Dubhliving | Dublin's Independent Restaurant and Café Guide

Grove Road  

Grove Road
  • Mon-Fri 7.30-18.00, Sat 9.00-16.30, Sun 10.00-15.30
  • 1 Lower Rathmines Road, Dublin 6
  • 01 5446639
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • Southside - Ranelagh, Rathmines & Harold's Cross
  • Café
  • Average Cost
  • European - Irish

With its stylish stripped back interior Grove Road Café has brought some Portobello posh to the Rathmines side of the La Touce Bridge. Serving simple breakfasts and lunches Monday to Friday and brunches on the weekend it's a convenient and comfortable spot if you are in the area. On this visit we just went for coffee and good, though not great, cakes. We will be back for a proper feed. Last visited 24-04-2016
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Delahunt  

Delahunt
  • Tue 17.00-21.30, Wed-Fri 12.30-14.00 and 17.00-21.30, Sat 17.00-21.30. Closed Sunday and Monday.
  • 39 Camden Street Lower, Dublin 2
  • 01 5984880
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Portobello & Camden St.
  • Restaurant
  • Expensive
  • European - Irish

Delahunt is now in its second year serving sophisticated seasonal food with an emphasis on tradition. While the short menu includes items which might not appeal to the conservative eater all dishes are excellently prepared and presented. On our visit a Green Gazpacho offered a refreshing introduction to quite a rich meal. Delahunt is an excellent choice for Irish food cooked with a French sensibility. Last visited 15-04-2016
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Pickle Restaurant  

Pickle Restaurant
  • Tue-Fri 12.00-14.45 and 17.00-20.30, Sat 17.00-22.30, Sun 15.00-22.00. Closed Monday.
  • 43 Camden Street Lower, Dublin 2
  • 01 5557755
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Portobello & Camden St.
  • Restaurant
  • Expensive
  • South Asian - Indian

Pickle is a brand new Indian restaurant on Camden Street that offers fashionable fine dining with none of the fuss. The refreshingly short menu has more unusual meat dishes than is often the case in South Asian cuisine, including goat curry and guinea fowl stew. The service and to some degree the menu too is somewhat disjointed however this is likely the result of a popular new restaurant finding its feet. Try the meat, seafood or vegetarian Thali for an excellent value meal. Last visited 08-04-2016
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l'Gueuleton  

l'Gueuleton
  • Mon-Sat 12.30-16.00, 17.30-22.00. Sunday 12.00-16.00, 17.30-21.00
  • 1 Fade Street, Dublin 2
  • 01 6753708
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Grafton & Georges St.
  • Restaurant
  • Average Cost
  • European - French

l'Gueuleton is a large French bistro that has been serving traditional French food to the hungry Irish public for over a decade now. Dishes are traditional and on this lunchtime visit I opted for a very competent French Onion Soup while my companion went for the excellent value steak served with a Béarnaise sauce and chips. l'Gueuleton is a strong steady restaurant which will be popular with carnivores and francophiles alike. Last visited 02-04-2016
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Guinness Open Gate Brewery  

Guinness Open Gate Brewery
  • Thur-Fri 17.30-22.30. Closed Sat, Sun, Mon, Tue and Wed.
  • Thomas Street, Dublin 8
  • 01 4712455
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Kilmainham & James
  • Pub
  • Average Cost
  • European - Irish

The Open Gate Brewery is an experimental brewery where Guinness brewmasters create and sample new beers previously unavailable to the general public. You can now gain entry to this atmospheric bar by pre-booking online where six euros will get you a flight of four small craft beers not for sale anywhere else. On this otherwise successful visit we made the mistake of not fuelling up first and ordered the greasy house-made pies, best to be avoided. For an alternative night out head here to enjoy an authentic industrial interior filled with pipes that actually serve a purpose! Last visited 01-04-2016
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DeSelby's  

DeSelby's
  • Mon-Tue 10.00-15.30, Wed-Fri 10.00-15.30, 18.00-22.00, Sat 11.00-15.30, 18.00-23.00, Sun 11.00-15.30
  • 9 Camden Street Lower, Dublin 2
  • 087 9225334
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Portobello & Camden St.
  • Restaurant
  • Average Cost
  • European - Various

On a wet and windy weekday night DeSelby's was a last minute choice but one we were seriously glad we made. The tuna steak main course was fresh, deliciously dressed and perfectly cooked while our starter salads provoked an impassioned 'who did better' debate. Desserts were tasty and very competent but not quite as sensational as the preceding courses. Get in before DeSelby's gets on everybody's radars. Last visited 30-03-2016
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Tippenyaki  

Tippenyaki
  • Mon-Wed 18.00-22.00, Thur-Fri 12.30-15.00, 18.00-23.00, Sat-Sun 16.30-23.00
  • 39 Castlewood Avenue, Rathmines
  • 01 4979463
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • Southside - Ranelagh, Rathmines & Harold's Cross
  • Restaurant
  • Average Cost
  • East Asian - Japanese

This restaurant conveniently located around the corner from the Swan Centre specialises in teppanyaki, a style of cooking on an iron griddle that is popular in Japan. This Irish incarnation embraces the showmanship inherent in the method with counter seating wrapped around a large built-in hotplate. The dishes are slightly pricey and have been adapted to the local palate but the ingredient are top quality and the skill is there. Book a counter-side seat if you can. Last visited 26-03-2016
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57 The Headline  

57 The Headline
  • Mon-Fri 15.00-23.30, Sat-Sun 13.00-00.30
  • 56/57 Lower Clanbrassil Street, Dublin 8
  • 01 5320279
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Portobello & Camden St.
  • Pub
  • Average Cost
  • North American - Various

While this Leonard's Corner pub has updated its interior and embraced the craft beer trend it has still managed to retain enough local character to make for a good atmosphere even in the middle of the week. In the bar there is a full menu with burgers, salads and more. Upstairs @57 is a more formal restaurant with a Sunday to Wednesday night deal for two. Try the nine beer tasting tray pictured for twenty euro and get the evening off to a flying start! Last visited 10-03-2016
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A SLICE of Cake  

A SLICE of Cake
  • Mon-Fri 8.00-17.00, Sat-Sun 9.00-17.00
  • 56 Manor Place, Stoneybatter, Dublin 7
  • 01 4456100
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Smithfield & Stoneybatter
  • Café
  • Average Cost
  • European - Irish

With a darker dining room and more limited cake selection Stoneybatter's A Slice of Cake is not quite up to the standards of its popular sister. While southsiders are still better served with The Cake Café in Portobello’s lovely Daintree building this is a good option for locals with a sweet tooth. On this occasion I made the mistake of opting for an unnecessary (for me) gluten-free brownie which was a disappointing blob. Try to snag the window table. Last visited 24-01-2016
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Phoenix Café - Teeling Distillery  

Phoenix Café - Teeling Distillery
  • Mon-Sun 7.30-17.30
  • Teeling Whiskey Distillery, 13-17 Newmarket, Dublin 8
  • 01 5310888
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Christchurch & The Liberties
  • Café
  • Average Cost
  • European - Irish

Serious money has been put into this brand new whiskey distillery in the heart of one of Dublin's oldest areas. Luckily for locals as well as the tour and various whiskey tastings available there is a lovely spacious café on site. The delicious Reuben beef sandwich served with Moroccan soup (pictured right) should put the Phoenix Café not just on the tourist map of Dublin but on the foodie map as well. Last visited 24-01-2016
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The Patriot's Inn  

The Patriot's Inn
  • Mon-Sun 10.30-23.30
  • 760 South Circular Road, Kilmainham, Dublin 8
  • 01 679 9595
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Kilmainham & James
  • Pub
  • Average Cost
  • European - Irish

The Patriot's Inn is a great neighbourhood pub with a bar, a welcoming lounge and an event space which regularly hosts live music, comedy and games nights. The inclusive and friendly atmosphere makes for a good night out, while during the day or in the early evening a full menu attracts families, tourists and locals alike. I am still to taste the mains but the cheesecake bodes well. Skip the IMMA coffee shop and go here for a post-cultural pint. Last visited 17-01-2016
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Hatch & Sons  

Hatch & Sons
  • Mon-Tue 8.00-17.00, Wed-Thur 8.00-21.00, Fri 8.00-17.00, Sat 9.00-18.00, Sun 10.00-17.00
  • 15 St Stephens Green, Dublin 2
  • 01 661 0075
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - South Georgian
  • Café
  • Average Cost
  • European - Irish

