose from. It’s a great little spot to hit up if you’re out by the sea on the weekends. Bonus points if you get the gange to go splitzies on a bit of everything.
Order: Shaka Poké’s Off The Wall for €14.50
The Place That’s Worth The Pilgrimage
La Cocina Cuevas
If off-the-beaten-track had a picture in the dictionary, it would be La Cocina Cuevas. If you tried to tell anyone not from Dublin that some of, if not the, best TexMex tacos can be found at the Naul on the M50 past Ikea, they would look at you like you were a pathological liar. But there is nothing as earnestly revelatory as one of every taco from La Cocina Cuevas. The drive is almost part of the fun. The experience as a whole is so wholesome and feels uniquely Dublin that you’d swear it was like going to Lourdes or climbing Croke Partick. This is for people who worship food in all its forms but especially in the form of ‘we-just-loved-this-so-we-made-it-happen’.
Order: OG American Tacos and papas frites for €15.50
The Place For Flavour Bombs with a Sea View
Tacos from the mind that brought you Deli 147? Don’t mind if we do. Are they the most authentic Mexican tacos in Dublin? Absolutely not. But they’re not trying to be. Barry and his team have brought Dublin 3 a world of banging delights that are big on flavour and personality. Every ingredient is considered, thoughtful and tasty! Plus there is nothing quite as ‘life is pretty good actually’ as eating tacos while watching the sunset over the sea in Clontarf.
Order: The ale braised pork taco. It’s €6.50 and it’s a fifteen-centimetre tortilla, so it’s a big boy.
The Place for Gluten Freedom
To put it simply, Dosa Dosa kicks ass and just happens to be some of the tastiest naturally GF food in Dublin. The OG stalwart South Indian delicacy has been cranked up to eleven with a generous filling of gunpowder spice. Dosa is always a good option for those avoiding seitan. Now, team that up with a piping hot potato masala, and you have yourself a whole meal wrapped in the comforting hug of a dosa. Genuine joy could not be easier to attain.
Order: The dosa or Chicken Briyani for €16
The Place for When a Pie is the Only Answer
Warehouse Food Market
A good pie is quite possibly the perfect unit of food. It’s a whole meal encased in buttery pastry. How could it not be? Pie is delicious, nostalgic, festive, versatile, and comforting. When you get the goo on you to have a pie, literally nothing else will cure you. It needs to be a pie, and it needs to be good. Well, enter Warehouse Food MArket into the world of pies. This Harolds Cross spot is somewhat slept on by the greater Dublin area, but the locals know they’ve got a gem on their hands. If you are a pie person or just a good quality Irish grub gal, then this is a do-not-miss.
Order: Obviously the pie for a tenner if you’re up for it.
The Place for Always-Delicious, Lightning-Fast Take Away
Barring the Epicurean Food Hall (RIP), Eatyard was one of the first food markets in Dublin, so it knows what it’s doing. They have everything balanced, organised, varied and streamlined. Which means they can get it done well, and crucially, fast. So if you’re ‘marvin and in the heart of Dublin 7, this is the quickest way to get you fed go tapaí and with quality goods. Plus, the vibes never falter, and the tunes do be slapping.
Order: Janets Cheese Burger Gyoza, five for €12
The Place for When You Need a Cheese Toastie & You Need It Now
You can not beat a cheese toastie. It is a classic for a reason. And the only thing better than a classic cheese toastie is one made for you with quality cheese that comes with an optional glass of wine. Loose Cannon knows this, and they do it so well. The cheese list at Loose Canon is almost unrivalled. Kevin Powell, the supervising chef there, has a deal with the cheese makers to send him any cheese they think is particularly good. So you literally never get a dud cheese. Now imagine those high-end cheeses encased in crunchy bread and toasted? How could they not end up on our list?
Order: Gubeen Chorizo & Cheese Toastie with a glass of La Sauvignnone – Laurent Lebled 100% Sauvignon Blanc for €22
The Place to go Where You’re Guaranteed to Find Something You’ve Never Tried Before
Sometimes, we just want to eat something we never have before. Like all experiences, you only get one shot at trying it for the first time. It’s wild, it’s exciting. It’s new. It can feel like being a teenager again. M&L is full-on legit wild. It does have the safe options, sure, but if you want to try something that you’ve genuinely never heard of, this spot tucked away off O’Connell Street is the place to hit. M&L offers Szechuan food at its best. You should give up on the menu and stroll around the tables, pointing to what looks good. Which is typically everything. The top Tip, though, is the green beans. Sounds like a healthy side. It is actually a banging dish worth slurping down every god damn day. There’s no way to go wrong in M&L; even Michelin-level chefs eat here.
Order: Stir-fried Green bean with dry chilli for €6.50 and maybe try the Potato noodles soup with pig’s intestines & beansprout for €8.80 if you’re feeling brave
The Place to go When You Want to Have Actually Good Food and Watch the Match
The Back Page
This is the best sports bar in Dublin. Hands down fact. And the pizza is Blue Bus-level delish because it comes from the same team that originated it – Body Tonic. Here, they are always playing every match; they have enough seats that as long as you get there in good time, you’ll definitely get one for you and your mates. Plus they have a garlic dip that just won’t quit. It’s even endorsed by the Garlic Dip Guide. Top that off with a good Guinney and some mainstay craftibois, and you have yourself the actual ideal place to watch the match and get a decent feed.
Order: The Katherine McKiernan Pizza for €15
The Place for a Serene Life-Affirming Lunch
There is nothing more life-affirming than eating with your hands. It gets you in touch with your inner self and keeps you connected to the food and the people around you. Gursha is very much a hands-on family affair. Mel, who moved to Dublin from Ethiopia in 1995 and grew up in Bayside, had been working in a bank until a visit to Ethiopia in 2018 sparked the idea of introducing Dublin to Ethiopian cuisine. Mel then enlisted his cousin Ciara Moore to help run the legendary supper club. Which is still talked about in reverent whispers among the few who got their hands on the seemingly golden tickets. It’s warm, and the food is nourishing like a plate of food from your mam, except it’s Ethiopian. It will really make you feel at peace.
