Ireland’s relationship with food has changed dramatically in recent years, transforming the traditional fuel-up into a deep love of dining out.
But, 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. Chefs who once looked overseas for their influences are now clamouring to serve Irish-grown, fished and foraged dishes to diners who are more receptive than ever to fresh, local flavours.
Restaurant Hit List
Forest Avenue: 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.
The Greenhouse: 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.
Hatch & Sons: 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. Book ahead for the popular monthly Supper Club.
The Boxty House: 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.
Hatch & Sons/Photo by Conor Ó Mearáin
Pubs to Visit
Peruke & Periwig: With Dublin’s cocktail scene surging like the River Liffey, the swoon-worthy Irish whiskey concoctions at this Dawson Street townhouse include an unmissable Old Fashioned made with Jameson, Guinness and bitters.
Grogan’s Castle Lounge: Dublin drinking isn’t just about the party-hard Temple Bar area. Head to old-school Grogan’s pub in the heart of the city centre’s shopping district, where you’ll discover Guinness really does taste better in Ireland.
P.Mac’s: This ever-friendly bar (located at 30 Stephen Street Lower) lures patrons with a selection of board games, mismatched lampshades and a kaleidoscopic craft beer list. Hit Skinflint for a pizza nightcap.
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.