Search icon


19th Jun 2024

The 28 best restaurants in Dublin right now


From refreshing newbs to reliable classics

A couple of weeks back on his seemingly never-ending tour around the island Gordon Ramsay declared Dublin to be a “food city”. This proclamation is something that we locals have known for a very long time, but we are glad that everyone else is catching up (especially one of the food industry’s most vocal cheerleaders). Dublin is one of the world’s great food cities, we are blessed with some truly incredible small producers, a base level of products that is enviable the world over and some of the globe’s most gracious staff and talented chefs. Call me biased but I’ve had some of my best meals and most incredible dining experiences in this city, we do things like no other place can. So without further adieu, there’s never been a better time to eat out in Dublin, and if you don’t believe us see for yourself:

28. Hawksmoor 

College Green, more info here

What is it? Perhaps the most hyped opener of 2023 was the world-renowned and heavily awarded steakhouse Hawksmoor and we can’t help but agree with the hysteria around it. The old Abercrombie & Fitch store has been given the mother of all facelifts, transforming it into a luxuriant space that Dublin didn’t even realise how much it needed. Naturally, the emphasis here is on steak and any meat enthusiast knows that ordering a sirloin off a general dinner menu simply doesn’t hold a candle to an authentic steakhouse – the top-tier sides, the expert knowledge and advice from the servers when it comes to prime rib vs porterhouse, the ornate, mid-century modern interiors all come together to create a distinctly unique foodie experience.

Why we are mad about it? The steaks do indeed take centre stage with prime cuts coming from the likes of grass-obsessed farmer Ronan in County Meath, and Bronagh and Cathal whose Angus and Herefords roam the wilds of the Burren eating a diverse range of grasses and herbs. Impressive Chateaubriands and Porterhouses are priced per 100g and served up cast iron platters to share, with smaller cuts of sirloin, rib-eye and rump available too. If seafood is more your ting, Hawksmoor makes the most of what’s available on Irish shores with Kelly Gigas and Flaggy Shore oysters, Duncannon smoked salmon and native lobster baked with Micil Inverin whiskey. Everything on the menu has a story, and the servers are well-versed and ready to chat through the detailed background of each dish. As any good steakhouse should, they have a faultless cocktail menu of the great and the good from the Irish alcohol shelves.

Hawksmoor oysters

27. Locks

1 Windsor Terrace, more info here

What is it? A canal-side restaurant that is renowned for its Sunday service. From the welcoming downstairs dining room or the more intimate upstairs space, it’s arguably one of the capital’s comfiest dining spaces. Though it has had many incarnations, Locks has traded under the same name since Claire and Richard Douglas opened on the site in the 1980s. The decor, menu and cooking style have thankfully changed since the 80s, is now led by head chef James Agnew’s precise hand.

Why we are mad about it? Laying claim to Modern Irish cuisine, with a concise and exacting menu of indigenous seasonal produce, things you might have heard your parents grow nostalgic over, the likes of dillisk, liver and mackerel. Big on natural flavours, the dishes are well presented and leave a lasting impression on the diner. It’s difficult not to fall in love with 1 Windsor Terrace, lock(s) stock and barrel.

(They have a great pixe fix menu that is great for a big party)

26. Craft

208 Harold’s Cross Road, Terenure more info here

What is it?
Opened in 2016 by Philip Yeung (of Town Bar and Grill and Bang Restaurant fame), Craft is a neighbourhood restaurant that gives diners fine dining food in a laid-back setting. It’s a tastefully decorated, paired-back minimal interior, conducive to chillin’ out, maxin’, relaxin’ all cool. Large enough to handle even the largest of bookings, the team at Craft create a warm and inviting space. There’s plenty of space to handle even the largest of bookings if needed.

Why we are mad about it? The menu is short, seasonal and always includes a fish and a creative vegetarian option. The wine list offers a great selection of old-world wines sold at a fair price point.

