Dublin offers visitors a staggering choice of restaurants. The city has increasingly opened up to international cuisines over the past decade and you are now likely to find authentic Chinese food next to regional Italian cooking. The trend among Dubliners eating out has been for Italian, rustic French and Modern Irish cooking over the past few years. But there is a much wider range of flavours and styles to choose from. Eating out in Dublin is a very social affair and restaurants are typically lively any day of the week. Dublin also boasts no less than six Michelin star winning restaurants, four of which are located conveniently in the city centre, among them Ireland's only two Michelin star restaurant, Patrick Guilbaud's.
Dublin Restaurant Prices
Compared to other European capitals, restaurant prices in Dublin are relatively high. Inner city rents and staff costs are steep and give restaurants little option but to pass these on to the customer. Expect to pay €40 and more per person for a two course meal with wine in an average restaurant.
The bill in Dublin's top end restaurants can easily reach €100 per person even without an extravagant choice of wine. If you head for a Michelin star establishment, expect to pay more. Many top class restaurants recently started offering lunch deals as the Irish economy slowed down. If you shop around and you don't mind having your main meal during the day, then there are some real bargains to be had. If you are travelling to Dublin on a budget, please see our suggestions for cheap eats below.
Eating Out In Dublin For €10
The traditional budget meal in Ireland is fish and chips. Fresh fish fillets, usually cod, are coated in a thick batter and deep fried to crispy perfection. The fish is served on a bed of potato chips. In any decent 'chipper' these chips are not French fries, but hand cut chunky wedges of potato. Try some Irish fish specialities like Ray or Rock Salmon for variety. Fish and chips and a cup of tea or a soft drink should keep your meal in Dublin within a €10 budget.
The other restaurant option on a €10 budget per person is going for a Chinese in Dublin's China Town district around Parnell Street. If you stay clear of pricier seafood and stay on tea rather than beer, you can get a tasty and filling meal here for under a tenner. Alternatively, you can head for a Kebab shop. Lamb or chicken from the spit in a pita or flatbread with salad and a soft drink should leave you with change from €10. The Abrakebabra chain has outlets all over Dublin, but for a more authentic flavour try Zeytoon, which has branches in Parliament Street and Lower Camden Street.
Eating Out In Dublin For €20
A restaurant budget of €20 per person will buy you a big slap-up meal plus a few Tsingtao beers in a Chinese restaurant on Parnell Street. Alternatively, €20 brings you within reach of Dublin's many Pizzeria's and Burger joints. Pizza and Burgers do not come cheap in Dublin, watch your side orders and ease up on beer or wine to stay within your budget.
Asian Cuisine In Dublin
If you are in the humour for Asian food but you do not want to limit your choice to one particular cuisine, try Mao. The stylish, modern restaurant on Chatham Row off Grafton Street serves Asian Fusion cooking with a modest price tag and in a lively atmosphere. For Thai cooking, try Diep Le Shaker (55 Pembroke Lane, Dublin 2) or Tiger Becks below the popular Samsara bar (Dawson Street, Dublin 2).
Burgers In Dublin
If you feel hungry for a hamburger in a popular Dublin hangout, try Captain America's on Grafton Street. Rock memorabilia on the walls and groups of boisterous diners give this first floor restaurant its unique atmosphere. Burgers here are usually good, but sides and toppings can be a bit hit and miss. If it's top class burgers you want, head for BoBo Burgers at 22 Wexford Street, right next door to Whelan's pub and live music venue. The beef at BoBo's is organic and the choice of sides and toppings is mouth watering. BoBo is styled like a US diner and has its own bohemian chic. The clientele here is young and trendy.
Chinese Restaurants In Dublin
Dublin's Chinatown is the place to go for authentic Chinese and Korean food. Located on the short stretch of Parnell Street between O'Connell Street and Gardiner Street on Dublin's Northside, you will find a dozen or so Chinese and Chinese/Korean restaurants vying for attention in between Asian grocers and Karaoke bars. Names and menus change frequently here, so stroll along Parnell Street and see which restaurant you like the look of. If a restaurant here looks like it attracts its share of the local Chinese population it must be doing something right. Staff here are usually friendly and eager to help and explain the menu, which may be partially written in Chinese. This is the real deal. Away from Parnell Street, Chinese restaurants in Dublin's main shopping areas or in the suburbs have typically adapted to Irish tastes to the extent that they will likely offer you chips with your main course.
Fish & Chips In Dublin
If you can time your visit to a fish and chips restaurant or 'chipper', then avoid the peak times of 17:00-19:00 (Dubliners getting their 'fish supper' after work) and after the pubs close. When they need to churn out volume, even the best chippers will produce slightly soggy wares rather than crispy goodness. The oldest and best fish and chips shop in Dublin is Leo Burdock's on Werburgh Street, just outside Dublin Castle. Burdock's has the best fish in town - try the huge triangles of Ray - and uses a coal fired deep fat fryer to produce consistent quality fish and chips. Just bear in mind that Burdock's is take away only, there is no seating available. In good weather that's no harm, just eat your meal outside and watch the world go by.
