Rather than abandoning the past, eateries in Dublin are celebrating the country’s distinctive ingredients—from Kerry lamb to Dublin Bay mussels—and reinventing age-old dishes like potato pancakes and coddle stew. International cuisine has also taken root in the city.
Snag a candlelit back table overlooking the open kitchen at the invitingly intimate Forest Avenue—which is at the centre of the contemporary reinvention of Irish dining—then order the multi-course tasting menu. Slow down, add wine (ask the solicitous staff for recommendations) and savour seasonal dishes from butter-soft hake to mussels served with pickled seaweed. —JL
A sophisticated, Michelin-starred restaurant that nevertheless feels warm and relaxed. Book ahead, dress up and linger over dinner’s seasonal tasting menus—or drop by for a less-pricey lunch. —JL
Get a taste of Irish seafood—think tuna frittatas and Bloody Mary mussels—at this restaurant that also features a downstairs bookshop. Order the smoked fish plate to try the catch of the day served with crème fraîche, pickled cucumbers and caper berries or go for the waffle stack with fruit. —MS
This hip Italian restaurant sits just outside Temple Bar and serves its “Brunch of Champions” on Saturdays and Sundays. Try the brunch tacos stuffed with jerk chicken, avocado salsa, fried chorizo and coriander or the Coco Pops Crunchy French Toast served with caramelized bananas, peanut butter, mascarpone whipped cream and chocolate sauce. The drink menu is just as diverse with aperitifs, prosecco cocktails and Sicilian lemonade. —MS
Traditional dishes ranging from beef stew to Irish smoked salmon get a contemporary makeover at this rustic-chic dining room beneath The Little Museum of Dublin. —JL
Boxty—traditional pancakes made from mashed and grated potatoes—are served in innovative new ways at this chatty, pub-like eatery. Shredded as finger-licking fries, rolled into gnocchi-like dumplings or fashioned into corned beef and cabbage wraps, the options here will put you in comfort-food heaven. —JL
Located minutes away from the Dublin Castle, this spot sources its ingredients from Irish farms when possible, roasts its own single origin coffee and brews its own craft beer. Head there on the weekend to try the hot pan with roasted potatoes, pancetta, wild mushrooms and eggs. —MS
Start the morning with Mediterranean fare at this Portobello-area cafe, formerly known as Sister Sadie. Brunch is served all week long and includes lighter items like the bircher bowl—oats soaked in apple juice with dried fruit, toasted nuts, pomegranate seeds and maple syrup—and indulgent treats like the baklava French toast with a walnut crumble topping. Or pair the Turkish Eggs Menemen with the homemade lemon and ginger punch. —MS
Head to this multilevel hot spot to be immersed in elegant Victorian surroundings and to check out the extensive cocktail menu—we recommend starting with a gin, Cointreau, lemon juice and marmalade breakfast martini. —MS
Sandra Bullock and Bruce Springsteen know where to get the city’s best fish and chips. Leo Burdock has been serving “Dubliners’ caviar” for more than 100 years at its original location on Werburgh Street. The shop is too tiny for chairs and tables, but, after the server dashes salt and homemade vinegar on your huge portion of cod, he’ll suggest Christ Church’s courtyard—just up the street—as the perfect outdoor dining spot. —MS
It may be hidden down an alleyway at the edge of the shopping district, but the Cake Café is worth the trip. Part of Dublin’s burgeoning café culture, the shop’s floral tablecloths and jam-filled cakes make it a great spot for afternoon tea. The open-face sandwiches—including goat’s cheese on cranberry relish—are divine, and pair well with a Prosecco Mimosa. The selection of mini desserts, served on fine China, round out the meal. —MS
The former 18th-century St. Mary’s Church of Ireland is now serving hearty food to Dublin’s souls. Located in the northern Jervis shopping district, the church has three floors, each with its own experience. Try Guinness stew at the main-floor bar, or enjoy it in the traditional beef pie at the upscale restaurant in the church’s gallery. The basement is delightfully more edgy, with its modern decor and creative cocktails (Jameson Irish Whiskey is used in abundance). —MS
Visiting Ireland’s Country Pubs
(Video) Music, laughter and rural hospitality are the order of every day in Ireland's cozy country pubs just outside Dublin. On a trip with Rural Tours, drink the perfect pint of Guinness at The Blue Light Pub, watch live dancers at Johnnie Fox’s Pub & Restaurant and eat Irish comfort food at Glenmalure Lodge.