Hatch & Sons is part of The Little Museum, a fascinating if slightly over-hyped, slice of Dublin. This basement café serves scones, brunch and lunch with a focus on Irish artisan produce. On the third Wednesday every month there is a 'Supper Club' of three Irish themed courses with wine. Hatch & Sons is a good wholesome lunch spot if you are in the area, but not somewhere to go out of your way for. Present your museum receipt for a 10% discount. Last visited 16-01-2016
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HX46  

HX46
  • Mon-Sun 10.00-22.00
  • 46 Harold’s Cross Road, Dublin 6W
  • 01 5385 000
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • Southside - Ranelagh, Rathmines & Harold's Cross
  • Café
  • Average Cost
  • South East Asian - Various

I was genuinely excited about HX46 Café and Pan-Asian Casual Dining... While I am still excited to try the evening menu the brunch was a disappointing disjointed merger of Asian and Irish breakfast dishes. A braver chef would have put an Asian twist on the classic Eggs Benedict or given an Irish interpretation to the Pad Thai but unfortunately, at lunch time anyway, the cuisines are kept very much unfused at HX46. Still, it is good to see new life in this old village. Last visited 09-01-2016
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Red Torch Ginger  

Red Torch Ginger
  • Mon-Thur 12.00-22.00, Fri 12.00-23.00, Sat 13.00-23.00, Sun 16.00-21.30
  • 15 St. Andrew’s Street, Dublin 2
  • 01 6773363
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Grafton & Georges St.
  • Restaurant
  • Average Cost
  • South East Asian - Thai

Red Torch Ginger is a resolutely middle of the road restaurant with a Pan-Asian menu designed to please even the most conservative palate. A suburban restaurant in a city centre setting Red Torch Ginger attracts a loyal following, whether you can be counted amongst them very much depends on what sort of foodie you are. Quantity over quality, range over refinement and safe over sensational, it’s up to you – but I certainly know where I sit! Last visited 12-12-2015
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Madina Desi Curry BBQ  

Madina Desi Curry BBQ
  • Mon-Sun 12.00-23.30
  • 60 Mary Street, Dublin 1
  • 01 8726007
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Henry & Moore St.
  • Restaurant
  • Cheap
  • South Asian - Indian

This straight-forward curry house located close to Cineworld serves authentic Indian and Pakistani curry and bbq at very reasonable prices. While the unwelcoming, spartan interior won't whisk you away to warmer climes the food certainly will and if you need further convincing the high proportion of South Asian customers should help. Last visited 28-11-2015
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Stanley's - Wine Bar  

Stanley's - Wine Bar
  • Tue-Wed 12.00-23.00, Thur-Sat 12.00-23.00, Sun 16.30-23.00. Closed Monday.
  • 7 Saint Andrew's Street, Dublin 2
  • 01 4853273
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Grafton & Georges St.
  • Restaurant
  • Cheap
  • European - Various

Stanley's is an atmospheric new option in the heart of the city with a serious approach to food and wine that sets it apart from the local competition. On our first visit we opted for wine flights served by an experienced sommelier that offer an easy introduction for the uninitiated. The meat platter included foie gras and smoked duck, delicious but a bit too rich for my tastes. The cheese platter was a safer selection of Irish farmhouse cheeses and chutneys. Last visited 18-11-2015
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Porndog  

Porndog
  • Mon-Sun 12.00-23.00
  • 16 Montague Street, Dublin 2
  • 01 5551488
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Portobello & Camden St.
  • Fastfood
  • Average Cost
  • North American - Various

Porndog is an atmospheric dive bar meets Parisian bistro on Montague Street serving posh hot dogs made from boar's meat, Toulouse sausage, beef or turkey. These tasty dogs come loaded with gourmet toppings and served with a side of skinny fries - not snacks for the weak of heart or stomach. Unfortunately, as is so often the case with burgers and hot dogs, oversized plain white buns let them down. Last visited 05-11-2015
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The Pembroke  

The Pembroke
  • Mon-Wed 8.00-17.00, Thur-Fri 8.00-01.30, Sat 17.00-01.30. Closed Sunday.
  • 23 Pembroke Street Upper, Dublin 2
  • 01 6618636
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - South Georgian
  • Pub
  • Average Cost
  • European - Various

The Pembroke offers a cosy Georgian drawing room that is part pub, part restaurant, part cafe and fully phoney. With a people pleasing menu dressed up to appear posh this is undoubtedly somewhere that may suit the conservative local office crowd and the unadventurous tourist in search of something authentic but Dublin deserves better. A shorter, more focused menu of fresh Irish ingredients is needed to redeem this dining room. Last visited 09-10-2015
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Pearl Brasserie  

Pearl Brasserie
  • Mon-Fri 12.00-14.30, 18.00-22.30; Sat 13.00-15.00, 18.00-22.30. Closed Sunday.
  • 20 Merrion Street Upper, Dublin 2
  • 01 6613572
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - South Georgian
  • Restaurant
  • Expensive
  • European - French

At 15 years of age Pearl Brasserie has maintained a surprisingly fresh French face despite the storms that have hit the Dublin fine dining scene. On my first visit in a decade starters, mains, cheese and dessert courses all delivered the flavour and flair to justify some what steep prices. A perfect spot for a special night out. Last visited 25-09-2015
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Cortina's  

Cortina's
  • Mon-Thur 12.00-22.00, Fri-Sat 12.00-23.00, Sun 12.00-22.00
  • Dundrum Town Center, Dublin 16
  • 01 2164668
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • Southside - Dundrum
  • Restaurant
  • Average Cost
  • Latin American - Mexican

While the food and drinks certainly say "Fiesta" Cortina's is the type of place where you have to bring the party with you. The tex-mex menu isn't especially authentic but it is tasty, while the dark wood interior somehow manages to feel barren even when half-full. That said with a couple of cocktails Cortina's can make for a good post-shopping or after work celebration spot. Last visited 18-08-2015
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Camden Kitchen  

Camden Kitchen
  • Tue-Fri 12.00-14.30 and 17.30-22.00, Sat 17.30-22.00. Closed Sunday and Monday.
  • 3 Camden Market, Grantham Street, Dublin 8
  • 01 4760125
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Portobello & Camden St.
  • Restaurant
  • Expensive
  • European - Various

Camden Kitchen is a sophisticated bistro with some excellent food that ensures it stays busy even midweek. On our visit a potato soup was pronounced "the most delicious thing" he had ever eaten while my own starter was also outstanding. Mains, as is often the case, didn't live up to their introduction however Camden Kitchen is somewhere well worth any small disappointments. Great date-night destination. Last visited 13-08-2015
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Olive Cafe  

Olive Cafe
  • Mon-Fri 8.00-16.30. Closed Saturday and Sunday.
  • Fumbally Studios, Fumbally Lane, Dublin 8
  • 01 4547534
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Christchurch & The Liberties
  • Café
  • Cheap
  • European - Irish

The friendly staff and bright, modern interior of Olive Cafe have a lot to offer but unfortunately the traditional Irish Caf' menu consisting of the full Irish and straight-forward sandwiches let them down. This place needs to develop a food identity to set itself apart from the local competition and do justice to the fantastic courtyard setting. Last visited 04-08-2015
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The Shelbourne Hotel - The Lord Mayor's Lounge  

The Shelbourne Hotel - The Lord Mayor's Lounge
  • Mon-Thur 20.22.00, Fri-Sun 20.30-22.00
  • 27 Saint Stephen's Green, Dublin 2
  • 01 6634500
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - South Georgian
  • Restaurant
  • Average Cost
  • European - French

The Shelbourne Hotel offers a romantic supper in the sumptuous surroundings of The Lord Mayor's Lounge both to residents and non-residents 7 nights a week. Three courses are served together on one platter making for a light but rich evening meal for less than thirty euros. The only pity is that they don't continue serving an hour later to allow for post-performance dining. Last visited 31-07-2015
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Passion 4 Food  

Passion 4 Food
  • Mon-Thur 17.00-00.00, Fri-Sat 17.00-01.00, Sun 17.00-00.00
  • 27A Clanbrassil Street Lower, Dublin 8
  • 01 4100333
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Christchurch & The Liberties
  • Fastfood
  • Cheap
  • Middle Eastern & North African - Various

If you're looking for a delicious authentic kebab with freshly made flatbreads and generous sides at a good price then this friendly little place is for you. Passion 4 Food deserves to succeed but first it will need to resolve the incongruous menu which is split between western favourites and eastern specialities and overhaul an interior that is one part formal restaurant and one part cheap takeaway. Try the "Passion Special" for two people (pictured). Last visited 30-06-2015
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Sophie's  

