We’re almost afraid to say it out loud, but it looks like the elusive Irish summer may have finally arrived. It’s certainly starting to show its face on menus across the capital’s cafes and restaurants, with all the seasonal fruits and vegetables cropping up in creative new dishes across the city. Here’s our pick of the best - consider it your summer eating bucket list...
Tuna Crudo, Allta Rooftop
We first tasted this tuna crudo with green strawberries, bone marrow and roast chicken garum at Allta Summer House in Slane last year, and almost yelped when we saw it return to their summer tasting menu. Thin slices of tuna are dressed in Sicilian olive oil with green strawberries and McNally Farm basil, and glazed with smoked bone marrow split with house made roast chicken garum. Otherworldly.
Lobster Rolls, King Sitric
If you're going to do a lobster roll you might as well do it right. At King Sitric in Howth the Lambay lobster is so fresh you might even see them being caught across the bay. Add a brioche bun, mayo and a squeeze of lemon and summer lunches don't get much better.
Fried Artichoke, Clanbrassil House
We love artichoke season and don't see nearly enough of them around town in all of their forms. So praise be for Clanbrassil House's new snack of fried violet artichoke with pickled walnut ketchup, poached in an aromatic and sour vegetable stock, then coated in chickpea flour and fried until "GBD - golden brown and delicious".
Stuffed Courgette Flowers, Volpe Nera
Volpe Nera in Blackrock seems to effortlessly glide through the seasons, making considered additions and adjustments with minor fuss, and the latest newbie on their bites menu are these fried courgette flower stuffed with ricotta and drizzled in truffle honey. Oh so summery.
Coke Lane Pizza
It’s a left-field choice but we’re here for it. Coke Lane pizza have added a limited summer special to their menu with raspberry chipotle in a starring role. Paired with rocket, gorgonzola, and walnuts, it may be one of the more unusual options on this list, but that’s the kind of seasonal invention we like to see.
Scallops with Romesco, Dorian
Dorian in Donnybrook are shaking it up since new head chef Rowen Babe took over, and these pan-fried scallops with romesco sauce, and hazelnut and chorizo picada are screaming out for a glass of white Burgundy and a seat on the terrace.
Burrata with Heritage Tomatoes and Sourdough Crumb, Spitalfields
Nothing says summer quite like a salad spiked with the intense flavour of heritage tomatoes. In this dish from the Liberties’ Michelin-listed gastropub Spitalfields, they’re cooked confit and paired with creamy burrata and Kalamata olives as well as a crunchy sourdough crumb. We can't wait to try it.
Insalata Primavera, Osteria Lucio
Keeping with the theme of tomatoes and creamy cheese, Osteria Lucio’s fresh salad of buffalo ricotta with marinated datterini tomatoes seriously looks the part for a refreshing summer bite. Ross Lewis’ Italian restaurant always leans hard into seasonal produce, so we’ll be keeping a close eye on what other new menu items might be cropping up here over the next few weeks.
Gnocchi With Littlecress Pesto, Sprezzatura
Deceptively light when done right, gnocchi is a great choice for summer eating, and the Sprezzatura team have just rolled out a perfect seasonal adaption. Bathed in a pesto made with the intense concentrated flavour of littlecress and microbasil, these potato-pasta dumplings will pair well with any crisp white wine for an ideal summer evening meal.
Tomato Gazpacho with Dressed Crab and Pickles, Loretta’s
While crab may be available all year round, few ingredients go down so well under the summer sun. Loretta’s have paired it with pickles and a bright, bold tomato gazpacho on this beautifully presented plate. This one’s a permanent fixture but keep your eyes peeled for their weekly specials - our head was turned last week by plaice in a gooseberry beurre blanc.
Smoked Paprika Corn with Feta Yoghurt, Tang
Tang have just added a couple of new side dishes added to their Cumberland Place brunch menu. Baby potatoes come in an in house spice rub with tarragon aioli; while sweetcorn is seasoned with smoked paprika and served with feta yogurt, coriander and pickled onions. Both are best served in their peaceful garden outside.
Roast Cod with Estate Greens, Potatoes and Heirloom Tomatoes, Overends Kitchen
With a firm farm-to-fork focus using fresh produce from the Airfield Estate, it’s no surprise to see Overends Kitchen make this list with a beautifully simple lunch dish. Heirloom tomatoes (yep, them again) join potatoes, roast cod, and freshly harvested greens for a classic summer plate. Plus, there aren’t many better places to be when the sun is shining.
Sourdough Croissant Pastry With Gooseberry Jam, Dublin 4
Just try to think of this one without drooling down your top. Never short on OTT treats, Bread 41 has just about outdone itself with this demonic confection of sourdough croissant, gooseberry jam, a floral chocolate cream and syrup-tossed fresh gooseberries and flowers. We swear it’s just the summer heat that’s making us sweat.
Strawberry Croissant Tart, Chapter One By Mickael Viljanen
We almost fell off our chairs when the strawberry croissant tart trolley (who knew that was a thing) was pushed towards our table during our last visit to Chapter One by Mickael Viljanen. Tis the season, and if you can bag a table this summer you too could be enjoying this wildly indulgent two-part strawberry dessert.
Vanilla & Woodruff Panna Cotta, Oliveto
Strawberries are everywhere, and we need to make hay while the sun shines. Enjoy these ones on top of a vanilla and woodruff panna cotta at Oliveto in Dun Laoghaire, while watching the sun split the sea outside.
Seasonal Cruffins, Bread Naturally
We’re only slightly heartbroken that the ingenious Aperol Spritz cruffin was a now-past one-off from the folks at Bread Naturally in Raheny - how incredible does prosecco curd sound? But fret not, they’re rolling out a regular seasonal slew of different flavours across the summer, with snickers, lemon cannoli, and raspberry and white chocolate among other recent specials.
Seasonal Brioche Buns, Bread Man Walking
Stone fruits are all striding into season right about now, and we’re ready for a lot of sticky-sweet pastry to come. Bread Man Walking has been playing about in the test kitchen and is following up last week’s plum brioche bun with an apricot alternative this week. Get those pre-orders in now.
White Chocolate with Peach Sorbet and Loire Valley Cherry, Dax
Dax goes all-in on the stone fruits with this peach and cherry combo, adding complementary flavours of bourbon and white chocolate to the mix for a classic dessert combo we’re dying to try. Chef Graham Neville is known for relishing summer ingredients - his lobster-stuffed courgette flower is a well-loved regular fixture not to be missed.