It's always handy to have a list of rosemantic restaurants in Dublin up your sleeve - you never know when it'll be your turn to make a booking for date night.
Unlike other European capitals, say Paris or Rome, town doesn't exactly scream romance. It could be down to the XXL seagulls and all the dogshite mashed around the place, but we do have our own kind of lopsided romantic charm that's hard to resist. There are plenty of top-class restaurants in Dublin that have enough mood lighting, candlesticks, and legroom for footsy-playing that make up for the rest of the city.
If you don't want a disgruntled partner cutting daggers through you as you tuck into your 3-in-1s on Valentines night after leaving it too late to book a romantic meal, stick with us. We've rounded up 17 ideal restaurants to book for the 14th, whether you're looking for small sharing plates, a meaty feast or an intimate, cosy table with romantic background music setting the scene.
You can find Nightmarket in Ranelagh, for more information visit the Instagram.
Quietly known for serving some of the best Thai food in Dublin, there's no questioning Nightmarket's foodie credentials. The food draws on the rustic flavours from the Northern Thai city of Chiang Mai alongside the coastal spicy seafood flavours from the South. The spot is even run by lovebirds - husband and wife team Jutarat and Conor. While there is a 50-seater upstairs room, the alfresco area which resembles a tiled Parisian metro station is the place to be.
The Wine Cellar at Fallon & Byrne
The Wine Cellar is located on Exchequer Street - make a booking right here.
Nestled below Dublin's boujiest supermarket you'll find The Wine Cellar, an cosy cavern with French posters adorning the walls and 300 carefully curated bottles of wine from all over the world to choose from. It's the kind of interior you immediately visualise when you hear the words "intimate" and "romantic" - the big light is permanently switched off with the gentle flicker of candlelight on hand to illuminate your lovers eyes as they tell you about their childhood and plans for the future. the Italian-inspired menu of creamy pastas and Neapolitan pizzas changes with the seasons and there's also a well put together vegan menu so no one needs to miss out.
Via Instagram/Fallon and Byrne
Las Tapas De Lola
Las Tapas de Lola is located on Wexford Street - make a booking here.
A well-trodden Dublin date spot revered for their tasty croquetas and friendly service, with the kind of traditionally romantic interior you'd expect to see in a 90s romcom as a backdrop for the protagonist realising that the person sitting opposite them is the one. De Lola also has a lovely covered outdoor area that feels pretty secluded while also boasting a great view of the throng of Wexford Street. If you find yourself struggling for conversation with your date, all you need to do is look out and judge strangers on the street, as all love birds do. In terms of food, the wide and varied menu means there are plenty of small plate options for fussier eaters, with dreamy desserts for devouring with two spoons too.
Via Instagram/Las Tapas De Lola
You can find Etto on Merrion Row, for more information visit the Instagram.
The name means "small" in Italian, which gives you a bit of an indicator of what the cosy spot on Merrion Row is like inside. It's got a relaxed and chill atmosphere, which is reflected in the paired-down interior which is sparse but well done without any pretensions. There's a fairly small menu made up of modern dishes which continually change, and the plates are surprisingly generous.
You can find Il Vicoletto in Temple Bar's Crow Street, for more information visit the Instagram.
An authentic Italian experience on the outskirts of Temple Bar isn't as tall an order as you think it is - freshly made pasta and punchy reds, with enthusiastic waiters deftly whipping through close knit tables, only buzzin' to tell you about how creamy the burrata is. A fail safe option for V Day and one your date may not have come across before. Bellissimo.
Via Instagram/Il Vicoletto.
La Peniche is a floating restaurant located on the Grand Canal, Mespil Road. Make a booking here.
If you want to treat your date to a really unique dining experience, dinner on a boat in the heart of leafy Dublin 4 could be the setting you've been searching for. Whether you're dining in the cabin, with its red velvet seats and cosy atmosphere or under the stars on deck, you'll feel like you're right out of a Disney movie while chowing down on a French menu that's guaranteed to evoke involuntary oo la la's.
Chez Max is located at the gates of Dublin Castle - make a booking here.
Chez Max is almost cartoonishly romantic, with its classic red awning, idyllic Dublin castle-side location and cosy covered patio out the back. Few Dublin experiences are as sweet as sitting with your back against the walls of Dublin Castle, watching passersby mill by and enjoy a ginormous portion of moules-frites. The combo of pinky-plonky music and the tongue of the waiters makes it feel as if you are en France even if just for an hour - it doesn't get much more romantic than that.
Via Instagram/Chez Max.
You can find Rosa Madre in Temple Bar's Crow Street - for more information visit their Instagram.
No trip to the Italian restaurant run by husband and wife team Luca and Patrycja is ever uneventful. It's a theatrical, fun and extra place that is absolutely bursting with personality. There's a The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe aspect to Rosa Madre, on entering you lose all concept of time and your previous surroundings. The food is quality Italian, with nice talking points (and an IG story or two) brought by the tower of oysters or the flame thrown salt-baked fish. If you want to be wined, dined, and get a video of yourself opening a bottle of bubbly with a large knife look no further than Rosa Madre.
Via Instagram/Rosa Madre
Pichet is located on Trinity Street - make a booking here.
