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: South Circular Road
Always a cornerstone of the Dublin dining scene, Bastible has been catapulted back into the limelight with the news that ex-Noma chef Cúán Greene is back in Dublin and their new head chef. Catherine Cleary was swiftly through the door, calling it "the start of something truly bloody exciting". Expect a stampede.
Check out Bastible's hunger-inducing Instagram feed 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: Aungier Street
Korean Fried Chicken fever hit the capital last month when Chimac finally opened, after a year of rumours. Queues down Aungier Street became the norm, and for the first week they didn't seem to be able to keep chicken in stock for more than a few hours. Katy McGuinness in the Irish Independent praised their commitment to free range chicken giving the food 9/10, and you can still expect a wait.
Read more our Chimac once over here.
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.
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: Camden Street
When Frank's butcher's shop on Camden Street became vacant, the owners of Delahunt a few doors up decided to take it over and turn it into a wine bar, leaving the butcher's frontage as is. Catherine Cleary in the Irish Times called it her "new favourite restaurant", and Aoife Carrigy in Food & Wine compared it to a cocoon, calling the food "top-class".
Check out Frank's 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.
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 in March to raves all round, and expect reservations to be like hen's teeth for the foreseeable future.
Read our Liath once over here.
Little Mike's (new)
Where: Mount Merrion
We didn't think it was possible for Michael's in Mount Merrion to be overshadowed, until little brother and wine bar Little Mike's opened a few doors up. It's left a clean sweep of critics swooning (us included), with Ernie Whalley describing the seafood small plates as full of sincerity and generosity, and Tom Doorley calling it "a delight". The counter seats with a view of the kitchen are the ones in demand, and the wine experience is at the same level as the food.
Read more about Little Mike's here.
There was a lot of excitement in the industry when it was announced in January that ex-Chapter One head chef Cathal Leonard was taking over the old Red Bank in Skerries. He and partner Sarah Ryan opened the doors in June and unusually Catherine Cleary from the Irish Times was the first in. She called the evening tasting menu "the best money you'll spend on food in Dublin", and after eating there we'd be inclined to agree
Read our Potager 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...
- We're very impatiently waiting for Niall Davidson's new opening Allta (Irish for 'wild'), expected by the end of the summer, which will bring small plates and pasta to South Frederick Street
- Ex-Etto staff member Jess D'Arcy and her husband will open Mamó in Howth in August, and we are tense with anticipation for this one
- There's a new barbecue spot coming to Camden Street that we're dying to tell you about. More when we're allowed to shout about it
- Amy Austin, the new wine bar from 777 and ex-Luna owner John Farrell should be open in the next few weeks, and it sounds like something we're going to get excited about
- The owners of Deville's in Dalkey will open Casper and Giumbini's in Dun Laoghaire in late July, and with the ex-manager of 64 Wine looking after the wine list we've got a good feeling