Order: The Truck Trio €12
The Place for Convincing Your Friends that Dublin Does, in Fact, Have A Food Culture
Mc Nally’s Family Farm Café
Everyone who works in the food industry is probably tired of fighting the ‘we do have a food culture’ fight. But I was out somewhere recently, and Dee Lafan said to me, “it’s becoming clearer and clearer that Dublin doesn’t just have a food culture. It has a regional food culture”. And I was struck by how she had articulated something I already knew in bones.
MacNally’s farm is the ultimate Dublin farm. Every decent restaurant in the city name-checks them as a supplier because they are synonymous with quality. But did you know they have their own little cafe restaurant? I didn’t till Richie from Bahay told me about. So let me tell you it made me well with pride when I tried it. Like I was tasting what Dublin is made of. It would bring a tear to your eye faster than winning the World Cup ever could.
Order: The focaccia sandwich for €6.95
The Place That Will Give Your Soul a Hug After You’ve Been Caugh in the Rain … Again
Listen, it can be hard to live in Dublin. It rains literally all the time and no one has yet to invent an umprelly that our prevailing winds don’t destroy. But nothing heals the heart like a big bowl of Nomo ramen. It hugs your soul and strokes your head like no other food. It’s also easy on the pocket, flavour packs and filling. Nomo is distinctly different from every single other Ramen place in the city, and you only need to slurp one sup to feel the somewhat magical quality. If life is ever battering you, this is the place to take yourself for a little treat.
Order: Smoky Chicken Karaage Mazemen €17.50
The Place for When You Want to Feel Like You’re Part of a Secret Society
Kevin Street Lower
Every food media in Ireland has talked about Assassination Custard. It was Matty Matheson’s favourite place he ate when he was here in 2019. Yet many believe this is a hoax because they are ‘never open’. Or that Assassination Custard is some sort of secret society, luring you in with perfectly poised food. With hours that change and are so few and far between, it’s like you can never get it. Just like all the best cults.
Those who are on the inside never really shut up about the time they did get to eat at Assassination Custard, and it changed their entire perspective more than LSD ever could. If you want the true taste of what it’s like to be on the inside of a cult favourite, then there is only one thing to do. Check Assassination Custard’s opening times and queue for a taste of true craftsmanship.
Order: Whatever they suggest which usually works out around €50 a head.
The Place for When Cheering Your Friend Up is Your Moral Imperative
There are always times when a friend needs a boost. When you know, they’ve been going through it, and you’re trying to help them in whatever way you can. Food is often the language of comfort that transcends cultures. There is something about a well-made Pho. It seems to have healing powers. There is no person who could eat a bowl of Pho and not feel better afterwards.
Aobaba is one of Capel Street’s OGs and has been slinging their signature Pho since they opened in 1996. At Aobaba, cash is king, but fear not. There is what could be Dublin’s most used AIB ATM right across the road. The outdoor area is always full of raucous diners having a good time, but they move on quickly, so don’t be deterred if you don’t see a seat when you rock up. Go all in and get they Vietnamese Iced coffee with your order and watch the worries melt off your friends shoulders.
Order: Half portion of Pho, a little bun cha, and a Vietnamese iced coffee for €16.95
Where to go With Your Coeliac Mate When You Don’t Want to Watch Them Huff at the Menu
ViCE Pizza & Wings
This is hands down the best GF pizza base in the city. You could send even the most emotionally scared Coelic into Vice, and they would come away thinking that it’s not so bad being gluten-free anymore. They can order literally whatever they like from the menu (bar the Gochujang). Just be sure to tell the staff that they’re afraid of gluten for the pizza. But all the chicken dishes are inherently GF. Bring any sour coeliac here and they will get a feed that will whip the ‘poor me’ off their GF face.
Order: Lemon Pepper Wings and Sweat Meats Pizza is €31.50 and the glasses of wine kick off at €7
Where to go for BYOB and Mezze on a Budget
Shouk is a force to be reckoned with in vegan/veggie eating. Thank the deity of your choice that they open for lunch because their dinner reservations are golden ticket level rare. What’s great about Shouk is that despite its high demand popularity, they haven’t jacked up the prices. They remain some of the best value food in the city. Plus, they are a BYOB spot, so you can nab that bottle of wine that’s been sitting on your shelf waiting for an occasion and pop her over some truly impeccable Mezze with your mates. Winner winner veggie dinner.
Order: Mezze Platter €20 and it’s big enough for 2 with a little starter.
The Place to Grab a Fancy Lunch With an Old Friend
Uno Mas baby. You’ve seen it all over your FYP all year, and for good reason. Uno Mas is quite literally Dublin’s favourite restaurant. So many people talk about it so often that it is perpetually booked up. Or at least it is for dinner. Which makes sense, it is predominantly a dinner place. Uno Mas is such a wonderfully indulgent place to eat that people forget that they serve lunch from Wednesday to Saturday.
A lunch at Uno Mas is lowkey the biggest treat in the city. It’s packed with in-the-know diners who are just as interested in Czech pét-nat as they are in fried squid. There isn’t a bad dish on the menu and there isn’t a bad wine on the list. This is the team that made white port and tonic happen in Dublin. If you want to taste what it is like to be an influencer in Dublin, you have to eat here. And lunch offers you and your friend the time and space to really enjoy it. Top Tip: go for the Tenerife wine – it is pick brains out of the carpet level divine.
Order: The Squid à la plancha €13.00, and a bottle of Suertes del Marqués, ‘Trenzado’, DO Valle de la Orotova, Tenerife, Listán Blanco for €65
The Place When You’re in Temple Bar and Just Need Some Damn Good Grub
Temple Bar is a tricky one. It can feel so full of people and places, yet you can never find anywhere to actually go that’s not a touristy imitation of Ireland. Monty’s of Kathmandu might just be the ultimate hidden-in-plain-sight gem in Dublin City. Opened by husband and wife Shiva and Lina Gautam in 1997, Monty’s on Eustace Street in Temple Bar proudly serves high-quality Nepalese food. Everything on their menu is made in-house — shortcuts are not their bag. Bursting with flavour and smokiness, their meats are cooked using a traditional charcoal tandoor. While the food is premium, the real jewel in the crown is their wine cellar. It sits underneath the restaurant with a staggering collection of vintage wines from across the world.
Order: Momo with achar (for two to share) €19.50 & a glass of house white
The Place for the Quintessential Fish & Chips Experience
Dubs are forever fighting among themselves over which chipper is the ultimate chipper. But for us at Char, it’s Del Rios. It’s a proper independent old-style chipper on Marlborough Street. The café has been run by the same family for decades and is extremely popular with the locals.
