Travel

Ireland

Establishment neighborhood
Hatch & Sons
15 St. Stephen's Green, Stephen's Green
Beneath the Little Museum of Dublin is basement hideaway Hatch & Sons, a rustic farmhouse-style spot committed to good Irish home cooking—and a commitment it is, with every ingredient, right down to the rapeseed oil, produced domestically. However this reliance on Irish ingredients doesn’t mean the menu lacks any outside influence: The brisket-and-kimchi roll is a definite standout. The best meals are always the ones you share, and the smoked fish board, replete with incredible smoked salmon and mackerel, pickled cucumbers, traditional brown soda bread, and cream cheese, is one of the most satisfyingly delicious things you could eat, washed down with a crisp glass of white.
Hophouse
160-161 Parnell St., Parnell Square
Everything feels wrong: The unassuming exterior looks like a grubby pub, there are stained-glass windows, somehow the sign claims it's a Korean restaurant that also sells sushi, and you can’t hear anything through the heavy wooden door. Once inside, the joke’s on you, every table heaving with bright young things feasting on hotpot and bulgogi, the staff trying to keep up with the crowd. The first Korean restaurant to ever hit Dublin and still probably the most authentic, somehow they always find seats for a crew and splitting a dozen or more dishes never breaks the bank.
L’Ecrivain
109A Baggot St. Lower, City Center
Partners in the kitchen and in life, Derry and Sallyanne Clarke have operated one of Dublin’s most successful fine-dining establishments for nearly thirty years. Walk through the cobbled courtyard into the old Georgian coach house—often to be welcomed by Sallyanne herself. Chef Clarke showcases the very best of Irish cuisine inflected with a French sensibility; every dish and detail is thoughtful, right down to the bread basket (which in itself is a solid introduction to Irish gastronomy—the malty, dark Guinness bread, the umami-strong sourdough, the traditional soda loaf). Diners will notice a fish- and game-heavy menu paired with the unexpected flavors that keep this establishment in the Michelin guide: Wicklow sika deer with salsify and juniper, duck with black garlic. The atmosphere is never stuffy or precious, instead, laughter fills the high-ceilinged space that’s always full of that heady Dublin mix of politicians, creatives, bankers, and the occasional out-of-towner that gives L’Ecrivain its personable, familiar character.
Mr. Fox
38 Parnell Sq. W, Parnell Square
An appetizer of venison tartare, mixed with mustard, flecked with red currants, and topped with sunchokes—some crispy, some pickled—is the best thing we’ve eaten this year. Mr. Fox, relatively new to Dublin, is down a flurry of steps on an unremarkable side of Parnell Square, a genteel spot that flirts with fine dining but doesn’t fully commit. A bread basket says a lot about a place, and this one, outfitted with homemade sourdough, Parmesan cream, and savory cep butter, does not disappoint. The fare is the wintry, heavy food Dubliners love to eat: beef cheek with buttery polenta and zesty gremolata, spelt risotto with pickled fennel and almonds. The desserts are playful, sophisticated interpretations of the ice creams from our youth—the iceberger, the super split.
One Pico
Molesworth Ct., School House Ln. E, City Center
Like many of Dublin’s fine-dining establishments, One Pico has withstood the test of time, surviving the rise and fall of the Celtic tiger and subsequent recession—a true feat. Fueling celebratory dinners and long lunches since 1997, longtime chef Eamonn O’Reilly does what some would call modern Irish cuisine really well, with a nod to the French flavors Ireland has developed a taste for. Beef tartare with charcoal mayo and pickled carrot, turbot with cockles and roasted scallops, and an array of inventive deserts (we’re partial to the honey parfait, honeycomb, bee pollen, and milk ice cream in particular), served out of a discreetly elegant dining room in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it mews house down a quiet laneway in the city center.