Sophie's
  • Mon-Fri 7.00-11.00, 12.30-14.00, 17.00-23.00; Sat 8.00-15.00, 17.00-23.00; Sun 8.00-15.00, 17.00-23.00
  • The Dean Hotel, 33 Harcourt Street, Dublin 2
  • 01 6078100
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - South Georgian
  • Restaurant
  • Average Cost
  • European - Italian

Located on the top floor of the new Dean Hotel on Harcourt Street Sophie's with its rooftop views and stylish open-plan interior would not be out of place in London or even New York's most fashionable districts. Unfortunately on our recent visit the food didn't quite live up to its surroundings with a dish of overcooked Dublin Bay Prawns proving very disappointing. Despite this Sophie's restaurant with its accompanying late night bar and terrace is a welcome addition to the Dublin dining seen. Last visited 21-05-2015
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Etto  

Etto
  • Mon-Fri 12.00-22.00, Sat 12.30-22.00. Closed Sunday.
  • 18 Merrion Row, Dublin 2
  • 01 6788872
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - South Georgian
  • Restaurant
  • Average Cost
  • European - Italian

This tasty little restaurant opened in late 2013 offering Italian-inspired food and a welcome casual touch to this rather traditional restaurant district. Etto’s pre-theatre menu is good value at twenty-four euro for two courses and twenty-eight for three. The star dish on our visit was the mussels in a spicy tomato broth (pictured) while a main of delicious dumplings came in a close second. Last visited 16-03-2015
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The Old Spot  

The Old Spot
  • Mon-Thur 12.00-15.00 and 17.30-22.00, Fri-Sat 12.00-15.00 and 15.30-23.00, Sun 13.00-16.00 and 17.30-21.30
  • 14 Bath Avenue, Sandymount, Dublin 4
  • 01 6605599
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • Southside - Ballsbridge & Donnybrook
  • Pub
  • Average Cost
  • European - Irish

One third pub, two thirds elegant bistro this new gastro pub in an old spot on Bath Avenue has been busy since opening. On a rainy night with no booking we sat in the front pub. Although there were more elaborate items on the menu I opted for a reliable striploin steak and chips which was very good though the meat wasn't quite up to the standards of The Chop House just across the road. Will be back (with a booking) to try their full range. Last visited 09-11-2014
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Base Wood Fired Pizza - Ballsbridge  

Base Wood Fired Pizza - Ballsbridge
  • Mon-Fri 8.00-23.00, Sat-Sun 12.00-23.00
  • 18 Merrion Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4
  • 01 4405100
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • Southside - Ballsbridge & Donnybrook
  • Café
  • Average Cost
  • European - Italian

The Napoli pizza at Base is the stuff dreams are made of - thin smoky dough, pepperoni, spicy chorizo, prosciutto, juicy olives, mozzarella and big globs of garlicky pesto. Unfortunately this Ballsbridge branch only has one indoor café table for two beside the counter with all other seating on the busy thoroughfare outside. Home-delivery and also an exclusive deal with The Bath House on Bath Avenue for pub delivery available. Last visited 05-11-2014
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Artisan Parlour & Grocery  

Artisan Parlour & Grocery
  • Mon-Wed 9.00-19.00, Thur 9.00-21.00, Fri 9.00-22.00, Sat 10.00-22.00, Sun 11.00-17.00
  • 11 Fitzwilliam Street, Ringsend Village, Dublin 4
  • 01 5984000
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Grand Canal Dock & Ringsend
  • Café
  • Average Cost
  • European - Irish

This small premise has big dreams of being a destination artisan grocery store and gourmet neighbourhood cafe. Unfortunately there are still a lot of wrinkles to smooth out for the Artisan Parlour & Grocery such as reliable stock/menu items, a cohesive menu and a more streamlined service. Despite three separate visits the good coffee, cheap wine and excellent cheese board make me believe that this day will come. Last visited 02-11-2014
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Falafel Lounge  

Falafel Lounge
  • Mon-Sun 11.30-00.00
  • 68 Dame Street, Dublin 2
  • 01 6708244
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Temple Bar
  • Café
  • Cheap
  • Middle Eastern & North African - Various

Falafel Lounge serves freshly cooked falafel, with a canteen style mezze veg. bar and a hot food canteen. Excluding the falafels themselves which are competently prepared this causal restaurant serves over-cooked food and bland flavours hiding behind cheap prices. Falafel Lounge has jumped on the recent fashion for falafels that has overtaken the previous pork and burrito crazes sweeping Dublin - best avoided. Last visited 03-10-2014
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The Canal Bank Café  

The Canal Bank Café
  • Mon-Fri 9.00-23.00, Sat-Sun 11.00-23.00
  • 146 Upper Leeson Street, Dublin 4
  • 01 6642135
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • Southside - Ballsbridge & Donnybrook
  • Café
  • Average Cost
  • European - Irish

The Canal Bank Café, situated a short stroll away from the Grand Canal itself, is a spartanly decorated room with big windows but little ventilation which makes for a noisy and slightly stuffy setting. The popular weekend brunch menu contains all the favourite including Eggs Benedict and Mimosas. Some dishes succeed and other fail in this surprising sister restaurant to Tribeca in Ranelagh. French Toast was pan-fried brioche brushed with egg white rather than the stuff of my American dreams. While the flat white ordered turned out to be merely a white coffee. Last visited 28-09-2014
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Drury Buildings - Brasserie  

Drury Buildings - Brasserie
  • Mon-Thur 12.00-15.00 and 17.00-22.00, Fri-Sat 12.00-15.00 and 17.00-22.30, Sun 12.00-15.00 17.00-22.00
  • 52-55 Drury St, Dublin 2
  • 01 9602095
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Grafton & Georges St.
  • Restaurant
  • Average Cost
  • European - Italian

This vast hipster hanger comprises of a downstairs cocktail bar serving snacks, a pleasant terrace for the smokers and a full brasserie restaurant upstairs. On this brasserie visit there were some star dishes such as the peach, prosciutto and ricotta starter and some good but not great desserts. My pasta main in this Italian influenced restaurant while well executed was a simple oil, meat and cheese combo served with a side salad which one couldn’t help but feeling you could make at home. Decent food and exciting drinks in a great location. Last visited 27-09-2014
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sober lane - Dublin  

sober lane - Dublin
  • Mon-Thur 16.00-23.30, Fri 16.00-00.30, Sat 12.00-00.30, Sun 12.00-23.00
  • 82 Irishtown Road, Irish Town, Dublin 4
  • 01 6609072
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Grand Canal Dock & Ringsend
  • Pub
  • Average Cost
  • North American - Various

In Ringsend there is a flat with the same statue in every window. Down the road in Irish Town there is a pub with the identical statue in duplicate. In this drinking establishment named sober lane they serve a small range of craft beers and a wide range of food. Pizzas and pitchers and plenty of space make this new pub in an old area a good choice for big groups. Otherwise it is as yet a little lacking in the atmosphere found so distinctly outside its doors. Last visited 10-09-2014
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The Woollen Mills  

The Woollen Mills
  • Mon-Sat 8.00-23.00. Closed Sunday.
  • 42 Lower Ormond Quay, Dublin 1
  • 01 8280835
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Capel & Quays
  • Café
  • Average Cost
  • European - Irish

The spacious former Woollen Mills at the Ha'penny Bridge has been given a new lease of life by the folks behind the nearby Winding Stairs restaurant and bookshop. With two lunchtime menus, a simple if slightly pricey sandwich menu served with soup or salad and a more traditional formal lunch menu there really is something for everyone here. You can also visit the takeaway deli/bakery for a wide range of lunchtime treats. 10% service charge included on all eat-in orders. Last visited 09-09-2014
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Crabby Jo's  

Crabby Jo's
  • Mon-Sun 12.00-22.00
  • 14 West Pier, Howth, Co Dublin, Ireland
  • 01 8323999
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • Northside - Howth & Malahide
  • Café
  • Average Cost
  • European - Irish

Crabby Jo’s is the latest venture of long-standing fishmongers Wrights of Howth. Located on the lovely West Pier with fishing trawlers and greedy seals a stones throw away ensures Crabby Jo’s enjoys a plentiful supply of fresh seafood. Slightly incongruently this new kid on the block has modeled itself on a continental café with slick furniture and dance music beats however sitting outside in the sun one can forgive them for dreaming. Last visited 06-09-2014
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Little Jerusalem  

