Ultimate Food Guide to: Dublin’s Best Off the Beaten Track 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, Off the Beaten Track 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.

Far too often we gravitate towards the same old spots in this city, before we know it our feet have taken us to the buzz of Camden Street or the festivities of Capel Street in search of stomach-fillers. Sometimes forgetting how many amazing places there are around the county. Sure some might be a bit out of the way, but when has that stopped us going somewhere before. Good food is worth a journey, and who can resist an adventure to get there?

The maps have been unfolded, coordinates taken and detours have been taken into account. We’ve loaded up a series of places in Dublin that are worth an adventure to get there, now turn left at the crossroads, then right and let us show you The Ultimate Food Guide to Dublin’s best Off the Beaten Track Spots:

10. La Cocina Cuevas

Tacos Worth Taking the M1 For

A couple of months back we heard rumours of a truck selling some of the best Mexican food in Dublin, out of a field on the northside. It sounded like a skit until it turned out to be La Cocina Cuevas out in Naul. The team lean into the Cali-Mex cuisine, serving authentics like tamales and huevos rancheros alongside lighter meats with more subtle flavours. You can tell that the team at La Cocina Cuevas have fun with their food, recently branching into the brunch menu with their woodfired waffles and creating fusions like their recent katsu pork belly tacos. The food truck was second on chef and director of Conbini Condiment Holly Dalton’s list.


Naul, R108, Rath Great (Eircode is advised K32 K797)*

Opening times:

Thursday 17.00-20.00
Friday 16.00 – 20.00
Saturday 13.00-15.30; 16.30-20.00
Sunday 11.00 – 16.00

For more information visit the website.

*NB the team will be doing a bit of moving around over the next couple of weeks so double-check their whereabouts before hitting the M1.*

9. Woodruff

A Reward for Those Who Wander

Sure Stepaside might not be off the beaten track for some, but with more restaurants than you can swing a seagull at in the city centre the suburbs have become a bit of a mecca for dining over the last few years, places like Michael’s, Volpe Nera and Circa becoming food destinations. Listed on the Michelin guide, the ever-changing menu at Woodruff is made up of seasonally-driven foraged ingredients. Woodruff was Colin Harmon’s top pick, “Woodruff doesn’t get a fraction of the credit it deserves. It’s local for me but off most people’s beaten track so it qualifies by default.”


The Village, Stepaside

Opening times:

Wednesday 17.00-21.00

Thursday 12.30-21.00

Friday – Saturday 12.30-21.30

Sunday 12.30-16.00

For more information visit the website.

8. Baan Thai

Truly Special Thai Food

The family-run Baan Thai have been operating in for well over two decades. Running out of two spots in Leopardstown and Ballsbridge that are both designed as historical Thai houses. The restaurant operates a takeaway and sit-down restaurant with an extensive menu filled with authentic Thai dishes centring around the five principles of the cuisine; spicy, salty, bitter, sweet and sour. Riggz Castillo was a fan of Baan Thai in Leopardstown.


Leopardstown’s Central Park

Opening times:

Monday-Thursday 17.00-22.30

Friday-Saturday 17.00-23.00

Sunday 16.00-22.30

For more information visit the website.

7. One Kinda Folk

Coffee in a Zen Garden

Behind a beautiful ivy-covered wall in the courtyard of Yoga Dublin, there’s a coffee shop that’s been made out of an old converted shed. Slinging an impressive amount of 3fe coffees, alongside pastries and a range of vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free treats are delivered daily by local suppliers, this little spot is easy to miss but hard to forget. One Kinda Folk got the co-owner of Brother Hubbard Garrett Fitzgerald’s top vote, he said “it has to be One Kinda Folk in Ranelagh for some superb coffee in a gorgeous Zen-garden”.


28A Dartmouth Road, Ranelagh

Opening times:

Monday-Friday 8.00-16.30 Saturday-Sunday 9.00-16.30

For more information visit the website.

6. Spitalfields

The Pub With a Bib Gourmand

Down along The Coombe, there’s a Bib Gourmand awarded Public House and Restaurant. Spitalfields are part of a growing group of crusaders who are taking traditional (and sometimes kitsch) Irish dishes, bringing them bang up to date and putting them into a different arena. Sister restaurant to the more central The Pig’s Ear, the menu is filled with classic cold cuts, pickles and things that wouldn’t go amiss in your granny’s press, all that has been brought bang up to date and revamped to within an inch of its life. Co-owner of Piglet Enrico Fantasia was a big fan of the bar, telling us “Spitalfields is the place. Great pints and great (I mean great) food at the bar”.


