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Ultimate Food Guide to: Dublin’s Best Emerging Food Spots

Words: Emily Mullen

After much racking of brains, trawling of the internet and broken down email threads we are proud to present, The Ultimate Dublin Food Guide, Emerging Food Spots edition! A guide that cuts through the mire of food and drink reviews made by every Tom, Dick and Harry, with opposable thumbs and access to 3G.

Brave is the individual to start a new business. Particularly a food business in a city that’s already densely packed with them. That’s why our contributors were nearly falling over themselves trying to commend some of the new businesses that have recently launched in Dublin. Many of those listed below have had an excessively difficult time, launching before, during or in the wake of the pandemic, in an extended period of time that wreaked havoc on the industry, causing many businesses to shut their doors forever.

Thankfully brave individuals see a future and a vision for this city and are happy to put their time, money and resources into building their dream. This has been recognised by our contributors who have put together a great list of emerging food spots for you to sink your molars into.

The answers have been taken fresh out of the box, the sticker removed and the packing placed safely away. Let’s let you in on The Ultimate Food Guide to Dublin’s best Emerging Food Spots:

10. Hawker

Best New Popup

Few ears in Dublin, went through the Summer without being whispered “have you been to Hawker yet?”. The spot in front of Hang Dai, was one of the darlings of the season. A testament to that is that this popup is still going, slinging some truly exciting things that aren’t often seen in this city, things such as soft shell crab, snails, and frogs legs. Hawker was featured on Holly Dalton’s list.

Location:

Out of the window of Hang Dai in 20 Camden Street Lower

Opening times:

Tuesday-Thursday 17.00-22.00
Friday-Sunday 13.00-22.00

For more information visit the Hawker Instagram account.

9. BSkewers BBQ Shop

The New Grill on the Block

Specialising in all things grilled, the team at BSkewers focus on street food from across the world, from Yakitori, Kebabs to Suya. The team mix all these flavours up, skewer them espetinhos-style, and cook them over charcoal. Their menu is a nice mix, filled with the typical BBQ fare alongside things like chicken hearts, vegan kafta and halloumi. A man who can appreciate some good flamed meat is owner of the Big Grill Festival Andy Noonan, who is a massive fan of BSkewers, he told us “there are some really great Brazilian spots, shout out to BSkewers.”

Location:

Dublin 1’s 47 Bolton Street

Opening times:

Wednesday – Thursday 12.00-15.00; 17.00-22.00
Friday 12.00-15.00 ; 17.00-22.30
Saturday 12.00-15.30 ; 17.00-22.30
Sunday 12.00-15.30 ; 17.00-22.00

For more information visit the website.

8. Full Moon Thai

Thai Renaissance

Opened last July, by Ju McCarthy and her husband Derek, the menu has some classic Thai dishes alongside some more unusual Northern Thai and dishes hailing from neighbouring Laos. The team at Full Moon are pretty busy these days, operating as a dine-in restaurant and as a takeaway. Andy Noonan was a massive fan of Full Moon, telling us that in Dublin “we finally seem to be turning a corner on Thai Food here with Full Moon knocking out proper regional Thai Food”.

Location:

Temple Bar’s 8 Parliament Street

Opening times:

Monday – Wednesday 12.30 – 22.00
Thursday – Saturday 12.30 – 23.00
Sunday 13.00 – 23.00

For more information visit the website.

7. Allta

The Nomadic Spot

Few places on this list have undergone as many transitions and iterations as Allta have. Since they opened in November 2019, the team have gone from being a traditional sit-down restaurant, providing their sell-out Allta boxes throughout lockdown, to hosting a mystical dining experience along the Boyne Valley with their Allta Summer House. Now set to release a “new winter project” set in the city centre, the fooderati of Dublin can hardly wait to see what this band of merry Alltas do next, Food For thought founder Dan Hannigan is one of them.

To keep up with Allta’s latest project follow them on Instagram.

6. Happy Endings

A Pleasant Surprise

Beginning as a short-term popup, Happy Endings has grown into a great big strong Aston Quays based restaurant. Taking over a healthy stretch of the quays, the team have condensed some of the world’s street food and drink into one menu. Each week the team present an exciting array of special dishes and drinks, the team have an amazing knack for a viral dish and in the last few weeks alone they have served up Gunpowder Crab Salad and Big Mac Fried Rice, with drinks like Cereal Milk White Russian and The Flaming Moe. District Director Craig Connolly name-checked Happy Endings alongside Andy Noonan who told us “they are doing some nice dishes too in their new place.”

Location:

Dublin 2’s 14-18 Aston Quay

Opening times:

Monday-Friday 8.30-22.00
Saturday-Sunday 10.00-22.00

For more information visit the website.

