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Ten New Openings In Dublin

Times may be tough in the hospitality industry, but Dublin’s restaurant ranks continue to swell regardless. From Brazilian burgers to okonomiyaki, world-class steak to hyper-local Indian, here’s what's new to the capital’s food scene lately...

Row Wines, Coppinger Row

Planting their flag back on Coppinger Row after the closure of their flagship restaurant of the same name at the end of 2021, brothers Marc and Conor Bereen have launched Row Wines next door, and the early whispers are positive. Young chef Paddy Maher is heading up the kitchen, after working his way up the Press Up ranks, before a stint in Mister S and then Row's sister restaurant Orwell Road, whose head chef Dan Hannigan takes on an executive role here. The menu’s 8-10 small plates and snacks will see regular rotation, while the all-small producer wine list and vinyl deck cement the casual wine bar vibe.

Astopia, Aungier Street

In a highly-competitive restaurant scene, it’s rare for new openings to carve out a wholly unique niche. Enter Astopia, the new cyberpunk, Asian fusion mocktail bar, whose AI image-loaded website speaks to bold ambitions and bolder style. The owner was the manager of previous tenant Bao House, and took the opportunity of that restaurant’s lease lapsing to realise her own vision of pan-Asian cuisine in an immersive dining experience. The result is - well, we won’t know what to think of the result until we get in to take a look for ourselves, but suffice to say our curiosity is piqued. Expect salads, gyoza, bao, hot pots and (much less expected) a spice bag served in a “toast box”. We did say wholly unique.

Kari, Inchicore

It’s been a slow and steady expansion for husband and wife Bala Nayak and Nidhi Joshi, whose Clanbrassil Street Konkan first opened its doors in 2004, followed seven years on by a second branch in Dundrum. Kari takes its name from the Tamil word for curry and specialises in south-western Indian cooking - the new name marks a bit of a departure from Konkan’s stall with more dishes Irish diners may not be familiar with from the Goa, Kerala and Karnataka states among others.

With the sheer variety of cooking seen across as vast and populous a country as India, the owners are wary of calling their food authentic - just informed by their own experiences and memories. Read our once-over here for what we thought after our visit.

Crackbrgr, Temple Bar

We’d been enjoying the steady drips of tea that accompanied Crackbrgr’s path to opening, from early mutterings that it was the return of Crackbird and Jo’Burger’s (geddit?) Joe Macken after his food empire was liquidated in 2018, to his in-no-uncertain-words dismissal of the new venture as a “Frankenstein’d” revival by former business partner John Roberts, whose share was bought out 18 months before it all went under. If the notably similar concept, style and menu wasn’t cause for a cynical pinch of salt with this one, the Instagram-friendly disco ball bathroom and regular “clucky seats” share-to-dine-free promos surely must be.

Okky, Aungier Street

Just over a year after opening a second Lucky Tortoise in Temple Bar, co-owner John Ennis has refit the Aungier Street original into a casual ode to okonomiyaki. The affectionately-named Okky draws on his three years in Japan and Korea, where the popular street food of a cabbage pancake topped with sweet Kewpie mayo and savoury okonomi sauce was a regular pursuit. This slimline menu is a smart diversification for the smaller premises, with six topping choices allowing for an as-you-like-it experience of the classic dish, alongside two types of gyoza and a Japanese omelette option. We can see the €12 lunch deal of a pancake and three sides going down a treat.

Eathos, Baggot Street Upper

Baggot Street residents rejoice! Not quite content with their existing two outlets on the Upper and Lower ends of the Grand Canal-spanning street, Eathos have opened a third branch right between the two, so no matter where you may be along it, you’re never more than three minutes away from their health-oriented offering. Fans though we may be of the veg-heavy hot and cold plates they offer across breakfast, lunch and brunch menus, we can’t pretend we’re not a little bit baffled by this, but the (probably) soon-to-be café empire’s business sense hasn’t let it down yet. It’s walk-in only, but if you can’t get a seat - well, have we got good news for you.

Arboretum, Parnell Street

Of all the things you might have bet on taking over the top floor of the reopened Chapters Bookstore, a garden centre can’t have been top of the pile. But here we are, and the Arboretum brand of Carlow and Wicklow fame has arrived to take over the former used books section, with the well-regarded Rachel’s Garden Café coming right along with it. From quality coffee, cakes and pastry to hot offerings like stout-braised stew, the all-day menu should make for a welcome addition to a stretch of the city without much quality casual fare to offer. There’s house jams and preserves on sale too - we’ve got our eyes on the banana curd.

2 Lads, Bolton Street

Another month, another new opening springing up to serve Dublin’s growing Brazilian population. The latest is 2 Lads, taking over the space that was previously occupied by Brazilian BBQ shop B Skewers before they made their ill-fated move to Temple Bar late last year. At a glance it’s a relatively simple menu with burgers and hot dogs at the heart of things, but talk of homemade sauces like guava ketchup and orange pepper jam has turned our head, almost as much as the sight of a streaky bacon onion ring flooded with melted cheese. Be still our beating, soon to be very clogged, hearts.

The ever-popular chicken coxinhas, cheese balls, and loaded - sorry, “ladded” (sigh) - chips make up the sides, and there's a deep-fried banana hotdog style bun to really finish you off.

Hawksmoor, College Green

There’s little introduction needed for Dublin's new steakhouse Hawksmoor, which first flagged its Dublin debut almost a full year ago, and sold out its first week of reservations inside fifteen minutes - no mean feat given the 152 seats scattered throughout the old National Bank site on College Green. The London-based chain now has branches on both sides of the Atlantic, and was named the world’s best steak restaurant in 2022, before dropping back to second in this year’s table - we’ll still take it.

Prices are suitably steep given the reputation preceding it, though the lunchtime and early bird “express menu”, running until 6pm Monday to Saturday is a very reasonable €33 with rump steak and chips, Dublin Bay monkfish and sticky toffee pudding among your choices. ATF Insiders got a first look at the Sunday roast this past weekend, and they weren't disappointed.

Pi, Temple Bar

It's now five years since George’s Street pizzeria Pi opened its doors, and with many Dubliners still holding it close to heart as the city’s best pizza, it’s a wonder it’s only now they’re coming to expand. The new Essex Street site was once home to Mexico to Rome - about as strange a fusion restaurant as the city has seen - but we reckon this might just prove a bit more of a hit with the foot traffic tourist trade. To mark the occasion there’s a new menu in both locations, with peanut rayu-topped pork and pineapple, and a smoked prosciutto BLT among the more eye-catching additions - don’t worry, the nduja, margherita and marinara aren’t going anywhere.