Little Jerusalem
  • Tue-Sun 16.00-23.30. Closed Monday.
  • 3 Wynnefield Road, Rathmines, Dublin 6
  • 01 4126912
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • Southside - Ranelagh, Rathmines & Harold's Cross
  • Restaurant
  • Average Cost
  • Middle Eastern & North African - Various

The evening atmosphere of Little Jerusalem tucked away on a side street in Rathmines is perfect for a cosy mid-week romantic meal and not so perfect for photos. However despite the setting my menu choices on this particular evening were disappointing with a sesame pizza starter that was crying out for some sauce and a chicken and rice main which though perfectly adequate was bland at best. My companion did a lot better with very tasty lamb and spinach pastries to start and a meaty main. Worth another try. Last visited 01-09-2014
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The Greenery  

The Greenery
  • Mon 8.30-16.30, Tue-Thur 8.30-23.00, Fri 8.30-24.00, Sat 9.30-25.00, Sun 9.30-23.00
  • 3 Eirpage House, Donnybrook, Dublin 4
  • 01 2195966
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • Southside - Ballsbridge & Donnybrook
  • Restaurant
  • Average Cost
  • European - Various

The Greenery is a pleasant café-restaurant serving an excellent full brunch menu as well as breakfast, lunch and dinner on the Dodder end of Donnybrook. The brunch menu features all the favourites including eggs benedict, pancakes and the full Irish. The Turkish eggs are particularly tasty and there is also an extensive smoothie selection available. Frequented by the well-heeled local residents this café has a plush restaurant interior and a number of tables out front which are slightly separated from busy Donnybrook Road by a small car park. Last visited 26-07-2014
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Pizza E Porchetta  

Pizza E Porchetta
  • Mon-Fri 8.00-15.00 and 17.00-22.00, Sat 16.30-22.30, Sun 15.00-21.00. Closed Bank Holidays.
  • The Malting Tower, Grand Canal Quay, Dublin 2
  • 01 6624199
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Grand Canal Dock & Ringsend
  • Restaurant
  • Average Cost
  • European - Italian

Pizza E Porchetta serves tasty pizza, pasta, excellent salads, sophisticated starters, desserts and a range of specials. Some menu items don’t quite work with the rustic concept of a pizzeria but small kinks aside the real problem with this brand new pizzeria in the cosy former Bridge Bar & Bistro on Grand Canal Quay is the service. Staff seem inexperienced and are relentlessly pursued by an over enthusiastic manager. Order the fantastic Caesar Salad and don't sit by the bar. Last visited 25-07-2014
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Fallon & Byrne - The Restaurant  

Fallon & Byrne - The Restaurant
  • Mon-Tue 12.00-15.00, 18.00-21.00, Wed-Thur 12.00-15.00, 18.00-22.00, Fri-Sat 12.00-15.00, 18.00-23.00, Sun 12.00-16.00, 18.00-21.00
  • 11- 17 Exchequer Street, Dublin 2
  • 01 472 1000
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Grafton & Georges St.
  • Restaurant
  • Average Cost
  • European - Irish

Upstairs from the hustle and bustle of a busy food hall and deli is this spacious, light and airy dining room. Fallon & Byrne’s inventive starters and safe mains are complemented by an extensive wine list and finished off with quality desserts prepared by a skilled pastry chef. The space, relative value and people pleasing menu make the Fallon & Byrne Restaurant popular with large groups or families with young children in tow. Last visited 22-07-2014
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Pho Ta  

Pho Ta
  • Mon-Wed 12.30-22.00, Thu-Sat 12.30-23.00, Sun 12.30-22.00
  • 6 Cope Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2
  • 01 6718671
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Temple Bar
  • Restaurant
  • Cheap
  • South East Asian - Vietnamese

Pho Ta offers great value authentic Vietnamese cuisine right in the heart of Dublin. Starters are generous and ideal for sharing. Mains consist of a range of Pho, Vietnamese noodle soup dishes, as well as a variety of stir-fries and curries accompanied by rice noodles or simply rice. Unexpectedly for an Asian restaurant the dessert selection is also quite good with coffee, caramel, milk, beans and of course sugar making up the majority of the ingredients. The interior is a bit dull but otherwise well worth a visit. Last visited 17-06-2014
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Drury Buildings  

Drury Buildings
  • Mon-Sun: 12.00-23.30
  • 52-55 Drury St, Dublin 2
  • 01 9602095
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Grafton & Georges St.
  • Restaurant
  • Average Cost
  • European - Italian

Drury Buildings is a massive multi-floor establishment with high tables and stools downstairs, low tables and chairs upstairs and a charming multi-level terrace out back. There is a full restaurant menu available and multiple cocktails but on this visit we just went for craft beer and tapas. Our first choice of arancini was out and the tapas we got were good but not brilliant. Despite a very stylish industrial chic interior Drury Buildings is missing the crowds it was built for which means a disappointing lack of atmosphere not helped by slow and forgetful service. Last visited 15-06-2014
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Gallaher & Co.  

Gallaher & Co.
  • Mon-Wed 8.00-22.00, Thur-Fri 8.00-23.00, Sat 10.00-23.00, Sun 10.00-22.00
  • D'Olier Chambers, D'Olier Street, Dublin 2
  • 01 6770499
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Pearse & Tara
  • Café
  • Average Cost
  • European - Irish

Gallaher & Co. Bistro & Coffee House is located between Doyle’s pub and the Screen cinema. This makes it an ideal spot for some pre-film or indeed pre-pub food or a pleasant alternative to a post-film pint. More of a coffee house than a bistro, Gallaher’s black and white tiles and dark wood tables create a nice traditional atmosphere in keeping with the building’s historic exterior. The Irish coffees ordered on this first visit were just as they should be while we opted not to indulge in the home-style carrot, chocolate or cheesecake on offer. Last visited 03-06-2014
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Aqua  

Aqua
  • Mon-Sat 12.30-15.30 and 17.30-22.00, Sunday & Bank Holidays 12.00-17.00 and 17.30-20.30
  • 1 West Pier, Howth, Dublin 13
  • 01 8320690
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • Northside - Howth & Malahide
  • Restaurant
  • Average Cost
  • European - Irish

Aqua is located at the furthest end of a long line of seafood restaurants on Howth’s West Pier where it enjoys uninterrupted views of Ireland's Eye. On my most recent visit the mussels in chorizo tomato broth were delicious but the John Dory main lacked the delicacy of hand and contrast of flavours which could have made it great. Vegetables from the kitchen garden were served separately, simply prepared and delicious. While the Panna Cotta dessert was an adventurous combination of flavours which didn’t quite connect. Last visited 02-06-2014
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Roly’s Cafe  

Roly’s Cafe
  • Mon-Fri 7.30-22.30, Sat-Sun 9.00-22.30
  • 7 Ballsbridge Terrace, Dublin 4
  • 01 6682611
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • Southside - Ballsbridge & Donnybrook
  • Café
  • Average Cost
  • European - French

Roly’s Bistro has been serving traditional fine dining since 1992. In recent years they have opened a casual café downstairs to the main restaurant. Initially only open during the day, the café now serves a broader menu of reasonably priced quality food into the evening. There is a nice range of well-executed breakfasts which are raised a notch above the average by in-house freshly baked breads. The French inspired Irish-sized cakes look especially good and will be sampled on a subsequent visit. Food also available to take away. Last visited 31-05-2014
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Rustic Stone  

Rustic Stone
  • Mon-Thur 12.00-14.30 and 17.30-22.30, Fri 12.00-14.30 and 17.00-23.00, Sat 13.00-23.00, Sun 13.00-21.00
  • 17 South Great George's St, Dublin 2
  • 01 7079596
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Grafton & Georges St.
  • Restaurant
  • Average Cost
  • European - Spanish

The menu of Rustic Stone quite literally spoke to me. A shadowy voice came to the fore on selected dishes and explained the concept and preparation. On investigation it turned out that this voice belonged to Dylan McGrath, the chef-owner of Rustic Stone, former owner of boom-era Mint restaurant, Michelin star winner and a man fond of the word ‘I’. Egos aside Rustic Stone serves exciting steak and seafood dishes on hot stone slabs which allow you to cook your own meat or fish at the table. There is also a selection of burgers and healthy dishes served 'off the stone' including some appetising salads. Last visited 26-05-2014
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Chez Max - Palace Street  

Chez Max - Palace Street
  • Mon-Fri 8.00-00.00, Sat-Sun 12.00-00.00
  • 1 Palace Street, Dublin 2
  • 01 633 7215
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Christchurch & The Liberties
  • Café
  • Average Cost
  • European - French

