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16th Sep 2019

Datin Dublin: Yamamori Izakaya Is Somewhere I Never Would Have Picked Myself But Really Enjoyed

Éadaoin Fitzmaurice

Planning date night this week?

Coming up with fresh ideas for places to eat and drink can be the bane of my life so I’m always buzzing when it’s my boyfriend John’s turn to organise.

Last week, when I found out what he had chosen I have to admit, I was not happy about it at all.

He was gasping for a bowl of ramen so decided on Yamamori South City. It was a Sunday evening and I had been out clubbing the night before until the early hours of the morning.

There were two reasons that this seemed like a terrible choice on his part:

  1. I was violently hungover and the thought of having Japanese food didn’t seem appealing on a dodgy stomach and banging headache.
  2. It was only a few hours ago I was in this exact venue during my night out. I had been bopping away in the Izakaya Basement and the fear, as a result, well very real.

We walked into the venue and for some reason, John thought he had booked a place in the Izakaya basement. Being down there I honestly couldn’t cope. Thankfully, our booking was upstairs by the window. As we sat down I realised I had only ever been to the other Yamamaori branches for food and this venue was actually really stunning.

We opened the menu which followed and Izakaya style – small dishes for snacking while drinking; obviously I had no intention of drinking again so I centred my attention on the Japas offerings.

It’s a super cool venue with stained glass booths, manga art and quirky lanterns hanging from the ceilings.

Here’s the DL:


Yamamori Izakaya is located on George’s Street in the centre of town. It’s really easy to get to and hard to miss. This makes for a stress-free meeting point and also a fair commuting time for both parties no matter what side of the city they live in.

Location: 9/10


I was really comfortable during the date. The whole restaurant is lined with booths and long oak tables. It felt really intimate even though there was people sitting at the table right next to us.

An Izakaya is a traditional, tapas-style drinking tavern, usually with a very casual vibe, small tables and designed to be a place where you can chill for hours.

That is exactly the vibe I got while we were there.

Seating: 7/10


Lighting for a date is key.

The entire floor is lit by hanging lanterns and tables are illuminated by flickering candles.

Lighting: 7/10


Yamamori Izakaya specialises in unfussy Japanese food.

We ordered from the Japas menu which is like Japanese tapas but the portion sizes are bigger than I expected.

We started with ebi nigiri – the rice was perfectly sticky and the meat was fresh and sumptuous. Just after gobbling it up in a matter of seconds, the rest of the dishes arrived: salmon teriyaki, duck ramen and duck soba noodles.

My favourite by far was the duck soba noodles. I’d go as far as saying it’s the best bowl of ramen I’ve had in Dublin. The bowl came with a little jug of broth that you can pour in yourself, the noodles were cooked to perfection and the duck was ust divine – the perfect mixture between crispy and flavoursome meat.

We were almost fighting over who got the last bite at the end.

Food: 8/10


You want to have a chill and comfortable atmosphere on a date. There’s nothing worse than screaming over music when you’re trying to have an intimate conversation.

The atmosphere in Yamamori was informal, chilled and cool, I felt really comfortable chatting away and holding hands across the table without having too many eyes looking in our direction.

The staff were also really friendly and their service was great which I loved.


Likelihood Of Bumping Into Someone You Know:

The restaurant was pretty quiet, it was a Sunday night and there was only a handful of tables that were filled.

It seemed like a pretty unlikely place to bump into someone you know but then again it is on one of the most popular foodie streets in the city.

Private-ness: 6/10


I found the menu was a little pricer than I had expected with some of the Japas dishes coming in at €15. Considering that particular menu suggests three dishes per person you can see why.

We got four dishes and it came in at €45.

Price: 5/10

‘Romance’ Factor:

So does Yamamori Izakaya have that “romance factor”?

I mean, it’s not somewhere I’d think of as romantic off the top of my head but it does have some really high ranking points of interest like lighting and atmosphere.

Would I be coming here on Valentine’s day?

Probably not.

Romance Factor: 4/10


Overall, I was really impressed with this venue. What started out as me quivering with post-drinking fear being back in the Izakaya basement a little too soon turned into a great date night.

The venue is slick, the staff were class and the food was a winner.

Can’t complain!

I think it’s a good place for a date, it could be a good spot for a first date because there are lots to try, it’s intimate and sharing dishes can be romantic.

A place where you can linger with good company, good food, and good drinks.

Final dating score: 52/80