We know you swore off going out for Valentine’s Day years ago. The lukewarm food, the harangued staff, the overpriced set menu with its ‘medley of romantic seafood assiette’. But in case you’re getting the urge to give it another go, these 8 places promise not to bring out the heart-shaped balloons and vomit-inducing soundtracks.
Proprietor Luca says ‘every day is a special day at Rosa Madre and you’re guaranteed that it will be business as usual here on the 14th - they probably won’t even know what day it is. Freshly caught seafood, an extensive Italian wine list and warm hospitality. Close your eyes and you could be in Venice. Hopefully Luca’s working and not off on a date.
Sticking with seafood, a trip to Dublin’s holy grail of fish (Howth) is always a good idea. Especially when the option is decidedly non-romantic shared tables and some of the freshest seafood in the city (best mussels we’ve had but we’re happy to debate). The window seats looking out at the boats are especially lovely, just be prepared to talk to your neighbours instead of gazing into each other’s eyes.
If you’re looking to impress (or maybe propose), this is the place. Dublin’s latest fine dining destination, not many restaurants have opened with the anticipation and build up that Glovers Alley has had. At the time of writing they had early and late tables available, but we’d get on it quick.
For fiery, flavourful food, to reaffirm how brilliant and diverse Dublin’s dining scene is right now, you won’t do much better than Nightmarket. No mushy menus here, it’s the same offering as every other night. Okay they MAY have some seafood and cocktail specials but that is definitely as romantic as its going to get.
Everyone’s treated like a food critic at Michael’s, the South Dublin neighbourhood restaurant that everyone wishes was in their neighbourhood. The lovely staff could give lessons in hospitality and this is another top spot for the freshest seafood. This is the only set menu we’re letting through because it looks genuinely worth it – five courses including lobster for under €50?
The residents of Malahide lucked out last year with the opening of Old Street, a new-wave, modern Irish restaurant which takes hospitality as seriously as ingredient sourcing. And just in case you had doubts about how great they are, they’re running their early evening set menu (two courses for €24, three for €29) all night on the 14th, just like any other Wednesday.
Yes it’s more seafood, but it’s also one of the absolute best places for seafood in the city, and it’s another restaurant that is making precisely zero fuss that it's Valentine’s Day. Same menu, same set up, with the possible addition of some oysters, if they’re available that day. And they've got great wine.
Just not into fancy sit down meals? How about video games and burgers? Token sounds like a brilliant place to spend a stress-free Valentine’s Day. And once again, they won’t even be acknowledging the fact that it’s the feast of St Valentine, so kick back, eat some tacos and play a few rounds of Donkey Kong. Glorious.