25. Note

26 Fenian Street, more info here

What is it? Self-described as a “Bureau, Bar, Bistro” Note is indeed a vibrant and eclectic wine bar serving up some bold Irish-twinged plates. Set in a light and airy wedge of a dining room, the space was set up by precocious chef and patron Essa Fakhry. The space was designed by AB Projects and kitted out by the ever-edgy Indigo & Cloth. Unsurprisingly it’s a relaxed setting, run by ineffably cool folks who give personable and natural service. The booze was hand-selected by Katie Seward (who has since bopped over to Frank’s) who drew up a predominantly natural and organic selection of bottles.

Why we are mad about it?
There’s a nice retro touch to Note, with floral patterned plates that wouldn’t look out of place in your Granny’s and a menu which is nostalgically unfussy, containing distinct things like pork chops, sweetbread and sticky toffee pudding.

24. Sister 7

79 Queen Street

What is it? In what has to be one of the most inspired collabs of the last few years, the kitchen forces behind BIGFAN have brewed something up with Whiplash brewers and Fidelity barkeeps. The teams have seamlessly brought together great pints, great food in a great setting. ⁠We’ve come a long way from beige deep-friend pub grub, and Sister 7 ushers in an exciting new trend of bar food with a difference. It’s an autophile’s dream, with a custom-designed sound system from the talented hands of ⁠Hatchett Sound. The DJ plays tunes that will have your Shazam app overheating.

Why we are mad about it?
Big Fan are behind the food, and the menu holds plenty of echos from the Aungier Street venue, wontons, dumplings, bao buns and cured fish. It’s a creative warming space, that is capable of holding you tight for the night and not letting you go. And with great cocktails, beers, mall plates and tunes, sure why would you ever leave that embrace?

23. Hang Dai

20 Camden Street Lower, more info here

What is it?
This modern Chinese restaurant is widely considered to be one of the coolest dining experiences in the city. It feels like sitting in a scene from Ridley Scott’s Bladerunner mixed with a NYC subway car. A great shout for an intimate date (god bless that darkly lit interior) or a boisterous big group. It gets pretty busy, so you’ll need to make reservations. There’s a serious chance of escalation at Hang Dai, with the DJ spinning some tasteful soul/funk while you dine, it’s as easy to go from day to night. The staff go above and beyond for their customers, creating a memorable and enjoyable dining experience.

Why we are mad about it?
Pre-order the duck, it’s delicious and worth the forethought. The menu has some truly unique and inspired flavour combos, and is undoubtedly a spice lovers paradise. Top tip, the cocktails are not to be sniffed at and are far from the usual. The tasting menu is great value at €50, with eight different menu items to try, you’ll be surprisingly stuffed afterwards.

22. Forest Avenue

8 Sussex Road, more info here

What is it? Forest Avenue is a small, family-run Irish restaurant where the kitchen is open so you can watch your food being carefully prepared. Their seven-course tasting menu comes in at €86 per person, with the first course simply named “Surprises from our kitchen” and great Irish ingredients skilfully woven in throughout.

Why we are mad about it? Forest Avenue is fine dining in a family setting, everything is plated up beautifully and the accompanying wine list is small but perfectly formed, guaranteeing a great glass regardless of what you opt for. Dishes such as the shiitake mushroom ice cream for dessert have been known to raise an eyebrow or two, but it’s the kind of place where you just need to sit back and enjoy the process – you’ll rarely be disappointed.

21. Amy Austin

Unit 1 Drury Street Carpark, more info here

What is it? Recently included in the Michelin guide, Amy Austen is from the people who brought you 777, The Butcher Grill and some of the city’s most cult-favourite spots. Set in one of the city’s most unique venues, tucked in beside Drury Street Carpark, it’s an fun and intimate venue.

Why we are mad about it? Set in a very buzzy part of town, beside a popular city centre carpark it’s a truly unique dining experience in the city. The tight little space is one of the places to be on the weekends or Thursday night, where you can pick at small plates, sip on ingenious cocktails or wine on tap to your heart’s content.

