Dublin is making quite a name for itself in contemporary culinary circles, thanks to a burgeoning collection of innovative chefs. You can find everything in the Irish capital from shellfish shacks and dim sum haunts to Michelin-starred gastronomy.
And casual neighborhood bistros are cohesively communicating the emerging identity of modern Irish cuisine on their imaginative plates. There's never been a better time to eat out in Dublin – here's our guide to the best places to eat in the Irish capital.
Best cheap eats in Dublin
Travelers with small budgets can still feast in Dublin's fair city.
Best for low-cost dim sum
Set on the highway of great eating and drinking that is Aungier St, this modern dim sum spot is famed for its potstickers, okonomiyaki (savory Japanese pancakes) and tasty wine on tap. Open since 2019, Lucky Tortoise has grown into one of the best places to eat in Dublin. The €15 (US$16.70) lunch deal on weekdays is great value, as is the €28 (US$31) ‘all-in’ set menu, served family-style on sharing platters.
The Pepper Pot
Best for creative sandwiches
For something a little different, order the free-range bacon and roast pear sandwich at this quirky tea room cafe set one floor up on a balcony overlooking the atrium of the beautiful Georgian Powerscourt Townhouse. You might wonder about the combination of bacon and pear, but this unusual double act, encased by ludicrously thick and fluffy homemade ‘doorstop’ bread slices and Irish cheddar, is sandwich perfection.
For more baked treats, check out their bakery outpost in the historic red-bricked Victorian-style George’s St Arcade nearby, where, alongside fresh loaves and bagels, this iconic sandwich has been parlayed into a savory Danish pastry.
Grano & Sprezzatura
Best for budget Italian
Dublin has no shortage of Italian spots but the value and quality of the food on offer varies widely. However Grano on the Northside of the Liffey in Stoneybatter, and Sprezzatura (with its original southside location on Grantham St now joined by a second branch in Rathmines) can always be relied upon. Come for tasty pasta dishes made fresh each day by hand for €10 (US$11.15) or less.
Bunsen & Dash Burger
Best for budget burgers
A hotly-debated topic in the city on the Liffey is where to find Dublin’s best burger. With so many players in the game and incredible Irish beef available from surrounding farms, opinion varies but most will agree it’s likely a toss-up between well-established Bunsen and confident newcomer Dash Burger.
Bunsen operates six successful spots in the city center (plus branches in Blanchardstown, Cork and Belfast) whilst Dash opened in 2020, initially as pandemic-times takeaway. They now have a pair of premises – one north and one south of the Liffey – serving epic smash burgers, chicken tenders and great fries, to eat-in or take-out. A double Dash smash costs €8.95 (US$10), and trust us, you won’t be disappointed by this double-decker delight.
Best Fine Dining
When you're ready to splurge, Dublin has plenty of fine-dining establishments to go around.
Best for modern Irish flair
In the picturesque coastal suburb of Skerries, Potager is a neighborhood restaurant with a fine-dining pedigree that’s well worth a detour from the city. Run by a husband-and-wife duo since 2019, Potager has a menu that blends modern Irish themes with classical techniques. Tasting menus feature such treats as smoked cod, pork cheek, oxtail and chanterelle mushrooms.
Best for intimate dining
Australian chef Damien Grey first made his name on the Dublin fine dining scene in 2016 with his debut restaurant, Heron and Grey, co-owned with Andrew Heron. It quickly nabbed a Michelin star, but in 2019 the pair parted, and Grey forged ahead solo, regenerating the space as Liath (Irish for ‘grey’). His reinvented restaurant retained a Michelin star in the 2020 awards and graduated to a lucrative second star in 2022.
One of Dublin’s smallest fine dining spaces, this is as close to private dining as you’ll get, with just 22 seats, set alongside jewelers, art studios and bric-a-brac spots in Blackrock Market. Diners can enjoy an early sitting ‘preview’ menu of seasonal dishes or the more lavish later sitting – a 2.5-hour tasting menu with paired drinks.
