Thank God. The longest month in the solar system is over, and now we can get on with looking forward to a bank holiday a month from here until June. From brand new Michelin stars to aperitivo hour by the sea, here's where you need to be eating in February...
For that newly-crowned Michelin magic:
D'Olier Street, Dublin 2
Dublin's got a brand new star. D'Olier Street has been added to the little and lauded gang of Irish restaurants with one Michelin star, and this is a team that's going to be buzzing for all of February (and beyond). What better time to bag yourself an early table (because that's all that's available) and sit through their 12-course, €96 tasting menu, with dishes like rabbit, char siu and salted daikon; foie gras custard with English muffins; and the now iconic seeded pretzel bread course.
For the Michelin buzz on a budget:
La Gordita, Montague Street
Las Tapas de Lola's sophisticated little sister La Gordita arrived on the scene almost a year ago, with its dimly lit bar, Bodega-style barrels, and creative takes on Spanish cooking. Head chef Maria Luisa Moraleda has bags of flavour talent, and Michelin agree, as they've awarded them a Bib Gourmand for 2024. The second most famous award from the big man recognises friendly restaurants serving good food at moderate prices, and ensures an uptick in business, so you might need a little more planning to get a seat there these days, but good things (like gildas, prawn tortillas and crab salad with crispy chicken skin) come to those who wait.
For getting in early to the new kid on the block:
Bootleg, Drury Street
The cool kids have a new place to hang out, while eating sourdough with chicken skin butter; Iberico ham scotch eggs; and all the gildas from their *gilda menu*. Bootleg is more bar than restaurant, with DJs and Italo Disco nights, but with the head chef from Big Fan behind the food, we reckon it's going to be a party for your mouth as well as your ears. Get in quick before everyone hears about it.
To be spoilt near the sea:
Oliveto & The Parlour Bar, Dun Laoghaire
We did it. We got through the month that's 562 times longer than all the other months. You deserve a little treat. Jump on the Dart to Dun Laoghaire and make your way onto one of the pink sofas in The Parlour Bar in Haddington House. Get there between 5 and 6pm for Aperitivo hour, and a complimentary snack with your exceptionally good cocktail. Then head across the lobby to buzzy Oliveto, for housemade charcuterie, gnudi in a brown butter sauce, and wood-smoked halibut with beurre blanc. Bonus points for booking in enough time to get a window table.
To say goodbye to Dry January in style:
Old Street, Malahide
If you're finally off the dry, and have Grower Champagne tastes on a San Pellegrino budget, head to Old Street in Malahide on Wednesdays for a very generous 50% off the entire wine list. You're going here to go big, so maybe a bottle of Marguet Blanc de Blancs Champagne for €87.50 when it's usually €175, Matthiasson's Californian Chardonnay for €60 when it's usually €120, or Jean Foillard's Morgon for €32.50 when it's usually €65. Combine it with an early bird of three courses for €39 and leave feeling very pleased with yourself.
For getting your pancakes in early
Tang, Cumberland Place
It's T-6 days until pancake Tuesday, so get planning before it's on top of you and you're overwhelmed with all the choices. Tang serves some of the city's best pancakes year round, so you get your fill at any point in February, and you can expect them to come drowned in seasonal fruit, yoghurt, honey, nuts, and their God-tier nutbutter. If it's a sunny day you might even brave their outdoor seating in lovely Cumberland Place for all the spring feels.
For welcoming home an old favourite:
The team at Mamó in Howth took January off for some round-the-world travelling, and are back this week full of 2024 energy and fresh ideas. From the team who brought us the cod chip and langoustines larger than a human hand, we're in for whatever they're cooking in February.