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03rd Oct 2019

The 100 best places to eat and drink in Dublin 2020

Éadaoin Fitzmaurice

The ULTIMATE Dublin foodie bucket list is here…

Writing a list like this is never going to be easy, not just for the sheer amount of time it took to put together (a very long time if you’re wondering) but because food is so subjective.

I didn’t want somewhere like Patrick Guilbaud, the only restaurant in Ireland with two Michelin stars, to be at number one. Obviously a place like that is going to offer top-class dining. Instead, I wanted to highlight the places that might not be as high up in such ratings but where I’ve truly had an amazing dining experience be it a coffee shop, cocktail bar or traditional Irish pub.

These are places that have gone above and beyond impressing me time and time again.

I wrote down a list of places I’ve visited in my two years at Lovin Dublin and I marked them both on quality of food and atmosphere/experience.

In my opinion, these 100 places represent the best of what the capital has to offer in terms of food and drink.

So, here goes nothing, hopefully you agree with me and I have given you some new places to add to your bucket list:

100. Grove Road

Grove Road has lots of character and it’s a fab place to sit and chill while watching the world go by at the canal. There’s also some deadly grub to munch on while you sip on the good stuff.

Try their iced coffee – it’s a must.

99. Zakura

Zakura is great for a cheap date night because it’s BYOB.

From the same owners of Musashi, Zakura is really good value and the sushi is proper delish.

I’m a huge fan of their bento boxes. They come with a toasty bowl of miso soup and are always super tasty.

98. Little Frieda’s

Little Frieda’s is a darling neighbourhood café located in Dun Laoghaire Industrial Estate that serves up seasonal food and speciality coffee.

The café itself boasts pretty simple but trendy decor. Tiled floors, white bricked walls and wooden chairs give it that old fashioned feel but there’s also brightly coloured cushions, miniature flower jars and wall art, giving it a contemporary vibe also.

They serve an all-day breakfast option, a lunch menu and brunch on the weekend along with sweet treats and speciality beverages.

97. Pho Viet

Pho Viet on Parnell Street is a dream for those who love toasty bowls of veg and noodles.

The menu consists of delicious recipes made from premium Irish ingredients. Vietnamese food is considered some of the healthiest in the world and their dishes are exactly that with lots of ginger, fresh mint, fresh coriander, cinnamon, bird’s eye chilli, lime and basil leaves.

96. 777

You’d walk right by 777 without realising it’s there. This is not a mistake.

They serve up some of the best quality Mexican food I’ve tried in the city including crunchy tostadas, soft tacos and cheesy quesadillas.

Don’t forget to pair that with a margarita while you’re there.

95. Riot

This dive bar brings a sense of the Berlin bar scene to Dublin with bold neon signs, retro cocktails and banging tunes.

Inside you’ll find pool tables, ping pong tables and a basement that’s hopping with DJs every weekend making Riot a sneaky spot to let loose.

94. Paulie’s Pizza

Paulie’s Pizza in Ballsbridge knows how to make seriously good pizza.

The place is tiny with tables wedged in beside each other. It’s usually buzzing with tech heads spilling out from the local Google and Facebook offices down the road.

They serve a mix of Italian and New York-style pizzas. The toppings are simple enough without having to go over the top to entice you in.

93. Fable And Stey

The café can be found down a quiet road, where there’s not much else but dainty houses and a green. It’s a really calm area, barely any cars passing on the road and none of the common city noises to interrupt your train of thought.

They serve all-day breakfast and a simple but mighty lunch menu. Of course, brunch is served on weekends for all you avo and eggs lovers.

A darling spot away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

92. Elephant And Castle

When someone mentions chicken wings in Dublin, one of the first places that springs to mind has to be Elephant & Castle. Ever reliable, you just can’t go wrong here.

We took a trip around the city and tried various chicken wings and by unanimous vote, Elephant and Castle came out on top.

91. Stag’s Head

The Stags Head has been in business since 1895 and has been a much-beloved public house ever since.

Fun fact: it was actually frequented by iconic figures such as James Joyce. But, it was an integral part of Dublin life long before that.

An ad in the Irish Daily Independent in 1895 described it as “the most extensive and luxuriously fitted bar in the city”.

Today, this iconic pub is a great place for pints and craic.

90. Urbanity

Urbanity is a trendy urban café in Smithfield.

Nestled into the mix of cobbled streets and new builds, its bright, uncluttered interior is perfect for working remotely with a coffee on hand.

They serve breakfast, brunch, lunch and sweet things here. All the large plates of salads and treats are all on display along the counter. Their tea is organic loose-leaf tea and comes from Clement & Pekoe. They roast their own beans on-site – the roaster makes a cool addition to the café on display at the back. Plug in, power up and pro-caffeinate.

89. Pot Bellied Pig

This stunning millennial-pink café serves up an all-day brunch menu along with lunch options during the week.

Best of all, they put on one of the best drag brunches during the weekend. If you’re ever looking for something out of the ordinary to do on the weekend this is a must – I’ve honestly never laughed so much, the prosecco helps too.

88. Overends Kitchen

Overends Kitchen at Airfield Estate is an oasis tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

The bright, almost Scandinavian-style restaurant is surrounded by glass and pinewood and overlooks a pond.

Overends Kitchen uses produce straight from the farm at its doorstep, meaning fresh and creative food.

Their ingredients are thoughtfully sourced with milk, meat, fruit, veg and eggs coming from the farm and nearby producers and the menu is rustic and comforting yet modern and light.

Freshly baked cinnamon buns, apple custard brioche and a bowl of toasted granola with rhubarb from the garden and Jersey curd from the cows grazing outside are just some of the treats to look forward to.

87. Damascus Gate

Damascus Gate earns a spot on this list because it’s an all-round extraordinary dining experience.