Chapter One by Mikael Viljanen
Best for lavish dining in a literary location
The best place to eat on Dublin’s Northside? Our money is on this graceful basement restaurant at the Dublin Writers Museum. First helmed by Ross Lewis, Chapter One earned a Michelin star for its elegant modern European dishes, celebrating the tastes and terroir of Ireland, but in 2021 the mantle passed to Finnish-born chef Mickael Viljanen, formerly of Dublin's celebrated, two-Michelin-starred Greenhouse.
While Lewis has stepped away from the frontline (while still taking a hands-on, behind-the-scenes role), the changes in the kitchen have delivered a second Michelin star. There’s nowhere better in the city for a long, lingering fine dining lunch, paired with impeccable service. And at €65 (US$73) per head, it's not bad value either. Try out the signature postprandial service – an Irish coffee, arriving by trolley and flamed at your table.
Best for a offbeat wine-and-dine experience
Keelan Higgs’ agreeably informal restaurant in the Liberties district rose from near-obscurity to acclaim within a year of service, quickly clinching a Michelin star and retaining it ever since. Inventive, intuitive ideas sing on every plate, backed up by familiar and easygoing service led by Higgs’ brother Aaron. Pair the innovative meal with cool wines by sommelier, Vanda Ivančić, often warping the spectrum between classic and crazy. It's a prime example of what contemporary Dublin dining is doing right now.
Best vegan and vegetarian in Dublin
It's not all burgers and scallops in Dublin – vegans and vegetarians can eat like kings.
Best for creative vegan cooking
A wonderful addition to the city center on Chatham Row, Glas – Irish for ‘green’ – offers a formal take on plant-based dining. With an art deco speakeasy feel inside, this restaurant and wine bar is a place where vegan dishes almost eclipse the vegetarian ones. The wine list is also one of the city’s most keenly curated.
Best for home-style cooking with a veggie twist
A staple of Wexford St for the last 20 years, Cornucopia is one of the best vegetarian restaurants in Dublin. Just off Grafton St, serving from breakfast to dinner, this mother-and-daughter-owned restaurant is hailed for its hearty stews, veg bakes, bulked-out salads and lots of tempting free-from options.
Best for pay-by-volume salad feasts
A popular Drury St beacon, this deli and catering brand has become synonymous with downtown Dublin dining. The name is a cheeky riff on the Seventies movie classic, and the concept is pay-by-weight. Just grab a take-out container and do your best to choose between the enticing line-up of salads (the offerings change daily).
Best for Indian veg delights
Savor affordable, hearty portions of delicious Indian curries and soups at one of Dublin’s original vegan restaurants. Following the sattvic and yoga diet guidelines of the Hare Krishna movement, Govindas is a laid-back spot, perched on Abbey St, right in the shadow of the Spire and bustling O’Connell St.
Best seafood in Dublin
Just as the Liffey flows into the sea, the seafood of the Irish Sea flows back onto Dublin's tables.
Klaw & The Seafood Cafe
Best for boat-fresh small plates
The name Niall Sabongi is synonymous with seafood in Dublin, thanks to his duo of Temple Bar outposts celebrating everything from the deep blue sea. Set in a tiny shack with a handful of seats, pocket-sized Klaw has a New England-meets-New Orleans vibe, while Seafood Cafe is the more sophisticated sibling, with elegant small plates and wines. Further south of the city center, dip into Niall's Saltwater Grocery and fishmongers shop in Terenure, where regular raw seafood treats are available, celebrating the day's catch.
Best for surf 'n' turf
In the well-heeled neighborhood of Mount Merrion, chef Gaz Smith steers the kitchen at Michael’s with aplomb, showcasing his dedication to seafood and shellfish. The menu features the best of what’s landed each day, showcased brilliantly in extravagantly indulgent surf ’n’ turf platters. Smith has recently added to his fleet with a wine bar and small plates restaurant, Little Mike's, and he offers retail sales through the respected Higgins Butchers in Sutton. A third restaurant is set to open in Blackrock.
Best for Italian seafood treats
Luca De Marzio’s Rosa Madre has been a Temple Bar fixture for more than five years, and it's still one of the best spots for classic Italian in the city. What many overlook, however, is the emphasis on seafood and shellfish here. Signature dishes include sea bream tartare, tonnarelli and linguine with locally-caught lobster and clams and salt-crusted sea bass. Champagne is also a big deal at Rosa Madre, with an extensive selection from the cellar – you may even be handed a sword to saber the bottle yourself!
