Not a bad week of eating by the ATF team, including everything from fine dining by the sea to tacos out of a truck. Here's some of the best things that made it past our lips over the last fortnight...
Dinner In Mamo's New Dining Room, Howth
There are few places in Dublin I've returned to as often as Mamó in Howth, and their brand new upstairs dining room was as good a reason as any to book another dinner. What was formerly the restaurant downstairs is now a sleek little wine bar that's mostly for walk ups, while where the bar was on the right is now a set of stairs to the first floor, complete with white linen tablecloths and blue velvet backed booths.
The rooms may have changed, but the cod chip hasn't, and it's still one of the best things to eat here. We could smell a starter of gnocchi with mangalitsa pork, red pepper and pecorino before it was even set down on the table, and when it smells that good it generally tastes that good - it did.
Another highlight was a side of orzo with Balscadden lobster, which came with the market fish - wild cod. We would have happily forgone the fish for a full-sized bowl of this. You would also be wise not to miss a side of chargrilled brocolli with smoked yoghurt and spiced almonds. It's been on the menu for at least a year and should never, ever leave it - Lisa
Tacos at Just Chubbys, Clontarf
Just Chubbys is currently open on Thursday and Fridays from 18:00, and we got there at about 18:30 to find a short queue and lots of happy diners eating tacos as the food gods intended; hunched over wooden barrels with birria broth dripping down their wrists. We had the beef and Guinness birria with white cheese and birria broth for dipping, pork taco with pineapple and habanero and salsa roja, and the veggie version with portobello mushroom, cheese, confit garlic, and salsa macha. All were great but we’d happily walk to Clontarf for that mushroom taco alone - salt, smoke, chili, Unami; so much flavour packed into a crispy corn tortilla.
A side of nachos with jalapeño cheese sauce and salsa roja had us eyeing each other up to make sure nobody was able to snag the last one without consultation, but we regret skipping the corn ribs for the crispy chicken crisps - a full portion of these is probably best left to the die-hard skin aficionados. You can have your food packed to take away but, if you can stick around, we recommend that you eat your tacos as soon as they’re handed to you. Ours held up perfectly in the time it took to eat them, but it makes us sad to think of these great corn tortillas going soggy - Helen
Located just behind Lott’s on Clontarf Road, Ciao Cannoli are right next to the Just Chubby’s van so it would be rude to not leave with a cannolo or four. The crunchiest shells filled à la minute, and the perfect balance of creamy and sweet - Helen
Tasting Menu, Potager
A midweek trip to Potager in Skerries to check on their tasting menu and it's hard to argue with €69 for nine courses with optional petit fours (which must help with waste too). The bread course is always a highlight here and this trip was no different, with a fermented seed bread served with Cuinneog butter from Mayo, and an onion bread served with ricotta and savoury. We were also very taken with a dish of beetroot, cherries, walnut and a buttermilk sorbet.
Red mullet with garlic, yellow bean sauce and broccoli tempura was another favourite, and dessert of strawberries with basil and yoghurt was a lovely, sweet but herbal ending - Lisa
Brunch at Rúibín, Galway
A weekend trip to Galway showed the city of the tribes still punches well above its weight in food (and general good time) terms. Pretty quayside café-restaurant Rúibín has been on the hit list a while and this beautiful two-course brunch did not disappoint. The heat of the Kashmiri-spiced hash browns played well off a poached egg and creamy sheep's yogurt, while grilled peaches with meade and crusty brioche made for a lovely light dessert - Ronan
Eel Rosettes & Oyster Ice-Cream at Aniar, Galway
Aniar is one of the crowning glories of the city's food scene, and if the look of the plates doesn't make it clear why, the tastes surely will. Chef JP McMahon's menu works hard to hero the best of the west in largely locally-sourced ingredients, and this is a team that really knows how to make them sing. The flaky-salty smoked eel rosette is like the best crisp you'll ever eat (they don't come by the bagful, we asked) but the oyster ice cream - you read that right - is the most memorable invention. Some will run a mile from this, I licked the shell clean - Ronan