Ireland’s relationship with food is evolving. While the meat-and-two-veg approach served us well for decades, lots of factors (economical, environmental, ethical, health, and maybe even a little horse-meat scandal here and there) have meant people are thinking more about how much meat they eat, how it’s processed, and where it comes from. While we’re not here to start an argument on the merits of a plant-based diet over omnivorous on your body and the environment (this isn’t Twitter), there’s no denying that people are eating meat less often, and when they do they're opting for the best - a life strategy we are very much in favour of. Here's where we go when we want well-sourced, well-cooked meat for a serious treat.
One of the newest contenders on the Dublin meat scene, Mister S is the only name you need to know when it comes to barbecued meats in a fast, casual environment. The smoked beef short rib and Andarl Farm tomahawk pork steak are must orders, but we also love the organic chicken thighs with romesco. Bring friends. Order it all. Read our Mister S once over here.
BuJo in Sandymount only serve grass-fed Irish beef as part of their quest for quality and sustainability. Such is their commitment to their custom blend of fresh ingredients in their beef patties, when they ran out recently they opted to serve only their vegan and vegetarian burgers, instead of settling for a lesser cut of beef. We approve. And if you have any vegan or veggie friends we guarantee they'll be very happy with the offering here, which includes the Beyond Meat burger.
The Chop House
Dublin 4 gastropub The Chop House definitely doesn’t get as much coverage as it deserves, but tends to pack in the regulars and match-goers. The focus is on beef, but there’s no shortage of pork, lamb, duck, venison and chicken, with suppliers name checked throughout the menu. There’s lots of early bird and lighter options but if getting the meat-sweats isn’t a concern, the 1kg Côte de Boeuf with garlic green beans, twice-cooked chips, onion marmalade and a choice of sauce is one of the best in Dublin.
There are plenty of restaurants serving steak that you could easily bring a vegetarian or vegan friend along to, but FX Buckley isn’t one of those. When you walk in, you’re likely to see a diagram on top of your menu showing what cuts of meat come from what part of the unsuspecting cow, or find a cabinet packed full of dry-ageing fillets. The steaks are cooked quickly on a very hot charcoal grill for great flavour and texture, and they have several locations around Dublin but we particularly like the atmosphere in the Temple Bar location.
Another great restaurant that deserves more love, Featherblade on Dawson Street will serve you a grass-fed Irish steak for as little as €14, proving that you can combine quality and value, even in Dublin city centre. Or double-up on the meat and go for their sugar-pit bacon cheeseburger.
The Butcher Grill
From the same stable as Dillinger’s and 777, The Butcher Grill in Ranelagh does exactly what it says on the tin, with Tom Doorley describing a recent meal there as “marvellous” in his Irish Daily Mail review at the weekend. Sunday lunch at €19 per person is great value, but it does include the unusual addition of smoky beans. The wine list is pretty decent, which is good because you’ll need something to wash down that €90 24oz Chateaubriand for two.
Shanahan's On The Green
A Dublin institute which often takes a ribbing for its popularity amongst American tourists who like to splash the cash. Yes, Shanahan’s is definitely on the expensive side but they do an amazing range of steaks, and their mashed potato alone is worth the visit.
The basement-level Tomahawk Steakhouse is in the same building in Temple Bar that houses Roberta’s - also part of the Press-Up Group - but is a testament to substance over style that we don’t always see from the hospitality group. The interior is understated leather and wood, and the menu is heavy on steak, charcuterie, and pork. Maybe not as much a sister-restaurant to other Press Up premises, more of an attractive second cousin who minds the coats while everyone else is on the dance floor.
Michael's and Little Mike's
We’re sending you to Michael’s for meat. Hear us out. Yes, it’s one of the best places in the country for fish and our hearts will always belong to those iconic seafood platters, but the mix of quality suppliers and owner/head chef Gaz Smith’s commitment to using nothing but the best ingredients means that pork, lamb, beef, and duck often feature on the menu. If you can't resist the fish, order a steak, then sweet-talk manager Talha into making it surf ‘n’ turf. And get chips. Always get the chips.
Proof that getting good quality meat doesn’t have to be a formal affair that costs the earth is 147 Deli on Parnell Street. Sandwiches and wraps are packed with house-cooked meats sourced from local craft butchers, and their Instagram account is like an homage to great ingredients. Their melts are infamous, like this one with overnight braised brisket, watercress mayonnaise, confit garlic mushrooms, pine nuts, mature white cheddar, and rocket with a side of madeira gravy