Best modern Irish restaurants in Dublin
The current Dublin taste sensation is modern Irish cooking, fusing local ingredients with global cooking know-how.
Best for dinner with a cocktail
Few places have set the agenda for modern Irish cuisine in the capital quite like Delahunt, set in a beautifully restored Victorian building on Camden St. Irish producers dominate chef Chris Maguire’s menu, with sparky dishes made from smoked mussels, venison and the like. Upstairs, you can sneak into the semi-hidden, chandelier-draped Sitting Room cocktail bar for sumptuously adventurous sips. Owner Darren Free also runs the incredibly popular wine bar and bottle shop, Franks, about a minute’s walk away.
Best for gastropub dining
The concept of high-end gastropubs hasn’t really landed in Ireland, compared to neighboring England, but Spitalfields stands as a welcome exception. It also has the accolade of being Dublin’s only Bib Gourmand-awarded pub. Heritage details abound inside this handsome old property and the serving counter is both a kitchen island and an extension of the big and beautiful bar.
If we had to distill the menu to keywords, they would probably be 'hearty', 'comforting', 'rich' and 'luscious', but there's also 'seasonal' and 'light' for balance. What always seals the deal here is the presence of two heavyweights of the Dublin dining scene – Stephen McAllister (co-owner, with his wife, Andrea Hussey) leading the kitchen, and Declan Maxwell covering the floor.
Best for meaty mains
Set above French Paradox – a well-established wine bar and bottle shop in Ballsbridge – Mae is chef Gráinne O’Keefe’s first solo venture as chef-owner, opening its doors in August 2021. She first forged a name as head honcho at Clanbrassil House, and her great industry experience is weaving quite a spell. Mae sits on the casual side of the fine dining spectrum, with set menus that allow some choice.
Cooking is modern Irish in style, whilst the wine list brims with French finds from downstairs, imported by the Chapeau brothers. For the meaty main courses, diners are invited to choose a weapon from a selection of knives from Ireland’s most talented knife-makers and forges, including Sam Dunn, Fingal Ferguson, Ryan Tate, Sam Gleeson and Jonathan Allen.
Best wine bars in Dublin
What's on your plate is only the start; head to Dublin's wine bars for fine food and wine combos.
Best for lifestyle wining and dining
A slick new addition to Fenian St, Note is described as being a 'Bar. Bistro. Bureau' – which translates to a mélange of cafe, wine bar, restaurant and lifestyle store. The interior is a sleek nod to the Sixties, and the shelves are stocked with the likes of HAY homewares and Aēsop skincare products.
On the food and wine side, a well-judged wine list leans towards the wholesome and offbeat, but Note also finds space for big, bold classics, as well as a fine choice of Grower Champagnes. Nibbles on the food menu include pata negra (Iberian ham), home-cured salmon and truffled Brie De Meaux.
Best for cozy sampling
Set in a former butcher shop, now sympathetically re-styled, Frank's oozes character. A one-room wine bar in forest green, this cozy nook bears bottles on skinny shelves bookending a central, communal dining table. Small snack plates are effortlessly assembled to complement the wine line-up.
Loose Canon & Table Wine
Best for cheese and wine
Loose Canon is an endearingly informal wine bar on Drury St where Irish farmhouse and artisan cheeses, charcuterie and small plates are backed up by a carefully curated selection of interesting wines. Grab a stool if you can, though the patrons at this popular spot often spill out onto the street.
The owners, Kevin Powell and Brian O’Keeffe, have also opened a wine bar-restaurant, Table Wine, on Pleasants St, with the same natural wine slant, but more of a refined and grown-up, sit-down mood. Take your time to appreciate the interplay between what’s on the plate and what's in the bottle – signature dishes such as oysters with tomatillo dressing and crab melts are highly recommended.
Best for natural and organic wines
The jolly Piglet wine bar sits on the outskirts of Temple Bar, but it wouldn’t look out of place in Paris or Rome. The owners call their wine list ‘a carefully selected mess’ and there's treasure here for those who partake. Natural, biodynamic and organic wines take center stage, whilst the food menu runs from small bites and nibbles to large platters to share.