Just as in the old days, the servings are generous. They do the little extra few chips scoop even if you don’t order the full single with your batter sausage. You’ll even get sliced bread and butter to make your own chip sambo. They are still rocking with the Knickerbocker Glory for dessert if you have room. Get ready to taste the nostalgia as well as the quality fare.
Order: Fish and Chips €12.95
The Only Place to have a Last Minute Group Dinner Where it Doesn’t Feel like an Imposition
We’ve all been there. A quick group text and suddenly everyone is raring to do something, but you have nothing booked and nowhere to go that will be able to fit you all in. Well, not anymore. Kodiak is quite possibly one of Dublin’s most well-designed and spaced-out bars. There is literally always space, whether you’re smoking area huggers or cosy couch cuddlers. Plus, the drinks are top-notch, and the staff are sound. Just hit them up, hop on the 15 or the green line and boom, you have the consummate last-minute night out with the gang.
Order: The Mortadella Pizza and a Cheeky Little Beer is about €22, depending on the beer.
The Place for a Pepperoni Slice with a Vino in What Feels Like New York
Stephen Street Lower
Wine and pizza were always made for each other as far back as ancient Roman times. It’s hard to picture one without the other. But to be able to get just a slice and a glass of wine, now that is a new vibe. Usually, slices were the domain of beer, and you can get beer too in Bambino. But it’s the wine that sends it over!
Bambino is the underdog no one saw coming who went on to actually smash it into smithereens. The latest venture from Shane Windrim and Nick DiMaio(of Token) with consulting hand Reggie White was always going to be successful. No one, I doubt even themselves, could have predicted how fast Bambino would become the Sliceries to rule them all. Hit them up at any time and you’ve find a queue of buzzers looking to get a taste. And you should join them.
Order: A slice of Sausage and Peppers, a slice of Hot Pep and a glass of house red for €15
The Place to Go When You Have no Dough but Have the Goo on Ya All the Same
From the inimitable Thom Lawson this spot is equally good value. I pro-ed and con-ed my way through trying to choose which was the best banging budget night out, and this came out tops. Sprezzatura has fresh handmade pasta covered in sage butter for a tenner. Can’t argue with that.
Order: A kilo of lasagne for €24.95
The Place for Crowd-Pleasing Vegan Food
Mary Street, Dame Street, George’s Street, Haddington Road, Rathmines, Drumchondra
Umi was doing next-level vegan food in Dublin before it was the thing. In fact, it garnered its rep on being fucking awesome, not on being vegan – even though it was completely vegan when it kicked off. These days, you will find the odd bit of halloumi on the menu, but otherwise, it’s a vegan-dominant spot. It’s also a place that will genuinely make everyone happy. Even a paleo carnivore who only eats meat 20g of protein at a time can’t fault the way of the falafel here. It has everything you could want to make people feel fed, nourished, and happy.
Order: The Palestinian €7.95
The Place to Dance with Your Fried Chicken Sandwich
Aungier Street, Terenure
Chicken love is real love. If burgers are the food of the people, chicken burgers are the food of Dublin people. We disproportionately love a chicken burger, and at the moment, the team slinging the best chicken burgs in the piping hot poultry section is most definitely Chimac. The team brought in Korean-style fried chicken when we were completely unaware of how much we needed it. Their burgs, tunes, nuggets and vibes are immaculate. They pipe joy into you and make you wanna dance. There is no love like it.
Order: The Good Good for €13.65 (keep an eye out for a new one about to drop that they say will be a new mainstay)
The Place to Take Your Friend Who Is Going Through a Break-Up
People break up, and my god, does it suck. It sucks for them, and it sucks for the people who love them. In times of murky relationship waters, dinner with a friend can, will and does bring solace to people. If you have a friend in need, then there is one place that is sure to get their mind off their heartache and back in the game – Amy Austin.
Amy Austin is a wine bar, but she’s not like other wine bars. She’s a ‘cool’ wine bar. Tucked away just off Fade Street, right in the car park, like a Polly pocket fun-sized place that has not only a dazzling wine list but some rocking food. It’s all small plates and sharing vibes, so it’s the ideal way to help that friend who might need to feel like they belong while they’re going through it. Plus, the tunes are always bopping, and music always heals heartache. Especially when paired with friends, food and a little glass of vino.
Order: The Black Beans Tamale and a glass of ‘Amy’s White’ for €19
The Place to Go on a Double Date
There are so many reasons to go to Big Fan. It just never disappoints, no matter how many times you’ve been. But the ultimate vibe to surf there is a double date. The menu is too broad and big for just one couple to get through everything. No matter how big your stomachs are. And while you can go with friends, sometimes the portions are only two bites, so you’d want to be on close, intimate terms to half bits and pieces. Thus two couples is ideal. Cut a bao in half and then split your half with your partner. It’s funny but also kinda romantic. Plus, Big Fan is beautiful, with buzzers for staff, so it creates a whole fun 90s movie vibe.
Order: BLK- XLB” – (Squid Ink Xiao long Bao with minced Langoustine, Pork, Truffle & Langoustine Broth) with a glass of the Quinta do Gradil for €20
The Place to Eat a Burger, Drink a Beer, and Feel Like an Insider
Kevin Street, Capel Street
There is only one Burger place that has Dubliners in a choke hold these days and that is Dash Burger. Last year, it took home the crown of Dublin’s ultimate burger, and nothing can stop it. They’re going from strength to strength with reviews in all the major national papers and new menu drops out the wazoo. It’s still relatively unknown to the tourist population though. The beef is Irish, the chicken is free range, the beer is Irish, and the atmosphere is good craic. You can tell the staff like each other just by the way they hang out. The new nuggets menu actually slaps. The spicy ones hit a level of spice that would blow the mouth of your ghost-pepper-enthusiast-friend and not just your ma.
Order: The Double Smash Burger and Bacon Jam Fries €18.95
The Place to go When you Need to Eat Quickly and Don’t Wanna Skimp on Flavour
We’ve all been in a rush before where we feel like we just need to get in, get fed, and get out, but also, we don’t want something boring. Happy’s is quite possibly the ultimate flavour bomb on the fast-casual dining scene in Dublin. The team behind it are always Dexter’s Laboratory-ing, some new flavour combo that will knock you head over heels. Anyone who has ever eaten there never shuts up about the flavour, and for good reason.