You can expect some truly great things in this tucked-away local restaurant.

Belly dancers, vine leaves with fresh lemon and handmade baklava make this little spot really stand out. If you’re looking for a unique food experience, this is deffo one to put on your list.

You’ll be up dancing by the end of it!

86. Workman’s

Workman’s is always a good time.

The Georgian house club has a super casual feel and is always jammed with hipsters, rockers and session heads bopping to indie tunes until the early hours of the morning.

The beer garden is always a buzz and if you get peckish during the night Wowburger is there to settle your cravings.

There’s karaoke on Sunday nights, gigs, showcases and everything in between.

An all-round deadly spot that never fails.

85. Bottega Toffoli

Hidden behind Dublin Castle is a teeny tiny pizzeria run by a two-person team. They will take your order, cook your food and welcome you into what feels more like a home than a restaurant with cute artworks on the walls, about five or so tables and a wide-open view to the back, where glorious pizza smells waft out.

There’s no rush or stress about the place as some pro-Pizzaiolo takes care of the grub. Sit back, catch up and wait for the feast to begin.

84. Legit

There’s no better place to meet a friend for a catch-up, nurse a coffee and read a book alone or even bring your dog for a treat than Legit Coffee Co.

Inside, you’ll find marble counters and walls and a trendy, hipster decor.

Grab a flat white and chocolatey cookie and chill; just beware of the crumb-muncher sniffing at your feet, their puppy-eyes in full swing.

The brunch menu here is a must also with stunning avocado toast, flowery porridge bowls and sweet pancake stacks.

83. Coke Lane

Nestled at the back of iconic Dublin bar Lucky’s, you’ll spot a little blue stall where gusts of wind waft the most incredible cheesy, saucy, firey smell into the atmosphere.

Coke Lane Pizza is a pizza-lovers dream.

This small but mighty stall has seven pizzas on the menu, with some being vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free – all are made from scratch right in front of you.

82. Galliot Et Gray

This place is one of the hidden gems we’ve been keeping from you until now, but today we are feeling super nice so we’ll share the love.

Galliot on Clanbrassil Street make all of their sambos with the fresh bread they prepare every morning and it’s super delish. Top that off with rustic pizzas in the evening and you’ll see why it’s earned a place on this list.

81. Frank Ryan’s

Frank Ryan’s is yer only man for a toastie and a pint of plain.

This quirky bar is decorated with twinkling fairy lights, bras and boots hanging from the ceiling.

It’s super casual with some furry friends often pottering about.

80. Kehoe’s

This iconic Dublin pub has been a favourite among locals and tourists alike for centuries.

On Thursday and especially Friday evenings, this place is absolutely booming, it’s near impossible to get inside so groups of friends flock together on the street.

79. Doolally

Doolally is a brand new Indian restaurant on Dublin’s South Richmond Street that aims to bring a fresh concept in Indian cuisine to Ireland.

It has been inspired by the all-important spice route which connected India with Ireland and has seen explorers return with fantastical stories of busy markets, street stalls, eclectic tearooms, beautiful colours and incredible people.

When it comes to food, they describe fluffy, gently charred naans, thick, flavoursome curries; hot pickles and exotic relishes, refreshing coolers, creamy lassis and zingy sharbat.

78. Eathos

Eating healthy isn’t always easy but when you come across a place like this you’ll wonder why you ever craved Coco Pops for breakfast.

Eathos is the ultimate health-food spot. It’s near impossible not to spend a good five minutes taking photos of your food before you eat it here.

I’m utterly obsessed with their colourful, fruity acai bowls and would argue they’re some of the best in the city (the portion size is HUGE!).

This one is loaded with granola, coconut flakes, cacao nibs, bee pollen, goji berries, honey, fresh fruit and of course, acai smoothie:

(It’s super filling too so you won’t be snacking during the day if you have this for brekkie.)

77. Fia

Fia is a small neighbourhood cafe in Rathgar that provides customers with the highest quality food, coffee and service in a super dreamy and relaxed setting.

The food in Fia is very simple with a focus on using the best produce available, using as much Irish produce as possible and working with the seasons. The menu that they use is small and changes regularly.

76. Chez Max

This adorable bistro is tucked away beside Dublin Castle is so discreet that you probably wouldn’t even notice it unless you were actively searching.

Staff are friendly and the venue is lit by simple tealights at each table.

The vibe is sophisticated but casual with a simple menu.

You can sit on their terrace and watch the world go by as you enjoy your morning coffee, or treat yourself to a cheese board and a glass of wine after work (they have a great wine selection).

75. Hatch And Sons

True Déise-heads know a good crusty blaa when they try it and Lovin’s General Manager and Waterford local Megan Cassidy swears by the ones in Hatch and Sons.

She claims they are:

“The perfect bite with a soft, doughy centre and floured to perfection.”

can’t argue with that.

74. The Liquor Rooms

The Liquor Rooms invites you in with a bright neon sign saying ‘Liquor’, down some stairs into a Victorian-style living room.

They have four separate rooms: the Black Rabbit, which looks like a burlesque circus; the boom room, complete with dancefloor and bandstand; a room which looks like the type of glittering gold bar you see in old movies; and the conservatory.

Most recently, they have converted the back room to The Cauldron. This Harry Potter-esque venue has crazy cocktails and magical vibes.

73. Brother Hubbard

The guys in Brother Hubbard have a bunch of exciting different dishes including pulled pork with beans and poached eggs and my own spicy eggs with coriander and chorizo with flavours almost dancing off the plate.

An electric mix that makes you want to punch the air and start dancing the Macarena while screaming at the top of your lungs.

Classic brunch dishes done in a new and exciting way.

72. Veginity

A buzzing café serving exclusively vegan and vegetarian food.

What started as a food truck has now found a permanent casual dining spot serving unfussy food.

