When you’ve spent a wonderful day on the course and you’re in need of some sustenance, you’ll be wanting to cap off your day with a culinary experience that gives you sweet dreams. You’re spoilt for choice in and around Dublin, so choosing a top ten is quite a task! We’ve listed ten of the very best dining experiences for you.
10. Variety Jones
This small yet outstanding restaurant might go unnoticed at first glance, so humble is its entrance. But although it’s unassuming, it soon reveals a love of good, fresh produce - an array of market-fresh vegetables, locally sourced meat and fish fresh from the sea means dishes which revel in smokiness, packed with flavour. The menu is small (but changes regularly and features a catalogue of dishes for sharing. Add to that a high-quality wine list and the combination provides balm for the taste buds.
Harold’s Cross is a neighbourhood full of history and the perfect setting for a small (but always busy) restaurant which blends modern bistro dishes with flair and sophistication. In 2017, it retained its Michelin Bib Gourmand award by producing and refining exciting dishes like charred cabbage with hazelnut pesto or Andarl farm pork belly and fillet with lentils, celeriac and prunes. These artfully combined and flavoursome blends are prepared and presented to a supremely high standard.
8. Mr Fox.
This basement restaurant is renowned for its top-notch cuisine, served in a refreshingly informal atmosphere. Their standout speciality on the a la carte menu is the chateaubriand for two. Using the best local meat, Mr Fox is a fantastic example of contemporary Irish cuisine. The decor here is relatively understated, but look out for several fox motifs dotted around.
7. Shanahan’s On The Green
If you’re from over the pond and yearning for the taste of home in an informal setting, thisAmerican style steakhouse provides a fusion of American and Irish history and culture. The staff offer you a friendly welcome and the fireside bar downstairs adds to the cosy atmosphere. They certainly don’t stint on quality here, with Irish grass-fed beef which is cooked to perfection by the expert chefs. Don’t miss out on the healthy-sized side portions of creamed spinach, mashed potatoes and home-made onion rings!
6. Heron & Grey
Heron & Grey are the joint owners of this cosy candlelit restaurant - Heron leads the service and Grey creates the dishes. The food here is full of Irish taste and intensity, boasting a mixture of contrasting tastes and textures. You can order the 5-course dinner (whose content changes every fortnight) or take your pick from a range of sumptuous dishes inspired by sea and land. Their range of meat & seafood is complemented by flavourful farmed and wild ingredients - dairy, herbs and vegetables.
Taste at Rustic is a relatively new joint in the heart of Dublin. It offers ostensibly Japanese cuisine, but chef and owner, Dylan McGrath, has set his sights on exploring flavours, tastes and ‘live’ cooking well beyond the confines of the land of the rising sun. He juggles with contrasting flavours - bitter, sweet, salt, sour and umami and freely welcomes influences from the cuisines of Spain and South America. He also has the Bonsai Bento Bar on the same premises if you fancy a light but very fancy bite.
4. Forest Avenue
This stylish outfit can be found in Dublin’s Ballsbridge district. It takes supreme self-confidence to offer only a six-course tasting menu, but your trust will be rewarded ten-fold. The dishes provide an inventive take on contemporary cuisine and the ever-changing menu means you can taste varied dishes, from Heritage tomato and yellow peach, to Confit hake with white beans and mussels. Add the minimalist white-walled decor and subtle lighting and this stylish restaurant is irresistible.
Local Derry Clarke and his wife Sallyanne opened l’Ecrivain Restaurant in 1989 and have gone from strength to strength since then. The menu is classical but with modern twists here and there; As with other restaurants, there’s no shortage of superb locally-sourced ingredients - roast castletownbere scallop with pork belly, sweetcorn, garlic and curry spices is a standout dish, while aged Irish Beef with foie gras, truffles, rosti and girolles shows how the very special meat from this area takes centre stage.
2. The Chophouse
Since 2009, The Chop House has been offering a new angle on fine food, all from a Dublin city-centre pub. The cooking is top-notch, using the best of Irish produce and this is one of only two Michelin-recommended gastropubs in the city. The star of the show in this establishment is the magnificent selection of Irish meat, all sourced from 2 highly-thought-of local farms. The Chophouse is renowned for its legendary “Meat Board”, a carnivore’s dream. Cuts like Fillet, Sirloin, Porterhouse and Ribeye spoil you for choice, not to mention the delicious Lamb and Pork cuts. As you’d expect, there is a broad range of fine Irish whiskies, gins and craft beers on offer.
Patrick Guilbaud has had Dublin running through his blood for more than thirty years. This Frenchman, with two Michelin stars, extols the virtues of ethical and local sourcing, fine technique and excellent service. From the amuse Bouche to cocktails, wine selection and a sumptuous meal, Guillaume gives you a memorable culinary experience. Fresh seafood, truffles and more. what else would you want from a fine dining experience?
There’s no particular order in this list, because each one of them is quite superb in its own way. What unites them all is a deep love for good food and a desire to create an unforgettable eating occasion for Dubliners and visitors alike.