5. Kakilang

The Survivor

Kicking off at the start of March 2020, Kakilang’s opening couldn’t have come at a worse time. But the team have managed to make it work and thrive despite it all. Situated on the quays, the team specialise in authentic Taiwanese cuisine, through those viral souffle pancakes, Takoyaki, Taiwanese Fried Chicken Steak and bubble tea. Kakilang topped Holly Dalton’s list, she told us “the Taiwanese fried chicken at Kakilang has reached legendary status in my books. With that alone, it deserves the number one spot but when you add their crepe cakes and brown sugar milk into the mix it reaches stratospheric levels. This was my number one restaurant of 2020.”

Location:


North City’s 5 Bachelors Walk

Opening times:

Monday-Saturday 12.00-20.00
Sunday 12.00-19.30

For more information visit the website.

4. Potager

The Northside Burbs Pick

After a lot of restoration, Potager opened in May 2019 in the old Munster and Leinster bank in Skerries. Run by Cathal Leonard who’s CV name-checks such magical establishments as Chapter One and Forest Avenue and his partner Sarah Ryan. Described as a neighbourhood restaurant, Potager serves modern Irish seasonal food with a menu built around quality local ingredients. Potager topped Colin Harmon’s list, he told us that the suburbs are where the best-emerging food spots are now appearing, “a lot of owner-run restaurants who don’t have an investment fund to work off have been forced over the canal and I really see suburban dining as the new emerging food scene. Already we have Pottager, Forest Avenue, Host, Volpe Nera, Woodruff, Circa, Craft, Michaels and I’m sure a lot of young chefs looking for an opportunity are gonna follow suit. I once went to a Michelin star restaurant in an industrial estate outside Toulouse and thought we’d never see that in Ireland. I’m starting to think it’s not far off.”

Location:

Skerries’ 7 Church Street

Opening times:

Thursday-Saturday 18.00 – 21.30
Sunday: 12.30 – 16.00

For more information visit the website.

3. Hen’s Teeth

A Rare Gem

The team at Hen’s Teeth have had a rocky old run since they opened up. Since moving from Fade Street to the spot near Fumbally Lane, they have carved out an unbelievable gallery, studio, store and diner out of the cavernous industrial space. Chef Karl Whelan creates a vibrant new menu each week, he manages to pack amazing seasonal flavours and choices into a concise one-pager. Holly Dalton was an admirer, alongside Riggz Castillo who told us “the lads are making magic there!”.

Location:

Dublin 8’s Blackpitts


Opening times:

Wednesday – Saturday: 10.30 – 22.30
Sunday: 12.00 – 16.00

For more information visit the website.

2. BIGFAN

The Fan Favourite

After two years worth of planning, the BIGFAN team led by Robert Hayes had the tough luck of opening during the pandemic. Then followed lockdown after lockdown, which saw the team move into meal-kit and takeaway options which saw them through. They have had a quality Summer and were the name on everyone’s greasy lips when asked where to eat out in town. The kitchens at BIGFAN have been producing some recognisable Chinese dishes alongside some previously unknown ones like jellyfish salad and deep-fried pickled lotus root. Holly Dalton, Riggz Castillo were all big Bao Fans, alongside Caitriona Devery who told us “Big Fan Bao is dark and night-timey, I really like the buzz in there and the food is fun, like soft puffy bao stuff with crunch chicken or tender aubergine plus super jiaozi dumplings. The cocktails totally hit the spot too.”

Location:

Dublin 2’s 16 Aungier Street

Opening times:

Monday 16.00-23.30
Wednesday 16.00-23.30
Thursday – Sunday 14.00-23.30

For more information visit the website.

1. Mae

The Best Emerging Food Spot

As prodigies go the Chef/ Patron of Mae Grainne O’Keefe has to be up there, the ‘Food and Wine’s’ Best Chef under 30 already has a string of accomplishments to her name, has launched her own spot Mae named after her Grandmother. Opened during the Summer the restaurant specialises in modern seasonally-driven food with wine paired with the conveniently placed French Paradox. Although its doors are still nearly slick with paint, Mae has already been listed on the Michelin Guide.

Here’s what some of our contributors had to say about Mae;

Niall Sabongi “Really excited to see what Grainne O’Keefe does in Mae”

Dan Hannigan “Mae by Grainne O’Keefe is the one I’m looking forward to most. She’s an inspiration for all of us young (still clinging on to that) chefs in the country in how to be successful and go about things. She must be the most exciting chef around at the moment and I can’t wait to try Mae out.”

Riggz Castillo “Working with Grainne, I have seen first hand her passion, drive and love for cooking great food. She wants people to come into her restaurant, and leave happy, satisfied and delighted after having a wonderful meal. She has created something very special in Mae, and I cant wait to see how she continues to grow and prosper in Ballsbridge!”

Location:

Ballsbridge’s 53 Shelbourne Road

Opening times:

Tuesday-Friday 18.00-23.30
Saturday 18.00-23.00

For more information visit the website.

Honourable mentions: Matsu Ramen, Craft, Host, Woodruff, Volpe Nera, Gursha, Clanbrassil House and Taqueria Los Chicanos.

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