Order: Jimmy burger with a Pornstar martini for €25 and get a second Pornstar martini free if you go on a weekday
The Place to Restore Your Faith in Dublin
Etto is the insider’s Uno Mas. It was the OG from the same team, and it is the place Nigella Lawson dines when she comes to Dublin. People literally never shut up about the prunes, which would sound odd until you actually try them. They literally make you feel that if Dublin can produce this with one of the world’s most derided foods, it can literally do anything. Overthrow the FF/FG and solve the housing crisis. That is how good Etto is, and that is why you absolutely have to try it.
Order: Red wine prunes and vanilla mascarpone €7.50
The Place for a Big Night Out on Someone Else’s Dime
There comes a time in life when someone will want to buy you dinner. They’ll be taking you for a birthday or celebratory meal. They could simply just want to show you they love you. Who knows what you did to deserve it – but you’re not gonna look a gift horse in the mouth. Mamo is the ultimate spot to hit up if someone wants to treat you? Why? Because it tastes good, it’s in a great location for a fuck-it-let’s-go-for-it dinner. It’s fancy but not overpriced, it has a serious wine list, and some icon bucket list-level dishes. Plus, it’s run by lovely people who really care about what they do. Mamo is a win-win-win all round.
Order: The ‘Cod chip’ 7.50 and to start and the Market fish, courgette and Lambay lobster orzo for €35 for mains.
The Place Worth Getting Decked Out in Your Good Gear For
Sometimes you get some new threads and it can feel like you’ve nowhere to wear them. You need an occasion. But really, you don’t want it to be clothes-ruining occasions like a gig or any busy Friday night in the pub with beer sloshing everywhere. You want it to be something that you will goddamn remember, and you know everyone will notice your shiny new shoes or sparkling ilk linen jacket. Variety Jones is just the place. She is newly revamped, she is Michelin-starred, she is full of craic and my god is she an experience. The food is the real draw at Variety Jones, it is phenomenal. But the team have managed to create a space that exudes atmosphere and is worth not only photographing but talking about forever. Making it the perfect place to make an occasion out of.
Order: The Tasting Menu €85pp
The Place to Go When You Want to Bask in the Summer Sunset with Good Food
When the sun comes out, we flock to the coast in our droves. As we very well should. We go for dips and walks, and we eat chips on the piers. It’s all very busy. But if you want to sit and really bask in the slowly setting sun of the grand stretch over a good long meal like the Europeans we are, then Michaels and, by extension, Big Mikes and Little Mikes are the places to go.
The outdoor seating is beautiful. They catch the sun and are right by the sea. So you get that crisp summer sea air in. The food is crusade-level. Anyone who has ever had their surf and turf has had their life changed irrevocably for the better. Honestly, sitting there with a glass of wine on a summer evening, you will literally find yourself saying, ‘This is life’. And you would not be wrong.
Order: Luxury Seafood Bowl of Wild Irish Halibut with Lambay Crab & Clogherhead Prawns €35
The Place to Take Both your Parents to Meet for the First Time
Introducing your parents to your SO’s parents is a very particular step in relationships. When are you supposed to do it? Do you just leave it till the wedding? What if you don’t believe in marriage? Will they just never meet, these two halves of your lives? No, it’s better to arrange it properly. The thing about having parents meet each other is that you have no idea if they’ll get on. When you were a kid, you just thought all adults were the same, but the older you get, the more you know that is not true in the slightest.
There is one thing that is almost universally agreed upon, and that is the food, service, and affection for D’Oilier Street. It is loved by every review in the country and the Michelin guide. It balances modern but classic adeptly and has such a beautiful building that even if your parents don’t get on there will be an easy flow of conversation about how great the spot is.
Order: The Tasting Menu €89pp
The Place for a Once In a Lifetime Meal
In my personal opinion, Liath is the best restaurant in Dublin, if not Ireland. No, we haven’t put every single Michlin Starred/Bib Gourmand in this guide because we’re not Michelin Men; we are Char. But there are some places that are so good I genuinely think everyone should experience them at least once. Liath is one of those places. They are conceptually out of this world, and yet they live in a humble tiny spot out in Blackrock Market. Truly, if I were to only eat one place again before I die, it would be here. It is what game changers aspire to be.
Order: The tasting menu around €200 pp including drinks
The Place to Eat Where You Definitely Won’t Run into Your Ex (Unless They Also Read CHAR)
We all have an ex that we would like to avoid but hangs out in all the same places as we do. Well, good luck to them hanging out in Library Street. This little restaurant is a hot as fugg ticket, and it is dominated by repeat customers. So unless your ex was already a fan, you probably won’t see them here. Library Street is an idyllic place to while away a whole evening over small plates and wines with your friends. Their seasonal food is ever-changing and just gets better every year. Look out for the boar; it is wild!
Order: One of everything comes to around €80 pp
The Place to Go to for Unflinching Indian Food
Obviously, Indian food is delicious. Ireland has adopted this cuisine as one of its favourite weekly treats. That said we have very few modern and high-end places to eat real Indian dishes. Pickle is Dublin’s top-tier Indian restaurant. With Chef Sunil Ghai at the helm, the restaurant is constantly winning awards for its food. It’s classic service with a touch of regality about it. The food never puts a foot wrong and is a must-hit for any lover of Indian cuisine.
Order: Punjabi Saag Gosht for €26.50
The Place for When You Want a Tasting Menu Vibe Minus the Tasting Menu
Listen, the tasting menu is one of the most dominant forms of dining at the moment, and that’s fair. We get it. It’s a great way to taste the soul of a chef or restaurant. But you literally do not have the time to commit to 10 chef selection courses and three snacks every day. It’s too much. Not every dinner can be three hours.
Volpe Nera is a diamond of a neighbourhood restaurant. Hanging out in residential Blackrock, it is a blink-and-you-miss-it kind of place. The food is high-end. They have a tasting menu if you want. But also they do a la carte! So if you want to taste a few bits, you can. If you only have an hour and find yourself in the neighbourhood, then you can just grab a main and a glass of wine. It’s peerless for that ‘I haven’t got all day’ treat without skimping on quality.