Owner-chef, Mark Senn changes the menu regularly with a tasting and a la carte options. There is enormous imagination and inventiveness behind Veginity.

71. Candlelight

Candlelight Bar is an amazing place for date night.

Located above Siam Thai in Dundrum Town Centre, with another branch in Malahide, this piano bar serves up some of the most unique, eye-catching and photogenic cocktails I’ve ever seen.

From gin baths with a rubber duck to a steal top hat with a single plum floating in it, you’ll be left gobsmacked every time a cocktail is put in front of you here. One of the funkiest and quirkiest inventions of theirs is their take on a Smoked Old Fashioned.

70. Network Café

Settle down with a coffee inside the gorgeous Network Café and prepare to do some dog spotting.

Their pet-friendly policy is definitely a hit with customers and so is their brunch – you can’t go wrong with their Notions on Toast (yes, it involves avocado…)

69. Vintage Cocktail Club

Ring an unassuming doorbell to discover one of Dublin’s coolest cocktail joints.

From focusing on the ice, spraying all sorts of fancy over the drinks and generally being awesome this is one of those places you HAVE to experience at least once in Dublin.

The intimate setting makes it ideal for date night.


This D7 café has one of the best daily brunch menus in the city, plus plenty of sweet treats. Among all that deliciousness are their spiced carrot and walnut pancakes (made with spelt flour and almond milk with citrus curd and banana or poached fruit), spiced Irish sausage scramble (with chopped avocado, creme fraiche and fresh coriander on sourdough toast and optional bacon), and they even manage to make porridge sound unreal (with pomegranate, pumpkin seeds with cardamom / Newgrange Camelina oil, honey and chopped nuts or banana and honey).

It’s a dotey place and a must for those weekends when you can’t decide where to go for brunch.

67. Toners

Home to one of the best snugs in Dublin Toners is always jammed with working professionals from 5pm onwards.

There’s always a buzz about the place and the pints of Guinness are top quality.

66. Meltdown

Meltdown on Crow Street in Temple Bar serves up melted cheese madness and artisan coffee.

They take the wonderful Irish delicacy, that is the cheese toasty, to a whole new level with a range of drool-worthy flavours.

There are five decadent sandwiches on offer with each one cheesier than the last. They even serve a pulled pork toasty loaded with mac’n’cheese, omg.

Hungover? You need to pop in here.

65. The Little Pig

A hidden speakeasy that’s just waiting to be discovered.

The Little Pig is from the folks behind Suffolk Street’s beautiful, underground Blind Pig speakeasy – Michael Martin & Co.

It takes up the floor above Pacino’s restaurant and is all luxurious red velvet walls, polished bronze roofing, navy velvet seating, white tabletops, dimmed lighting and tasselled lamps.

It’s pure mysterious, intriguing, elegant, old-school class that brings you back to another era.

64. Klaw

Klaw brings a taste of the sea to Dublin.

Their idea is simple – super fresh seafood in a relaxed atmosphere where you can try some deadly seafood dishes.

Klaw’s Oysters, from Galway Bay, Waterford, Dooncastle and the Flaggy Shore, are served three ways: naked, dressed or torched.

63. The Gravediggers

This unsuspecting old school Dublin pub serves shockingly tasty tapas and probably the best pint of Guinness in Dublin.

Their tapas menu had a little bit of everything, which is my favourite way to eat. It’s also super reasonable costing between €3 – €7 for each well-proportioned option.

You’ll find everything from meatballs, fish cakes, chorizo, mac’n’cheese, flatbread and dips, prawns and crispy pork belly.

63. Storyboard

Storyboard café is a trendy spot that can be found in Islandbridge. It’s a dog-friendly venue, so you can bring your woofer along for some furry company too.

They have a great variety of brekkie, lunch dishes, and weekend brunches.

If you don’t have time to sit and eat, they have very cute little takeaway pots so you can enjoy it on the go.

Rice bowls, fancy sausage sambos and gorgeous sausage rolls are the stars of the show here.

62. Mad Egg

Mad Egg turned the country mad for chicken burgers when they opened last year with queues out the door in the evenings.

The trendy eatery offers a simple but mighty menu.

There are six burger options on the menu – Some sweet, some spicy, some veggie, but all are made from fresh, Irish produce.

61. Chimac

Chimac is a Korean-style chicken joint at 76 Aungier Street. The restaurant serves up chicken sandwiches (burgers) and chicken pieces including wings, thighs, boneless bits and a vegan option.

The flavours in the meat and toppings are insane.

As well as the unreal grub, Chimac serves up frosé and Jinto, which is a frozen wine and grapefruit cocktail. It’s unreal and will be such a vibe on sunny days in the city.

60. Rita’s

This pizza joint is just a hop, skip and jump from the Ranelagh Luas stop.

The minute you step inside the door you’re greeted unreal hand-painted murals and some of the friendliest faces around. From there you notice the big wood-fired oven and you know you’re in for a decent feed.

Their pizza menu has a little something for everyone with their nduja pizza being my personal fave.

59. Assassination Custard

Walking past this teeny-tiny cafe on the corner of Kevin Street, you’d be forgiven for thinking it was yet another greasy spoon type serving fried bacon sambos for nearby construction workers.

Assassination Custard only has two tables in the small room, a round wooden one crooning out for communal dining, and a cosy table by the wall for two.

Run by husband and wife team Ken ‘n Gwen, the place is a mish-mash of their kid’s drawings bluetacked to the walls, a large watermelon as a table centrepiece, and random records.

You won’t find any fancy frills or fake fuss here: they open only from 12-3pm, and the menu, which changes daily, is hand scribbled on a brown envelope and thoughtfully explained to you by Gwen.

Throw some tangy Middle Eastern flavours into a pot with South Italy, add in a creative mix of locally sourced fish and organic veggies, and you have the bare bones of the ever-changing menu of Assassination Custard.

