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 our Alma once over 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.
Where: Clanbrassil Street
It's always a bit of a tie between who's getting more love - OG Bastible (above) or newer sibling Clanbrassil House, but between Cúán Green heading up the kitchen in Bastible and Clanbrassil head chef Gráinne O'Keeffe being named "best chef under 30" at last week's Food & Wine awards, we'd say they're pretty even right now.
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.
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".
Read our Frank's 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 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.
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.
The Greenhouse (New)
Where: Dawson Street
Never has a city begrudged the Michelin-guide more than when The Greenhouse didn't get bumped from one to two stars at last year's awards ceremony in London. The team, led by head chef Mickael Viljanen, were however named "best restaurant in Dublin" at the Food and Wine Awards last week, and there's always the 2020 Michelin-guide to look forward to.
Read more about The Greenhouse 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...
- The guys from Featherblade with open Mister S on Camden Street very shortly. Expect meat and vegetables cooked over fire with the same great value to be found in Featherblade
- Somewhere else that can't open fast enough for our liking is Spitalfields, the new "pub with a restaurant" in The Coombe from the team behind The Pig's Ear, with ex-Luna manager Declan Maxwell running the show. We've heard comparisons to The Harwood Arms in London, but before you get too excited about having a new place for the ultimate roast, we've been told they won't be opening Sundays (sad face). Current opening date is estimated to be Monday 9th September.
- Press Up's first foray into the exotic, Indian restaurant Doolally, opens on South Richmond street on Wednesday 11th September. The critics grew weary of the painting by numbers menus in their other sites, but we'd bet they'll head in to check this one out, especially after the news that former Michelin-starred chef Alfred Prasad was drafted in to design the menu
And still waiting on all of these...
- We're very impatiently waiting for Niall Davidson's new opening Allta (Irish for 'wild'), now expected by the October, which will bring small plates and pasta to South Frederick Street
- Ex-Etto staff member Jess D'Arcy and her husband were due to open Mamó in Howth in August, and we're told they're almost there
- Amy Austin, the new wine bar from 777 and ex-Luna owner John Farrell is really dragging her feet but SHOULD be open in the next few weeks