Order: Skeaghanore Duck, Braised Radicchio, Beetroot, Redcurrant €32 Domaine Anne Gros & Jean-Paul Tollot, ‘La Cinso’, Côtes du Brian, France, 2021 100ml €12, 150ml €16
The Place for a Casual Date That Still Brings the Romance
Whoever said chippers are not romantic had clearly never been to Fish Shop. The counter, the soft lighting, the moody jazz, and the tucked-away-in-a-corner vibe are the literal definition of romance. Especially if you add in a glass of Pet Nat with your fish and chips. They also do oysters, which will forever be associated with being a little sexy; what could be better?
Order: Fish & Chips for €16.95 with a glass of Fiona Leroy, Bourgogne Aligoté ‘La Motte Sur Chat’ 2021 for €14
The Place to Order Over-the-Top Amounts of Food With Wild Abandon Sure That Everything Will Taste Phenomenal
Sometimes you want to throw all caution to the wind and enjoy a wild ass ride. La Gordita is the place to do that. The menu is flabbergastingly phenomenal. It would make even the most adamant heretic awestruck at its diligent prowess. There isn’t a dish on the menu to avoid or to disappoint, and what’s great is that it’s tapas style, so you can just keep ordering as you go. The menu changes with the seasons, too, so there will always be something a little different if you want to go back again and again and again. They also do a surprisingly cracking martini.
Order: Pescado del día (2 sharing) €65.00
The Place to Eat When You Want to Cosplay Like You’re in Goodfellas
This is the kind of Italian restaurant that you would think you’d only see on TV with an owner/host who is so charismatic he is known all over the city for his propensity to open Cristal with a sabre. It is over the top, it is dramatic, it is the main character, it is Scorsese, and it is cinema. It is Rosa Madre.
Order: Lobster Tagliolini, With Fresh Cherry Tomato Sauce and Half Local Blue Lobster for € 40
The Place for a Surprisingly Affordable, Totally Ambitious Tasting Menu
The tasting menus they do be running expensive. But Margah, the darlings of Monday dining, have a proper full-on multicourse tasting menu for just over fifty euro. It’s available by reservation from Wednesday to Saturday. Considering the cost of living crisis, a full-on tasting menu for fifty quid is pretty solid. Plus, the wine list is a curated wonder of an achievement.
Order: The Tasting Menu €52
The Place When You Want to Eat at a Restaurant That’s Actually a Wine Bar
You would be forgiven for forgetting that Piglet is a restaurant. It gives such pan-Mediterranean natty wine bar vibes that sometimes the food gets overlooked. But do that at your peril. Piglet is the perfect place to go if you want to drink as many different wines as possible over a cheeky dinner. Go for the wine list and end up ordering the cacio et pepe. Or you’ll go for dinner and become obsessed with the wine list. Either way, you’ve gotta go.
Order: Cacio e Pepe & a glass of ‘something funky’ €35
The Place for a Third Date With That Person You Really Like
If American pop culture has taught us anything interesting, it’s the third-date rule. So, picking the right date spot is crucial. You don’t want to go to a bar because too much drinking makes people sleepy. You don’t want to go for a full dinner because – well, the same issue. The same can be said for takeaway. So, what is the optimum third date option? Why, it’s small plates and nice wine at Franks, of course. She is marble-ous. You get to look around the table and see everyone else doing what you’re doing – flirting. It’s hot, it’s fun, it’s European. Now, pair that with some quality juice, and you have yourself a lovely evening.
Order: Carlingford oyster with blackcurrant leaf and La Chamade €40
The Place for Hyper-Curated, Hard-to-Find Wines
Sometimes, you look up and realise that you have not only aged, but you have become a wine guy. The kind Lorelei Gilmore would mock even if they look like Jon Hamm. It’s okay; it happens to many of us, and we rarely, if ever, see it coming. But when you have come to embrace your cork dork vulnerability, then you are going to start seeking out the kind of wines you read about in Nobel Rot and Decanter. While there are many wine bars slinging quality juice, there are only a handful of places that are home to that Gravner you’ve read so much about.
So if you are really feeling like ticking it off your fuck-it-list, then Note is the place to go. They have the goods, the high-end goods. And the staff know what they’re talking about, too, so you’ll get to have a fun conversation with the sommelier about what the vintage was like and the benefits of decanting! Whoop, the joys of adulthood really are boundless.
Order: The Risotto with a bottle of La Stoppa €100
The Place to go Where There’s No Loud Music for your Nan’s Birthday
Restaurants get increasingly loud and increasingly dark every year. Or at least it can seem that way to people. If you are someone who gets out their phone to use the torch to read a menu or asks the waiter if they could possibly turn down the cranking beats, you may think there is nowhere left in the world to go. Enter Mae. The brainchild of Grainne O’Keeffe and named for her grandmother, it is a lovely, gentle, soft restaurant with tasteful music. It’s also got excellent food and just enough lighting to make the place feel homey but still enough so that you can see what you’re doing. It’s the perfect place to bring your mam, your nan, your niece, and your cousin. Actually, it’s the perfect place to bring just about anyone.
Order: The full menu is €70 pp but you get a choice of main, and my favourite is the lamb shoulder with black garlic.
The Place to Go to When Your Wine Friend Asks You to Pick The Place
We all have a wine friend who overnight seemed to know everything about biodynamics, secondary fermentation and tannins. And we all hate when they say, ‘Oh, I don’t mind your pick’. In part because we know they are literally the fussiest person in the group! And the pressure to impress is real. That said, Grano is a foolproof option to wow even the most discerning of wine drinkers. They have wines you literally can’t get anywhere else. These include some local Cabarian wines that are genuinely so tasty and well priced you’d nearly pinch yourself thinking you were still in an affordable era of life.
Order: Cappellacci alla Zucca with a bottle of Colbotto Rosato €80
The Place for Something a Bit Fancy After a Dip at the 40 Foot
A Dip in the forty foot is an Irish right of passage. It is as fundamental as going to a Bohs match or making your communion. We all do it at least once. But the thing about the 40-foot is where do you go after? Most people make the mistake of heading for Dun Laoghaire. In part because Dun Laoghaire kinda claims the 40-foot as its own.
