Whether you’re on your way to international rugby or soccer, checking out a massive open-air concert, or simply staying in one of the classiest parts of Dublin
, there’s plenty to enjoy about Ballsbridge and the other areas immediately adjacent to Aviva Stadium, as well as some excellent restaurants that fall within comfortable walking distance.
From Michelin stars to popular chilled-out eateries, you won’t want for somewhere that fires the imagination as you look to make the most of a stay. Here are our favourite places to dip into for a quick bite, or indulge in a meal you’ll never forget.
Patrick Guilbaud Restaurant
Hotel Restaurant, Irish, Contemporary, $$$
Widely regarded as Ireland’s best restaurant, this spot in the Merrion Hotel is effortlessly high-end, the only Irish holder of two Michelin stars (with prices to match) that’s certain to wow even the pickiest of foodies. If you want a (relatively) affordable way to drop in, head for their lunchtime offering, but it’s the spectacular a la carte and tasting menus that built the reputation here. Think delicately presented local ingredients, ranging from smoked eel to lobster ravioli and Wicklow lamb fillet. It’s worth breaking the bank for.
Queen of Tarts
Cafe, Tea , $$$
A small chain of pattisseries best known for their outstanding cakes, the Queen of Tarts also does a great lunch, brunch or breakfast, and is one of those essential spots you can experience without obliterating your budget. It’s a half-hour walk from the stadium, but well worth the effort as one of the top spots in Temple Bar, a district you’ll inevitably be stopping off in anyway for a pint or three. Think big creamy cakes, luxuriously playful coffees, lots of chocolate, and fancy looking soup and salads.
Gallagher's Boxty House
Bistro, Irish, $$$
Arguably Ireland’s most famous traditional restaurant, Gallagher’s Boxty House is the place to try local staples like coddle (sausage stew), oysters, Irish steak, bacon and cabbage, and the dish that gives the spot its name, boxty (a traditional potato pancake). This place is popular with tourists, but that’s no reason to avoid it. You’ll be getting an authentic glance at the kind of soulful food that’s big in Ireland, drawn very much from the land. It’s hearty, and perfect prep for a big night on the tiles.
Mulligan's of Sandymount
Gastropub, Irish, Pub Grub, $$$
Heading out of the city centre rather than towards it from the Aviva, Mulligan’s is set in the charming, village-like hub of Sandymount, and it’s one classy, pretention-free place to eat. Their party trick is a simple one: bread made with Guinness, which has a wonderfully subtle aroma to it. The main menu is more sophisticated, a kind of high-end pub grub that features beautifully presented steak, fish and chips, prawns, cheeses and luxurious desserts. In short, it’s a nice mix of foodie-satisfying cuisine and pre-match pints.
Restaurant, Irish, Steakhouse, $$$
The famous Dublin butcher’s (FX Buckley is a seriously popular purveyor of all things meaty on Moore Street) has expanded in recent years to take in restaurants that, naturally, showcase the best of their meat. The bold eateries (there are several – the Pembroke Street spot is best placed for the Aviva) are best known for their steak, and servers have been known to bring out plates of beautiful chops to explain their cuts and display their wares. Not one for vegetarians, then, but for carnivores, they serve sublime meat-laden plates of food.