20. Margadh

RHA Gallery on Ely Place

What is it? Amidst the influx of small plates and tasting menus across Dublin, this modern dining room tucked inside the Royal Hibernian Gallery off St Stephen’s Green could almost be overlooked. It’d be a mistake to do so, though – on offer at Margadh you’ll find one of the most affordable tasting menus in town and a fusion of Spanish-Mod Irish cuisine that sparks enough joy to make Marie Kondo proud.

Why we are mad about it? Usual suspects like burrata and beef tartare hang out on the small plates menu, with larger dishes fusing poached halibut with crispy chicken skin and salted duck egg sitting alongside buttery Irish lobster. Prices are fair and the wine list is refined, there’s always something new to try and you’ll be well looked after by Margadh’s friendly, knowledgeable servers.


19. Bastible

111 S Circular Road, more info here 

What is it? Another Michelin-starred diamond in Dublin’s crown, Bastible’s intimate neighbourhood dining space is always high on the lists. Recently Michelin-starred, the restaurant on Leonard’s Corner is a pretty unassuming spot, but underestimate it at your peril. Part of the new wave of incredible modern Irish restaurants that have dispensed starched linen tablecloths and polished silver, for refurbed Scandi solid wood and artisanal pottery, Bastible have been pumping out some incredible dishes from their open kitchen in the corner. Chef and patron Barry Fitzgerald and his team are creating some incredibly well-executed dishes, which change along with the seasons. The friendly approachable staff are well-versed at serving the 9-course, €105pp tasting menu. It’s a relaxed kind of fine dining, that appeals to everyone.

Why we are mad about it? Bastible’s modern, seasonal set menu showcases the best Irish ingredients in innovative ways, with generous servings and every tiny detail considered. From the origin of the sourdough starter (handed down by one of the chef’s grandmothers) to the carefully pierced ox tongue, every ingredient is handled with care and given an individual chance to sing

18. Mister S

What is it? If you are looking for a guaranteed good meal and exemplary service, Mister S is your guy. 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.

Why we are mad about it? Michelin-listed, the team use the best of Irish ingredients giving them the love and attention they deserve to create complex and layered dishes. The Mister S trademark is their expert treatment of meat and fish, with immaculately prepared sides to accompany them.

17. Spitalfields

25 The Coombe, more info here

What is it? Fusing classic pub interiors with Michelin-mentioned food, Spitalfields stands alone as a place where fine diners sit alongside those just stopping in for a pint – it’s unpretentious, welcoming and authentic, with gourmet cuisine that far surpasses the run-of-the-mill pub grub expectations you might have for a spot like this.

Why we are mad about it? Nostalgic dishes like devilled eggs and cock-a-leekie pie are given the epicurean once over, and you’re guaranteed to leave Spitalfields feeling full, happy and special, as the staff somehow manage to make every diner feel like the most important person there.

16. Big Mike’s 

Rock Hill, Blackrock, more info here

What is it? The put-together younger brother of Michael’s and Little Mike’s, this is professional gasman, chef and proprietor Gaz Smith’s newest spot. Opened in 2022, it’s a shiny, polished and larger-than-life restaurant that is capable of hosting even the largest of groups.

Why we are mad about it? The go-to destination for a celebration, head there for your next big birthday, anniversary or celebration and you will be absolutely spoiled rotten by the kind and gregarious staff. Its beautiful surroundings envelop you and make you not want to leave. It’s a short menu, with big ticket items like steak-frites and pasta ragu, and Gaz’s signature seafood platters, making for a must-remember meal that you won’t forget too soon. There’s a great combination of hospitality and good food, with the kitchen team big on flavours, while the front-of-house staff are big on hospitality, meaning you’ll be rolling out of there happy and probably drunk.