Dublin 8’s 25 The Coombe

Opening times:

Thursday-Saturday 17.00-21.00
Sunday 13.00-16.00

For more information visit the website.

5. Bang Bang

The Progressive Cafe

Named after an out-and-out Dublin character Thomas Dudley, who used to stage mock shoot-outs along the city streets with passersby during the 1950s and 1960s. The cafe and deli have become known for their progressive politics, even hosting a podcast that covers it. “You haven’t lived until you’ve had a brunch burger from Bang Bang” said influencer and cookery book co-author James Kavanagh told us, “they also serve the best-iced coffee in the country imo. They foam half of the milk which is ESSENTIAL and makes it oh so velvety. 99% of cafes don’t do this, and it’s always disappointing.”


Phibsborough’s 59A Leinster Street

Opening times:

Tuesday – Sunday 10.00-16.00

For more information visit the website.

4. Shouk

A Veggie Mecca

This isn’t the only list that Shouk is gracing, nominated the “Ve-King” of our Ultimate Dublin Food Guide to Vegan and Vegetarian Food. The Middle Eastern restaurant is a real all-rounder, serving vegan and veggie food alongside mezze platters of all varieties. Owner of Baste and the Big Grill Festival Andy Noonan has considered moving off the beaten track to D7 to be closer to Shouk, he told us “It’s exceptional… beautiful, hearty food.”


Drumcondra’s Drumcondra Road Lower

Opening times:

Wednesday-Sunday 12.00-22.00

For more information visit the Shouk website.

3. Lee’s Charming Noodles

Be Charmed by Noodles

Lee’s is well worth a visit, the restaurant serves some of the most authentic Chinese food that you are likely to get in the city and is one of the few spots that hand pull their noodles. Eric Matthews is a fan “it’s close to me but it’s off the beaten track for a lot of people and it’s honestly one of the best restaurants in Dublin. Hand-pulled noodles, hot and sour beef, it’s just fabulous its where chef’s like to eat.” Holly Dalton too “hand-pulled noodles. Do I have to say much more than that? Everyone should be talking about this Parnell Street gem. You can’t put a foot wrong ordering from this menu. Consider me charmed.”


Rotunda’s 105 Parnell Street

Opening times:

Monday-Sunday 13.00-21.00

For more information visit the Instagram page.

2. Volpe Nera

The Dark Horse

Opened months before the pandemic Volpe Nera haven’t had the easiest of runs, the restaurant has already been awarded a Bib Gourmand. The restaurant that gives Mediterranean cuisine a contemporary edge out in the suburbs of Blackrock is headed up by chef Barry Sun. Eric Matthews listed it, alongside Dan Hannigan who told us, “I’m not sure it’s off the beaten track but it’s certainly hidden away at the top of Newtown park avenue and is genuinely one of the most exciting restaurants around. The quality of cooking from Barry and the team is served by one of the best front of house teams you’ll find.”


Blackrock’s 22 Newtown Park

Opening times:

Wednesday-Sunday 17.00-23.00

For more information visit the website.

1. Mamo

The Essential Food Pilgrimage

Many a food fan has been meaning to make their way out to Howth and eat at Mamo, by any means necessary; dart, foot, bike or boat. It’s the reputation of Mamo that makes people want to come, since just five months into opening the team at Mamo were awarded a Michelin Plate. The pedigree of Mamo can’t be faulted, the spot specialising in contemporary European food has a husband and wife team ex-Chapter One chef Killian Durkin and ex-Etto Jess D’Arcy. Holly Dalton and Eric Matthews are both fans, with Matthews saying “are really knocking out incredible luxurious food simply done with an incredible wine list. For me jumping on the dart and having a few drinks is kind of a special treat I’ve had a couple of birthdays there it’s just lovely sit at the counter or the table chat to Jess who is the hostess with the mostess.”


Howth’s Harbour House

Opening times:


12.30-15.15; 17.30-21.15



For more information visit the website.

Honourable mentions: Nightmarket, M&L, Hong Kong Bakery, Liath, Michael’s, Piglet, Variety Jones, One Pico, Timbertrove Cafe, The Gap Kitchen, Overends, Hen’s Teeth.

Sick of adventures? There’s some more central food in our Ultimate Dublin Food Guide to Dublin’s Best Burgers

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