At the gates of Dublin Castle Chez Max has a lovely Parisian café atmosphere with terrace seating out front, a romantic restaurant inside and a snug little garden out back. The extended opening hours and excellent location make Chez Max a great place to while away a couple of hours over a reasonably priced glass of red wine and a rustic bowl of French onion soup. While this Palace Street branch is nearing its first decade, there is another newer branch on Baggot Street with an attached epicerie that sells baguette sandwiches and French speciality foods. Last visited 20-05-2014
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Mourne Seafood – Dublin  

Mourne Seafood – Dublin
  • Mon-Sat 12.00-22.00, Sun 12.00-18.00
  • Ground Floor, Millennium Tower, Charlotte Quay, Dublin 2
  • 01 6688862
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Grand Canal Dock & Ringsend
  • Restaurant
  • Average Cost
  • European - Irish

Mourne Seafood opened in February in the fantastic ground floor unit of Grand Canal Dock’s Millennium Tower. Part of a larger operation Mourne Seafood runs a cooking school and restaurant in Belfast, a seafood restaurant in Dundrum and a seafood bar at the foot of the Mourne Mountains. The service is attentive in this latest addition and the menu which consists of a range of seafood favourites often with a tasty modern twist is excellent. Mourne Seafood may be a bit formal for local lunchtime demand but hopefully they will get the customers they deserve. Last visited 19-05-2014
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Damson Diner  

Damson Diner
  • Mon-Sat 12.00-16.00 and 18.00-23.00, Sun 12.00-17.00 and 18.00-23.00
  • 52 South William Street, Dublin 2
  • 01 6777007
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Grafton & Georges St.
  • Pub
  • Average Cost
  • North American - Various

The Damson Diner is a den of iniquity serving unwholesome goodness inspired by some of the more unhealthy U.S. states. Part club, part pub, part casual restaurant The Damson Diner, which serves food until eleven, provides a good refuelling point on a tour of the area's many pubs. Ribs, chicken wings, burgers and loaded salads make up the majority of the menu while the cocktails and an extensive craft beer selection can help you forget the calories. Last visited 19-04-2014
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The Greenhouse  

The Greenhouse
  • Tue-Sat 12.00-14.15, 18.00-22.15. Closed Sunday & Monday.
  • Joshua House, Dawson Street, Dublin 2
  • 01 6767015
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - South Georgian
  • Restaurant
  • Expensive
  • European - Irish

The Greenhouse serves a surprisingly simple lunch menu with a choice of two starters, two main courses and two desserts. This limited selection, while possibly not ideal for fussy eaters, makes ordering a pleasure and also ensures that the courses themselves are well paired. Each dish includes a careful combination of flavours and textures that indicate a serious chef is at the helm. 'The Greenhouse' is a very romantic way to describe a restaurant housed in a not so glamorous office block but the sumptuous dining room and impeccable food served puts it amongst the top restaurants in Dublin. Last visited 12-04-2014
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Ugly Duckling  

Ugly Duckling
  • Mon-Wed 09:00-18.30, Thu-Sat 09.00-20.00. Closed Sunday.
  • Epicurean Food Hall, 1 Liffey Street Lower, Dublin 1
  • 087 666 5615
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Capel & Quays
  • Café
  • Average Cost
  • North American - Various

The Epicurean Food Hall has got a bit scruffy around the edges with too many buffets and not an epicurean in sight. That is why I was so happy to see Ugly Duckling appear as a shiny new swan in this rather small pond. Serving big American inspired sandwiches such as the Brisket Baguette or the Cajun prawn sandwich pictured as well as burgers and loaded baked potatoes this is far from healthy cooking. The gourmet junk food trend may not last but I am betting that this place will. Last visited 09-04-2014
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The Third Space  

The Third Space
  • Mon-Wed 7.30-19.00, Thur-Fri 7.30-21.30, Sat 9.30-17.00, Sun 10.00-16.00
  • Unit 14, Smithfield Market, Dublin 7
  • 01 529 7208
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Smithfield & Stoneybatter
  • Café
  • Average Cost
  • European - Irish

Having read about this café in a Forbes article entitled "Can An Irish Start-up Challenge Starbucks?" I was bound to be disappointed. I had the beef, horseradish and Yorkshire pudding wrap and while the ingredients were good, the wrap was fairly inedible and not a match for the filling. The space itself is large and busy with the type of homogenised original decor that might well make The Third Space suitable for duplication after all. Despite all this it is lovely to see some life returning to Smithfield so I will give it another shot sometime. Last visited 04-04-2014
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Hippety's  

Hippety's
  • Mon-Thu 10.00-21.00, Fri-Sat 10.00-22.00, Sun 10.00-21.00
  • 4 Cecilia Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2
  • 01 535 7006
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Temple Bar
  • Café
  • Average Cost
  • European - Irish

Hippety’s is a cute and quirky café on a quieter corner between the bustle of Temple Bar Square and the buses of Central Bank. This vintage find serves up simple food and drinks in a colourful atmosphere. While the coffee isn't quite up to barista standards the freshly made frittata and side salad I had on this occasion were both filling and tasty. Certainly worth another visit perhaps in the evening when the many lamps create a slightly crazed but cosy atmosphere. Last visited 01-04-2014
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Mish Mash  

Mish Mash
  • Mon-Fri 09.00-21.00, Sat-Sun 12.00-21.00
  • 66 Capel Street, Dublin 1
  • 01 556 1080
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Capel & Quays
  • Café
  • Average Cost
  • European - Irish

With heart shaped paper mobiles and tiny teapots that seem to never run out Mish Mash is a little treasure trove beyond The Black Sheep at the top of Capel Street. The short menu includes open sandwiches, salads and a wide range of herbal tea making for a healthy as well as relaxing break from the beat. I was reluctant to tell you all as I have been enjoying the quiet but seeing as I let it slip to my co-workers last week I thought I should do the right thing. Cash only accepted. Last visited 31-03-2014
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Marcel's  

Marcel's
  • Mon-Thur 12.00-15.00 and 17.00-22.00, Fri-Sat 12.00-15.00 and 17.00-22.30, Sun 12.00-21.00
  • 1 St. Mary's Road, Dublin 4
  • 01 660 2367
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • Southside - Ballsbridge & Donnybrook
  • Restaurant
  • Average Cost
  • European - French

Marcel's is a lovely little neighbourhood restaurant with city connections and style. Far surpassing its sister restaurant The Green Hen on Exchequer Street this is somewhere to go for a special meal in relaxed surroundings. The usual upmarket dishes are on offer, goat’s cheese, scallops, beef and sea bream but with a little more interest added in the sides and sauces than is often the case these days. There is a private room for hire upstairs accessed by intriguing wallpapered doors, which were being used by an Agatha Christie-esque assortment of guests on the night of our visit. Last visited 28-03-2014
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The Slaney  

The Slaney
  • Mon-Sun 4.30 to last flight
  • Departures Airside, Terminal 2, Dublin Airport, Swords, Co. Dublin
  • 01 8528835
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • Northside - Howth & Malahide
  • Café
  • Average Cost
  • European - Irish

There really is only one place to eat in Dublin Airport and this is it. With a full breakfast menu, an extensive bar and a location right in the middle of Terminal Two, The Slaney is the most comfortable, convenient place to fuel up before a flight. The food is a little over salted but well above average by Irish airport standards and most importantly served directly to your table. Place your order at the counter, pay, put your feet up and wait for your plane to pull in. Last visited 11-03-2014
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Corfu  

Corfu
  • Mon-Sun 12.00-21.00
  • 12 Parliament Street, Dublin 2
  • 01 675 0050
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Temple Bar
  • Restaurant
  • Cheap
  • European - Greek

This is a great cheap Greek restaurant with the kind of over solicitous service and authentic food that really makes you feel like you are on holidays. In fact, looking around at the glowing tans of some of the louder clientele I thought I might be. The decor is a bit grim but location, price and most importantly food make this a great place for a fuel-up before a big night out. The meatball soup recommended by the waiter was truly delicious. Last visited 31-01-2014
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Musashi  

Musashi
  • Mon -Thu 12.00-22.00, Fri-Sat 12.00-23.00, Sun 12.00-22.00
  • 15 Capel Street, Dublin 1
  • 01 532 8068
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Capel & Quays
  • Café
  • Expensive
  • East Asian - Japanese