But actually, the 40-foot is right near a smaller, more culinarily diverse village – Glasthule. The place that James Joyce mentioned in his seminal work that none of us have ever actually read. What Glasthule does have is one of the best wine bars in the city – 64 wines. It wins awards all the time. It has natural wine and classic wine in spades. The ‘by the glass’ wine list changes all the time. Their nibbles are good value, and it is like an Aladdin’s cave. 64 Wines is the most wonderful spot to pop into after you’ve just ice-bathed yourself in the name of culture.
Order: Lilliput artichokes, lemon, Ardsallagh goat’s cheese and a glass of something orange €19
The Place for a Real Cead Mile Failte
Like everywhere on this list, Spitalfields is known for its excellent food and drink. What makes it stand out is its service. According to the Michlin Guide, it has the best service in the UK and Ireland. The service and welcome award was given to Declan Maxwell of Spitalfields in Dublin 8. This award honours only one business between Ireland and the UK every year. Basically, it means that Spittlefields has the best service team of anyone else, which is a huge feat. Anyone who has ever eaten there will tell you the same. You can’t bottle that kind of authentic care for the customer experience. You have to cultivate it over years of prioritising it and the people who serve it.
Order: Cock-a-Leekie Pie (serves two) – €56
The Place for a Fresh Lobster Roll and a Cold Pint of Plain
When people think lobster, they don’t automatically think, ‘Do ya know what’d go well with that? A creamy pint of Guinness. Which is a crying shame. But anyone who has experienced the true bliss of this pairing will tell you the best place to get it is in King Sitiric. The Family business in Howth. It’s the quintessential casual lobster from one of the most transparent and sustainable food businesses in the city.
Order: Pint of Guinness, half a lobster and chips – €42
The Place to go for Dublin’s Essential Steak Dinner
Shanahan’s on the Green
Listen, this is a controversial one. How you take your steak can be as personal as how you take your tea, with just as much discourse, division and dissension in the ranks. There is one place that quietly just makes the steak dinner and does it so well they don’t even have to market themselves. It’s Shannahans on the Green. If you were to only go to one place to experience what Irish steak can and should be, this (to quote millennial lore) must be the place.
Order: Broiled Galway “Oysters Rockefeller”, Bone-In Rib Eye, and a bottle of Bordeaux – €150
The Place to Go When You Want Something Traditional That has Almost Died Out
L. Mulligan Grocer
L. Mulligan Grocer is one of the most Irish places to eat. It’s so incredibly traditional and so incredibly contemporary that it defines the ‘you can be both’ genre. The decor gives old-man-pub-meets-sitting-room that’s going for a lived-in comfort. The food however is modern, delicate and hearty. Think Chicken Kiev dish with mash that also has all sorts of high-end tweezed bits and white asparagus and you wouldn’t be far wrong. L. Mulligan Grocer also serves distinctly Irish things that nowhere else with ‘local sustainable regional seasonal’ M.O.’s do. Pigs Ears. Sounds wild, but it makes a hell of a snack. As does literally anything on their bar snacks menu.
Order: The pigs ears should be back in season for November and come in around €12.95
The Place for When You Need to Make Someone Try Coddle for the First Time
Coddle is Irish marmite. We love to fight over it. Repeatedly. For many, if not all, Dublin people, there comes a time when you just have to fucking try it. Especially if you have waded into the ‘boiled micky’ Twitter (x) discourse and you didn’t grow up with it. And for that, there is only one spot – Gravediggers. This place also happens to be home to one of the best pints in the city. These two Irish classics should be embraced and enjoyed together. Plus, it’s a wonderful way to live your Anthony Bourdain Autumn dreams.
Order: Guinness & Coddle, obviously! The Pint of Guinness is €5.80 & the Coddle is €12.50.
The Place for When All You Really Want is a Big Bowl of Irish Seafood
Temple Bar Square
We are seafood cafe people because when the mood strikes, there is literally nothing that will satisfy a craving for the nourishment of seafood. It’s a really particular vibe. One that calls to you like a siren song. The single best place to indulge it is, in our opinion, Seafood Cafe in Temple Bar. Run by Niall Sibongy, it is probably the most sustainable seafood in the city, cooked with the most love, care and attention and served with some of the best homemade sauces and vermouths. It’s perfection. Never change the Seafood Cafe.
Order: Harvest Clambake and a bloody mary €65
The Place to Live Out All Your Illicit Cheese Fantasies
We all have cheese fantasies. Cheese really is kinda sorta like dairy crack; you just can’t get enough. It famously infiltrates your dreams. If you have ever felt yourself yearning for a cheese board, then there is one place that will bedazzle your life: Toonsbridge Dairy. It is as if Disney Land Tokyo was an Irish cheese shop. Toonsbridge Dairy has every Irish cheese you have ever dreamed of but didn’t know existed. Plus, it has passionate cheesy staff to help you compose the cheese symphony of your dreams.
Order: Manchego with rosemary from €5.60
The Place Even Your Fussy Culchy Friends Will Like
Listen, the milk-drinking culchy is a hurtful stereotype perpetuated by the success of Normal People. That said, we all know one. Someone who literally eats like they are still in 1950s Ireland, except with the addition of chicken tenders. Well, there is one place that they will not only like but downright enjoy, and that is Fagan’s. Its carvery is unmatched, and it has some elevated options for people who may want something a little more whimsical. Fagan’s maintains its Irish charm, and who knows, maybe you’ll get to roll your eyes at Bertie Ahearn while you’re there.
Order: The Carvery and a Pint of Guinness €25
The Place to Take Your Mate Who Thinks They Know Everything About Food
We live in the era of connoisseurship where everyone is really into something and has learned a whole heap about it from the internet. We’ve also (mostly) dismantled the begrudgery culture where it was looked down on like fancy foods. So now every food group has that one mate who has gotten obsessively into food culture. There’s one thing that food nerds love more than anything else, and that is a farm-to-table restaurant that is actually on a farm. You’d think that wouldn’t be possible in Dublin or accessible by public transport, but actually, Overends Kitchen is just that.
Overends Kitchen is a place where you can connect land and table, farmer and eater, in an environment that is casual and engaging. Airfield offers a dining experience influenced by the visionary Overend Sisters and their 38-acre farm. The menu constantly evolves based on weekly harvests from their garden and farm teams. Voted Dublin’s top sustainable restaurant by the Restaurant Association of Ireland, Airfield serves McCabe’s coffee, fresh baked goods, and meals featuring farm-fresh ingredients. It’s a walk-in dining experience, so you don’t need to be fighting the online masses for a rezzy. And they’re quite efficient so you’ll never be waiting too long to be seated.
