When we think back to our younger, care-free, 2019 selves, one thing (other than the obvious) has changed - our ability to make spontaneous dinner plans. We’ve been through 8pm closures, restaurant meal kits, even nibbled on a compulsory €9 toastie in order to enjoy a long-awaited beverage in public, and with pent-up demand meaning the first half of 2022 was spent desperately seeking any free table, it’s no wonder its taking a while to shake off the meticulous pre-planning mindset. If you're also missing the ability to head out for a quality meal without the fuss of pre-booking weeks in advance, these 20 places are perfect for a walk in...
Frank's, Camden Street
Sip on an extensive selection of natural wines by the bottle or glass and perch yourself on one of the signature green barrels at Frank’s on Camden Street. They've got a rotating menu of fresh and exciting small plates from chef David Bradshaw, like potato bread with sour cream, roe and chives, and Hegarty's cheddar crumpets with wild garlic, and are “walk-in only”. We recommend sharing some outside while basking in the evening sun, and don’t skip on the charcuterie.
Nomo Ramen, Charlotte Way
No bookings are needed at Nomo Ramen, which is good to know when that need for a Hirata bun hits. Order yourself some of the best ramen in the city with a side of mushroom karaage and wash it all down with a few Asahis – they now have it on tap. And if anyone says you can’t have a big bowl of comfort food in summer, you sent them our way. Read our once over here.
777, George's Street
777 are walk-in only for bookings under six people. Check out their contemporary twist on Mexican food along with their very popular margaritas, and if you pop in on Sundays you can save yourself a few quid with selected dishes and drinks €7.77. Bargains and Margs, what's not to like.
Masa, Drury Street
Sticking with Mexican, Masa on Drury Street is also walk-in friendly. With a newly kitted out interior, grab a stool inside or sit at one of their window tables (half in, half out) and enjoy fish tacos, tortilla chips with a range of salsas and frozen margaritas.
The Seafood Café, Temple Bar
Niall Sabongi’s idea of “super fresh seafood in a relaxed atmosphere, where people can get their fish on” is a simple concept which delivers on quality. They only offer a small part of The Seafood Café up for reservations, so walk-ins are encouraged. Don’t miss their oyster happy hour daily from 16:00 - 17:00, with naked oysters €2 and topped/torched ones €3.
Loose Canon, Drury Street
Sometimes you just want a simple summer dinner of wine and cheese, or cheese toasties, or small plates and cheese, and Loose Canon ticks all the boxes. We love “The Classic” toastie with Hegarty’s cheddar, 18 month aged Coolea, homemade bechamel and scallions, toasted to perfection on Le Levain Sourdough bread. Walk on in and have it paired with a top natural wine.
Chimac, Aungier Street
Chimac needs no introduction at this stage - casual dining at its finest, pairing Korean fired chicken with Irish craft beer. We can’t fault their burgers - our current favourite is the “Good Good” with twice fried free range chicken; ssamjang and cheddar cheese sauce; honey and jalapeno relish; and habanero mayo served in a potato bun with house pickles. If you're looking for a non-burger option, try the Chimac poutine - twice fried handcut chips; Szechuan spice mix; adobo gravy; ssamjang cheese sauce; siracha candied bacon; free range chicken 'nugs' and spring onion.
Cornucopia, Wicklow Street
A vegan restaurant your non-vegan friends will also enjoy, Cornucopia specialises in hearty, plant-based dishes that don’t lack in flavour. Their 'main course and two salads' deal is an absolute steal for the sheer amount of food you get. Choose from favourites including veggie lasagne and moussaka, and pile up a plate with their potato salad and slaws, then grab a seat in the cosy upstairs dining room.
Coke Lane Pizza, Lucky's and The Circular, Dublin 8
Coke Lane Pizza are constantly trying (and succeeding) to elevate the traditional Neapolitan pizza. We feel like running to try out their latest special with Tír Deli, “The Smoked Margarita” with Irish sunstream tomatoes smoked for three hours over applewood chips, Toonsbridge Fior di Latte, 18-month-aged Parmesan and Irish basil. Firing up ovens in both The Circular in Rialto and Lucky's on Francis Street, they guarantee a fun-filled pizza night.
