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26th Jan 2020

You’ll be havana ball as soon as you enter this Cuba-inspired Dublin café

James Fenton

Living in Dublin, there aren’t many greater pleasures than getting out and about in our fair city on a weekend morning. Buzzing around town with no real plan in place is always a great shout and just south of the city centre in Rathmines, you can get a real sense of how cosmopolitan our capital has become.

The main Rathmines Road answers all of your shopping and culinary needs without having to venture into town but just around the corner lies a café that will transport you straight to Cuba upon entry. Not literally, obvs.

Ernesto's Cuba-inspired cafe

Ernesto’s is situated on the Rathgar Road, just a stone’s throw from the centre of the suburb but far enough away from the hustle and bustle. That’s not to say it’s particularly quiet in there.

If you don’t get down early enough on a Saturday or Sunday morning, you might need to wait a few minutes for a table or make do with the outdoor seating just out the front – a great shout for summertime, not so much for winter.

cuba-inspired cafe in Rathmines

Back inside, Cuba-themed artwork adorns every nook and cranny and Cuban music will have your toes tapping as you wait to order.

Given its location in the home The Dubs, a local sporting theme is retained by framed, match-worn Dublin jerseys which hang overhead. A quick scan of Ernesto’s on Instagram shows that Sam Maguire is also a frequent visitor with Dublin players often dropping by to show off Ireland’s most famous cup.

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Limited space means there’s only room for about four small tables and one larger one but this can be rearranged depending on the size of your group and how busy the place is. As mentioned previously, weekends can be heaving (particularly in the morning) but getting a table on a weekday would rarely be a problem.

cuban decor

The menu answers all of your breakfast needs from granola to scrambled eggs (highly-recommended), while later in the day there are options like pulled pork sandwiches, a New Yorker, and Ernesto’s own salami, pepperoni, ham and mozzarella sandwich.

Cuba-inspired menu

If you’re visiting to satisfy your sweet tooth you won’t be disappointed either with attention-grabbing meringues sitting on the counter while pancakes and sweet panini (containing Nutella and strawberry) can also be made up.

Of course, there’s the usual tea and coffee whether you’re in for a catch-up with a mate or you want to grab a takeaway cup as you’re passing.

Given that it’s tucked away down the road, even regular visitors to Rathmines may not be familiar with the charm of Ernesto’s but it’s the type of place that if you go there once you’ll want to go back again and again.

Even if you’re a northsider, Ernesto’s is well worth the effort of crossing the Liffey. It’s a lot cheaper than a flight to Cuba, after all.

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