For the main street in a capital city, O’Connell Street isn’t exactly the cultural and culinary hub of Dublin. Decent food choices are few and far between, with the main options consisting of dodgy chicken places, multiple McDonald's, and that weird pizza place beside the Savoy - who eats there? The GPO and the Spire just about overshadow the weird casinos, fast food places and corner shops that populate most of the street, and the Rubberbandits satirically pointed out that the statue of socialist Jim Larkin now looks onto the ‘totems of capitalism’ - Burger King and McDonald’s. The pinnacle of food on O’Connell Street is probably the 80c doughnuts from the Rolling Donut kiosk, and it’s hard to think of somewhere to eat when you’re trying to navigate year round tourists. But fear not, we have done the thinking for you and compiled a list of where to eat close to (but definitely not on) Dublin's main thoroughfare.
If you find yourself on O’Connell Street in the morning surrounded by commuters, tourists getting an early start to the day and those guys flogging city bus tours to every breathing human, go and find Tang on Abbey Street and get some buckwheat pancakes for breakfast. They’re topped with almond butter, yogurt and seasonal fruit and the bus tours don't come down this way.
If you’re around on a Tuesday, Vice Coffee do a Tight Arse Tuesday deal, where all coffees are €2 between 11am and 1pm, but their coffees are top notch so just go whenever you're close by.
Alternatively, if it's the weekend, you could go for a dim sum brunch in Bowls on Marlborough Street, and polish it off with one of their Macau style custard tarts. Or if you favour lunch over brunch, you can try one of their signature rice or noodle bowls.
For a sandwich fix, head to 147 Deli on Parnell Street and straight for their weekly special - otherwise known as the best sandwich in the capital that week. In other casual carb related cravings, go to Laine My Love under the bridge on Talbot Street for one of their sandwiches for lunch, or proceed there from Connolly station in the morning for breakfast.
For a sit down lunch head to The Vintage Teapot for their excellent dumplings, or take the ten minute stroll to One Society on Gardiner Street for a Croque Monsieur or brisket with salsa verde. Alternatively, they serve all day breakfast and brunch, like their full on pancakes (the ten minutes walking there will burn off the pancakes, right?). They also serve pizza in the evenings from 4pm, for those who miscalculated lunchtime.
For a more dressed up lunch, try Mr. Fox on Parnell Square, the sister restaurant to The Pig’s Ear. A three course here will set you back €28 before booze, and it's worth every penny - read our review here. Their nostalgic desserts are making quite the name for themselves, like the Super Split ice cream and the coffee iceberger.
As naff as O’Connell Street is, it’s pretty easy to find good Asian food, even Steam on Westmoreland Street isn’t too far of a hike across the bridge. For some bibimbap and drinks, head to Kimchi Hophouse on Parnell Street (below), for Vietnamese Pho or Bun try Pho Viet on the same street, or for very good Sichuan cooking go to M&L on Cathedral Street for dinner - with the added bonus of a €6 corkage charge in the last two (read our review of M&L here).
And if you want to go all out, it's got to be Chapter One. Find someone whose birthday it is or achieve something worth celebrating, because this is an occasion place. It’s a little reminiscent of the Tiger who shall not be named but still, this fancy. It’s worth going for the Michelin-starred experience and beautifully constructed dishes, and let's face it, restaurants like this don’t usually fit into your average weekend of eating, so it will be a serious treat.
For pre or post drinks, head to Wigwam for their extensive rum selection and Brazilian caipirinhas, or finish up the night in The Big Romance. The vinyl focused bar (music to our eyes - sorry) opened on Parnell Street late last year, with very cool craft beers and a sound system to beat all sound systems. Then head home with a new appreciation for what you previously thought was the most food-barren street in the city.
Did we miss any of your favourite spots close to O'Connell Street? Let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.