Everyone who's anyone is talking about how Dublin is at 'peak restaurant', and how we can't handle any more openings. They're right in that there is a chronic chef crisis, and a general lack of hospitality staff across the board, but like any city it's survival of the fittest, and more (good) openings will only lead to better food across the board as places have to up their game. Four new restaurants have opened in the past week alone (two vegan - a trend that's not going away) and we like the look of all of them.
Pi opened on George's Street yesterday with a day of free pizza and suggested donations to the Peter McVerry Trust in lieu of cash (which they also matched). Pizzas are Neopolitan style (puffed up and blistered) and cooked in a traditional wood-burning oven made by cult-oven maker Stefano Ferrano, whose handiwork can be found in some of New York's most highly-rated pizzerias.
The man behind Pi is Laois man Reg White, who used to be an auctioneer before jacking it in to do a three-month course at Ballymaloe. Since then he's worked in restaurants in Ireland and the states, and was a tutor at the Dublin Cookery School. He says he's intent on making Pi the best pizza in Dublin.
We've got a good feeling about this one.
10 South Great George's Street
Vegans of Dublin (and probably readers of this website) won't need an introduction to Mark Senn, the man who officially made vegan food sexy. Between the cauliflower wings (so much better than you can imagine) and the vish and chips (likewise), vegans (and non-vegans) have been rocking up to his stand at Eatyard, and previously his food truck in Portobello to get their plant-based fix for the past few years.
They were on the hunt for a permanent location for a while, and ended up finding one just north of the city centre on Dorset Street. These guys really know flavour and the new menu features dishes like beetroot kibbeh with pineapple bulgur sriracha salsa and confit aioli, and XO king oyster mushrooms with fermented choi sum, kimchi and marinated shimeji. Who would miss meat?
101 Upper Dorset Street, Dublin
The latest in the Press Up empire, this US style diner looks fun with free refills on coffee, all day buttermilk pancakes and cocktails with bacon. Typically no expense has been spared with the fit out and seating is in leather booths or at the counter.
The menu has a whole section for breakfast sandwiches and another for pancakes, as well as hot dogs, burgers and meatloaf, and the dessert counter serves everything you'd expect from a diner, with apple, blueberry, key lime and Mississippi mud pies.
Read more about Stella Diner here.
211 Rathmines Road, Dublin 6
The Garden of Vegan
Musician Sharon Shannon's Garden of Vegan food truck has been appearing at festivals since 2006, but earlier this year they started a campaign to raise €30,000 for a permanent site in Ranelagh. They opened at the weekend and the vegans of Dublin have been flooding in to try the 'Burger with Attitude' and the fiery vegetable hot pot.
The cartoon vegetables which cover the walls (inside and out) make it look more like a children's play centre instead of a health food café in Ranelagh, but the food is getting great reports in vegan groups on Facebook. We've recently found out that there are two more vegan restaurants due to open in the coming months, so if you're wondering why the sudden movement to plant-based eating you'll soon have plenty of options to get involved. In the meantime here's a good list to get started with.
The Garden of Vegan
51 Elmwood Ave Lower, Ranelagh, Dublin 6