You know the feeling. You’re having a lovely night, the food's great and the conversation's flowing, but you've been handed the dessert menu and nothing appeals. Alternatively, you've eaten too much and are in desperate need of a stroll to break the meal and rediscover your appetite. When either happens, you've got options. These are some of our favourite spots for post-dinner dessert that open late - and if you're really stuffed but can't kick your sweet tooth, dessert cocktails are also an option.
A Fianco, Stoneybatter
Grano’s sister restaurant A Fianco is walk in only and serves two of our favourite Italian desserts - a first rate tiramisu and their deconstructed cannoli – creamy ricotta with chocolate chips, crunchy pastry shell and pistachios. Take a perch on a high stool, survey the buzzy room and have a mosey at their great selection of Italian wines by the glass.
Chimac, Dublin 2
We are big fans of the ice cream sandwiches at Chimac and have finished off many a dinner with a stop in here. Our regular favourite has salted caramel ice cream between two chunky chocolate chip cookies, dipped in melted chocolate with a pretzel crumb, but we recently spotted their latest creation - pumpkin spice snickerdoodle cookies with cold brew ice cream, topped with white chocolate and a cinnamon crumble. Top tip: patience is a virtue. If you can wait a few minutes to let it slightly melt, the cookie texture is spot on. Also be aware - these sandwiches are huge and can easily be shared between two.
Murphy's, Dublin 2
Sorbet at Murphy’s is the perfect palate cleanser option. These guys have been making ice cream for more than twenty years and the sorbets are handmade in Dingle using Irish spring water. The flavours vary by season and we love the OGs mango and raspberry. If you're in need of ice-cream, the dingle sea salt is an interesting option for those looking for something a bit different. If you have space, we recommend a combo of the brown bread and raspberry sorbet, for a cup or cone akin to an elevated jam sandwich.
Ayla Turkish Foods, Capel Street
It feels like you can find almost anything on Capel Street these days, with so many different cuisines represented. In Ayla Turkish Foods you can find every middle eastern ingredient you can think of (it’s where we go to get our pub piber chilli flakes), and on the sweet side they serve Turkish delight and nougat. For our money the best thing on the menu is the pistachio baklava - layered filo pastry filled with chopped pistachio, for maximum sweet, flaky goodness. It's priced by the kilo but we're usually satisfied with a couple of pieces each (only open until 8pm).
Note, Dublin 2
The staff in Note are so helpful and knowledgeable and will help you to pair their desserts and cheeses with a digestive or dessert wine. They also make their own limoncello which is a far cry from the sickly sweet syrup you may have had elsewhere in the past. Pull up a stool at the bar for the perfect end to an evening.
Three-Twenty Ice Cream Lab, Drury Street
Three-Twenty describes themselves as an ice cream lab, but there's lots more on offer, and they've just released their new winter menu. The Marshmallow bomb hot chocolate is a toasty accompaniment to a stroll around town, topped with a scoop of blow-torched marshmallow, or have it on the side of Belgian waffles if you need something more substantial. Due to allergy restrictions, they do have a weird rule of no mixing ice cream flavours and they don't allow tasters so you may be picking blind, but we haven’t found a flavour we didn’t like.
Clanbrassil House, Dublin 8
The pastry chef at Clanbrassil House is always creating new desserts, sometimes re-inventing a classic, and always incorporating what’s in season. The restaurant is happy to welcome diners in for a dessert if you give them a call on the evening and they have space.
Wigwam, Dublin 1
If you want to keep your night going but still need to satisfy the sugar craving, head to Wigwam. They have a host of alcohol laced creative desserts including a cookie
dough pie served with mezcal dulce de leche drizzle, or an old-school banana foster - rum flambéed bananas served with vanilla ice cream.
Bar 1661, Smithfield
If you fancy a drink for dessert Bar 1661 is hard to beat. Recently voted the best bar in Dublin and we have to agree, their take on an Irish coffee (the Belfast coffee) is made with Two Fifty Square cold brew, poitín, cream, demerara sugar and topped with nutmeg. We've seen people who don't like coffee knock this back, and once you're tried it you'll want it again and again.
Dolce Sicily, Dublin 2
Save yourself the flight to Sicily and head to Dolce Sicily, a Sicilian patisserie on South Anne Street, for a pistachio cream-filled cannoli. They're available in three sizes (we always vote ‘big’) and are best enjoyed with an espresso.
Peruke & Periwig, Dawson Street
When we saw a menu heading 'alternative drinks of a dessert nature' we knew Peruke & Periwig had to be on our list. They take an espresso martini up a notch by adding caramel and chocolate bitters, and if you have space, try the Can’t fight this Teeling anymore - a whiskey spiked milkshake made with chocolate and Guinness reduction syrup.
Kakilang, Dublin 1
Kakilang is a Taiwanese style café and bakery on the quays serving up (amongst other things) mille crêpe cakes - layers upon layers of thin crepes, separated by pastry cream and stacked together to form a cake. They also make the picturesque, pillow-like Japanese soufflé pancakes. which are made to order and take 30-45 minutes, which is ideal for those of who don’t have the discipline to properly space out our courses.
Sweet Churro, Temple Bar
The guys at Sweet Churro have upgraded from their former market stall and now have their own premises in Temple Bar. They describe their churros as ‘crunchy clouds of deliciousness’, and you can add strawberries, bananas or crushed Oreos. The most tempting as far as we're concerned are the ‘Sweet God’ Churros, which are hollowed out in the middle and filled with chocolate, dulce de leche, Nutella or vanilla sauce.
Put yourself in the hands of the cheese experts at Loose Canon and finish the night on a savoury note with a side of natural wine. The weekly cheese specials are in prime condition and there's always some with a bit of funk, just like the wine.