Inside Pichet's bright red door and Parisian awning, you'll find Michelin-mentioned French cooking, with chargrilled meats and gently roasted greens forming aesthetically delightful dishes that you'll rave about for months to come. If you're a meat eater, the tomahawk to share always comes highly recommended but Pichet has great veggie options too. As you'd imagine, the wine list is long and varied with plenty of French options, as well as some interesting additions from the likes of Croatia, Stellenbosch and Crete. As the dishes tend to be crowdpleasers across the board, Pichet is a sure thing for an intimate dinner with the one you love.
Note is located on Fenian Street - make a booking here.
Another ✨cool kid✨ spot, ideal if you're looking to impress your date with your extensive knowledge of Dublin's culinary landscape. Rather than boldly proclaiming "I know a place" and taking them to Burger King on O'Connell Street, treat your love out for an evening at this lowkey and effortlessly chic bar and bistro with a collection of snacks, small plates and meticulously prepared mains - they'll feel like a million bucks.
Via Instagram/Note Dublin.
Glas is located on Chatham Street - make a booking here.
You didn't think we'd forget about the plant-based lovers, did you? For a vegan or vegetarian Valentines night to remember, Glas is your only man. This Michelin-mentioned gem just off Grafton Street is beautiful inside - a leafy menagerie that wouldn't look out of place as a Wes Anderson backdrop, with a really unique fine dining menu carefully crafted without a meaty main in sight. Dishes are vibrant and textured, showcasing some of the best produce in the country, and the dreamboat cocktail menu is the green-tinted cherry on top.
Pickle is located on Camden Street - book in via their website.
You'll rarely hear Indian food in Dublin discussed without a mention of Pickle, a stalwart of the scene known for its impressive combining of North Indian cooking with the best Irish ingredients. Famed for dishes like its ever-popular Goat Keema Pao and coveted chef's tasting menu, Pickle is the kind of spot you book well in advance and salivate over for months after visiting. Canoodle over a korma, stare into one another's eyes over a saag paneer, tell her you love her over a tandoori... you get the picture.
If your partner always inevitably goes for the steak on date night you might as well take them straight to the source, somewhere you can both enjoy some of the best meat-cooked-over-fire on offer in Dublin's fair city.
If you're looking for a guaranteed good meal and exemplary service, Mister S is your man. The team are experts in all things smoke and fire, using the very best of Irish ingredients. Time and effort are key in this elevated kitchen - no process too long, no methods too fiddly, if the end result is worth it for these guys. They're renowned for their meat - hello Burnt End Rendang Spring Rolls - but are becoming increasingly well known for their treatment of fish.
Michelin-listed, the team use the best of Irish ingredients giving them the love and attention they deserve to create complex and layered dishes.
Via Instagram/Mister S.
Big Mike's is located in Blackrock - more info available here
While many spots claim to know their way around a cow carcass, owner/head chef of the Michael's family Gaz Smith has basically written the book on it and it's called And For Mains. Known for his often hilarious social posts and marketing, Gaz marries together super fresh seafood, and aged steaks in all of his restaurants, with a consistently class wine list to boot. No trip to Big Mike's is ever the same and each meal invariably ends in a Jägerbomb or five.
Smith has built up an incredible relationship with some of the best suppliers in the city (and beyond) and as a result gets truly some of the best cuts and catches available. Not one to stick to a menu he chops and changes based on what comes through the door - his signature Surf n Turf is never the same two days in a row. It's the kind of place where you leave your preconceived notions of what to have at the door, and just ask the incredible staff what's in and what's good. Less time stressing over what to order, and more time gazing into the eyes of your beloved.
Michael's opens Wednesday through to Sunday.
Via Instagram/Big Mikes.
Uno Mas is located on Aungier Street. Make a booking right here.
It's the restaurant that made us a meme last year, but what can we say - it's everyone's favourite for a reason.
Tapas really are the perfect cuisine for a Valentines meal - with all that dish sharing, your hands are far more likely to accidentally-on-purpose brush off each other while you both reach for the last padrón pepper, instantly sending sparks flying all over the place. And since they opened in 2018, a table at Uno Mas has (famously) become one of the hottest and most sought after in Dublin. With a carefully curated tapas menu showcasing the best of Irish produce and a great wine list to accompany, this is the ideal spot to book if you want to impress your partner.
Via Instagram/Uno Mas.
You can find Variety Jones on Dublin 8's Thomas Street - for more info visit the website.
This spot on Thomas Street has to be one of the smallest restaurants in town, with most of the seats fitting two people. There's an exclusivity to Variety Jones mainly since it's rock hard to get a booking and the number of people that peek in through the glass front entrance, makes you feel pretty smug too. It's a set menu, which typically has a lot of sharing plates included, so you'll get pretty comfortable sharing your food with your date in these close quarters.
Via Instagram/Variety Jones
Host is located in Ranelagh - make a booking right here.
Since its opening in 2017, a seat in Host's dining room has consistently remained one of the most sought-after in town. It's the kind of outing you look forward to for months (or more specifically, for 62 days, which is how far in advance they accept bookings), with fresh pasta made in-house and paired with a rota of regularly changing, simple ingredients, and Irish meat and seafood grilled to perfection. Anyone who's been will tell you the vibe matches the food, with friendly staff confidently talking you through the menu, recommending the best dishes to share and of course, the best wine to accompany.
Header image via Instagram / glasrestaurant / notedublin