I am not sure if this much touted Japanese restaurant doesn't like single diners or if it just doesn't like me but it must have taken at least five visits before I was granted a table (for two) and then only for forty minutes. Attitude aside this is a great Japanese with relatively authentic dishes and fresh sushi for reasonable prices. The interior and staff could be a bit more inviting but it is certainly worth a visit - order lots, share and be sure to book. Last visited 28-11-2013
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Soup Dragon  

Soup Dragon
  • Mon-Fri 8.00-17.00, Sat 10.00-16.00
  • 168 Capel Street, Dublin 1
  • 01 872 3277
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Capel & Quays
  • Café
  • Expensive
  • European - Irish

There are not enough cafés that focus on the humble soup. Soup Dragon is not an Asian noodle bar but a good old-fashioned Irish soup shop situated in this lively area where old Dublin meets Chinese Quarter meets middle-aged hipster. With a large variety of reasonably priced soups changing daily and served in small or large portions with bread this is great spot for a hearty but healthy lunch. Seating is minimal and counter only. Last visited 28-11-2013
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Jewel in the Crown - Ballsbridge  

Jewel in the Crown - Ballsbridge
  • Mon-Sun 12.30-14.30, 17.00-23.00
  • 41/43 Shelbourne Road, Balsbridge, Dublin 4
  • 01 667 0959
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • Southside - Ballsbridge & Donnybrook
  • Restaurant
  • Average Cost
  • South Asian - Indian

There is the feel of a London Indian to this long-established restaurant, which is helped along by the quantity of British tourists from nearby hotels that often make up the clientele. While the menu is not especially exciting it is reliable with a good variety of dishes to fulfil every expectation. The curries themselves are saucy and fairly spicy while the garlic naan is the thin buttery variety that is delicious though not particularly suited to sopping up sauce. Last visited 24-11-2013
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Arisu  

Arisu
  • Mon-Sun 11.00-23.00
  • 119 Capel Street, Dublin 1
  • 01 515 8022
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Capel & Quays
  • Restaurant
  • Average Cost
  • East Asian - Korean

This Korean restaurant has striking looking chimneys over each table centre barbeque meaning that if it is just the two of you, you will be spared the pain of looking at each other’s ugly mugs for much of the meal. However Arisu is more than just a novelty Asian restaurant, with fresh ingredients and authentic seasoning this Capel Street local is an excellent place for a group of four to six looking for an ultra casual Korean beer fuelled catch-up. Last visited 20-11-2013
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Oxmantown  

Oxmantown
  • Mon-Fri 8.30-16.00, Sat 11.30-16.00. Closed Sunday.
  • 16 Mary's Abbey, Dublin 7
  • 0 1 804 7030
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Capel & Quays
  • Café
  • Average Cost
  • European - Irish

This busy little café is largely geared towards the takeaway lunch crowd however if you can nab a window-side counter seat on a sunny day Oxmantown is a very nice spot for a solo lunch. The menu consists of five fixed sandwiches which are a cut-above and a rotating daily soup and salad. Occasionally a tasty meaty pie is put up on the board but for me the grilled cheese sandwich can't be beat. Last visited 18-11-2013
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Sweet Nosh  

Sweet Nosh
  • Mon-Wed 7.00-18.00, Thur-Fri 7.00-21.00, Sat 9.00-21.00, Sun 12.00-18.00
  • Unit 1, Chatham Street, Dublin 2
  • 01 534 2680
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Grafton & Georges St.
  • Café
  • Cheap
  • European - Italian

What a wonderful discovery this little hideaway is! Tiny cakes prepared and served with care and a full range of Italian ice-cream ensure a healthy mixture of young Italians and middle-aged Irish parents find their way in here. Unfortunately the seating arrangements could be comfier and the interior cosier but the wonderful service, good value and delicious treats easily make up for this. Last visited 17-11-2013
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Bellucci  

Bellucci
  • Mon-Sun 12.00-24.00
  • Sweepstakes Centre, 22-30 Merrion Road, Dublin 4
  • 01 668 9422
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • Southside - Ballsbridge & Donnybrook
  • Restaurant
  • Average Cost
  • European - Italian

In an uninspiring building that houses a car dealership sits this surprisingly pleasant restaurant. Contemporary and cosy with a wood burning pizza oven Bellucci is a good place for a post-work dinner and drinks or for large groups. The menu is unadventurous but covers all the Italian favourites in a competent and occasionally even elegant manner. Last visited 12-11-2013
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brother hubbard  

brother hubbard
  • Mon-Fri 08.00-17.30, Sat 10.00-17.00, Sun 11.00-17.00
  • 153 Capel Street, Dublin 1
  • 01 441 1112
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Capel & Quays
  • Café
  • Average Cost
  • Middle Eastern & North African - Various

This bearded hipster hangout offers some scrumptious café fare with a middle-eastern twist to select dishes. On our previous visit I had semolina pancakes while ‘himself’ settled for the middle-eastern breakfast plate and jealously ensued. On this solo trip I sampled the soup and sandwich set. The original veggie ciabatta sandwich was very flavoursome but with an unbalanced bread to filling ratio that may have been improved by toasting. The soup was sensational! Last visited 04-11-2013
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Salamanca  

Salamanca
  • Mon-Wed 12.00-22.00, Thur 12.00-23.00, Fri 12.00-23.30, Sat 12.00-12.00, Sun 13.00-21.30.
  • 2 St. Andrew's Street, Dublin 2
  • 01 677 4799
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Grafton & Georges St.
  • Restaurant
  • Average Cost
  • European - Spanish

Salamanca is a fun place with a buzzy pretention-free atmosphere that makes it perfect for big groups or laid-back get togethers. The tapas served here are Irish sized, tasty, saucy and not particularly healthy but perfect for soaking up some celebratory drinks. The early bird includes three tapas (more than enough!) and runs Sunday to Wednesday until 7 and Thursday to Saturday until 6.30. Last visited 25-10-2013
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Oliveto - At The Kingston Hotel  

Oliveto - At The Kingston Hotel
  • Mon-Sun 12.00-15.00, 17.30-21.30
  • 9-12 Haddington Terrace, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin
  • 01 280 0011
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • Southside - Dún Laoghaire & Monkstown
  • Restaurant
  • Average Cost
  • European - Italian

Up above the East Pier in Dun Laoghaire sits The Kingston Hotel and Oliveto, a sophisticated Italian restaurant that has breathed new life into this old hotel. The bare tables, dark wood and low lighting inside create a relaxing setting to sample their modern Italian menu. While outside Oliveto manages the hotel beer garden where, weather permitting, you can enjoy an uninterrupted view of the bay, a genuinely fantastic pizza and a beer. Unfortunately on my last two visits the service at Oliveto left a lot to be desired with staff more interested in checking their phones than serving customers. Last visited 30-09-2013
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Donnybrook Fair - The Grill  

Donnybrook Fair - The Grill
  • Mon-Sun 8.00-19.00
  • 13 Upper Baggot Street, Dublin 4
  • 01 668 0658
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • Southside - Ballsbridge & Donnybrook
  • Fastfood
  • Average Cost
  • European - Irish

The Grill @ Donnybrook Fair is filled with men in crumpled suits having important sounding phone calls with words like 'projections' and 'profit margin'. They are the kind of men who probably appreciate the refreshingly short menu of high quality items and the no nonsense, no seating layout of this gourmet fast-food enterprise. Unfortunately I found the burger a bit dry and dull for my tastes and the atmosphere a bit severe. That said, I'll probably be back to try the Toulouse sausage sandwich and see if I can earwig on some more high finance. Last visited 26-09-2013
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Farmer Browns  

Farmer Browns
  • Mon-Tue 11.00-16.30, Wed-Fri 11.00-22.30, Sat 10.00-22.30, Sun 10.00-20.30
  • 25a Bath Avenue, Dublin 4
  • 01 660 2326
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • Southside - Ballsbridge & Donnybrook
  • Café
  • Average Cost
  • European - Various

Farmer Browns Market & Eatery takes the American style farmers' market vibe and merges it with a European eatery. The result? Delicious casual food served in an eclectic atmosphere by unnervingly cheerful staff - oh and of course HUGE portions. The breakfast salad picture was delicious, though far from being the healthy option it claims to be while my companion’s steak and eggs were excellent. We will be back! Last visited 21-09-2013
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Seven Social  

Seven Social
  • Tue-Sat 17.00-22.00. Closed Sunday and Monday.
  • 76 Benburb Street, Dublin 7
  • 01 672 9080
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Smithfield & Stoneybatter
  • Restaurant
  • Average Cost
  • European - Irish