Order: Three salads with bread €20
The Place to See and Be Seen When You’ve Just Gotten Your Hair Done
When a haircut is good, it is damn magical. It can make you feel like the world is your literal oyster. So, why not go out and eat one? After a fresh cut, it’s almost par for the course to take it on a big night out with you. Host is high end steak in a former clothes shop near the Ranelagh Luas stop. Since its opening in 2017, it has become an essential spot to meet the girlies. So it’s the place to show off your new do with the people who’ll most appreciate it.
Order: Pork Chop, Pork Belly & Nduja €62pp
The Place When Some People Want to Drink, and Other People Want to Have a Nice Dinner
Everyone has been to Izakya. And everyone still goes to Izakya. Zoomers, Millennials. Locals. Bartenders. Chefs. Dublin Creatives. People who are into Japanese Tapas, and people who are into dancing till the wee hours. After 10-plus years, the Japas & Sake spot has become a Dublin institution thanks to its consistency and efficiency. Spend just as much time looking around the timeless room as you do admiring the precision of your nigiri roll while sipping on their iconic Basil smashes. Then head downstairs and dance like you weren’t born to step in and out at an awkward céilí.
Order: The group set menu is €47.50 per person and comes with all the Japas you need.
The Place for When You Want a Great Cocktail with the Girls and the Gays
Sometimes, there are places that just appeal more to the gals and the gays. Usually, these places have great taste. Three Storey has that in spades. Plus, how could it not have been set as a trap for the gals and the gays? It has a Spriz bar, for Bacchus’s sake.
Order: The spritz of the week €14
The Place to Go When You Wanna Propose With The Ring in a Champagne Glass
Though she be but new, she is fierce. Row Wines landed on the scene at the former home of Coppinger Row with a blast, and it has been going strong since. Now, they have a selection of only the finest Riedel has to offer. Which means they have the dream glassware for a classic OTT proposal. If you want to pop the question over excellent fizz and food with nothing but the best vinyl in the background, then this is the spot for you. Plus, it’s super central, so your friends can all be hiding in Grogans waiting to celebrate after.
Order: The seaweed and a glass of champagne €30
The Place to Drink Aperol Spritz and Pretend You’re in the Italian Lake District When the Sun Comes Out
There are few things as quintessentially summertime as pretending you’re in Italy after work while sipping on an Aperol Spritz. As TikTok says, stayuing delulu is the solulu. The area with the most Italian atmosphere is, of course, the Italian Quarter. Even if it is only a street. Two twinned businesses that are right opposite each other – Sfuso and Caffe Cagliostro have been known to team up to throw Aperol Spritz parties. They are honestly the Place to be if you’re feeling the call of the meditation life.
Order: An Aperol Spritz €12.50
Where to Go to Discuss Your Flailing Love Life with Your Best Friend
The Wine Cellar at Fallon and Byrne
Listen, we all need to dissect the minutia of our love life sometimes. Whether you’re in a long-term relationship or still flailing in the increasingly batshit field, there’s always something happening. So you gotta talk about it. The wine-filled enclave that is Fally B is the place for it. You’ll fall in love with this cave before you even taste the food, thanks to all the delightful details—graphic murals, wheatpaste-style posters, wine wall, and low-slung lighting. It will give everything a French cinematic haze, so whether you land on Dump Him or propose to her, you’ll have a great evening.
Order: a bottle of Gruner Veltliner €34
The Place For if You Are as Nerdy About Whiskey as You Say You Are
Whiskey has won the hearts of many Irish people over the years, but it has never been more dominant. If you’re looking to spend your night trying all sorts of new whiskies recommended by a bartender who has tried them all, then this is your only man. Bowes Bar is one of those rare establishments in Dublin, a pub with genuine old-world charm right bam, smack dab in the middle of the city. It’s a place where you can take your time and have the craic.
Order: Blue Spot neat €12
The Place for a When You’re Spending Monopoly Money
The Side Car
Sometimes, we want to feel fancy. We want a little boouji in our lives, and we want a martini made at our table while we sit and watch. On those days, it is the Sidecar that is your best bet. The 1930s-style cocktail bar is an exceptional experience. Impeccable service and ambience support a cast of signature cocktails as if it were an Oscar-tipped old-fashioned movie. Our creative director was there recently and said, “The complementary Prosecco, while you wait for your cocktail to be made, is just pure class”, and you can’t argue with that.
Order: The Vesper Martini €22
The Place for Drinking Sake, Whether You’re a Newbie or Lifelong Fanatic
Sake is increasingly more of a thing. Sake sales are booming around the world and in Ireland, but it can be hard to find places that don’t just have the bog standard. You’d never think it from the outside, but Fujiyama is the Place to go if you wanna try more unusual Sake – plus, the sushi is chef’s kissy. Situated on top of a hairdresser on O’Connell Street, it’s the most wonderful spot to have a sneaky sake and people-watch. It’s especially fun when it’s rainy because the sake is warming and O’Connell Street is bright with umbrellas.
Order: Junmai ginjo €40
The Place to Get In Touch with Your Inner Celt Over Poitín
There is literally nothing that could be more Irish than Poitín. It’s the clear beauty of a spirit with all kinds of heritage. The team behind 1661, loved it so much that they named the bar for the year it was made illegal. Not only that, but they have also been instrumental in getting Poitín the respect it deserves. Most of their cocktails are Poitín based, and my goodness, they are golden-tiered-level drinks. Rumour has it there’s a new menu on the horizon, too! So, if you’ve already tried their 32 cocktails then fear not; there’s more a coming.
Order: The Generation Six €14
The Place for When the Music is as Important as the Craft Bee
The Big Romance
Music can make or break an atmosphere, and the team at Big Romance know that. They make the music as paramount a part of their business as the limited edition handmade craft beers they curate. They have a custom-built sound system for playing vinyl and the bar is inspired by Japanese listening bars. If you’re looking to really sit back and enjoy some good tunes with a good beer, this is the one for you.
Order: Fruit Salad Days: Blackberry & Raspberry Sour by Whiplash. It’s packed full of fruit and €7 a glass.
