An introduction to the Ultimate Dublin Food Guide

Words: Emily Mullen

Hello and welcome to our long-awaited feature series, we are calling The Ultimate Dublin Food Guide. A series that cuts through the mire of food reviews, letting the best of Dublin food and drink float to the top, like the cream of the crop that it is.

The weighty task of finding out the best food and drink in Dublin deserved a fresh new concept. Instead of relying on our own questionable and deeply flawed judgements, we decided to flip the traditional methods of reviewing on their head by speaking to the people who really know about food and drink in Dublin. Presenting them with a list of different food and drink categories, we asked them to rank their top places selling each item in Dublin. This methodology creates a complete and well-rounded review of the Dublin food scene from the people who really know.

Unfortunately for us, some of the best people in the food industry are also the busiest. So catching a couple of minutes of their time, was challenging to say the least. However, after much cajoling, many re-pokes and a consistent application of persuasion, many of them kindly gave their time for our cause. These conversations, voice-notes, and Instagram DMs have been detailed, funny and painfully honest, as only recommendations from the people who actually know the Dublin food scene could be.

Rounding off the last quarter of the year, The Guide will be published in a condensed series of 18+ features over the course of several weeks. Each feature will centre around a specific element of food and drink culture in Dublin, from pizzas and pints to pasta and even other things that don’t begin with the letter ‘p’.

The Guide began as good lists do, with a pen and paper, hastily scribbled on A4. Soon after, the process moved to another tried and tested format, Excel. The formulation of small boxes beside other small boxes was so required since the list was long and the net for those asked to participate cast so wide.

Getting in touch with the brightest stars in the Dublin food scene was surprisingly easy, since they are a very approachable bunch who like talking about food. Through the medium of DMs, emails, voice-notes and harassment, we got them to give us their top five food recommendations across a wide range of categories. Some were busy and a little confused, only giving us one example and that’s okay we aren’t holding it against them (just noting it down in our little black book).

Collating all these answers together, we then created a numbers-based marking system for each category. Depending on where the contributor ranked the location, we marked it with a number (first choice = 10 points, second = 8 etc). Adding these numbers together gave us the location’s overall rating, the higher the number; the higher the ranking. This is how our top 10s came to be. A complex system? No. But effective and fair? Yes.

One iteration of The Guide

We selected some of the brightest stars in the Dublin food industry, emphasising people who know what they are talking about. As a result, we predominantly spoke to chefs, authors, business owners and well-known thought leaders in the industry. People who live, breathe, work and even on occasion stink of food. Diversity and gender balance was important to this list, in order to get a well-rounded view of Dublin we asked as many people from different backgrounds to take part as possible. We believe that we have asked the top people in the Dublin food industry to take part (emphasis on the “asked” lol).

The Full list of Contributors

Eric Matthews
Former head chef at Chapter One

Nico Reynolds
Presenter and owner of Lil Portie

Holly Dalton
Chef and Director of Conbini Condiments

Colin Harmon
Founder of 3fe

Paul McVeigh
Mister S and Featherblade co-owner

Niall Sabongi
Owner of KLAW and The Seafood Cafe

Garrett Fitzgerald
Co-founder of Brother Hubbard

Andy Noonan
Baste and Big Grill Festival founder

Dan Hannigan
Former Mister S head chef and creator of Naughty Neighbour

Riggz Castillano
Owner of Bahay

James Kavanagh
Influencer and best-selling cookery book author

Thomas Crossy
FM 104 presenter

Enrico Fantasia
Co-founder of Piglet Wine Bar

Charlotte Stark
Manager of The Butcher Grill

Choosing which categories to include in The Guide was no mean feat. We attempted to capture the key tenets of Dublin food and drink culture with titans like pints, pizzas and burgers. While also using this golden opportunity to pick the brains of some of the best food-based minds in Dublin, asking them head-scratchers like “what is your top hidden gem for food in Dublin” and “your best guilty pleasure meal”.

The Ultimate Food Guide Categories:






Fine dining





Top hidden gems

Best New Spot


Sunday Roast & Carvery

Best Guilty Pleasure Meal

Vegan & Vegetarian food


Kicking off on October 5, each week a different food category will be rolled out separately, bringing the Guide into the New Year.

For commercial information on The Guide please email Visit District Magazine for upcoming pieces and follow CHAR Magazine‘s Instagram for the rollout.

Elsewhere on District: Signature Dish, Pickle’s Goat Keema Curry

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