Ultimate Food Guide to: Dublin’s Best Seafood

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, Seafood. For an island nation, you would think we would plaice more of an emphasis on what’s on our doorstep. With the high-quality ingredients on offer, you might expect seafood to be on every lunch and dinner menu placed on the tables of Dublin. But we have a long way to go to redress this disparity.

That’s not to say that we don’t put out a fine bowl of chowder, slices of smoked salmon or flavourful oysters when they’re included on a menu. We just need more of it, even when putting this list together, it was remarkable how few places were mentioned, mainly because they just aren’t there.

It’s a discrepancy remarked on by ex-Chapter one head chef Eric Matthews who put it like this, “It’s a funny one. We live on an island. You would think that we would have more”. Matthews is right, yet there are some fantastic spots in the city that have sat up and taken note of what’s around us. Incredible chefs and business owners who are doing trojan work putting seafood onto our menus and ensuring that it is of the highest possible quality.

Of those included in this list, there’s a real mix of cuisines from across the world, from French to contemporary Irish. Though there were fewer names in circulation, the category was no less competitive, but one name continually cropped up again and again, on the lips of the contributors.

The net has been cast wide, the answers have been caught, reeled in and sized up. Into your salty claws let us place The Ultimate Food Guide to Dublin’s best seafood:

10. The Seafood Cafe

Central Seafood

Run by the reputable big fish in the Dublin seafood scene, Niall Sabongi, The Seafood Cafe has a good legacy of quality seafood set out for it. The stock for Sabongi’s spots come through his SSI Wholesale retailer which focuses on sourcing seafood and fish in a local, responsible, sustainable, and seasonal manner. Sitting in the narrow quarters of the Seafood Cafe and watching the world whizz by has to be one of the best experiences you can get in that patch of town. Caitriona Devery agrees, she told us “it’s one of my favourite places to stop off when in town and grab a glass of wine and a plate of oysters, prawns or a lobster roll.”


Temple Bar’s Sprangers Yard

For information on opening times visit the website.

9. Salty Buoy

The Best Seafood Truck

We told you Sabongi was a big fish (see number 10 for details) here he goes again with another entry to the list, this time his food truck Salty Buoy. One of the joys of this truck is that each time you rock up to the blue and white vehicle, there’s a new menu item to try or there’s a hard to resist special on the board. Some of the dishes that the team manage to sling out of the petite truck are truly astounding, something that some restaurants with full kitchens could only aspire to do. Fellow food trucker Riggz Castillo was a fan of Salty Buoy, listing them in his top seafood eats.


Salty Buoy is on the move so keep up to date with them via Instagram.

8. Klaw

The Hip Seafood Joint

The dedicated fish restaurant Klaw, has undoubtedly helped to give seafood an edge over the years. Levelling it up from a dusty pursuit of the middle-aged lobster lickers, into a hip and cool destination. The galley kitchen serves some of owner Sabongi’s signature fishy classics, like spicy oysters and lobster rolls. Making it all a bit more casual, relaxed and approachable than tucking a white napkin before a towering frutti di mare in a fusty restaurant. The output of Klaw was something that tickled Food for Thought founder Dan Hannigan’s fancy.


Temple Bar’s 5A Crown Alley

Opening times:

Klaw is currently running popups, check their Instagram for the official reopening updates.

7. Mister S

The Unlikely Fish Spot

Typically associated with prime cuts of meat, over the last couple of months the team at Mister S have made a concerted effort to integrate fish onto their menu and integrate it they did. Using the tools at their disposal namely the wood fire and smoker, the team have carved out a healthy niche in the Dublin food scene, catering to both carnivores and pescatarians. Food for Thought founder Dan Hannigan and District Director Craig Connolly were both fans of Mister S’ treatment of fire and fish.


Dublin 2’s 32 Camden Street

Opening times:

Tuesday-Thursday 17.00-20.30

Friday-Saturday 17.00-21.00

For more information visit the website.

6. Beshoff Bros

The Classic Fish and Chips

How can you compete with a classic? Fish and chips are an untouchable aspect of Irish society and lest we forget it while we gobble oysters, crack lobster claws and slurp cockles. The Beshoff Bros chipper is an Irish institution, a place untouched by such fickle things as trends and seasonality. Beshoff Bros is chef and Director of Conbini Condiments Holly Dalton choice for a fish and chips, while ex-head chef of Chapter One Eric Matthews was a big fan of the Howth branch.


For a full list of the branches visit the website.


The French Fish Experience

Channelling the seafood experience from across the water, Sole bring us classics like the seafood towers, frutti di mare and other such delicacies like Coquilles St. Jaques. It’s a bit more of an upmarket spot, best kept for that dinner to impress that so many of us have coming around the corner. The team at Sole have an award or two to their name, namely the Luxury Seafood Restaurant in Northern Europe in 2019 and 2020. Craig Connolly was a big fan, alongside food fan and FM104 presenter Crossy who told us, “I’ve been to SOLE on South William street a load of times… I always get the SOLE seafood tower with my friend. The salmon, prawn cocktail, oysters, crab claws, muscles… tbh Id eat it all myself with a good glass of wine!”.