Zakura Sushi, Baggot Street & Wexford Street
If you’re craving something lighter like sushi (depending on the quantity you eat of course), you can’t go wrong with Zakura. Currently with three locations in the city serving fresh made-to order sushi rolls, along with other Japanese favourites Donburi (rice bowls), tempura and Yaki Soba. You can also BYOB for €6 per bottle.
Happy Endings, Aston Quay
Inspired by global street food flavours and specialising in fried chicken, Happy Endings is a fun spot to check out for dishes like Ho Chi Minh honey tenders and “The Jimmy Burger" with mission spice buttermilk chicken; pineapple and habanero chutney; peanut and lime satay sauce; slaw; mayo and dry roasted peanuts. They also serve buckets of cocktails if you've had a hard week.
Full Moon Thai, Temple Bar
Full Moon Thai on Parliament street is all about bringing fresh, legit Thai food to Dublin in a relaxed, friendly atmosphere. There's a wide range of traditional dishes, and prepare your palate to be hit with the four essential flavours of Thai cuisine - spicy, sour, sweet and salty. Read our once over here.
CN Duck, Ranelagh
We're still thinking about the Hong-Kong style roast meats we had at CN Duck in Ranelagh. This place was designed for spontaneous, casual dining but that does not affect the quality. Grab a few friends and order a feast of roast duck, crispy pork belly and juicy Cantonese soy chicken. You can also BYO for €6 a bottle. Read our once over here.
Aobaba, Capel Street
Still one of the best-value for money restaurants around, Aobaba has an almost a cult-like following at this stage. Grab a stool inside or a table on the recently pedestrianised Capel street, and try anything on the menu. Start with a few summer rolls, a steaming bowl of Pho, or a grilled pork banh mi, and follow up with a tall, iced Vietnamese coffee for dessert.
Dash Burger, Capel Street
Dash Burger’s Capel street location has plenty of indoor and outdoor seating for you to satisfy those last minute smash burger cravings. We'll race you there to try the Allta shitake miso butter collab before they sell out.
Arisu Sushi & BBQ
A spontaneous activity and dinner all in one, in Arisu you can go for one of their BBQ sets and grill your own meat, fish and vegetables at your table. Served with salads and complimentary Korean side dishes or “banchan”, of kimchi, miso soup and seaweed for the table, it's a full experience, and one you will not be leaving hungry.
Kimchi Hophouse, Parnell Street
You and your dining companion can’t choose between Korean or Japanese food? Hit up Kimchi Hophouse on Parnell Street which does both, with some Irish pub thrown in for good measure. It's Dublin's oldest Korean restaurant with plenty of bibimbap, japchae and zigae, but there's a full sushi menu too, in a casual pub-like setting.
Lee's Charming Noodles
Once you’ve had a hand-pulled noodle you can’t go back. Lee’s Charming Noodles on Parnell Street have made it their mission to bring the widest and best choice of noodles to the city. Serving everything from soup noodles and chow mein, to spicy noodle mix and traditional Chinese stir fries, it's one of the best places to eat in Dublin's version of Chinatown.
Pho Kim, Parnell Street
Another one of our Vietnamese go-to restaurants, Pho Kim on Parnell street was formerly Pho Viet (and we have no idea why the name changed as apparently it's business as usual). Get the Cha Gio (Vietnamese Spring rolls), Vietnamese pancakes, and any of their rice vermicelli dishes - ours is a Bun Thit Nuong Cha Gio, with marinated pork and pork spring rolls.
Dosa Dosa, Stoneybatter
South Indian Street food is finally getting the love it deserves in Dublin, thanks to two Dosa Dosa locations - one at Albert Court East off Grand Canal Street Lower (Wednesday - Sunday), and their newest location at Hyne's Bar in Stoneybatter. We’ve tried all the Dosa at this point and picking a favourite would be like picking a favourite child/dog/fingernail. Don't miss the Vada either - pillowy lentil dumplings with peppercorns, curry leaves and chili, served with onion chutney and sambar. Read our once over here.
Did we miss your favourite place for a walk-in? Let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.