Our new bi-monthly list features the most talked about restaurants in Dublin right now. The ones the reviewers are reviewing, the instagrammers are instagramming, and where getting a Saturday (or any) night table can take military planning. These are the hottest restaurants in Dublin right now, in alphabetical order...
Where: Blackrock Market
The tiny Indian in Blackrock exploded in 2018 with zero PR attached - just word of very satisfied mouths. Soon it was being called "outstanding" by Tom Doorley and "a revelation" by Katy McGuinness and it was firmly on the Dublin food map. Expect very tasty, very good value food, and the fact that you can BYOB is another reason it's difficult to get a table in.
The Argentinean café opened in mid-January with slick imagery and a very different menu to what's currently available on the food scene, and seems to have had a queue since day one. You have definitely seen the dulce de leche pancakes on social media and have probably stood on the SRC waiting for a table. No critic reviews yet but it is only a matter of time. It's got Catherine Cleary all over it.
Read more about Alma here.
Where: Pearse Street
Did cruffins even exist before Bread 41 opened last September? What did we have as a 'treat' breakfast? What did food bloggers pull apart for insta story videos? It's fair to say that Real Bread fanatic Eoin Cluskey's Pearse Street bakery burst onto the scene and shows no signs of slowing down. Watch the sad faces pile up around 10am when they find out that everything's gone and the next bake isn't till 11.
Where: Temple Bar
Indonesian-inspired Chameleon's been around for an incredible 25 years and is part of the fabric of Temple Bar, but has managed to somewhat reinvent itself in the past year, with some of the best looking bao buns in the city and a new logo and paint job. It got Katy McGuinness through the door and she says she's kicking herself for never having gone before.
Read more about Chameleon here.
Where: Clanbrassil Street
Originally nicknamed ‘Baby Bastible’, Clanbrassil House is definitely standing on its own feet these days. Head chef Gráinne O'Keefe's food seems to be getting better and better, which was confirmed when they were awarded a Michelin Bib Gourmand last Autumn. Their social media channels are on fleek and celebrity fans are many and varied.
Read more about Clanbrassil House here.
Where: Merrion Row
Etto has been dream dining since opening mid-recession in 2013. One of the most highly rated, consistent restaurants in the city, no one was surprised to see them take home best restaurant in Ireland at last year's Restaurant Awards. Katy McGuinness reviewed them for a second time last February giving out a very rare 10/10, and saying she wouldn't change a single thing about it.
Fish Shop Benburb Street
Simple seafood, sherry and natural wines have been drawing the crowds to Smithfield since day one, and it's one of the food & drink industry's favourite hang outs. Catherine Cleary likened it to "a world class tapas bar", Katy McGuinness called it "perfection", and their Monday Wine Club is without doubt the best value place to drink quality wine in the whole of Dublin. Champagne for €7.50 a glass anyone?
Read more about Fish Shop Benburb St here.
Forest & Marcy
Where: Leeson Street
The second opening from the team behind Forest Avenue and chef Ciaran Sweeney is another place you'll find most of the city's restaurant staff hanging out on Sunday nights. It was originally walk in only, but thankfully they changed it and now take bookings, which is good because these are some of the hardest to get seats in town.
Read more about Forest & Marcy here.
Where: Pearse Street
The city waited an agonizing two years for Gertrude to open its doors and when they finally did last December their upmarket-diner-with-good-wine style was something completely new for the city. The pork tonkatsu sandwich, bacon and cabbage dumplings and fried chicken pancake stack were suddenly proliferating instagram, and all three critics reviews so far have been encouraging.
Read our Gertrude once over here.
We don't remember a new Italian restaurant ever having the impact Grano has in just two months since they opened, with 5 critics in already. By January they were booking out weeks in advance, and on the two occasions we ate there, countless people were turned away all evening. Catherine Cleary called it "terrific", and Lucinda O'Sullivan said if she lived locally she'd be there every night.
Read our Grano once over here.
Host opened in Ranelagh in 2017 and was like a corridor of London transported into a street in need. Soon the neighbourhood had a new favourite hangout for handmade pasta, sharing steak and great wine, and more than one critic complained about not being able to get a table. Host is still killing it in the popularity stakes and their fans frequently travel across the city to eat there.
