Few modern European cities can match Dublin’s mix of rough spirit and hip energy. Rife with old-school pubs and scratchy-voiced musicians, there has been a recent influx of young entrepreneurial-types who have been fostering a place where creativity and contemporary ideas can flourish. With this unique meshing of history and modernity, there is no better time to check out Dublin and these notable restaurants.
The only restaurant in Ireland with two Michelin stars, Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud is a beacon of opulence. Located in a Georgian house, the refined setting has a museum-like feel that plays well with the artistic presentations of dishes like pave of wild salmon and roast Brittany squab. Prices are known for being the highest in Dublin, but it’s worth it.
Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud / 21 Upper Merrion St, Dublin 2 / +353 1 676 4192
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Opened in 1770 in the historic city center, The Stag’s Head exudes genuine Irish hospitality and hearty comfort foods. For the purest pig flavor and a taste of the country’s traditional cuisine, order the bacon and cabbage—a simple but deliciously deep dish that layers thick slices of tender salt-cured pork loin over savory cabbage and mashed potatoes, topped with gravy-like parsley sauce.
The Stag’s Head / 1 Dame Court, Dublin 2 / +353 1 679 3687
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Credit: Thornton’s Restaurant
Chef and owner Kevin Thornton is a gastronomic legend in Ireland. His food is the edible epitome of the Irish people’s connection to their land, as he personally sources indigenous ingredients, like wild Atlantic sea trout, Commeragh mountain lamb, English asparagus, even 10,000-year-old bog moss. The 5-course tasting menu pulses with Thornton’s deep respect for his ingredients.
Thornton’s / 128 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2 / +353 1 478 7008
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With an unmistakable hot pink door and black-and-white stripe awning, The Pig’s Ear features contemporary takes on traditional Irish cuisine. Try their rendition of shepherd’s pie made with slow-cooked Lough Erne lamb from Northern Ireland and for dessert, the warm Guinness and date pudding served à la Mode.
The Pig’s Ear / 4 Nassau St, Dublin, Co. Dublin City / +353 1 670 3865
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Open every Saturday from 10am to 4pm, this quaint and bustling open market is located in the Temple Bar district, known for its cultural diversity and artsy vibe. At the market you can pick up local apples, cheeses, chocolates and breads, along with quick lunches ranging from sushi to Indian curries to crepes.
Temple Bar Food Market / Meeting House Square, Dublin / +353 1 677 2255
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Located in the Stoneybatter district, L. Mulligan Grocer is re-inventing the traditional Dublin pub in a great way. They have a vast selection of craft beers and source local ingredients for dishes like vegetarian scotch eggs, black pudding and apple bon bons, and turkey kiev with ham hock stuffing.
L. Mulligan Grocer / 18 Stoneybatter, Dublin 7 / +353 1 670 9889
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Credit: Pearl Brasserie
This fine-dining restaurant serves modern French cuisine in a renovated basement coal bunker, making it a comfortable and cozy place to get a beautifully-plated lunch or dinner. Start with elevated classics like the pan-fried duck foie gras or Iberico ham hock croquettes. For dessert, the vanilla bean crème brûlee is custard-y perfection.
Pearl Brasserie / 20 Merrion Street Upper, Dublin 2 / +353 1 661 3572
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This one stop shop houses a comprehensive international wine bar, specialty grocer, and bistro-style restaurant. Stop in to purchase fresh fish and vibrant produce, grab a quick cup of coffee and morning pastry to-go or dine in the top floor restaurant. There are lots of options, none better than the other, so explore and forge your own way.
Fallon & Byrne / 11 -17 Exchequer Street, Dublin 2 / +353 1 472 1010
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Located in the basement of Dublin’s Writers Museum, the aptly named Chapter One is a local favorite for special occasions. They have won numerous awards including Food & Wine’s: Best Restaurant, Best Chef, and Best Sommelier. If you can manage, try reserving the chef’s table for an extra special menu and experience.
Chapter One / 18-19 Parnell Square, Dublin 1 / +353 1 873 2266
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Credit: Doheny & Nesbitt
One of the oldest family-owned pubs in Dublin, this place is always packed and offers standard Irish pub fare like fish and chips and shepherd’s pie. Most of the original features have remained through the years, including the dark mahogany woodwork and glass fixtures, making Doheny & Nesbitt a cultural asset for the city.
Doheny & Nesbitt / 5 Baggot Street Lower, Dublin 2 / +353 1 676 2945
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This iconic café serves breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner, so stop by at your convenience for meticulously made meals in a casual space for a great price. The big winner for me is the pulled pork sandwich served on tangy sourdough with spinach and celery remoulade.
Brother Hubbard / 153 Capel St, Dublin 1 / +353 1 441 1112
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In the heart of Dublin, Pichet is an Irish take on a French bistro serving fresh, local cuisine and handcrafted cocktails. The ambiance changes between the three different dining areas: choose the front room for a light, calm and open meal, the main dining room for right-in-the-action kitchen views, and the conservatory for a more intimate atmosphere. Reservations are recommended for both lunch and dinner, so plan ahead.
Pichet / 14-15 Trinity St, Dublin 2 / +353 1 677 1060
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Owned by Irish celebrity chef, Derry Clarke, L’ecrivain (French for “the writer”) features a menu of French favorites like foie gras torchon and mille-feuille (a layered puff pastry and creamy custard dessert). They have an entire menu dedicated to vegetarians, so everyone can get just what they want.
L’ecrivain / 109a Baggot Street Lower, Dublin 2 / +353 1 661 1919
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A specialty cheese shop in Dublin’s city center, Sheridan’s Cheesemongers is a cheese lover’s paradise. With tons of Irish and European cheeses as well as accompaniments like chutneys, wines, breads and meats, you can create a delectable spread for a picnic or an after-dinner charcuterie plate. They also make a small selection of sandwiches using their top-notch products.
Sheridan’s Cheesemongers / 11 South Anne Street, Dublin 2 / +353 1 679 3143
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Warm and inviting, Gallagher’s Boxty House is a rustic Irish restaurant in the lively Temple Bar neighborhood in central Dublin. With a small and focused menu, Boxty House is known for their namesake boxty—a traditional Irish potato pancake or bread that, over the years, has been adapted into multiple variants such as gnocchi-like dumplings and even crispy fries. Its central location keeps this place bustling with all types, sipping Guinness and patiently awaiting boxty platters featuring four varietals: dumplings, loaves, fries and pancakes.
Gallagher’s Boxty House / 20-21 Temple Bar, Dublin 2 / +353 1 677 2762
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Credit: Chrystel Rigaud and Ruza Lecko
Updated Irish home-cooking is the specialty of this quaint restaurant above the The Winding Stair book store. Enjoy the view of Dublin’s Liffey River and Ha-penny Bridge, while eating Irish seafood chowder with chorizo, cheddar mash, or an array of Irish charcuterie served with homemade bread.
The Winding Stair / 40 Lower Ormond Quay, Dublin 1 / +353 1 872 7320
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Known locally as “Grave Diggers” for its proximity to the biggest cemetery in Ireland, Glasnevin Cemetery, this pub serves fantastic coddle, a time-honored comfort stew of slow-cooked pork, onion and potato. From the food to homey atmosphere, this place will warm you from the inside out.
John Kavanagh / 1 Prospect Square, Dublin 9 / +353 1 830 7978
Feature photo credit: Miguel Mendez