This needs to be on your radar.

58. L’Gueuleton

L’Gueuleton is a double-whammy kind of spot. You can sit outside nursing a glass of wine in the sun and watching the hustle and bustle of Fade Street or tuck yourself away from the madness inside.

The venue is huge with a homely, rustic feel to it – tables are lit by candle and 70s music played across the room. The food is surprisingly good, all with a French twist so if you’re a fan of foie gras and onion soup this is the place for you. It’s super central so you can hop to bars like Hogans and Idlewild for a pint after, the food is incredible and the atmosphere is exactly what you’d hope for.

57. Idlewild

Just a few steps across the street from L’Gueuleton is an unassuming bar called Idlewild that feels like someone’s cosy sitting room inside.

Brought to us by the same folks behind The Market Bar and The Chelsea Drugstore, Idlewild derives its name from a drinking hole that was once housed in JFK airport, which was a renowned den of powerful mobsters and politicians.

It’s a neighbourhood bar designed to suit all tastes with its long comfy couches, dim lighting, stacks of books and massive fireplace.

56. Grogan’s

One of the most iconic pubs in the country with some of the best people-watching to be had. The only thing you’ll need with that pint is one of their lovely toasties. A pub as it should be.

55. Bibi’s

A hipster mecca for weekend brunch.

Bibi’s is run by two sisters who took the building and turned it into the cutest and funkiest little space you will ever find. In a world dominated by chains, franchises and restaurants with little soul this place just screams personality.

It’s also one of the most affordable brunch menus in the city which is always a great feeling.

Their menu offers exciting dishes for the veggies out there who often feel they are missing out when eating brunch.

54. Bread 41

This Pearse Street café has its own on-site mill so you know it’s gonna be good.They make some of the tastiest bread I’ve had in the city.

The bakery is also a café that serves up breakfast and lunch, as well as selling bread and pastries to go.

They also have a delish takeaway pizza menu from 5pm to 10pm.

53. Póg

Fueling the healthy phenomenon, Póg is Dublin’s answer to delicious, healthy treats – at even more deliciously affordable price tags.

Scrimping neither on taste nor aesthetic value, they seem to have it all.

With two branches, one on Tara Street and one on Bachelor’s Walk, you can get a kickass brunch on either side of the Liffey.

Their pancakes are unreal.

52. Peruke And Periwig

Located on Dawson St, this is not somewhere that easily flies under the radar. Its unassuming exterior doesn’t make it as flashy or eye-catching as its many trendy neighbours, but its mystique coupled with award-winning cocktails makes it somewhere that’s surely been on many Dubliner’s lists of places to go.

From the minute you walk in it’s impossible not to marvel at the strange yet beautiful ambience. Its magnificent classic mirrored bar and variety of 1700s style powdered wigs arranged around the room make stepping into Peruke & Periwig feel like you’ve stepped through a portal to a completely different world.

51. Glovers Alley

Glovers Alley  is a swanky Millennial pink fine-dining restaurant on the first floor of the Fitzwilliam hotel.

Dubliner Andy McFadden is the executive chef, having moved from London where he lived for 12 years, working in the prestigious Pied à Terre restaurant. Fun fact: At age 25, Andy was the youngest chef in London to hold a Michelin star, so you know he means business.

A complete lack of ego, pure passion and determination to never settle makes Andy’s go at Glover Alley well worth backing.

50. Kinara Kitchen

This is Pakistani food at its absolute best and you’ll love their branches in both Ranelagh and Clontarf. Stunning curries, amazing service, a wonderful atmosphere and delicious cocktails make it a unique and memorable venue.

49. Yamamori Izakaya

I’m sure you’ve experienced one of the Yamamori branches at some point in your life but let me tell you a secret: The Yamamori Izakaya Sake Bar on George’s Street is by far the best of all.

They specialise in unfussy Japanese food.

They serve a sushi and Japanese menu which is like Japanese tapas but the portion sizes are bigger than expected and the food is honestly best in class.

Try the duck soba noodles – it’s probably the tastiest noodle bowl I’ve had in Dublin to date. A fellow Lovin employee also swears by the rainbow sushi platter.

48. The Blue Anchor

You wouldn’t even know The Blue Anchor exists.

The place is very funky as it’s hidden, small, and boasts an unusual wine list. They serve a three-course set menu on Friday and Saturday and cheese boards from Tuesday to Thursday.

The whole experience is everything you’d hope for. Owner Marcin is super engaging, taking you through every single dish as it’s served, why he chose it and where each ingredient was from.

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47. Vietnom

Vietnom is a stunning Vietnamese food that can be found at the back of The Glimmer Man in Stoneybatter on Thursday-Saturday 5:30-10pm and Sunday 4:30-9pm.

Set up by foodies Milly Murphy and Alex Grunee, it’s one of the most exciting food trucks in the country which bold and brilliant flavours and very cool vibes.

The purely veggie menu changes weekly and uses local ingredients to whip up exotic tastes.

Vietnamese food is fresh and zesty, usually made with a spattering of chilli, garlic and lime, and Vietnom’s rotating menu makes good use of them all.

46. Craft

This neighbourhood bistro is run by renowned chef Philip Yeung and has a shiny reputation among Dublin’s restaurant scene for serving the best local ingredients, cooking them with flair and – most importantly – whopper flavours.

Awarded Michelin Bib Gourmand status in 2018 for its “modern and creative” dishes with “vibrant colours and fresh, natural flavours” Craft serves up brunch, lunch and drool-worthy dinners.

The best cooking can often be found outside the city, and Craft is proof. Go alone, go with a gang, but please – just go.

45. Marco Pierre White

Marco Pierre White has a huge reputation but he’s somebody who always stayed behind his stove when cooking. He trained Gordon Ramsay and is alleged to have made him cry as an apprentice.