Pickle
43 Camden St., City Center
Chef Sunil Ghai is no stranger to the Dublin food scene having done stints in the Ananda and Jaipur kitchens over the last few years. Pickle, however, is his first solo venture. Ghai has chosen to highlight the street snacks and home cooking of Northern India, creating punchy, assertive dishes packed with flavor and perfect for sharing. Don’t play it safe; try something new like the lamb-and-bone-marrow curry cooked for close to twenty-four hours or spice-crusted scallops. Venison, something eaten a lot in Ireland, is wholly reimagined with bright pickled cauliflower, wild berry chutney, and a smoky chili yogurt. The décor is as exciting as the food—patterned tiles, green-and-yellow accents, and colorful posters of India adorning the walls.
Rasam
18-19 Glasthule Rd., Glasthule
Inarguably the best Indian restaurant in Dublin, Rasam, nestled into seaside enclave Glasthule and across the road from the incredible Cavistons, is in good company. Rasam isn’t married to a specific region of India; instead you’ll find a dynamic menu with Rajasthani dishes next to Keralan curries. The real beauty of this cuisine is how inclusive it is—vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options abound. For those who can’t decide (or don’t know where to start) order the thali, basically Indian tapas with a taste of all the greatest hits. The dimly lit space itself is quite grand, with beautiful Indian ornamental details and a smart lounge; it feels celebratory, maybe because it’s always full of people enjoying themselves. The wine is excellent, the service attentive, and the crowd loyal—proprietor Nisheeth Tak was one of the first to introduce the flavors of India to Ireland, and there’s no going back now. (If you’re waiting for a table or fancy a predinner drink, head across the road to the very cozy 64 wine bar.)
Salt Café
11a Monkstown Crescent, Monkstown
Salt and its accompanying specialty food store and marketplace Avoca are Monkstown’s go-to for breakfast, lunch, the butcher, a dozen eggs, good coffee, cold press—you get the idea, it is the unequivocal general store of dreams. Salt is big and bustling with a slightly Scandi-looking interior. Frankly, the food here never disappoints, and the chefs make a stellar Irish breakfast—bacon, pork sausage, grilled black pudding and mushroom, roasted tomatoes, and a few slices of generously buttered toast. Lunch is fairly international with bold flavors and inventive pairings, like duck breast salad with peaches and figs, boeuf bourguignon; the favored order amongst locals is the half chicken with Caesar salad and a side of crunchy fries (called chips in Ireland, and chips are called crisps), this chicken is straight from the rotisserie and melts in the mouth. Totally kid-friendly and an excuse to make your way out to the Monkstown village with its seaside Georgian terraces and boutiques.
That’s Amore
107 Monkstown Rd., Monkstown
The sheer number of bodies that manage to fit into this absolutely tiny space in the heart of Monkstown village never fails to amaze. The minuscule kitchen, helmed by one or two Italian chefs, turns out flavor-packed, authentic, comforting food that people cannot get enough of, to the point that in the depths of the frigid Irish winter, it’s not unusual to see locals sitting outside wrapped in blankets with their pappardelle. While the menu boasts all the usual suspects—insalati, antipasti, excellent thin-crust pizza—you’re here for the pasta. That’s Amore eschews the usual skinny spaghetti for tonnarelli, which is a little thicker, more of a mouthful. Order the tonnarello al tartufo, dense pasta doused in a rich, creamy truffle sauce flecked with aged Parmesan, probably the most indulgent thing you’ll eat all year.
The Fumbally
Fumbally Ln., Warrenmount
A top spot for breakfast and all-round great space to hang all day and imbibe too much caffeine, the Fumbally is a collective of good people turning out conscious, delicious, experimental food. The hodgepodge shabby-chic space is filled with communal tables, books and magazines stacked on various surfaces, a jumbo sack of chickpeas tucked into the corner. The crowd is mostly young, creative, literary, and cool. Everything one can possibly make by hand is made in house, down to the vinegar from leftover juice pulp, sunflower milk from the seeds, and an impressive menu of kombucha. Order a plate of creamy golden soft-scrambled eggs doused in custom hot sauce on a slab of thickly buttered sourdough. Every dish has an unexpected element: the avocado toast topped with pickled cabbage and popped amaranth, the Gubbeen cheese folded into the eggs, the pulled porchetta sandwich with a vinegary caper mayo. Settle into an armchair for one or several coffees, maybe move on to wine, and soak up the achingly hip scene.