This romantic little restaurant situated between Smithfield and Stoneybatter is the perfect place for a first date. Low lighting, intriguing menu and uncomfortable seats will keep you on edge in just the right way. On our visit we had two courses, a big bottle of posh beer and front row seats to somebody else's first date all for 72 euro. My main of pork belly and untrimmed scallops was a combination too far, however overall one has to applaud the adventurous attitude to food on display here. Last visited 20-09-2013
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Brasserie Le Pont  

Brasserie Le Pont
  • Monday 10.00-15.30, Tue-Sat 10.00-21.00. Closed Sunday.
  • 26 Fitzwilliam Place, Dublin 2
  • 01 669 4600
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - South Georgian
  • Restaurant
  • Average Cost
  • European - French

The Irish love to have a gander before venturing into a new premises. As a result basement restaurants, of which there are many in Georgian Dublin, often miss out. However I am happy to report that the basement which houses Brasserie Le Pont is spacious, light and elegantly appointed with the main dinning room looking out to a sunny courtyard. The food is equally well executed if a tad on the safe side, which probably suits the conservative clientele that work in the area. Desserts are one step above and highly recommended. Last visited 18-09-2013
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ely gastro pub  

ely gastro pub
  • Mon-Fri 12.00-15.00, 17.00-22.00, Sat-Sun 11.00-16.00, 17.00-22.00
  • Grand Canal Square, Dublin 2
  • 01 633 9986
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Grand Canal Dock & Ringsend
  • Restaurant
  • Average Cost
  • European - Various

This gastro pub, which much like its clientele has always been in impeccable shape, has recently had a makeover. The large basement, where once you could watch the dust balls gather amongst designer sofas, is now a buzzy restaurant with an open kitchen providing a focal point. Upstairs there are three distinct areas; restaurant tables in front, a bar area in the middle and a new sofa section in back. While the food at ely won’t disappoint it won’t amaze either however if you are looking for a sophisticated atmosphere in an excellent location then this is the right place for you. Last visited 06-09-2013
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Bunsen  

Bunsen
  • Mon 12.30-21.00, Tue 12.30-21.30, Wed-Thu 12.30-22.00, Fri 12.00-22.30, Sat 12.30-22.30, Sun 12.30-20.30
  • 36 Wexford Street, Dublin 2
  • 01 552 5408
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Portobello & Camden St.
  • Fastfood
  • Average Cost
  • North American - Various

While I waited for my burger in Bunsen two suited office workers were leaving. "What did you think?" said one. "Well it was a burger." said the other. Meanwhile a table full of bearded, coloured khaki wearing DIT student were settling in. I ordered a cheeseburger and chocolate milkshake from the miniscule menu and they were good - flakes of chocolate, juicy patty, decent bun. Later a girl popped by on her way to Electric Picnic to pick up the sleeping bags she had stowed under a table. Straight-up food served simply with a side helping of self-conscious cool. Last visited 30-08-2013
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The Schoolhouse Bar  

The Schoolhouse Bar
  • Mon-Thurs 9.00-23.30, Fri 9.00-24.30, Sat 12.00-24.30, Sun 12.00-23.30
  • 2-8 Northumberland Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4
  • 01 1667 5014
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • Southside - Ballsbridge & Donnybrook
  • Pub
  • Average Cost
  • European - Various

Something has happened at The Schoolhouse. The well-regarded Oliver's Restaurant headed up by Breton chef Olivier Quenet is no more, the fabulous seafood platter has been cut from the bar menu and the locals are nowhere to be found on a Friday night. I have given this former haunt a couple of chances over the last while but am sad to say that my recent breakfast there was the nail in the coffin. Bacon that was both hard and soggy, unseasoned scrambled eggs and anaemic sausages - hotel food at its worst. Last visited 25-08-2013
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Lanigans  

Lanigans
  • Mon-Thu 10.30-24.00, Fri-Sat 10.30-26.00, Sun 12.30-23.00
  • 10 Eden Quay, Dublin 1
  • 01 874 3535
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Connolly & O'Connell
  • Pub
  • Average Cost
  • European - Irish

Situated on Eden Quay between O’Connell Street and Liberty Hall Lanigans offers a pleasant escape from what might well be the least desirable stretch of our city centre quays. This is an old-fashioned pub full of slightly surreal brick-a-brac and a friendly eclectic crowd. Lanigans is part of the budget Clifton Court Hotel that also owns another pub next-door and a small but well-regarded theatre space upstairs. There is a full bar menu available with some tasty if not all together healthy food on offer. Last visited 24-08-2013
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The Oarsman  

The Oarsman
  • Mon-Thur 12.00-23.30, Fri-Sat 12.00-24.30, Sun 12.00-23.30
  • 8 Bridge Street, Rinsend, Dublin 4
  • 01 668 9360
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Grand Canal Dock & Ringsend
  • Pub
  • Average Cost
  • European - Irish

In the heart of Ringsend, or Raytown as I have been informed, The Oarsman is a true gem. An old-school pub run by a young manager, inside it is all dark wood and low lights with a particularly cosy nook at the front that could accommodate a large group. There is a connected bistro which never seems to be open however the food served in the pub itself is very good, with the chicken burger (pictured) being particularly tasty. Last visited 22-08-2013
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Morels  

Morels
  • Tues-Wed 17.30-21.00, Thur-Fri 12.30-15.00, 17.30-21.00, Sat 17.30-21.00, Sun 12.30-15.00, 17.30-21.00. Closed Monday.
  • 17-18 Patrick Street, Dun Laoighre, Co. Dublin
  • 01 280 8872
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • Southside - Dún Laoghaire & Monkstown
  • Restaurant
  • Average Cost
  • European - Various

Situated in the popular Alexis Bar and Grill, which sadly closed its doors in January, and named after the equally popular Morels Restaurant that operated in Glasthule in the 90's this is very much a local affair. Head chef Alan O’Reilly who had a hand in all three establishments delivers some superb food. On this visit I went for the early bird menu, a divine seafood ravioli with more than a hint of the wonton to it, a rich boned pigeon main and a comforting crème brulee. A slightly more cosy interior and this might well become my southside favourite. Last visited 30-07-2013
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Pichet  

Pichet
  • Mon-Sat, 12.00-15.00, 17.00-22.00. Closed Sunday and Bank Holidays.
  • 14/15 Trinity Street, Dublin 2
  • 01 677 1060
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Grafton & Georges St.
  • Restaurant
  • Average Cost
  • European - French

Beautiful delicately handled modern French bistro cooking with a strong bias towards fish. While Pichet is certainly one of the capital’s most popular and praised restaurants it is also a surprisingly relaxed dining experience. The light-filled dining area is spread across the front of house room on Trinity Street (which also opens as a simple cafe from 8.00-16.00), the slightly more cosy back of house dining room on St. Andrew’s Lane and the adjacent conservatory all linked together through a series of french doors with a relaxed monochrome and pale blue decor. Booking essential. Last visited 22-07-2013
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Walter Mitty's  

Walter Mitty's
  • Mon-Fri 7.00-19.00, Sat 9.00-18.00, Sun 10.00-17.00
  • 60/63 Dawson Street, Dublin 2
  • 01 677 9910
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - South Georgian
  • Café
  • Average Cost
  • European - Various

Appropriately Walter Mitty's is a world unto itself. Gold lettering on a steel framed window pilled high with pastries, a wall that beacons you to write on it and a utilitarian chic that is in stark contrast to the comfy coffee shop chains that line Dawson Street. To sum it up the coffees here are good, the barista art is better but the reason you are here is because you want to be somewhere hip without having to hike all the way over to Georges Street. Last visited 05-07-2013
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Bakers Coffee Co.  