4. King Sitric

Seafood by the Sea

Few food experiences get as good as eating fresh seafood by the sea, that experience is fully actualised in King Sitric. The seafood restaurant is located practically on a harbour, in fact, its actual address is “East Pier”. The spot is a bit of a Dublin institution, known for consistently producing quality dishes for a very long time. The menu is made up of classic fish dishes like seared scallops and crab salad alongside dishes you aren’t likely to see on too many menus like roasted ray wing and black sole meunière. The team also operated a seafood cafe during the day and even have the opportunity for guests to stay up over the restaurant for those looking for the full King Sitric experience. For influencer and cookery book co-author James Kavanagh King Sitric “is always good” while Eric Matthews told us, “nothing beats sitting out there on a sunny day eating crab claws and lobster”.


Howth’s East Pier

Opening times:

East Cafe & Bar Thursday-Monday 13.00-21.00

King Sitric Friday & Saturday 18.00-20.30

For more information visit the website.

3. Fish Shop

The Classy Line

The Fish Shop is hard to pin down sometimes, from the outside it looks like a minimalist hipster haven, all whitewashed walls and sparse decoration. But the team are known for having some of the best fish and chips in town, so this is not a place to typecast. The relaxed and casual spot is known for having a damn good wine pairing too. It’s got a small but pretty spot-on menu that begins with small snack plates with a choice of fish that can be battered alongside a baked whole fish. Holly Dalton and Dan Hannigan were both fans, baker at Mo Namie Daniela Carnevali was a fan of the fish and chips, Eric Matthews described it as “fantastic” while, James Kavanagh was a fan of the atmosphere at the Fish Shop telling us “it’s like a very high-brow chipper with delish wines.”


Smithfield’s 76 Benburb Street

Opening times:

Monday 16.00-21.00

Wednesday-Sunday 13.00-21.00

For more information visit the website.

2. Rosa Madre

The All-Rounder

Here’s a place that’s no stranger to an Ultimate Dublin Food Guide list, the spot has been featured in our top pasta list. Run by the charismatic Luca, no trip to the Temple Bar restaurant is uninteresting since the staff create an atmosphere of celebration and entertainment each time.

Known for their oysters and their salt-baked fish, which comes out with maximum entertainment and flair doused in flames before being unveiled from its salt bake. The team also do some unreal seafood tagliolini combinations (which they combine with their homemade pasta that’s retailing at the moment).

While cooking a great series of Italian classics, the team also work on more unusual combinations and push the boundaries of Italian seafood cooking in an unpretentious and fun manner. Rosa Madre got votes from Dan Hannigan, Riggz Castillo, and a man who knows a thing or two about seafood, Niall Sabongi gave Rosa Madre his top spot telling us “if not one of my own it would be Rosa Madre”. Eric Matthews said “It has to be Rosa Madre, I love this place because of the energy of Luca and Patrica the seafood is still alive most of the time, the lobster and the langoustines and their fish is just spanking fresh every day matched with a perfect white burgundy or white chablis its heaven.” Co-owner of Piglet Enrico Fantasia told us, “the one and only Rosa Madre! If you manage not to be filmed by the enthusiastic Luca, you can have some really super fresh fish, perfectly prepared. And if you want to splash out, there is a selection of great wines to try!”


Temple Bar’s 7 Crow Street

Opening times:

Tuesday-Saturday 17.00-23.00

For more information visit the website.

1. Michael’s

The Big Fish

Another restaurant run by a big personality, Michael’s out in the suburban environs of Mount Merrion is run by the charismatic Gaz Smith. A man who has created an important relationship with his suppliers, thus ensuring that only the best ends up on the white linen table cloths for his guests. Not just great craic, Smith is also a sounder, recently announcing that he would be shutting the restaurant an extra day a week, in an effort to create a better work-life balance for his staff. Holly Dalton and Baste & Big Grill Fest Founder Andy Noonan were keen on the spot.

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

Eric Matthews “Michael’s of Mount Merrion, cracking place great craic”

Colin Harmon “Michaels in Mount Merrion if you can get a table!”

Dan Hannigan “If you love fresh fish and you love butter (both of which I do) then it’s Michaels all day. There is no messing around here with piles of amazing shellfish and fish sitting in delicious butter sauces in a lovely welcoming setting with lots of smiley faces.”

Riggz Castillo “This one is pretty self-explanatory. Two words: seafood platter”


Mount Merrion’s 57 Deerpark Road

Opening times:

Thursday-Sunday 12.00-22.00

For more information visit the website.

Honourable mentions: Sharkbait Shelbys and Octopussy

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