Another option is heading for one of Beshop's many branches across town, which are conveniently located near the main shopping areas and typically offer seating, try Beshop's in Westmoreland Street, for instance. The atmosphere at Beshop's is more akin to a modern fast food restaurant, but the food is usually decent. If you are staying in a B&B on the outskirts of Dublin, get a recommendation for one of the many local chippers.
Italian Restaurants In Dublin
The Unicorn is a Dublin institution, having served outstanding Italian food in a lively atmosphere for years. The restaurant is located in a picturesque courtyard setting just off Merrion Row at 12b Merrion Court, Dublin 2. If you only fancy a quick bite for lunch, visit the Unicorn sandwich bar and delicatessen on Merrion Row itself. Both the restaurant and the sandwich bar are not cheap, but the food is consistently excellent.
Another top Italian restaurant in Dublin is Dunne & Crescenzi at 14/16 South Frederick Street, Dublin 2. Less pricey than the Unicorn, Dunne & Crescenzi serves up solid Italian home cooking by Roman chef Stefano Crescenzi. Stefano also runs the more upmarket Nonna Valentina in Dublin's picturesque Portobello quarter on the banks of the Grand Canal (2 Portobello Road, Dublin 8). If you are into regional cooking from all over Italy, Nonna Valentina is worth checking out.
If you are looking for Italian food on a budget, visit Dublin's new Italian Quarter on Blooms Lane on the Northside of the River Liffey, opposite the Millennium pedestrian bridge. In the Italian Quarter you will find two restaurants, two Enotecas serving Italian wines and platters of Italian meats and cheeses plus a cafe and a delicatessen. All are very reasonably priced for Dublin and you can dine out here in style for less than €30 per head.
French Cuisine In Dublin
There is many a French restaurant in Dublin but only one as popular and buzzing as L'Gueuleton in Fade Street, Dublin 2. L'Gueuleton serves up plain French Bistro cooking that consistently hits the spot. There is one downside, though: You cannot reserve a table. So come early to avoid the queue. The other place to try for French food is Locks in the Portobello quarter on the banks of the Grand Canal. The chef at Locks is Troy Maguire, who originally cooked at L'Gueuleton. The menu at Locks is rustic French, the setting is atmospheric and it’s well worth the trip out to 1 Windsor Terrace, Dublin 8, particularly if you have a romantic dinner in mind.
Michelin Star Restaurants In Dublin
Ireland's only restaurant with two Michelin stars is Patrick Guilbaud's at the Merrion Hotel in Dublin. One Michelin star restaurants in Dublin's city centre are Chapter One, L'Ecrivain and Thornton’s. Patrick Guilbaud opened the doors of his restaurant at 21 Upper Merrion Street in 1981. Current chef Guillaume Leburn has consistently kept Guilbaud's at the top of Dublin's restaurant league table. Chapter One at 18/19 Parnell Square would be considered a close second by Dublin foodies. L'Ecrivain at 109 Lower Baggott Street and Thornton's at 128 St. Stephen's Green would come in joint third. All four restaurants are outstanding in their field and well worth a visit for their combination of Michelin star cooking and local Irish produce.
Modern Irish Food In Dublin
The Winding Stair at Ormond Quay Lower is a quaint, bistro style restaurant that has long lead the resurgence of Irish specialities in modern Dublin restaurants. The Winding Stair won a Michelin Bib Gourmande in 2008 and is well worth a visit if you like to sample classy restaurant cooking with a solid Irish twist. Other places to head for a taste of Ireland are the Mermaid Cafe and Cafe Bang. The Mermaid at 69/70 Dame Street combines the cooking of France and New England with Irish flavours. Chef Lorcan Cribben at Cafe Bang at 11 Merrion Row serves up traditional fare like bangers and mash, competently executed with local Hicks sausages.
Pizza In Dublin
Head for the Bad Ass Cafe in Crown Alley, Temple Bar, for good pizzas with a vaguely American touch and some serious people watching. The Bad Ass comes to life at night when the whole hustle and bustle of Temple Bar's nightlife happens right in front of its panoramic windows. The Gotham Cafe at 8 South Anne Street, a side street off Grafton Street, serves good pizzas with a selection of more unusual toppings in a trendy bar atmosphere. Milano on Dawson Street, Dublin 2, is a family friendly place which is modelled on the Pizza Express chain in the UK.
Spanish Cooking In Dublin
There are a couple of tapas bars in Dublin, the place to go if you want somewhere with a buzz is still the Market Bar in Fade Street, Dublin 2. Portions are huge by regular tapas standards and the menu limits itself to a few popular staples which are well executed. Some things here are Spanish by association more than authentic Spanish cuisine, but you cannot fault the lively atmosphere in this huge former market hall which is adjacent to Georges Street Market.