Before Cuffing season comes oyster season
September is officially the start of Irish oyster season, running straight through the Winter to April, easy way to remember the best time to slurp 'em are during the months with an 'r' in them. That means the next few months are the perfect time for you to get shucking, and here are a few great Dublin spots to get started at:
South William Street, more info here
Widely considered to be one of the city's best seafood restaurants, and listen if it's good enough for Harry Styles it's good enough for us. Provenance is paramount to the team, from their sourcing high-quality locally sourced ingredients from fresh oysters, dry-aged in-house Irish beef, smoked salmon from Howth, and Irish lobsters. Serving their oysters almost as god intended, the team at SOLE opt for the simplicity of lemon or Tabasco if you want to feel that kick.
9. The Shelbourne
Stephen's Green more info here
Thought oysters couldn't get any boujier? Well, you thought wrong. The Saddle Room and No.27 bust out their specially curated oyster menu every September with Dungarvan, Flaggy Shore, Carlingford and Galway oysters on offer with red wine vinegar mignonette, cucumber reduction or even caviar- switz-swoo. If the Indian Summer shines there are few better places to hang out than the terrace, with a pint of Guinness in hand or a glass of champers if you are feeling a little flush.
8. Amy Austin
Drury Street Carpark, more info here
An original little spot where you can enjoy creative small plates, inventive cocktails and wine by candlelight. In line with the Mexican-twinged menu, the young gigas oysters are given the sucker punch of nouc cham dressing, red chillies, furikake and yuzu gel.
Mount Merrion's 57 Deerpark Road more info here
Taken over by the larger-than-life chef Gaz Smith several years ago, Michael's in the salubrious Mount Merrion transformed from a stuffy Italian restaurant to a buzzy and refreshing spot.
A stickler for his ingredients, Smith goes above and beyond to get the best stuff inside his kitchen. From the freshest seafood straight from the boat to the best dry-aged Angus, quality comes first at Michael's.
6. Volpe Nera
Blackrock's 22 Newtown Park, more info here
You aren't likely to find much better-considered cuisine in the city than in this paired-back neighbourhood restaurant. The "Black Fox" gets its name from being the halfway point between Blackrock and Foxrock, mixing Asian flavours with Mediterranean techniques. They tackle their oysters in a modern and refreshing way, with finely chopped raw veg, earthy reductions and citrus-y zingers.
5. King Sitric
Howth's 6 East Pier more info here
The undisputed royalty of the Dublin seafood scene, King Sitric has been a touchstone of quality in the city for over 40 years. Sitting literally on the pier overlooking Howth Harbour, it's difficult to beat the proximity to the sea, something you can taste in the quality of the product they put on the plate. They keep things pretty traditional in terms of oysters too with a slice of lemon and a red wine vinegar mignonette, simplicity at its finest.
4. Bar Pez
Kevin Street, more info here
A welcome addition for fans of the new wave of Dublin wine bars, this refreshing opener is what the city has been crying out for without even realising. Sister restaurant to Benburb Street's Fish Shop, the small but mighty team knows what they are doing when it comes to Spanish-twinged small plates. Bucking the curve of saturating oysters with deafening flavours of lemon, chilli and vinegary onion, instead, these sweet Kelly Gigas are paired with lightly pickled fennel, which lets the creaminess of the young oysters shine through tasting like a mouthful of Atlantic seawater when the head invariably ducks under during a swim.
3. Ryan's of Parkgate Street
Stoneybatter's 28 Parkgate Street
A boozer that's got a whole lot going for it, beautiful to look at, steeped in history, incredible pints and most importantly savage food. The beautiful old wooden bar dates back to the Victorian period and is complete with loads of interesting quirks from the 'ding-dong-bell' in the snug, the old gas lamps and the old cigarette match-strikers. With the food being sorted by the excellent hands of FX Buckley's, pub-goers can enjoy the freshest of oysters alongside tender steaks and from all accounts one of the best (and most affordable) Sunday roasts around. An ideal place to while away a lazy Sunday languidly reading over the papers.
34 College Green, more info here
It's easy to see how plenty of great steakhouses serve quality oysters, with an emphasis on quality ingredients and a knack for rolling out the red carpet on special occasions. The team at Hawksmoor are no exception, serving up a great selection of Irish oysters (from Kelly Gigas to Flaggy Shore) with some well-considered toppings- a special shout-out to the scotch bonnet mignonette. Being a steakhouse through and through they do a mean martini- their natural dainties paired with their Boatyard Distillery martini, the salty-sweet combination is hard to beat.
1. The Seafood Café
Temple Bar's Sprangers Yard, more info here
The brainchild of Niall Sabongi, restauranteur turned seafood wholesaler at Sustainable Seafood Ireland. Sabongi's name is a touchstone for quality seafood and The Seafood Cafe is no exception, enjoying some of the freshest of the fresh catch pulled straight from the shores. One of the greatest seats in the city has to be installed in the window on a high stool eating your way through shrimp cocktail, seafood linguini and if you time it well- the oyster happy hour every day from 4-5pm.
Have we missed any? Don't be shellfish let us know on [email protected]