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Where to eat in Dublin in August

Choosing where to eat is hard. So many options, so many conflicting opinions, so little money - thanks 6% inflation. So each month we're going to narrow down the options for you. These are places that are particularly good right now - whether it's because the food has never been better, or it's the perfect vibe for the time of year. Here's where we think should be on your August eating list...

For the last of the summer vibes:

Happy Out x Together Academy, Dun Laoghaire

Everyone's favourite Clontarf coffee spot Happy Out, on Bull Island, has expanded to Dun Laoghaire in a collaboration with Together Academy, who train young adults with Down Syndrome so they can find paid employment after leaving school. Happy Out x Together Café opened in the old Dún Laoghaire Baths a couple of weeks ago, and how about these end of summer views with your coffee and granola pot, post sunrise-swim. Read more about the project here.

For summer seafood:

The Seafood Bar, Dublin 7

There are only so many weeks (days?) of the year that we can stand around a barrel drinking cold white wine and popping native Irish shrimp into our mouths, so get into Spanish-feeling The Seafood Bar before those Autumn winds whip into town. Newly opened on the corner of Dorset and Blessington Street, we had one of our favourite meals of the past year in here, and the tiny 10-seater is worth rocking up without a reservation for. Don't you dare leave without ordering the clams with salsa verde. Read our once over here.

For a special occasion:

Volpe Nera, Blackrock

Some restaurants make their kitchen magic feel effortless, and since opening at the end of 2019, Barry Sun's Volpe Nera hasn't seemed to have an off night. After we took it over for an ATF Insider event in June, we could think of little else but returning as soon as the calendar allowed it, and despite the always-growing to-visit list of new and old restaurants, we were back the following month to do it all again. There wasn't a dud dish, ingredient or stumble throughout the entire menu, and this really is one of the capital's best restaurants right now. Even if you're not Blackrock adjacent it's worth the effort to get there, particularly for a special occasion.

For a quick bite in town:

Okky, Aungier Street

It's all too easy to find yourself in town with limited time to eat and no reservation, in need of fast food that's made fresh and won't blow your monthly eating budget. That's when you should head for Okky on Aungier Street, who specialise in Okonomiyaki - the Japanese, cabbage-based pancake that can be customised with toppings of your choice. They start at €12.50 before add-ons, and you would be very well sated in here for around €20 - you'll also probably leave with an okky obsession like us, and if you want to try it at home we recommend this recipe. Read our two minute review of Okky here.

For something different:

Ella's Heaven, Talbot Street

From our first Khachapuri at Ella's Heaven to our last apple-stuffed doughnut, we're now faced with the problem of being unable to pass their door on Talbot Street without stopping in to try another Georgian speciality. From freshly made Georgian dumplings (Khinkali) to their window of filled sultan Turkish delight, there's always something new and different to order, although since trying their cheese perashki it's an ongoing struggle to order anything else.

For when the wine and food are equally important:

Fish Shop, Smithfield

When Fish Shop owners Jumoke Akintola and Peter Hogan closed their more formal restaurant on Queen Street and headed to Tramore to open Beach House, we (and everyone else) wondered if the high standards in their more casual wine bar on Benburb Street would be maintained, but there was nothing to worry about. Fish Shop's star keeps on rising, appearing in every "where to eat in Dublin" guide, and that might explain the steady stream of (well-researched) tourists trying to get a high stool on a recent rainy afternoon midweek. We felt very smug with our booking, and every plate of flawless food that we laboured over, and to not go big on wine here would be a big mistake - the list is one of the best and most exciting around.

For an advance reservation to look forward to:

Host, Ranelagh

It's no secret that getting a table in Host can be a pain in the face. Trying to book for any time soon generally throws up a 5pm or 9pm table - if you're lucky - so get planning a special night out and book now so future you can have something to look forward to. Even with advance booking your best chance at getting a prime time table is midweek, but we'd go here any time, on any day for those seasonal small plates, freshly made pasta, and generous slabs of meat cooked with care and precision. There's a reason their last post on social media was almost a year ago - who needs it when word of mouth is this good.

For a drive out of Dublin:

The Square, Dundalk

The Square in Dundalk has been on our restaurant wish list for a few years now, with time and circumstances transpiring against us again and again. Chef Conor Halpenny's bistro-style menu has plate after plate of things we want to eat, like homemade cheese and onion crisps; warm Coolea biscuits with whipped ricotta and walnut; and Dunany crab with smoked mackerel, fennel, apple and buttermilk. The train to Dundalk takes around an hour from Connolly, then it's a 15 minute walk to the restaurant - the perfect excuse for a daytrip.