15. Etto

18 Merrion Row, more info here

What is it? The name which translates as “little” in Italian, is similar to the “-een” that folks from Connacht are oft to slap on the end of words. It’s a space that diminutively lives up to its name (sitting roughly 30 people), while it may be small in size it packs a big punch in terms of service and memorable Italian-inspired dishes. It’s a liminal minimal space with clean white walls accompanied by paired back interiors. Opened way back in 2013 (centuries in restaurant terms) it’s known to be a bit of training ground for some of the city’s most revered chefs, the likes of Barry Sun, Paul McNamara etc. are ex-Etto.

Why we are mad about it? Expect polished modern dishes served in the salubrious surrounds of Merrion Row, handily located close to the National Gallery. The dishes are composed carefully and intricately from local and seasonal ingredients, down to the salads the quality and freshness show. It’s not the cheapest, but it’s very fair, average pricing for that kind of a slightly upscale restaurant. Energetic service, which lets the evening bubble and fizz like a bottle of bubbly, you aren’t rushed in the slightest and are allowed to drink in the atmosphere and into the night. Top tip, the red wine prunes are a must-have!

14. Chapter One

18-19 Parnell Square North, more info here

What is it? A culinary institution, which is the kind of place your grandparents, parents as well as your siblings will have heard of. Since joining in 2021 chef Patron Mickael Viljanen (ex-The Tannery and The Greenhouse) has accentuated the kitchen’s premium boundary-pushing flawless offerings. This restaurant is a 2-star Michelin but really deserves to be 3 stars, as it’s on par with other restaurants like Per Se, Eleven Madison Park, The French Laundry etc.

Why we are mad about it? It’s a touchstone for quality, service and boundary-pushing, with a tasting menu which is nothing short of inventive, creative, and mesmerizing. This is a premium dining experience in central Dublin, from the second you cross the threshold you know you are in good hands, the service is discreet, knowledgeable and sincere. The art within, whether hanging from the walls or ceilings, is also representative on the plates, where it is most important. The pace of service delivery is conducive to great digestion and enjoyment. It’s something anyone who is into their grub should experience (you just might have to save up for it!). Top tip, the table-side Irish coffee is absolutely not to be missed.

13. Host 

13 Ranelagh, more info here

What is it? 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 in my case for 62 days), with fresh pasta made in-house and paired with a rota of regularly changing, simple ingredients and Irish meat and seafood grilled to perfection.

Why we are mad about it? 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. It’s also got one of the best locations, the situation of Host makes it perfect to bop into town or stay around Ranelagh for a few scoops or a glass or two of wine (just so you don’t spoil your newly attuned palate).

Host Ranelagh pasta

12. Orwell Road

8 Orwell Road, more info here

What is it? This is neighbourhood fine dining at its best, inside the dinky kitchen there’s a team who deeply respects every top-quality ingredient they use. The brainchild of the Bereen brothers Marc and Conor, the former proprietors of Coppinger Row and owners of Row Wines one of the most exciting additions to Dublin’s wine bar scene thus far. Orwell Road opened last year to an influx of positive reviews, with Dublin foodies raving about the restaurant’s now famous de-boned chicken wing, crunchy and filled with its own herby flesh. A testament to the team’s commitment to change, that all-famous menu entry was no longer on there when I visited a few weeks ago.

Why we are mad about it? Serving up a very modern fusion of European and Irish cuisine, with dishes that are intensely packed with flavours and polished and refined to within an inch of their lives. There are oils, reductions and emulsions that add just that bit extra level of flavour which you previously thought would have been unachievable. It’s an intimate spot, with under 12 tables, meaning you get plenty of time with your servers and the food comes out with remarkable rapidity. It’s the kind of place where you just say sod it will we do another cocktail or share that dessert. You aren’t spending money for money’s sake here, it’s all money well spent.

Orwell Road

11. Potager

Skerries’ Church Street, more info here

What is it? A formal neighbourhood restaurant, led by chef and proprietor Cathal Leonard and his partner, Sarah Ryan. Opened late 2019, in The Red Bank, the incredible old Munster and Leinster bank building, with the original bank vault acting up as a supremely safe wine cellar. This is an atmospheric and polished space befitting its origins.

