I find that there is something intangible but distinct about Dublin. There is an excitement and energy in the city that is difficult to describe but easy to feel. It was most noticeable to me in the bars, cafes and restaurants throughout Dublin, which are pumping out seasonally-inspired, experimental and deeply delicious cuisine. I was honestly surprised by some of the delightful things I ate while in Dublin because I had never known it as a foodie destination.
Thankfully, I had some local insight to steer my culinary adventures. I was connected through a friend to Kate McCabe, an Irish food expert who curates small-group foodie tours with her company Bog & Thunder. She gave me a list of recommended restaurants in Dublin (as well as Galway), which I used as my primary source of food tips during my stay.
Wondering where to eat in Dublin? After eating and drinking our way through the Irish capital during a three day visit, I am sharing my favorite Dublin restaurants, cafes and pubs in this comprehensive Dublin food guide.
Part cafe, part music venue, Vice Coffee lies on a somewhat seedy stretch of road on the north side of the river. Don’t let the location put you off. The award winning drink menu at Vice Coffee will have you wanting to stay the entire day, drinking all of the caffeinated concoctions your heart can dream of. There are iced drinks, hot drinks, spiked drinks and tea options, as well as a full bar. I love their cold brews and espressos, while my husband was obsessed with their Irish Coffees. His favorite was the Fancy Frankie, made with Teeling small batch whiskey, espresso, and charred orange with a light foam on top.
On a quiet street near the Ranelagh neighborhood lies One Kinda Folk, perhaps the cutest little coffee shop in all of Dublin. Tucked inside ivy covered walls, their secret coffee garden is the most charming thing I ever did see. They specialize in third wave coffee prepared to perfection. The shop has a Bryon Bay inspired aesthetic as well as an assortment of healthy yet decadent snacks, like the addictive peanut butter balls.
Specializing in an assortment of sourdoughs, Bread 41 is located on a busy street just north of the Trinity College campus. You can pick up loaves and pastries to go at the counter (if you are in a hurry), or you can snag a table at their cafe to get the true experience. Their pastry selection is utter perfection. You’ll find beautifully layered sourdough croissants, raisin buns and a rotating selection of focaccias. The full cafe menu is equally as attractive, complete with a breakfast sandwich, eggs benedict or toasts.
I genuinely loved the chaotic but cozy atmosphere at Fumbally Stables. There was a community feel to it, like it had a soul of its own. Half the space is a cafe with a massive quirky gallery wall where each painting is slightly off-kilter. The other half of the space is a farm-to-table grocery store with high-end imports and specialty products. On a Saturday morning like when I went, the staff were hurriedly running between tables and shoppers, while a raucous assortment of patrons chowed down on delicious brunch cuisine. The menu is very allergen and vegetarian friendly, with rotating specials and seasonal highlights. There is an impressive wine list, many of which are natural wines or Irish wines, and you can buy the bottles to go as well.
There is only lunch service available Monday through Friday at this tiny neighborhood spot directly west of St Stephen’s Green. You’ll feel like a local eating at the charming family run establishment, because you’ll notice that many fellow patrons are regulars or have a relationship with the owners Ken and Gwen. Arrive early to snag one of the very limited tables because there are no reservations accepted here. The menu changes daily and you’ll find it hand written on a chalkboard. With their own farm supplying many of the ingredients, the dishes are all seasonally inspired to exceptional quality and freshness.
For a buzzy atmosphere filled with locals and fast service, look no further than Pi Pizza. Dishing out incredible wood-fired pizzas, you’ll find an appetizing menu that will have you wanting to order everything you see. You can dine in or carry out. If you find a line outside, don’t hesitate to put your name on the list because it will move quickly. There are a number of pizza offerings on the menu, but you can also add on additional toppings or design your own creation. I loved the DiCapra with added rocket, while my husband was a huge fan of the salsiccia. There is a surprisingly good wine & drink menu as well!
Beautiful plating and a warmly lit atmosphere set the stage for a delightful dining experience at Etto. Offering complex flavors with seasonal ingredients, the restaurant specializes in small plate eating. This means most dishes are designed to share. We ordered two varieties of croquette, including the shredded beef and cheese and the smoked mozzarella and roasted tomato. Both were excellent! For a starter, I opted for caramelized leeks with parsnips and parsley oil. The pillowy soft gnocchi in a sweet corn sauce with briny samphire stalks was a perfect main course dish.
I might be biased in including this one, since we stayed at the attached hotel, but I think Schoolhouse is worth it! Housed in a renovated and restored children’s school, the casual gastropub menu features tons of Irish staples and recognizable dishes that are just genuinely comforting. Think burgers, chicken wings, and frites. They’ve also got a surprisingly good cocktail menu. If the weather is nice, there is a lovely shaded patio outside with spacious seating along a peaceful canal.
Bathed in natural light from the massive skylight above, the romantic setting of Library Street Restaurant makes it an ideal place for a Dublin date night. Featuring seasonal dishes on a regularly changing menu, this feels like a foodie place. It has a vibe. Plan to share everything, since the menu is a curated selection of small plates designed for communal eating. We ordered nearly everything on the menu for our group of 4, and we honestly loved all of it. Perhaps the most surprising and enjoyable dish for me was the choux pastry filled with a horseradish and Cantabrian anchovy cream. It was a recommendation from the server and it was unlike anything I’ve ever tried before. The crispy chicken wing stuffed with chanterelle mushrooms and served with a tarragon mayo was another standout.
There are a seemingly endless assortment of pubs in the Temple Bar neighborhood, most of which are touristy, loud, sticky and smelly. Not my vibe. If you walk slightly further down Fleet Street, you’ll find the Palace Bar. This is well-worth a stop. The bar has been owned and managed by the same family for nearly a century, which is evident in the lovingly cared for Victorian interior. There is a beautiful stained glass skylight, shelves lined with old books, and a timeless ambiance in wallpaper-clad whiskey palace upstairs. The knowledgeable staff can offer suggestions on Irish whiskey, if you aren’t sure what to order. Starting in the late afternoons most days, you’ll enjoy the sounds of Irish music sessions.
If beer isn’t quite your thing, grab a glass of wine (and maybe some dinner too) at the lovely Allta. They offer tasting menus with pairings, or you can simply grab a glass while enjoying their patio and terrace. There is a cocktail menu as well, and you shouldn’t overlook it. There are some creative seasonally inspired cocktails to enjoy, like a rhubarb margarita or the bold betty’s sidecar.
When you just want a pint of Guinness in a locally loved pub, take a seat at the bar inside the Ha’Penny Bridge Inn. Similar to the Palace above, this pub has an authentic feel in the Temple Bar neighborhood that isn’t overly crowded with bachelorette parties or rowdy drunk hoards. Located along the river, there is a small patio out front if you’re able to snag a table.
Ireland has a proud history of whiskey distilling, and nowhere is that more true than Roe and Co. This was the first distillery in Ireland to begin distilling, although the Bushmills Distillery had its license earlier. The late 1800s was the hayday for Irish distilling, far exceeding production over nearby Scotland. Roe and Co was known around the world, and the family was exceptionally wealthy at the time. That changed in 1922 with the combined impact of Irish independence and American prohibition. It was a one-two gut punch to the Irish whiskey industry, which to this day has not fully recovered, especially when compared to Scottish whiskey production. However, the Roe and Co distillery has recently reopened in a gorgeous space directly across from the Guinness factory. They have absolutely nailed the aesthetic, with mint green and gold accents throughout the distillery. You can take a tour, do a tasting, or simply drink at the art deco industrial bar.