One of the most famous chefs in the world, and although he is clearly not cooking the food himself anymore, the staff are incredible. This is on the pricey side of things, but melt-in-your-mouth good, and cooked with military precision.

Seems like we’re not the only fans, Ariana Grande dined here twice in two days!

44. Host

Host in Ranelagh is an intimate and minimalist eatery that’s all about “small plates and quality cuts”.

Their dinner menu boasts the likes of Salami, Nduja ,Olives & Smoked Garlic (€12), Pappardelle Duck Ragu (€11/21), Pumpkin Cappellacci & Sage Butter (€8/€15) and many more intriguing dishes.

43. 9 Below

This slick underground cocktail bar has lots of character.

Owned by NolaClan, the same group behind House on Leeson Street and Xico, the swanky venue has a focus on table service, nicely dressed guests, and a reservations-only policy.

With a speakeasy-style design with premier alcohol brands, it is a glam spot for an occasion.

42. Hang Dai

This authentic Asian restaurant looks like a tacky inner-city Chinese from the front entrance but walk through this area and you’ll discover one of the coolest venues around.

The contemporary Chinese food place is all about deadly food, slick tunes and proper magic from some of Ireland’s top chefs and party makers.

41. Pichet

Everything about Pichet gives the impression that it’s a swanky, high-class restaurant that’s way out of our league, everything except the price. The small but extremely busy bistro on Trinity Street serves up one of the tastiest steaks in Dublin.

40. King Sitric

Overlooking the stunning Irish Sea, this upscale restaurant is a 9-minute walk from Howth Lighthouse and a 10-minute walk from the train station.

Inside, the restaurant carries a nautical vibe with a classic feel. It’s ideal for intimate dining, there are lovely tables by the window or booths if you’d prefer. The whole place was dimly lit with pretty candles placed on each table – not the ideal lighting for an Instagram post but very glam and sophisticated.

If you’re a lover of seafood, there’s no place better to try it than right beside the sea where it was caught.

39. The Cobblestone

The perfect night in Dublin includes a live trad session in The Cobblestone with a bag of crisps and a pint.

This truly is a hub for Irish music and it has been for more than five generations.

The trad sessions run seven nights a week so you can literally call in any time. The best part though is that the people playing are literally just doing it because they adore it, they aren’t there to entertain you or put on a show, they’re just there to play (and they are unbelievably talented). It really is Irish culture at its finest.

38. Kale + Coco

What started out as a stunning little smoothie bowl pop-up a few years back has now become one of the trendiest and most Instagrammable cafés in Dublin. 

Taking influence from the Sydney and LA food scene, the decor consists of hanging pots, white gleaming walls with murals of tropical plants, quirky cushions, marble-top tables and swinging seats.

The flavours in the acai bowls work so well together and the Acai has this brilliant bright pink colour to it. Each piece of fruit is positioned perfectly and each flake of coconut and rose petal is sprinkled with care.

37. Mr Fox

Mr. Fox brings a touch of fine dining to Parnell Street.

The venue, also in a basement, is big, bright and welcoming, with sunlight pouring in from all angles. It’s a stylish place with some slick dishes on offer including a delectable recreation of a walnut whip – a childhood favourite of mine.

36. The Vintage Kitchen

The Vintage Kitchen specialises in real rustic and good cooking, think home-style cooking but on a majorly professional level.

Incredible local produce is a real highlight on the menu, shown off to perfection with the Doran’s smoked salmon, pink shrimp cocktail, horseradish puree, endive salad, followed by a Grilled filet of prime Irish Beef, caponata, tenderloin of Broccoli, roasted baby parsnip, spiced sautéed potatoes.

35. Oralé

Oralé describes themselves as Mexican street food using international flavours.

The flavour bursts out of each juicy bite you take. The effort that goes into each dish is a full-on joke and you can taste the hours of preparation that happens behind the scenes.

34. Lil Portie

Lil Portie is one of the very, very few places on this list that I have yet to visit but after reading it out to my work colleagues, more than a few said that Lil Portie needs to be a part of it.

Zesty and spicy West Indian flavours and cooking styles from the Caribbean coast means serious food – think Jerk chicken and grilled plantains with expert use of the sweet but spicy Scotch Bonnet pepper.

Lil Portie is a Caribbean pop-up owned by Nick Reynolds, who uses recipes from cooking with his Jamaican granny mixed with an Irish flair.

33. PI

I love PI so much that they dedicated a pizza to Lovin after filming an Éadaoin Vs Alan video and naming it the best pizza in Dublin.

Located on George’s Street, they specialise in wood-fired pizzas with a little something for everyone – light or meaty, cheesy or saucy.

Led by Laois native Reggie White and his business partner John Savage, the venue boasts a long room with simple, edgy decor.

Mix a man with a passion for food and another with a cunning business plan and you get yourself a whopper pizza joint.

The dough on the pizza is like no other – fluffy yet crispy and almost bubbling when it’s put in front of you.

32. Blackbird

Every Friday the Lovin office closes at 4pm and the team head for pints. It’s a rare occasion when our watering hole is not Blackbird.

Loaded with hipsters, cool kids and young working professionals, Blackbird is always buzzing. With an impressively good beer menu, Blackbird is atmospheric, with gorgeous decor and genuinely good fun.

They also have Jenga there. JENGA.


WILDE in The Westbury is super underrated. Inside there’s ivy-covered walls, marble tables, a decadent menu and incredible service making it perfect spot for an occasion meal.

I headed there with my family for my graduation meal and it was the perfect setting. Every single person enjoyed their food too which is a good sign!

30. Etto

Casual dining but top class food and service, Etto has a special place in our hearts.