Why we are mad about it? With a name like Potager it’s no surprise that provenance is king here, with local suppliers listed out by servers with the familiarity of family members’ names. The seasonal produce of North Dublin is beautifully presented on a nine-course tasting menu, with often overlooked run-of-the-mill ingredients like butter, leeks and potato bread elevated to lofty heights. Don’t expect the familiar trappings of first-rate dining, all foam, tweezers and demi-mouthfuls, expected refreshing textures and unique flavour pairings. They’ve got a terrific wine list, with a great selection of non-alcoholic wines and cocktails (if you brought the car!). It’s an expensive night out but an experience from start to finish. As if Skerries wasn’t already a destination, Potager plants it firmly on the map.

10. Volpe Nera

22 Newtown Park, Blackrock, more info here

What is it? This is sky-high quality cooking in a small friendly neighborhood restaurant. A lesson in high-end cooking, a kitchen which fuses seasonality and technical ability to present some of the cleanest and most refined plates you are likely to find on this island.

Why we are mad about it? One for someone who has grown tired of fine dining, a trip to Volpe Nera will get it back. Chef Barry Sun (ex-Etto) fuses the strong flavours he grew up with in China with the modern Irish-European techniques he’s crafted in some of the city’s best restaurants. Expect a premium presentation of some lesser-known ingredients that will have you flat-out Googling. Staff are poised and professional, allowing you plenty of time between dishes to chat and digest.

Volpe Nera

9. Mamo

Howth’s Harbour Road, more info here

What is it? This unassuming street-level entrance leads up to a small elegant dining room overlooking the harbour. Opened by industry veterans Jess D’Arcy and Killian Durkin in 2019, whose respective CVs boast the likes of Etto and Chapter One.

Why we are mad about it? Seasonal ingredients are the lifeblood of the menu, with the best of North County Dublin listed and even seafood from the harbour just over the road, accompanied by a dynamic wine list to match. The menu is ever-changing with new interesting combinations and flavours that make your taste buds go pow! The dishes are well-plated, balanced, cleanly made, and packed with flavour, and the dessert is well worth hanging around for. Expect real warmth from the service, which is sometimes led by Jess, one of the most knowledgeable sommeliers you are likely to find.

(Their lunch menu is phenomenally priced at €39 for three courses)

8. Woodruff

The Village, Enniskerry Road, more info here

What is it? A modern Irish restaurant serving some of the most polished dishes around. Cooking with the seasons is the order of the day and every inch of the space is used for pickling, preserving and reductions. Expect to be blown away by the melding of ingredients on your plate, and be blue in the face telling everyone you know. 

Why we are mad about it? If ever there was a reason to pack up the car it’s to step it to Stepaside to try the neighbourhood restaurant snuggled into the Dublin Mountains. After sampling the food in Woodruff, we can’t help but think if it was in the city centre it would be packed out of it every night.

7. Variety Jones

78 Thomas Street, more info here

What is it? Anyone who’s visited VJ’s pint-sized dining room in the Liberties knows booking is highly competitive – every Dublin foodie wants to sample the famous Chef’s Choice Sharing Menu and there’s only so many spaces at the table. Run by the Higgs brothers, the long, narrow room off Thomas Street is a warming and welcoming place to spend an occasion dinner. Laid-back relaxed service, with dishes calmly coming from the fire-led kitchen at the back. The team have a chef’s choice sharing menu coming in at €90 for 6 courses, which can sometimes mean different diners can get different starters or mains depending on the service (I once had a very sad moment seeing the last portion of venison main being presented to another table). Though the menu changes daily, there are some signature dishes that thankfully rarely leave the menu like the incredible spaghetti alfredo and the moreish duck liver parfait with potato waffles.

