EVERY time I go out to eat I say the annoying words to my husband: “We’re going to eat in next weekend as I’m broke and we need to stop wasting money on food.” I’ve more important things to spend my money on…like new boots and my baby. Not in that exact order but you catch my drift. But then the weekend comes round and next thing I know I’m in the queue looking for a table for two.
If anyone in the office ever wants an opinion on a restaurant I’ve usually been there or I’m planning to go there. Eating out for me is my form of relaxation as I get to chat to friends or my husband and not be distracted by the TV or the unhung pictures that I’ve been planning on putting up for over a year.
So here, in no particular order, are my top places to check out.
Bastible, 111 South Circular Road, Dublin 8
You’ll have to make a reservation in advance for this popular Dublin 8 haunt.
Expect a tasty, twisty mix of European and World cuisine from the mind of head chef Barry FitzGerald (formerly of Etto Wine Bar on Merrion Row and London’s Michelin-starred Harwood Arms). Two courses: €32. Three courses: €38. Now open for weekend lunch. (I don’t get the impression it’s very baby-friendly…will have to investigate that!)
San Lorenzo, South Great Georges Street, Dublin 2.
Great atmosphere for a weekend dinner. Menu is pretty huge – stuffed with straight-up delicious New York/Italian options – so there’s something for everyone. Try the prawn starter, pictured below, followed by one of their premium steaks. The lamb fillet also went down a storm with himself. Early Bird menu is also available.
Winding Stair, 40 Lower Ormond Quay, Dublin 1
Great hearty food. Don’t go there unless you are hungry because you will be served up a feast. Try the smokies to start. After that, any of their Irish-cuisine-style meat or fish dishes will soon leave you in a blissful food coma. Excellent wine options, especially for a cheeky post-dinner digestif (or is it just my hubby that’s getting into this?). If you’ve your heart set on a particular dessert, consider skipping the starter as the portions are massive…you have been warned!
Craft, Harold’s Cross, Dublin 6
I was pleasantly surprised at how superb the food was for a neighbourhood restaurant, which just shows how Ireland’s foodie landscape is changing. It was more high end than I expected (as in expensive) but the food was top notch and I didn’t mind paying town prices. I loved my goat’s cheese starter and hake for my main course. Early bird menu available.
Drury Buildings , Drury Street, Dublin 2.
If I’m honest I think the food is ‘nice’. A word my boss hates to hear me use. On this occasion ‘nice’ means ‘good but not amazing’. You might think it’s strange then that I’ve included it, but it’s the atmosphere and superb cocktails that draw me in. For some reason, every time I leave I feel like a great night’s been had.
Pickle, Camden Street, Dublin 2
I managed to try this place a while back with my local ladies but every time I try to book a table with my husband it’s booked out. Pickle delivers a new take on ‘North Indian Traditional Cuisine’. We all know what a curry tastes like at this stage, so stick your neck out and sample something from the Chop section – for example, the Tandoori Lamb Chop with Ginger & Fennel.
The Vintage Kitchen, Poolbeg Street, Dublin 2
All the food is well above average. If the pork, pictured below, is on the menu grab it as fast as you can. Also, it’s BYOB and they don’t charge corkage. Score.
See my full review for more.
The Richmond, Richmond Street, Dublin 8
Good food and just a stroll from Whelan’s where you can end your night. Try the Cote de Boeuf. Check out my previous blog post for a full review.
Fumbally, Supper Club, Fumbally Lane, Dublin 8
Fumbally is known around Dublin – and probably the whole of Ireland at this stage – for being the ultimate spot for a healthy, hearty brunch (and, let’s be honest, a bit of people watching). What’s not quite as well known is that they run a Wednesday-night supper club, offering different cuisines every week. Whenever I go for brunch I try their specials – the Poor Man’s Asparagus dish was just one highlight – as they always hit the spot. When I was last there on a Wednesday night I had a really tender cote de boeuf with mustard mash. Delicious.
Manifesto, Rathmines, Dublin 6
I used to live across the road from this place but weirdly only started going to it after I moved out. The pizzas are huge but proper old-school Italian. Sometimes the chef even walks out and does a little pizza dough throwing. Sounds strange but makes you feel like you are in Italy. Try the Diavola Pizza – spicy greatness. Perfect place to eat before or after the nearby Swan cinema.
I’ll be trying a few more restaurants soon like the recently opened Luna on Drury Street. That’s if I can ever get a reservation.