It’s an exceptional dining experience with friendly staff, incredible food and delicious wine. It’s easy to see when you dine here why it’s so hard to get a table. They also do a midweek “Chef’s Midweek Tasting Menu” from Monday to Wednesday for €35 that’s definitely worth trying.

29. Pickle

With a focus on North Indian cuisine, Pickle is known for pushing the boat out a little with some really adventurous dishes, so you’ll find lots of new and exciting things to try.

Pickle is the creation of multi-award winning chef Sunil Ghai and restaurateur Benny Jacob. The venue has a casual and chilled vibe that marries Dublin with Bollywood and the foodie streets of Calcutt. You can choose between Gupshup (small plates), Tandoori Chakhna (chops & game) and Desi Khana (curries & biryani), all tied together with traditional zingy pickle and contemporary twists on classical Indian condiments and sides.

28. Drury Buildings

Drury Buildings is the perfect place to retreat from the hustle and bustle and tuck into a glass of rosé or a glam goblet of gin and tonic.

They have a really cool garden terrace out the back that’s usually packed on the weekend with brunch-goers tucking into Mediterranean food and swishing mimosa glasses about the place.

27. Liath

Liath, the Irish word for grey, is a fine dining restaurant created by chef Damien Grey. Grey was the co-owner of the one-star Michelin Star Restaurant, ‘Heron And Grey’ which closed at the start of the year.

Right now, getting a booking here is like gold dust. Liath is a feat of design ingenuity with the space being tiny and minimal.

The food spans to a league of its own and is a must for adventurous foodies.

26. Frank’s

Frank’s is one of the most exciting openings of 2019.

The old butchers-turned-fine dining restaurant on Camden Street will provide a unique and memorable experience. Everyone sits at the one table where chef Chris Maguire prepares exciting dishes to indulge in. Come for the food and stay a little longer for the wine – it’s seriously good.

The menu features four main courses, dessert and cheese.

25. Grano

Grano is a small but mighty Italian on Stoneybatter’s Manor Street. The venue is warm, welcoming and unpretentious with a menu divided into nibbles, starters, pasta and main courses.

They operate with supreme professionalism with staff on the ball at all times.

24. Shouk

Shouk is one of the coolest veggie restaurants in Dublin right now.

Inside you’ll find an array of benches in cosy nooks, a dedicated pickle counter and a sunny outdoor seating area. The menu boasts a plethora of flavours and dishes inspired by the Middle East. It’s BYOB and is always buzzing with spice-hunters.

Their signature falafels are worth drooling over – seriously, seriously good.

23. The Cake Cafe

This paradisal cocoon is tucked away behind The Last Book Shop on Camden Street.

At the back, you’ll find a door that opens out to the cutest area with bamboo shoots, mosaic walls made from broken CDs, books, piano keys and tiles and colourful tables and chairs that is The Cake Café.

On the menu, you’ll find seasonal, fresh and intriguing flavours. There’s an all-day brunch menu that includes eggs and avocado, pancakes and scrambled eggs – each dish more delish than the last. You’d think this place is brand new and may have slipped under your radar that way but it’s actually been around for over 12 years, so it really has played an important part in the Dublin food scene.

You can tell that owner Ray puts his heart and soul into his business and his character really comes through, from the quirky crockery to the icing on the cakes beautifully presented at the top counters.

22. Cafe En Seine

An elegant cocktail bar spread over three floors with glass panelled ceilings and art nouveau vibes.

The Dawson St. late bar was a staple in any solid night out plan and after its closure it was sorely missed. Thankfully, this year they reopened with a brand new style that features several dining experiences along with a host of bars and bespoke event areas, and an extensive food menu which caters for a range of tastes and occasions.

One of the largest bar spaces in Ireland, the re-imagined venue delivers premium bar service.

My favourite feature is the street garden that resembles a shopping street in Paris.

21. BuJo

Whenever I’m craving some greasy food, BuJo is my go-to. I actually didn’t think the burgers could get any better until I visited the other day a little tipsy and all of my half-drunken “munchies” dreams came true.

BuJo is a casual (yet oh so clever) burger joint in Sandymount that brings the humble burger to a whole new level, with the attention to detail making this simple restaurant instantly impressive.

100% Irish grass-fed beef, locally sourced and ultra sustainable produce, and chargrilled meats make up the menu.

20. Alma

This Portobello café stunned me twice this year – once upon a “first look” visit and a few months later while on the hunt for the tastiest pancakes in Dublin.

Run by an Argentinian lady whose parents and siblings have also moved over since it opened to lend a hand. There are four sisters in the family, which gives Alma its name – each letter representing a sister.

Everything is made from fresh and seasonal products and premium Irish traders like Wall & Keogh, Two Fifty Square Speciality Coffee, Koyu Matcha, Tartine Organic Bakery, Bear Lemon, Normas Organic Bakery and Simply Wild.

19. The Bernard Shaw

Even though we received the worst news as of late, it was very important for me to include The Shaw in this list as I have some of the best memories there.

The Bernard Shaw has acted as an iconic cultural hub and the ultimate spot to chill out after a stressful working day.

With the Big Blue Bus and Eatyard on site, foodies would always get their fill and with various DJ areas, music heads could bop the night away.

A venue that will be sorely missed by all.

18. Nutbutter

Located on Forbes St near the Docklands, Nutbutter is everything you want a place to eat in Dublin to be: affordable, beautifully designed, and serving the best Irish ingredients you can put on a plate.

The interior is sure to excite with swinging chairs with pale pink furry cushions, geometric table designs, plants aplenty and rose gold cutlery. Oh, and a beaut mural of the swans on the canal.

A focus on Irish ingredients mixed with more exotic ones means that the menu is fresh and incredibly colourful.

The emphasis is on plant-based food, but if you want to have some protein (they do chicken, turkey, vegan pulled pork, smoked salmon, brisket and Sashimi grade tuna) you can add that on after.

