Dublin has a plethora of culinary strong suits these days, making it hard to know where to go. So every month, we will rank the five best restaurants of the moment. The main criteria are that they must be serving an experience worth going out of your way for.
This essential list covers the entire city and spans every cuisine and price point. It will satisfy all your depraved dining needs. From where to get a banging bargain bite to where to blow half your paycheck on dinner.
This list answers the question, “Where should you eat if you only had one night left to eat?”
Dim Sum translates as “a little bit of heart”, and, like the contents of anyone’s heart, this food is full of wonderment and surprises. Their pancetta potstickers is a deceptively simple dish that packs flavour and textural enjoyment. At Lucky Tortoise, they manage to give a variety of tastes and flavours within their dishes for a pocket-friendly price. Their all-in option sends Lucky Tortoise to the tip-top of affordable, well-portioned dinner spots.
Their pork buns really put them over the top of other spots. Made from a sweet bread that smells as joyful as it sounds, this flavour-packed food has been some of the most talked-about in the city. It’s really easy to pick top restaurants if you have an unlimited budget, but you have to have a real skillset to make something this affordable this good. And here you are looking at a maestro.
While many wine bars and bistros here are inspired by France’s wine culture, Forrest Avenue is as Parisian as it gets. But a more modern Parisian, the kind that people living in Paris right now would identify with.
The menu is dominated by small plates but there are two Forest Avenues you can take here, pun intended. One, eat your way through all the small dishes, or two; go for the cote du boeuf and make a meal. The terrines, pates and charcuterie are assembled from top-quality ingredients such as Calabrian anchovies and Jamon.
Unlike some more city central wine bars, you won’t find a pet nat on these shelves. The wine list, however, is built with fundamental wine knowledge. It puts bottles from small organic producers centre stage. In addition, there is a provocative limited edition line-up of grower Champagnes which starts at twenty-two quid a glass. I’ve been quietly working my way through it one affordable visit at a time.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that the Michelin Star is worth its weight in Oscars level gold. For most eating in a place like this is a once in a lifetime dream meal. The sixty-five euros lunch menu sounds too good to be true from a value perspective as an affordable place to rent in Dublin. And in some ways, it is. Perpetually highly booked, you’ve got to compete with every culinary quester passing through the city to snag a rezzy. If you do though, it will be worth it.
The service here is supposed to be the best you could experience. Nothing makes or breaks a meal quite like service. This is the Chapter One to beat when it comes to service with a dainty flourish that will have you Chesire cat grinning for weeks.
How I would describe Chapter One is dainty. Everything is a greek god marble statue beautiful. Every single review from both customers and press say the food is out of this multiverse good. Everyone who eats there seems as in awe of the food after they tasted it as they did beforehand. That, to me, screams ‘lives up to the hype.’
When you are exhausted putting the emphasis on ‘how difficult it was to get a table here’ over the actual food quality, this is a spot for you. One of life’s hashtag blessings is when you find yourself sitting in a place you didn’t expect, eating fantastic quality food for a bargain. And that’s just what they serve up in Nomo. Phenom and value. This is the kind of spot where industry heads eat on their days off.
The chef has been developing his signature ramen broth for longer than you spent in college, even if you did a master’s straight after your undergrad. Unlike other ramen spots, he doesn’t;t rely on spicy to sell his food, instead prioritising authentic umami flavours. The mushrooms will knock the socks off those who think they’d never eat a fungus. Every single thing is made in house in a way that will make you exclaim, ‘how do they have time for that.
This spot has its finger on the pulse of Dublin in a way I don’t think anyone expected of a twelve-seater spot in Terenure. Knocking her out of the park with limited edition sell out collabs with Assassination Custard and Sticks Niall Sabongi and Karl Wheelan have proved that they know how to eat, feast and share the wealth.
What they somewhat obviously do best is fish. Aside from cooking and serving, the team also bring knowledge to the public. They host weekly or fortnightly seafood prep lessons that are reasonably priced and excellent craic. Their passion for fish is evident, and they managed to be top chefs teaching laypeople without an ounce of patronising.
Their RAW bar has been whispered about in the kind of hushed revered tones usually reserved for a DMT trip. Don’t allow yourself to be stripped of your eternal right of culinary petite mort just because you think you don’t like stuff that swims. Here fish gets the t-bone fillet steak treatment. You’ll be picking pieces of your brain out of the carpet it’s gonna blow your mind so hard. I’d swear to it in writing.
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