What should we know about The Fresh Market?
The Fresh Market in Marino is run by the third generation of Smyths to sell fresh fruit and vegetables in Dublin. It all started in 1924, when Nicholas Smyth set up his stall in the Victorian food market in Mary’s Lane (closed for renovation by DCC in 2019 and still no timeline for redevelopment in sight. Dublin, get your sh*t together).
Inspired by the food-loving way of life in San Sebastián, you might feel transported to another city when you cross the threshold of the quaint Marino shop. From the outside it just looks like a greengrocers, but since 2019, they’ve been serving daily specials based on seasonal produce from their shop, and the menu has expanded since then.
They’ve also got baked goods from Wicklow’s Firehouse bakery, and breads from Le Levain, so don’t forget your ATF tote bag, because you will be LADEN down when you leave. Dedicated to sustainability, they're big on supporting local producers and independent businesses, and rice, pulses, spices, oats, nuts, and more are sold loose by weight, so customers can bring their own containers and fill up – something we would love to see more of across the city.
What's the menu like?
Their daily lunch menu includes a small but perfect list of toasties. On a recent visit, they were serving a tuna melt with lemon, capers and fennel; ‘the ham hock’ (that we ordered), ‘the braised beef’ cooked with red wine and black pepper, horseradish crème fraiche, pickled red onion and cheddar; and ‘the ploughmans’ which is ‘the ham hock’ minus the ham.
Their salads included blood orange tabbouleh; roast cauliflower with celery, hazelnuts and bulgur; and Ras el Hanout aubergine with roast garlic tomatoes, rocket and mint yoghurt dressing. As for soups, they’ve always got something interesting on the pot, like ham ribollita, courgette and rosemary, or chorizo and cannellini bean.
Our ham hock toastie and lunch box were delicious and generous - we enjoyed some of the tortilla de patata heated up on the pan for breakfast the next day. The salad was roasted cauliflower with pomegranate and bulgur, and the cheese was a creamy Brie. The toastie had juicy ham, a zingy crunch from the pickles, and sweet caramelised onion to offset the nutty cheddar. The lunch box was grab and go, but we had to wait or the toastie (always a good sign) and there’s plenty in the shop to keep you occupied.
What is there to drink?
Great coffee – they serve Upside here, the neighbourhood specialty coffee roasters. They also carry a decent selection of juices.
Is there seating?
Unfortunately, there’s no seating so you’ll have to take your lunch to go. In warmer weather you’re only a short stroll away from Fairview Park or the Clontarf seafront if you want to find somewhere outdoors to sit and enjoy your lunch.
Why should I go?
Championing the best seasonal Irish produce and local, independent businesses, this type of high quality, local grocer turned deli and coffee shop is something every neighbourhood needs. We can only imagine the challenges of running a shop like this, but it’s something that the Dublin food-loving community needs to get behind, and we'll be back.
The Fresh Market
6 St Aidan’s Park Road, Marino, Dublin 3