When you think of Ireland, I bet images of cozy Guinness filled pubs, rolling green hills, and rustic stone cottages flash in your mind. Unfortunately, fine cuisine is typically not anywhere in that image. But let me tell ya– Ireland has undergone a foodie revitalization. Not only can you now find some great traditional pub grub, but also local artisan and market finds, an array of international foods, and refined restaurants. Dublin has even been recently recognized by personalities like Anthony Bourdain for its food scene.
Traditional Irish dishes to try
While there is an influx of gourmet, creative, and funky cafes in Dublin, traditional fare is still at the heart of Dublin’s food scene. There is nothing better than a Guinness lamb (or beef) stew to warm you up on a chilly, damp, Irish evening.
Another traditional dish to try in Dublin is coddle with a hearty piece of brown bread– it’s a soup/stew made of sausage, rashers (a sort of thick cut bacon), potatoes, and whatever veg you happen to have. Coddle was a cheap way to feed a family in the 19th and 20th centuries, so it has become a dish synonymous with Dublin’s history.
GastroPubs in Dublin
In a city of over 1,000 pubs, there are bound to be some that serve pretty decent, and dare I say, great food if you know where to go. Gastropubs like The Bull & Castle are popping up all over Dublin. B&C offers hundreds of local and international craftbrews upstairs in a beerhall style bar and everything the average carnivorous customer could imagine downstairs in their steakhouse.
Head to the north side of Dublin to visit The Black Sheep where you will again find a great selection of microbrews and an amazing menu. Everything, down to their chips, is unbelievably delish, and there are even board games scattered throughout the pub!
The Porterhouse has three locations in Dublin (with seven worldwide, including London and New York!) They brew a great selection of their own beer and have a vast menu including yummy soups and salads, fish and chips, cheese and charcuterie boards, steaks, burgers, and even hot wings.
Budget Eats in Dublin
There are tons of casual and reasonably priced places in town to grab lunch or dinner any day of the week, and there’s even a few places that cater to your late night munchies. Cafe culture is alive and kicking in Dublin, so be sure to check out at least one of the following hot daytime hangout spots: The Fumbally, Brother Hubbard, Oxmantown, and Foam Cafe are all the epitome of the modern (some would say hipster) Dublin cafe.
Some other options for a wallet friendly and yummy food experience include Bobo’s Burgers, Neon Asian Street Food, Zaytoon Persian Cuisine, Burritos and Blues, and The Epicurean Food Hall on Liffey and Abbey Street. For you healthy and veggie-loving abroad-ers, check out Cornucopia on Wicklow Street, a top wholefood and vegetarian spot.
Markets to Visit in Dublin
I can’t talk about Dublin’s food scene without mentioning its markets. Head up to Glasnevin to the Honest2Goodness market on a Saturday to taste the array of flavored chutneys and jams, chat with the knowledgeable sellers at the boutique wine shop, try some Improper Butter (Cashel Blue is awesome!), or sample mediterranean olives. And this place is a poor student’s dream as almost every vendor at this market gives out free samples! You’ll also find food trucks and a cafe (with the most amazing pulled pork!) operating on the premises.
If you find yourself in the Temple Bar area on a Saturday, grab some fresh oysters for lunch (with complimentary wine!) and stock up on your breads, produce, and cheeses at the Temple Bar Food Market, from 10am to 4pm. The daily Moore Street Market is the oldest street market in Dublin and is a great place to find deals on fresh fruit and veg.
Here’s a list of some other fun things to do on a sunny day in Dublin.
Restaurants to check out in Dublin
There are tons of restaurants in Dublin that are upscale and honestly, pretty expensive. Those of us who are studying, traveling, or living on a tight budget will probably never be able to justify a meal in such places, at least not without a Groupon or GrabOne voucher! However, for those rare occasions (like a hot date or when your parents are visiting) here are some great fine dining options:
The Farm– a locally sourced, mostly organic restaurant with a focus on Irish products
Yamamori – a restaurant family with 4 locations in the city serving Japanese food
Dada – an authentic Moroccan restaurant with a great decor and ambiance
The Port House (not to be confused with Porterhouse mentioned earlier) – a traditional Spanish tapas bar with 3 locations
Another popular spot is Fallon & Byrne, an upscale grocer, foodhall, restaurant, and wine bar. In the food hall you can find tons of artisan products and interestingly, some familiar American brands (that you can’t find at any other grocer in Ireland) are sold here as well. That information may be of use to you if you are homesick enough to pay 8 euros for a box of Reese’s Puffs cereal!
Is that not enough Dublin foodie info for ya? Here are some of my favorite blogs that anyone who wants to get to know the Dublin gastronomic scene should check out:
There’s plenty to do outside of Dublin, so if you’re there for a few days, take one of these day (and half day) trips from Dublin.
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Photo sources: Pixabay, Marek Ślusarczyk via Wikipedia