Read our Host once over here.
When Heron & Grey announced they were splitting up late last year, anyone who's eaten there (or was never lucky enough to get a booking) sobbed inwardly, but when Damien Grey announced he was opening the restaurant under a new name, 'Liath', sighs of relief were heard across the city. It opens next weekend, with the first two months of reservations selling out in seconds. Expect that to be par for the course for the foreseeable future.
Read more about Liath here.
Where: Aungier Street
The dim sum pop up that started in Ranelagh has been on a bit of a travelling tour of Dublin for the past year, but after what was supposed to be a two week pop up on Aungier Street in September went so well, they decided to make it their permanent home. The €20 all in menu has been attracting the masses since day one and it only seems to be getting busier and busier. Good food, good music, good wine, good vibes.
Read more about Lucky Tortoise here.
Where: Mount Merrion
Not knowing about Michael’s is a major faux pas on the Dublin dining scene. Serving some of the freshest seafood you can get in Dublin right now, often straight from the boats, the place is constantly booked out, but fear not, they’ll be opening a wine bar down the road in April to deal with the spillover. Practically every food critic has been through the door in the past year, each one leaving more infatuated than the last.
Read more about Michael's here.
Where: George's Street
Pi was the instigator of "the great pizza debate of 2018", which we take credit for starting after declaring it the best pizza in Dublin. A summer of hotly contested opinions followed, with Catherine Cleary agreeing with us in September, and Leslie Williams says it's as good a pizza as he's ever tasted. There was a point where the queues got a bit nutso but it's settled into nice hum, partly in thanks to the clever new queuing system that lets you go for a beer until they text to say your table's ready.
Read our Pi once over here.
Where: Temple Bar
Owner Luca's prolific instagram stories are not for the faint-hearted (or those who have lives or jobs) but his Italian charm and tendency to sabre Champagne bottles in the restaurant have put it firmly on the map for much of the restaurant industry and the influencer set. His decision to delist all Prosecco from his wine list last year and cut the margins on Champagne earned him lots of fans too.
Read more about Rosa Madre here.
The Seafood Café
Where: Temple Bar
Niall Sabongi's Seafood Café has managed to stay front and centre in the seafood stakes by serving the freshest Irish fish, constantly coming up with inventive (and snappable) dishes like beer battered crab claws, and with events like their weekly Bloody Mary brunches. Sabongi's a vocal advocate for Irish seafood and its meant TSC is the first place a lot of people think of for quality, casual seafood in the city.
Read more about The Seafood café here.
Where: Francis Street
Casually going about their breakfast, lunch and brunch business since 2016, Two Pups is still one of the most sought after brunch spots in Dublin, and if you go on weekends prepare to queue. They're single-handedly responsible for one of the world's greatest pairings - avocado and peanut butter, and the French toast with plum compote and white chocolate reached legendary status.
Read more about Two Pups here.
Where: Aungier Street
The second, Spanish-influenced opening from the guys behind Etto almost kept us waiting as long as Gertrude, but from the day they announced they were opening at the end of November there's been a steady stream of critics, bloggers and just breathing humans coming out awestruck at the gildas, the mussels, the flan. It also has some of the best bar seating in town and some is saved for walk-ins. Jackpot.
Read more about Uno Mas here.
Where: Thomas Street
The first solo opening from chef Keelan Higgs opened five days before Christmas with no fuss, they just got the fire going in the hearth at the back and swung open the doors. Pretty soon reports were coming in about some of the most exciting cooking in the city, and all seven national critics had paid a visit in the first two months. Almost all left very satisfied.
Read our Variety Jones once over here.
Ones to watch...
- Ex-Drury Buildings head chef Gareth Naughton opens Circa in Terenure later this month.
- Initial reports from The Ramen Kitchen in Stoneybatter are positive. Expect a critic in there soon.
- Groundstate Coffee has had a new lease of life since Catherine Cleary's review at the weekend. We've already seen an Insta uptick.
- Niall Davidson's new restaurant opening's been pushed back until June. Expect that to dominate the summer.