It’s increasingly clear that we’re going to have to make the most of whatever ‘summer 2019’ is - so that means grabbing any sunshine you can. Step outside, find a patch of grass and kick your shoes off, not with a sad sandwich, but with a bright box of something special. More picnic guides to follow but for the time being we’ve ticked every gate close to St Stephen's Green (or Iveagh Gardens, or Trinity. Go nuts). Weather permitting of course.
Tiller + Grain
Tiller + Grain has been a hit from day one and proof that you can be both instagrammable and incredibly tasty. Generous bowlfuls that are worth a blow out every now and then, it’s genuinely hard to choose from the heaped platters of salads, fishes, roasted meats and grains which all manage work beautifully together. All of it is good, all of the time.
Tang's rainbow colours will brighten up even a cloudy day, as their Middle Eastern flavours make you warm from the inside out. An always friendly spot where some of the best Irish producers meet the souk, their daily changing salads and flatbreads are full of spice, crunch and of course tang.
Green Bench Café
Rain or hail the (fast moving) queue is deep on Montague Street where every element of the Green Bench Café's food shines. Thoughtful, creative and full of daily surprises, house made cakes and their sausage rolls on Fridays are often gone before 1pm. If you get the hot pot and sandwich combo that’s dinner taken care of as well.
Kokoro Sushi Bento
For premade fridge bento Kokoro's are as good as it gets in Dublin. Pretty and lots of choice of nigiri, hosomaki and sashimi, all with miso, or build your own box with fishy pick-n-mix for a quick grab and go. And maybe a little aduki bean dorayaki for afters.
Showing no signs of being a fad, poke now has a permanent spot in Stephen’s Green shopping centre, where Shaka Poke will pile you up a towering bowl of freshness to eat in or take away. Any of their signature bowls are worth trying (even the fishless ones) but ours is an "off the wall", with salmon, edamame, carrot, red cabbage and mango.
Cloud Picker Café
A bit of a hoof to the Green from Cloud Picker Café but there’s plenty of green space in Trinity either. The Dublin coffee roasting favourite are now packing it out daily at their own space with chunky exciting salads and breads, and they offer discounts for people who bring their own food containers. Don't forget a Polish yeast bun for afters.
Another bento, this time from Sisu on Stephen's Street, whose €10 bento is now available for takeaway. It changes every day and you probably won't need dinner after the generous amount of food.
Another of our salad favourites, Industry on Drury Street is Dublin's answer to Ottolenghi (them and Tiller + Grain - see above). The portions aren't huge, but thankfully the flavours are.
Cash rich and time poor? Need to make a really good first impression or make a serious apology? This is the answer. Balfe’s will make you up a wicker basket of cheese, charcuterie, paté, bread, crackers, salad and strawberries along with a blanket, plates and real cutlery, and either mini bottles of Pommery pop champagne for €110 or pink lemonade for €60. You will feel like a legend in your lunchtime. Then it’s back to work. Bah. Contact Balfe's directly at least 24 hours in advance to arrange.