The Best Restaurants in Dublin's Old City, Ireland

Dublins HaPenny Bridge
Dublin's Ha'Penny Bridge | © Littleny / Alamy Stock Photo
Richard Lawler

Dublin today is a cosmopolitan and multicultural metropolis attracting both long-term migrants and temporary visitors from all four corners of the globe. This being the case, it is no surprise that the city now has a hugely diverse culinary scene, playing host to a vast array of restaurants for all tastes and budgets. Take a peak at our guide to the top restaurants in Dublin’s Old City and gain a valuable insight into one of Europe’s most exciting urban destinations.

Toscana

A3MG0W Toscana Shop – In the street of Dublin City

This absolutely outstanding Italian restaurant can be found on Dublin’s Dame Street, a centrally located thoroughfare in the heart of the city. Founded by the Bytyci family two decades ago, Toscana has established itself as one of the most beloved culinary jewels in the capital’s crown. Championing fresh, home-grown and naturalistic cooking, Toscana was awarded the title of best ‘Grow It Yourself Restaurant in Ireland 2013/14’ by Good Food Ireland in recognition of a history of excellence. Toscana also prides itself on preparing dishes using ingredients from their own farmhouse gardens. There is a second Toscana restaurant of equally high quality located in the peaceful seaside town of Dún Laoghaire, in the suburbs of Dublin. Either location is well worth a visit, and neither will disappoint when it comes to service and standard.

Toscana, 3 Dame St, Dublin 2, +353 1 670 97855

Toscana, Windsor Terrace, Dún Laoghaire, Co. Dublin, +353 1 230 0890

1. Queen of Tarts

Cafe, Restaurant, Pastry Shop, Tea Room, Patisserie, Tea , Irish

Queen of Tarts, Dublin, cafe interior
© Picturamic / Alamy Stock Photo

One of the most popular culinary destinations for tourists in Dublin’s fair city since its establishment in 1998, the Queen of Tarts is a very lively cafe and patisserie that will not leave you disappointed. Sit back and relax with a cup of tea or a glass of wine, and help yourself to anything from a Victoria sponge cake to a freshly baked scone while watching Dubliners go about their daily lives from the outdoor terrace.

2. Whitefriar Grill

Restaurant, Steakhouse, Seafood, Irish

If you’re on the prowl for a steakhouse that is unpretentious in nature and incomparable in quality, then the Whitefriar Grill is the place to go. As well as offering some of the best quality steaks in town for an excellent price, they are also known for their mouthwatering brunch beginning at 10:30 am. They have adopted the slogan ‘Best Brunch in Dublin’, and it is easy to see why nobody has dared to challenge this assertion once you’ve tried it for yourself.

Langkawi

Malaysian food is somewhat hard to come by in Dublin, which is what makes Langkawi all the more special. Run by two brothers from the city of Seremban in the south of Malaysia, this gem of a restaurant offers traditional Malaysian fare such as prawn fritter, tau foo sumbat and Malay flat bread with chicken curry. Hard to find cuisine which is even harder to forget once you have sampled it for yourself.

3. The Pig's Ear

Restaurant, Irish, Pub Grub, European, Vegetarian

The Pigs Ear
Courtesy of The Pig's Ear
Directly across from the venerable Trinity College you will find this very popular and exceedingly comfortable establishment. You’ll know its reputation for quality is well deserved when you try some slow cooked Irish beef cheek or maple glazed pig belly. The Pig’s Ear was awarded a Michelin Bib Gourmand in 2009 an has retained it every year since.

4. The Vintage Kitchen

Bar, Pub, Restaurant, Irish, European, Soup

Locals eating at The Vintage Kitchen restaurant, Dublin Ireland
© Jeremy Graham / Alamy Stock Photo
Located on Poolbeg Street, right next to the famous Mulligan’s pub, the Vintage Kitchen quickly established itself as one of the city’s most exciting new restaurants. The staff takes pride in their 1970s vinyl record player, hence the titular ‘vintage’, and customers can even bring their own records from home. The food, however, is very much modern, elegant and served in extremely generous portions. Nobody has ever complained about receiving more food than they asked for, have they?

5. Umi Falafel

Restaurant, Vegetarian, Middle Eastern

Umi Falafel Dublin
Courtesy of Umi Falafel Dublin
You will find a wealth of traditional Middle Eastern falafel, all presented with a modern twist, in this cosy and modern restaurant on Dame Street. The service is quick and efficient, while the food itself is filling and tasty and exudes a sense of home-made intimacy that you don’t really get from larger establishments. At Umi Falafel, the price is very reasonable too, as you can order a falafel plate with a drink for only €7.50.

6. Dax Restaurant

Restaurant, European

This fine-dining French restaurant was awarded the title of best restaurant in Dublin in the 2014 Irish Restaurant Awards, and has been highly praised by prestigious food critics ever since it first opened in 2004. Dax provides an intimate and sophisticated environment, with flag-stone floors, hard-wood ceilings and modern art adorned walls. The establishment excels in creating contemporary French dishes derived from and using the most exquisite Irish ingredients.

7. Chapter One

Restaurant, Irish, European, Contemporary

Chapter One Restaurant
Courtesy of Chapter One Restaurant

Situated in the basement of the Dublin Writers Museum, and just across the road from the Hugh Lane Gallery, Chapter One is simply soaked in the culture of the old city. The restaurant has been Michelin Star awarded every year since 2007, and is frequently ranked among the best and most exclusive restaurants in Dublin. The quality of the service is renowned across the nation, and for good reason. Highlights of the menu include the salt marsh duck breast and the fillet of Irish Hereford beef.

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