It’s deli-style here, so you order at the counter from the very friendly staff and sit yourself down.

Coffee comes from Silverskin Roasters, an award-winning Irish owned and operated boutique coffee roasting company who ran the famed coffee kiosk in Ballsbridge.

The beans are sourced from a small family farm in El Salvador, and it’s a wonderful aromatic coffee.

17. Two Pups

Two Pups never fails, let’s put it that way.

It’s a very unassuming spot from the outside but the minute you push passed the David Bowie lightning strike on the door you’ll discover a foodie haven. They have a few lovely little snugs that you can cuddle into which are also great Instagram opportunities.

Of course, to be so high up on this list, the food here is also a focal point. The brunch menu knocks it out of the park and coffee has the perfect zing of caffeine.

16. Urchin

Urchin often slips below the radar when you think of stellar cocktail venues in Dublin but the incredibly creative drinks available will stun you every time.

Hidden beneath the Cliff Townhouse hotel, this striking space is surrounded by colourful beach-like wavy patterns.

Manager and head mixologist Ryan Pedlar worked tirelessly with head chef Sean Smith to create two menus for drinks and food that complemented each other perfectly. Not only that, but the menus were designed to equal each other in the quality department, so Urchin is just as good a restaurant as it is cocktail joint.

The Ferrero Rocher cocktail is a game-changer – drink and dessert in one, what more could you want?

15. SOLE Seafood And Grill

SOLE Seafood And Grill on South William Street specialises in top quality seafood.

The restaurant itself has a warm urban-chic interior but still carries the classic traits of a seafood restaurant – glass counters filled with colourful fish, a whitewashed wooden roof and paintings all over the walls.

It has a classy, urban vibe to it and a calm atmosphere.

To top it all off, the lobster here will make you drool all over your plate from the first bite. Caught fresh in Howth that morning, if you’re a seafood lover this is an experience.

14. Lucky Tortoise

One of Dublin’s yummiest spots for Asian grub, The Lucky Tortoise is all that and dim sum.

What originally began as a pop-up in The Hill Pub in Ranelagh is now packed every night in their permanent premises on Aungier Street.

Their Dim Sum is out of this worrrrrrrrrrrld, and the best bit? You can try everything on the menu for a mere €20. Yes, really.

Dishes include scallion pancake, red cabbage and pork siu mai, cumin and chilli lamb skewers, and of course, pork and chive dumplings.

13. Clanbrassil House

The second of three incredible products of head chef Gráinne O’Keefe, Clanbrassil House is one of those places worth shouting about.

The cosy restaurant is simple on the inside with whitewash walls and twinkling fairy lights. There’s no need for tacky Instagrammable flower walls here, the food does the talking.

They serve brunch on the weekend and dinner during the evenings.

A must.

12. Terra Madre

Terra Madre is my ultimate unfussy, casual dining spot.

Inside, it doesn’t look like much, you’d most likely walk past it without even spotting it (I don’t know how many friends I’ve had to run out and meet because they got lost coming here) but Terra Madre is a gem.

Whenever someone asks me for a dinner recommendation, Terra Madre always makes the list and I’ve never had a single person come back after with anything other than high praises.

It’s a simple place, just a few worn-down tables, red and white gingham table cloths and a few jolly wine-loving Italians there to take your order. The food is fresh, using homemade recipes and the wine is fab.

The truffle ravioli from here is my dream dish. Simple, full of flavour and not too expensive.

11. Ananda

Tucked away in the most unexpected place is probably the finest Indian restaurant in Dublin. Walk through Golden Discs in Dundrum Town Centre, take a sharp right out the other exit and walk up what looks like a fire escape stairwell to Ananda.

Inside you’ll be greeted by a vibrant room that feels like a cocoon. Water-chestnut chandeliers hang from the ceiling, rich cerise and lime colours transport you to the hottest parts of India – welcome to Ananda.

A fancier take on your usual curry house but ideal for a special occasion, this restaurant is one that you need to visit if you haven’t done so already.

It’s some of the most beautifully presented (and tasty) food I’ve ever come across. Their Raj Kachori for starter, butter chicken for main and rose kulfi for dessert is my dream three-course meal – one of the few places where I’ll order the same dish time and time again.

10.Uno Mas

Sister restaurant to Etto, Uno Mas creates a winning menu that’s a riff on tapas.

The venue boasts a long interior with high ceilings and classic decor. Chef Paul McNamara, formerly of Locks is running the show with staff on top of their game. The menu is divided into snacks, starters, mains and desserts, all offering interesting flavour pairings.

The provenance is key in Uno Mas. Everything right down to the olive oil is given its due consideration. Since its opening late last year, this place has been absolutely buzzing every single night without fail – it’s still pretty difficult to get a booking. It’s the ideal spot for date night or any kind of special occasion and deffo a meal you’ll remember.

9. Delahunt

Delahunt is a classic and sophisticated choice for a meal in Dublin.

It’s a top-class showcasing of Irish cooking and principals with the restaurant providing outstanding food and service every single time. This is not somewhere that was created through a business strategy, hunting down the next trend, this is somewhere that will last.

It has set the bar for a new standard of Irish cuisine.

8. The Fumbally

The Fumbally is an institution for foodies in Dublin.

Whenever I meet the big foodies – critics, food bloggers, chefs and cookbook heads I always ask them where their favourite place to eat in the city is and The Fumbally is a place that often comes out on top.

If you’re searching for some incredibly tasty salads, 3FE coffee, free Wi-Fi, like being surrounded by creatives and possibly have your dog in tow then The Fumbally Cafe is your spot. Get in early to guarantee yourself a spot as it’s always packed (which is a great sign).

