Parnell Square Restaurants
A mainstay for Irish gourmands for the last two decades, Chapter One always gets it right. A Michelin-rated, white-tablecloth establishment housed in the elegant basement of a Georgian townhouse in one of Dublin’s most culturally significant squares (the Garden of Remembrance and the Dublin Writer’s Museum are mere moments away). The menu leans heavily on the products Ireland does well—fish, game, and especially good vegetarian dishes with the freshest vegetables, beautifully prepared. For the experience without the hefty price tag, try the pretheater menu before attending a play at the Gate around the corner.
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.
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.
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