In 2008, I moved to Dublin for six months to work as a stagiaire. Eating out was, pretty much, unaffordable (save for my local Thai takeaway) and the price of a pint in 2008 (nearing 5 euro) meant we mostly stayed in. Most restaurants, in the days of the Celtic Tiger, were for tourists and expense accounts only.
This year, I returned for work and found a city whose dining scene had changed greatly since I left: a city centre that’s seen new restaurants open at an astonishing rate, full of young diners and busy at all hours.
A side effect of the recession was to clear Dublin of its many sub-par restaurants with expensive and average food. Now, lower rents in the city centre have allowed restaurateurs to move in with quirky, innovative concepts. Further south, in Ranelagh, a lovely ‘village’ of restaurants has also sprung up, making it a dining destination all its own.
Local chefs and restaurateurs, like John Farrell, Dylan McGrath and Joe Macken, are leading the way with their casual and fun city centre restaurants. Mixing bar with dining, these new casual restaurants all have an enticing wet-led offering which gives way to dishes designed for sharing and grazing.
Embedded below are some recommended bars and restaurants. For a night out that’s affordable and relaxed, check out Super Miss Sue and 777 (both from John Farrell; the latter has great early-week offers) and Damson Diner, around George’s Street. If you’re a fan of fried chicken and all-things American, then grab a bite at Crackbird and Jo’Burger.
For something a bit more fine dining, my new favourite is Forest Avenue. Run by an American-Irish couple, it’s a laid back restaurant (no starched linens here) with confident dishes and fantastic ingredients. Newly opened earlier this year, it’s a welcome addition to Dublin’s restaurant scene. Opt for the bargain set lunch.
And on the Southside: