Our 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.
The new neighbourhood restaurant from four industry friends has given city diners another reason to get on a bus to Terenure, with Leslie Williams in the Examiner saying Circa's "future looks bright", and Ernie Whalley in the Sunday Times calling chef Gareth Naughton's cooking "stylish with inspirational touches". There's an interesting drinks list too.
Read more about Circa 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.
Dunne & Crescenzi 2.0 is from the owners' two sons, who've given the Sandymount site a serious face lift. They burst onto Instagram in January with multiple images of food that made us want to run for the Dart, and as we know, provide the excellent images and the critics will come. So far Lucinda O'Sullivan, Tom Doorley and Ernie Whalley have given it their stamp of approval and we'd say there's more to come.
Check out Crudo 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 Catherine Cleary in the Irish Times called the food "really lovely".
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.
Groundstate Coffee (New)
Where: Dublin 8
This seasonal café and yoga studio was put on the national map in March when Catherine Cleary in The Irish Times called it "one of Dublin's best cafés", quickly followed by Katy McGuinness in The Irish Independent who said the food was "properly tasty". Both praised the "exemplary" food provenance and cemented its place as one of the best brunch spots in Dublin right now.
Check out Groundstate Coffee 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 opened last month to raves all round, and expect reservations to sell out in seconds for the foreseeable future.
Read our Liath once over 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 the new €12 lunch deal is one of the best deals in town. 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’re opening a wine bar next month 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 may have started 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: 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 garlic 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...
- Ottolenghi style Tiller + Grain on South Frederick has been steadily gaining fans for their flavour packed salads and sandwiches
- Niall Davidson's new restaurant opening's been pushed back until late summer. Expect that to be big news
- Chimac are due to bring Korean Chicken to Aungier Street in June. We're excited
- Little Mike's, the new neighbourhood wine bar from Michael's in Mount Merrion is also due to open in the new couple of weeks. Viva la wine revolution