There are three distinct categories of people when it comes to Christmas shopping; those who have everything bought, wrapped and ready to go by mid-September; those who will make a dash to their nearest 24-hr supermarket on Christmas Eve en-route home from the pub; and those who’ll join the throngs of shoppers on Dublin streets in search of presents, atmosphere, and some sustenance. If you're the latter, we've rounded up some places to head when you need to put down the bags, and pick up some food.
If you’re anywhere near Grafton Stre… Quarter, you’re a short stroll from Bread 41 and their lines and lines of cruffins, croissants, and other baked treats. The café offers lots of breakfast and lunch dishes, there’s pizza on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, brunch at the weekends, and they’ve recently started opening on Sundays. Pick up a few custaros to eat later when you’re trying to battle your way out of a packed car park to keep hanger at bay.
A popular spot because of the sheer amount of tasty food conveyed to your table for an exceptional price (€12 for the lunch deal or €20 for the entire menu), Lucky Tortoise is likely to be very busy across the majority of December, but it’s always worth sticking your head in to see if they have some space. You might get lucky.
Just off Camden Street, Sprezzatura has wine and beer on tap. Best of all, it’s seriously affordable with a selection of small plates, and all main course pastas are under a tenner. Ideal when you’ve just given the credit card a serious workout.
Mad Egg now has three locations to cover you northside and southside. If you’ve braved the madness of town, or Dundrum Town Centre, reward yourself with some free range fried chicken. There’s no reason quick eats shouldn't be heavy on taste.
New and already in demand, Allta is just around the corner from Grafton Street. Since opening in mid-November, they've been swamped with bookings, but space is kept for walk-ins so it’s worth trying your luck after an exhausting day pounding the pavement. If you do grab a table we recommend ordering everything. Sure it’s Christmas. (Read our Allta once over here)
Parnell Street is best known as a melting pot of Asian restaurants these days, and we love that, but 147 Deli remains a constant monument to the humble sandwich. Weekly specials, and a menu packed with regular favourites like the 147 Cheese Steak make it the perfect pitstop close to Henry Street.
Xian Street Food
Galway staple, Xian Street Food opened on Dublin’s South Anne Street earlier this year and has been drawing crowds with hand-pulled noodles and traditional Chinese dishes ever since. You may have to wait for a table, but the queue moves quickly, and it’ll be worth it when you’re tucking in to a steaming hot bowl of beef biang biang noodles.
Nothing says Christmas like Korean fried chicken. Okay that’s not true, but there’s nothing to stop you making this a thing. Chimac is one of our favourite openings of 2019, offering huge chicken burgers, topped nugs, and fries - and only free-range chicken. Maybe save this one for when you're finished, as if you go all out and end with the ice-cream cookie sandwich you probably won't be able to move very far afterwards.
Clanbrassil Coffee Shop
The baby sister of the Bastible/Clanbrassil House family, Clanbrassil Coffee Shop serves soups, sandwiches, pastries, and specials from Monday to Saturday. Ideal when you’re looking for something quick and tasty award from the crowds, before begrudingly heading back to the shops.
The Cellar Bar At The Merrion Hotel
We’ve done extensive research and can confirm that the nicest Christmas tree in Dublin can be found in the lobby of the Merrion Hotel. The Merrion has a number of dining options, including Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud, but if you’re looking for something a little more casual, head to the Cellar Bar to share a seafood tower or any number of pub classics.
Mister S, from the team behind Featherblade, is relatively meat-focused with lots of cooking over fire, but flame-licked fish and vegetables also feature. They recently started taking reservations, but space is still kept for walk-ins so it’s the ideal spot to take a load off when you don't know what time you're going to tick the last thing off your list. The miso roast potatoes will leave you feeling very merry and bright.
Usually open 6 days a week, Cirillo’s will open from 13:00 to 21:00 on Sundays in December, so you have extra opportunity to get in there for a pizza, antipasti, or ragu with venison and chestnuts, which is the Italian/Christmas mash up we've been waiting for.
Caffe di Napoli
If you’re heading towards Pearse Station for your Dart home, you’d be well advised to pop in to Caffe di Napoli. What looks like a café houses a beautiful Italian restaurant downstairs, with classic Neapolitan food including lots of pizza and pasta. If Caffe di Napoli is full their new winebar Enoteca di Napoli has just opened around the corner on Fenian St. The menu is smaller, but similar, and portions are very generous.
If you’re shopping around The Liberties and thinking of eating in Spitalfields, you’re probably best off planning ahead and making a reservation, but it’ll be worth it when you’re tucked-up inside the cosy former pub. Set lunch and early evening menus start at €19.50 for two courses or you can go all out and opt for the mega cock-a-leekie pie for two at €45.
Tiller + Grain
Christmas doesn’t mean we have to overdo it at every opportunity, and Tiller + Grain’s menu of nourishing soups, hotpots, and salads will ensure you don’t have a mid-shop slump, because nobody wants to be found snoozing amongst the Fendis in BT's.