The Place for a When You Want a Pitcher of Beer, Korean Fried Chicken and to Control the Jukebox
Kimchi/Hop House/ The Shakespeare
No matter which of its three names you call it by, this is a proper knight of the Dublin bar scene. Home to some of the first Korean food in the city, this gastropub has been slinging good craic for a generation. Kimchi Hop House is one of the few joints in the city that still has a jukebox you and your friends can monopolise if you’re willing to spend a few euros. Plus, they also have pitchers of beer yiz can split while you’re at it, which is perfect if you’re looking for a little extra value on your Friday nights.
Order: Pitcher of Beer and Yangnyeom Wings for about €27 depending on which beer you choose
The Place to Travel Back in Time 100 Years and Feel Like You’re in Someone’s Sitting Room – ‘Cos You Are
Palace Bar actually has its own special whiskey history that stretches back as far as 200 years. There have been many once-off limited edition collabs between distillers and Palace Bar. These days it is still one of the only pubs in the city where you can get some golden whiskey tickets by the glass. Any bartender on the bar will be happy to chat to you about the drams themselves and all the bits that make them special. Most specifically, Willie Ahearn himself, the owner who was actually born and grew up in the upstairs area before it was made into an event space.
Order: Palace Bar x Green Spot Collab €50 (or stick with a classic Jemmie for €5.50)
The Place to go for Drinks with a Big Group When Everyone Wants Something Different
It’s always hard to rally the group because people tend to want something a little different from each other. Some people want a warm, cushioned seat inside. Others need a well-covered smoking area. Many require that the pint be next-to-godliness-level of perfect. Still more need a feed with their pints. So when you have too many competing needs and don’t know where to go, the Glimmerman is your only man.
Like most Irish people, the spot is eclectic, friendly and a bit strange. There is a bar area, a lounge area, and an ‘out-the-back area. It’s full of locals so you know the pipes are well used and the pint is creamy perfection. Recently, they’ve done extensive work incorporating a taxi/boat that gives Bernard Shaw vibes – a reflection of Dublin 7’s ever-growing arts culture. At the moment, this taxi/boat is host to pop-up Vietnom.
Order: Pint of Guinness and a Banh Mi €17
The Place for a Pint That is So Consistent It’s Literally a Meme
Listen, we’ve all heard about how great the taps are. How consistent the pint is. Just because everyone in the influencer bizz thinks the same thing doesn’t mean they’re wrong. If you have never had a pint in Walshes, you should. Will it taste like hype? Maybe a bit, but that’s part of the fun. It will also taste like an excellent pint, with the added bonus of being able to engage with all the stans online. Because after one pint here, you’ll likely be one yourself.
Order: Pint of Guinness €6.30
The Place for When You Have Major Goss to Spill
Mary Street Little
We all need a safe space to spill the tea. But Dublin is a town, so it can be hard to find a spot that you feel secure enough in to let it out. Especially since pretty much everyone is living with a parent these days. One pub where you can be sure you won’t be disturbed is The Hacienda. You have to be buzzed in so you’ll always know if people have arrived after you. Plus, it’s got an elicit conspiratorial air and a private aura thanks to all the nooks, crannies and celebrity pictures. It’s the perfect place to dish over a decent pint of plain.
Order: €6.50 Pint of Guinness
The Place for When You Need to Distract Yourself from the World’s Problems with an Extensively Long Beer Menu
Listen, the world is crazy. There is so much happening literally all day, every day, that it is exhausting. So why not take the night off, put the phone away and dedicate your evening to reading, deciphering, and sampling the best beer menu in the city. No, you’ve never had that dry-hopped farmhouse saison before. Yes, you’re getting two red ales to start. And yes, the staff knows that that’s exactly what you want after a quick interrogation. You don’t have to ask questions. You can just buy it and you can just drink. And you return for more.
Order: Whiplash x To Øl : Window Lean for €7
The Place for Irish Tapas
The Lord Edward
Irish tapas are pub crisps. One of every packet spread out on the table. Bacon Fries, Tayto, Scampi Fries, the works. It’s a thing of beauty and will be a joy forever. Lord Ed is the perfect place for this. Specifically upstairs. This one still feels like a hidden treasure, even though we all know it exists. You have to want to go to Lord Ed to go there, which means you only get deliberate pintmen and women of the world imbibing there. It’s a lovely spot that is known to erupt into renditions of the Rattlan Bog somewhat spontaneously if the mood takes it.
Order: All the crisps and a pint of Smithwicks €10
The Place with a Big Enough Beer Garden to Cope with Crowds
Irish people love a beer garden despite the fact that it literally always rains. It can often feel like all the good beer gardens are full or have all become Workmans. (We love it, but she has her time and her Place). Delaney’s, however, manages to maintain her integrity while seeming to always have a little spot outside for a good perch on a sunny day.
Order: Pint of Guinness €6.00
The Place Where the Scene Matters as Much as the Pint Quality
Grogans is a hot spot. You can’t even walk by it without spotting someone you know chowing down on a cheese toastie. It’s the Workmas of the day time but with more sense of self. The pints are perfect, the cheese toasties are affordable. There is something about getting a seat at it – especially on a sunny day that’ll make you feel like you are genuine royalty.
Order: Pint of Guinness and a Cheese Toastie €12
The Place to Celebrate with a Little Boogie
This is the place to feel your oats and be your best self while shaking your tits to Dianna Ross, Madonna, Britney, Charlie XCX and every single other powerhouse you can think of. Panti stands proud at the top of Caple Street, beckoning to all with its giant illuminated sign. They have the pinkest small stage, which hosts DJs, drag queens, bears and music bingo, depending on the night. The myth, the gal, the legend Panti Bliss, is a “gender discombobulist” and brings all the fun you’d expect from the unofficial queen of Ireland. Also, it low-key has the best Sunday soundtrack in the city.
Order: Vodka Soda Lime €8
The Place To Bask in the Power of the People
Ireland’s most famous traditional music pub was under threat by the evil hotelier overlords that pull strings in our city. And The people just wouldn’t have it. Tired of every cultural venue we love being shut down the entire of Dublin rallied together to save our darling girl, and save her we did. Now when you pop to Cobblestone to jig to a tin whistle jam sesh you can feel the power of the people. It feels great and Paris well with a pint or two. Head in to catch a seisiún or the Wednesday Balaclava sessions and just feel the culture we saved together flowing through your veins.
Order: A Pint of plain €6.00
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