A gourmet restaurant in Dublin is just the place to enjoy the finer things in life, from wild Irish seafood to uniquely crafted tasting menus from Michelin-awarded chefs.
Ireland’s food industry is flourishing, with a renewed interest in its many talented chefs, exceptional produce and exciting new restaurant openings. Those seeking culinary delights and fine dining won’t be disappointed.
Richmond is the place to be for a gourmet midweek meal, with a signature moreish tasting menu offering five courses for €38 (£34) every Tuesday. That said, any day is a good day to eat at this small, stylish restaurant situated in Portobello, one of the city’s most vibrant areas. It puts as much effort into its brunch as it does its dinner, and the succinct menu changes often but always manages to offer dishes that are both crowd-pleasing but never boring, with a recent highlight being a roast celeriac and comte pie with chard and fresh peas. Ground-floor tables can fill up quickly, but the airy upstairs dining room is a little less rushed, making it the perfect place to indulge in just one more glass of wine.
The facade of The Greenhouse may be plain and unassuming, but the artfully plated food found inside is anything but. This Michelin-star restaurant is all about the food, with head chef Mickael Viljanen combining authentic Irish cuisine with techniques from Finland, his homeland. These edible works of art, available on a six-course tasting menu, feature the likes of hand-dived scallops with frozen oyster and oscietra caviar, and steamed turbot with roasted yeast tapioca and soy marmalade. Dishes are a riot of texture, taste and colour, making The Greenhouse a feast for all the senses.
Taking in the classical architecture of Dublin’s Trinity College is on most people’s to-do list when in the city. Once you’ve enjoyed the historical sites, head across the street to The Pig’s Ear to enjoy its contemporary take on Irish cuisine. This light-filled restaurant overlooking the university grounds has retained a Michelin Bib Gourmand for the past 10 years and is a popular spot for long lunches, with a great set menu including delicacies such as line-caught cod. Reservations are encouraged for dinner. If you don’t manage to get a table, travel across town to its sister restaurant, Mr Fox – the exceptional food and relaxed atmosphere are a match for its Southside counterpart.
This contemporary restaurant, which has been awarded a Michelin Bib Gourmand, was booked out for months when it opened in 2015. It may be slightly easier to get a table as it now takes walk-ins, but it’s still advisable to make a booking if you want to enjoy the seasonal cuisine. Each visit brings something different due to its regularly changing set menu, which gives diners a taste of Ireland’s artisanal produce. The establishment is named after a traditional cast-iron baking pot used in 19th-century Ireland; each morning, the kitchen uses a modern-day version to bake its signature fermented sourdough.
Bastible’s sister restaurant, located just around the corner, is more laid-back and also has a Bib Gourmand. The kitchen here puts its charcoal grill to good use, producing deeply smokey, savoury dishes. There’s also an intriguing brunch menu, with not a dollop of hollandaise in sight; think mussels with XO sauce and chips, and barbecue cauliflower with lentils and yoghurt. If you love people-watching, grab one of the high stools in the window, and settle in with some sharing plates and a glass of wine to watch the denizens of this very colourful part of Dublin go by.
Situated in the heart of Dublin’s political district, One Pico is the ideal spot for a long, late lunch. Hidden away on a quiet lane, this intimate restaurant sits in a former 18th-century coach house and comes recommended in the Michelin Guide, thanks to its elegantly plated dishes that combine French cooking with fine Irish produce. Dishes are sophisticated with unexpected flavour combinations, such as pigeon paired with boudin noir and cocoa nibs, and turbot with morels and roast bone sauce. The atmosphere is refined and sophisticated; there’s no thumping music or theatrical open kitchen here, just knowledgeable and unobtrusive staff who appear tableside the very moment a wine glass might need a little topping up.
Operating steadily since 1993, Chapter One has held a Michelin star since 2007 thanks to the elegant, inventive dishes created by head chef Ross Lewis. The restaurant occupies the basement of a Georgian mansion, the upstairs of which houses the Dublin Writers Museum, which celebrates the city’s literary heritage. The building was also the former home of George Jameson of the famed Jameson Irish Whiskey family. Chapter One’s menu has all the hallmarks of fine dining, with luxury ingredients such as truffle and foie gras, but it’s the restaurant’s unusual dishes that really elevate this dining experience. Guests can sample delicacies such as salt marsh duck served with traditional Irish black pudding, and olive-fed pork with stuffed trotter. The set lunch menu on Fridays is excellent value, with two courses for €36.50 (£32.60) or three for €44 (£39.40).
Although there’s a whole lot of indigenous talent within the Irish food industry, one of its most renowned and respected chefs is a Frenchman. Patrick Guilbaud has lived in Ireland for more than 30 years and is the man behind the two-Michelin-star establishment Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud. You really do get the best of both worlds here, with classic French techniques married with the very best Irish produce. Wild turbot from County Wexford is paired with a classic French sauce made from roasted bones and wine, while a fillet of Irish beef is served with roasted foie gras and truffle jus. The menu is big on provenance, but wine is taken no less seriously, with the restaurant’s cellar housing 30,000 bottles.
This small, sparsely furnished restaurant holds a Michelin Bib Gourmand for a creative, modern menu that is loosely inspired by Italian cuisine. The menu changes a little each day and is unembellished and rustic; its simple dessert of prunes in red wine with vanilla mascarpone typifies its refined approach to pairing few ingredients of excellent quality and had TV cook Nigella Lawson raving on a trip to Dublin. The lengthy wine list boasts a number of interesting bottles, including skin-contact varieties that give the white wines a deep amber hue, while wines by the glass change each day, giving regulars the chance to try something new on each returning visit.