Why we are mad about it? The aforementioned sharing menu changes with the seasons and is all that’s available at Variety Jones, taking the decision-making off your shoulders and allowing you to sit back and relax as you’re served some of the most inspired dishes you’ll find in Dublin’s fair city. An interesting list of natural and low-intervention wines accompanies, with an experienced in-house sommelier on hand to recommend the perfect glass to pair with your meal.

(Fans of this unfussy, Michelin-starred spot will know they had taken over a larger space just next door from their original, but it’s been closed since July following a serious fire in the kitchen. Until 79 Thomas Street is back up and running, 78 is open for biz, check their IG for updates)

Variety Jones duck pate and waffles

6. Pickle 

43 Camden Street Lower, more info here

What is it? North Indian cuisine done right, no corners cut, no base sauces, just pure excellence.

Why we are mad about it? You’ll rarely hear Indian food in Dublin discussed without the 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. You’ll have a lot of people recommending this bottle-green eatery to you if you’re Dublin-bound, and for good reason.

5. Allta

1 Three Locks Square, Grand Canal Dock, more info here

What is it? The latest iteration from culinary Luminary Niall Davidson, no more than his other ventures (in a carpark/by the Boyne) has made the south docklands into a destination that people are willing to travel to. Davidson has an incredible knack for sourcing some of the most unique ingredients for his menus, from Welsh hand-dived scallops to cheese from a herd of 4 cows that live halfway up a mountain.

Why we are mad about it? This is modern Irish cooking at its best, the service and drinks cannot be knocked. Our top tip if you don’t want to splash the cash skip the mains and order small plates and cocktails.

4. Uno Mas

6 Aungier Street, more info here

What is it? Uno Mas is one of those spots that had everyone talking from the minute they opened. The stripped-back bistro holds a Bib Gourmand and specialises in quality, unfussy Spanish dishes on small plates. The menu is divided into snacks, starters, mains and desserts and everything down to the olive oil is given careful consideration. The menu changes slightly each day and prices range from €3.90 to €82 for the likes of their knock-out salt-aged Delmonico steak which serves two.

Why we are mad about it? It’s romantic atmospheric setting perfectly complements this quality Spanish cooking. Walking through the threshold of Uno Mas, you feel like you are anywhere but Aungier Street. A great shout for a roundy birthday or an anniversary celebration, that’s head and shoulders above the rest in terms of quality and flair.

3. Grano

Manor Street, more info here

What is it? Easily one of the most frequently recommended restaurants in Dublin, the first thing people will talk about Grano is brought up is the handmade, fresher-than-fresh pasta and refined nibbles; quickly followed by a warning of the Thumbelina-sized dining room and fierce competition for bookings. This Michelin-listed, at once traditional and contemporary gem, is a go-to for a special occasion. Unfussy and self-assured, Grano offers an authentic Italian experience in the heart of D7.

Why we are mad about it? Seeing the Grano nonna rolling pasta in the corner, you know you are in good hands. Some of the most knock-out pasta you are likely to get in the city, it’s worth every second of the long reservation time.

2. Fish Shop

76 Benburb Street, Smithfield, more info here

What is it? A low-key restaurant on a sleepy Smithfield street, that just does its thing. Serving some incredible fish in a clean, precise and relaxed setting, alongside some of the best wines by the glass or by the bockle whichever you are after.

Why we are mad about it? It’s one of the finest examples of modern Irish cooking, quality ingredients, intelligent cooking, paired back setting and engaging staff.

1. Library Street

101 Setanta Place, more info here

What is it? An untouchable modern dining mecca, any dinner on Library Street will no doubt burn bright in your memory for a very long time. There’s a preciseness to Library Street’s dining, service and hospitality experience which few restaurants replicate.

Why we are mad about it? Expect to be blown away by the clever, refined and boisterously modern menu, which parlays between Irish and European classics with a modern twist. This is fine dining, served in a relaxed and cool setting, with no-frills sound staff who care about food, drink and your dining experience.

Have some thoughts? Concerns? Give us a shout on [email protected]

READ ON: 12 Dublin tourist destinations that are actually worth the hype in 2024