Where to find burnt-end rendang spring rolls, pear and bacon sandwiches, and Chettinad chicken dosas that regularly sell out in the Irish capital
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Dublin has long been a must-stop on any proper European trip. The Irish capital, which is bisected by the scenic River Liffey, has much to offer travelers: Its streets were once wandered by literary stars like James Joyce, while Trinity College houses centuries-old texts like the famous Book of Kells. Most notably, Dublin has always been a great place to drink, whether you’re grabbing a pint at a local pub or touring the Guinness Storehouse. But these days, Dublin is where you go to eat.
There was a time when young chefs had to leave the country to get experience, and for years Dublin’s leading restaurateurs looked to fashionable Nordic cuisine for inspiration. That influence has faded, as incredible local produce has become the driving force of restaurants in town. There is still plenty of global culinary exchange, though, and the city is constantly seeing overseas chefs coming to work in top kitchens and opening places of their own. Meanwhile, for a city known for beer, some of Dublin’s most exciting meals can be found at the many small wine bars opening up, where tasty small plates come paired with carefully selected low-intervention wines.
Update February, 2022:
Like most large cities, Dublin was seriously impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic with a long period of lockdown. It has emerged with fewer closures than expected, but hasn’t been immune to the staffing shortages that have hit other hospitality sectors, forcing some restaurants to limit their hours, open fewer days per week (often Wednesday to Saturday), and reduce lunch services. While hours and offerings are ticking back up, many in the restaurant community remain committed to ensuring a healthy work-life balance for hospitality workers. For now, restaurants still aren’t back to full capacity, face masks are mandated, and proof of vaccination (or recovery from COVID in the last six months) is required for indoor dining.
There are plenty of reasons to get excited about dining in Dublin, including the 38 here.
Price per person, excluding alcohol
$ = Less than €20 (less than $22 USD)
$$ = €20-€40 ($22 – $45 USD)
$$$ = €40-€60 ($45 – $68 USD)
$$$$ = More than €60 (more than $68 USD)
Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission.
Corinna Hardgrave is a restaurant critic and food writer for The Irish Times. She is an international food and wine judge, and the winner of the Food Writing Award at the inaugural Irish Food Writing Awards 2021.