The spacious café’s menu includes eggs and ham (eggs with added Gubbeen hot smoked ham), pulled porchetta (ciabatta with slow-roasted pork, caper mayo and spiced apple sauce), and their special Fumbally eggs (scrambled with olive oil, Gubbeen cheese, garlic and tomatoes on toasted brioche).

7. Meet Me In The Morning

Take a left off Camden Street and you’ll find a darling café with coffee lovers hanging out on the long bench outside of this popular foodie haven.

Owned by friends and business partners, Kevin Powell and Brian O’Keefe, this café specialises in fresh, seasonal, Dublin-sourced food. All of their dishes are bursting with flavour and are super colourful.

Brunch offers exciting and unusual options with some delicious sweet treats to seal the deal.

Inside, there is a wall covered in polaroids sent by an anonymous customer who is travelling the world and sends them new pictures every couple of months. You could spend hours looking at every single one while you nurse a coffee.

6.  Shelbourne Social

The Shelbourne Social was probably my biggest shock of the year. I had dined in one of Dylan Mc Grath’s other restaurant and though it was nice, it wasn’t somewhere I was raving about to my mates post-munch.

As a result of this, I wasn’t as excited about my visit to Shelbourne Social as I should have been. What I liked most about this place was it doesn’t have the notions about it that you’d think it would. The menu is really stripped back and goes back to the basics of hearty homemade cooking.

I had lamb for mains which came in the form of a hotpot to be shared between two people. Alongside this decadent dish was the creamiest mash I’ve ever had and I am a sucker for a good mashed potato. The only thing that fell flat for me, therefore not having it higher up on the list, was the desserts – neither dish did it for me.

After dinner, I ventured upstairs to check out the cocktails and the passion the bartender had made me love the place even more.

Honestly, this is Dylan McGrath at his best.

All round, this meal was absolutely divine and one of my favourites of the year. I cannot wait to go back again.

5. Forest Avenue

Forest Avenue (and sister restaurant Forest And Marcy) challenges expectations and delivers something exciting to the Dublin food scene and will transport you to another world.

Everything about Forest Avenue screams perfection: a stunning dining room, innovative dishes, really affordable prices and top-class service.

The neighbourhood diner is situated on Sussex Terrace in Dublin 4 and carries all of the good factors of such a highbrow area – they do it with poise and precision rather than shoving notions down your throat.

The restaurant is led by a passionate husband and wife team, John and Sandy Wyer.

If you’re planning a special meal look no further than Forest Avenue.

4. Two Boys Brew

Writing for Lovin, brunch is a fundamental part of discovering the best of the Dublin food scene.

The most common question I get asked personally is probably the best place in Dublin for brunch and now you know my answer.

Two Boys Brew in Phibsborough takes brunch to a whole new level. Everything about this place works – the decor is simple, cool and humble. There’s every kind of seating area – long shared benches stacked with coffee table reads, private dining tables and benches at the entrance for those who love to people watch.

Coffee is key of course when it comes to brunch and Two Boys Brew make a flat white like it’s nobody’s business. Top that off with their incredible menu and you can see why it’s a winner in my eyes.

The best avocado toast in the city hands down.

3. Bastible

Notoriously hard to get a booking, Bastible is a contemporary bistro that’s reinventing what exactly a ‘bistro’ should be.

Gráinne O’ Keefe’s third and final spot on this list has made it to the top three.

Their food is based on the seasons around them, sourced from dedicated artisan producers, and inspired by the creativity of their small team.

Bastible gets its name from a flat-bottomed, cast iron pot that used to be popular for baking in the nineteenth and early twentieth century in Ireland. Each morning in the Dublin 8 eatery, they bake 48-hour fermented sourdough bread using modern replicas of these pots.

From Wednesday to Saturday they offer a set menu which changes regularly. On Sundays, expect a family-style lunch.

A truly amazing dining experience.

2. Variety Jones

I visited Variety Jones with my boyfriend for Valentines Day last year and the love has continued since.

It was unusual and intriguing serving up a tapas-like selection of starters and tasters. These are broken up into snacks, cold, warm and pasta dishes.

Similar to Shelbourne Social, Variety Jones’ main courses are designed to be shared making it the ideal spot for date night and intimate dining.

My meal here was better than I could have ever expected. The venue is pretty simple but the food gives it great character and something worth talking about.

As someone who dines out more times a week than she’d like to publicly admit, this place brought something new and unique that really made it stand out from the rest. Since my visit I’ve been recommending it non- stop.

1. Mulberry Garden

Mulberry Garden has earned the coveted #1 spot for more reasons than one.

Firstly, this is a place that is often forgotten about or unknown to begin with and I think it deserves the hype. As I said before, I could easily compile this list with the Michelin-starred, fine dining spots that you would have read about already on a similar list to this by another journalist or publication.

Secondly, Mulberry Garden is the epitome of a magical dining experience. Tucked away out of sight in Donnybrook, you’ll be transported to a world of class from the second you walk in the door. This place would make you proud to be Irish with everything being sourced from The Emerald Isle – from the table cloth to the cheeseboards. It has a humble decor – no blindingly bright “Insta-worthy” walls or in-your-face highbrow antiques – just a few classic Irish paintings, soft pink and green gingham chairs and bright windows looking out to their garden terrace.

Mulberry Garden offers a tasting menu for a seriously good price. This changes regularly based around seasonal produce.

I came here for my second graduation and it was the most perfect meal. The starters, mains, desserts right down to the wine had my eyes rolling to the back of my skull. My family liked it so much that no meal together is complete without reminiscing about it. My dad has since gone on the hunt for the wine we had that night and hasn’t been able to get his hands on it so I guess I’ll have to bring him back again to try it – won’t complain about that!

This is Irish food at its absolute finest.

Again, a list like this is entirely subjective and only showcase my thoughts and opinions based on personal experiences.

If you feel I have left somewhere out be sure to leave it in the comments to show them some love also!