Bakers Coffee Co.
  • Mon-Fri 7.30-18.00, Sat-Sun 10.00-17.00
  • H5 Hanover Quay, Grand Canal Dock, Dublin 2
  • 01 670 6569
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Grand Canal Dock & Ringsend
  • Café
  • Average Cost
  • North American - Various

It's great to see some life returning to Grand Canal Dock and this simple café with its west coast vibe was exactly what was needed to bring the buzz further down Hanover Quay. Bakers Coffee Co. serves muffins, sandwiches and a hotly tipped (but untried) Croque Monsieur with a lovely smooth coffee blend that will please most palates. Last visited 03-07-2013
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TUZO - Mexican Kitchen  

TUZO - Mexican Kitchen
  • Mon-Wed 11.00-21.00, Thu-Sat 11.00-22.30, Sun 13.00-20.00
  • 51b Dawson Street, Dublin 2
  • 01 679 8814
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - South Georgian
  • Fastfood
  • Average Cost
  • Latin American - Mexican

I have to say I approve of food trends. Apart from raising public awareness and appetite for a previously overlooked cuisine the competition created by a number of new restaurants serving similar fare generally means better quality, while in the long term they diversify the overall dining scene. Unfortunately the initial indiscriminate public popularity also means that you will inevitably get a couple of establishments simply cashing-in on a food trend without any of the prerequisite authenticity or passion – Tuzo is one such place. Last visited 03-07-2013
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Peploe`s  

Peploe`s
  • Mon-Sun 12.00-23.00
  • 16 Saint Stephens Green, Dublin 2
  • 01 676 3144
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - South Georgian
  • Restaurant
  • Average Cost
  • European - French

The time and expertise required to make a truly good sauce is something that is underappreciated in modern cooking. However I am happy to say that Peploe's is an exception to this generalisation producing some pretty perfect rich, deep, textured sauces, which provide the perfect balance to their protein accompaniments. Peploe’s located in the lush surrounds of Saint Stephens Green is a good place for some old-school sophistication at mid-range prices. Last visited 29-06-2013
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Sip & Slurp  

Sip & Slurp
  • Mon-Fri 7.30-15.30, Closed Saturday and Sunday.
  • 67 Charlemont Street, Dublin 2
  • 01 548 6522
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - South Georgian
  • Café
  • Average Cost
  • European - Irish

Sip and Slurp is one of those places you won't know about unless you work in the area or don't work during the day as it is only open Monday to Friday for breakfast and lunch. Limited hours aside this is a wonderful spot to refuel with a bowl of fresh soup and a tasty sandwich. Menu options, which rotate regularly, cleverly cater both for when you are feeling like something traditional such as the tomato soup with ham and cheese sandwich pictured or for when you are looking for something a bit more adventurous. Last visited 20-05-2013
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Lolly and Cooks - Upper Merrion Street  

Lolly and Cooks - Upper Merrion Street
  • Mon-Sat 8.00-19.00, Thur 8.00-19.30, Fri-Sat 8.00-19.00, Sun 12.00-17.30
  • 18 Upper Merrion Street, Dublin 2
  • 01 662 4313
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - South Georgian
  • Café
  • Average Cost
  • North American - Various

I didn't manage to take the photo before digging in to this cupcake and that is pretty much the Lolly and Cooks effect. By the time you have sat down to eat your food you have already been treated to a meal of the senses - from the lovely 1950's inspired interior, to the array of colourful cupcakes, to the selection of scrumptious sounding sandwiches. Unfortunately this is the larger of the two Lolly and Cooks branches and with just a window counter and a couple of outside tables there is barely enough room to swing a hamster. Thankfully Lolly and Cooks also do private and corporate catering. Last visited 14-05-2013
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The Cathedral Café  

The Cathedral Café
  • Mon-Sat 10.00-17.00. Closed Sunday.
  • The Crypt, Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin 8
  • none
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Christchurch & The Liberties
  • Café
  • Average Cost
  • European - Various

In order to access The Cathedral Café you will need to pay the six euros entry to Christ Church or €12.25 for a combined ticket to Christ Church and the Dublinia Viking and Medieval Dublin exhibit. The interior of this historical building is richly decorated and well worth the fee especially if you manage to time your visit with one of the occasional Lunchtime Recitals. The medieval crypt makes an atmospheric setting for the café where you can relax on one of the comfy sofas listening to the soft sounds of Lyric FM while sipping a latte or munching on quite a decent sandwich. Not just for the tourists. Last visited 07-05-2013
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the larder  

the larder
  • Mon-Thur 8.00-16.00 & 17.00-22.30, Fri-Sat 10.00-23.00, Sun 10.00-22.30
  • 8 Parliament Street, Dublin 2
  • 01 633 3581
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Temple Bar
  • Restaurant
  • Average Cost
  • European - Various

The larder has the same choices I see on every mid-range restaurant menu these days, some fish, some chicken, a bit of beef, a vegetarian option and a burger. While the decor is also hedging its bets, is it a cosy café, a cool bistro or fine dining? - The staff seem equally unsure. One bright spot in this bland cloud was the steak special, which is served with herb butter and chips and coming it at just 12 euro (so long as you order a drink) is a very tasty deal indeed. Last visited 03-05-2013
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Bóbó's - Wexford Street  

Bóbó's - Wexford Street
  • Mon-Thu 9.00-23.30, Fri-Sat 9.00-29.00, Sun 9.00-23.30
  • 22 Wexford St, Dublin 2
  • 01 400 5750
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Portobello & Camden St.
  • Fastfood
  • Average Cost
  • North American - Various

A brilliant place serving big, juicy and well-garnished burgers right on Wexford Street. What really sets Bobo's apart from its gourmet burger competitors is the lack of pretention both in the food, the staff and the American diner meets Irish chipper interior where burgers are flipped in full view. If the seats had only been more comfortable I might even have made it another two-burger night… Last visited 02-05-2013
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The Fumbally  

The Fumbally
  • Mon-Fri 8.00-17.00, Sat 10.00-17.00 (L.O. 16.00). Closed Sunday and Bank Holidays.
  • Fumbally Lane, Dublin 8
  • 01 529 8732
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Christchurch & The Liberties
  • Restaurant
  • Average Cost
  • European - Various

On the corner of Fumbally Exchange, "a community of design-focused small businesses, sole traders and start-ups", this spacious café attracts a lot of creative types with their expensive shoes and unusual haircuts. The space itself is a repurposed commercial unit with exposed concrete walls and floors, recycled furniture and artfully arranged bric-a-brac. While the menu though a little lacking in sweet options has some great breakfast choices, with salads, falafels, soup and sandwiches on offer for lunch. Less than a year old The Fumbally has all the hallmarks of an institution in the making. Last visited 25-04-2013
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The Dark Horse  

The Dark Horse
  • Mon-Thu 12.00-23.30, Fri-Sat 12.00-24.30, Sun 12.00-23.00
  • 31-33 Carysfort Avenue, Blackrock, Co. Dublin
  • 01 288 0789
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • Southside - Blackrock & Booterstown
  • Pub
  • Average Cost
  • European - Various

With exorbitant rents and picky residents businesses in Blackrock do badly. So I was a little sad to see my favourite publicans and craft brewers expand into this overpriced suburb. The Dark Horse is a food, wine, beer business with good craft beers on tap, half’s available at half the price and what might well be the best pub food in south country Dublin. Although the overhaul of the former Avoca lounge, bar and off-license does feel a little half-done and the staff and clientele seem slightly out of place this is one horse that truly deserves to buck the local trend and thrive. Last visited 14-04-2013
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The Mellow Fig  

The Mellow Fig
  • Mon-Fri: 8.00-18.00, Sat 9.00-17.00, Sun 10.00-17.00
  • 5a George's Avenue, Blackrock, Co. Dublin
  • 01 210 8927
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • Southside - Blackrock & Booterstown
  • Café
  • Average Cost
  • European - Irish

Another new Blackrock business in a former haunt of mine The Mellow Fig is a bright and cheerful café serving a decent breakfast selection, a good range of sandwiches and the usual sweet and savouries. The menu is good but the food is occasionally let down by the details, an untoasted English Muffin, a missing side salad, a bagel sandwich served in a bowl and such-like. Still The Mellow Fig with its colourful tablecloths, comfy seats and eclectic interior provides a lovely environment to read the Sunday Papers (provided), sip a coffee and unwind. Last visited 14-04-2013
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Cactus Jacks  

Cactus Jacks
  • Mon-Thur 12.00-22.00, Fri/Sat 12.00-23.00, Sun 13.00-22.00
  • Millennium Walkway, Middle Abbey Street, Dublin 1
  • 01 874 6198
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Capel & Quays
  • Restaurant
  • Average Cost
  • Latin American - Mexican

Cactus Jacks located on the Millennium Walkway in Dublin's 'Latin Quarter' serves a range of uninspiring family friendly Mexican food. The menu includes tapas which they translate as starters(!) a meat grill section, some Mexican favourites such as the chimichanga pictured and a full range of burgers. Although the chips, cut from real potatoes and seasoned perfectly were excellent I am sorry to say that on our visit both the burger and the chimichanga beef strips were beyond well-done and distinctly dry. With so many of this casual restaurant's dishes being dependent on the grill it is a shame that they can't put someone competent on it, especially on a Friday night. Last visited 05-04-2013
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Manning's Bakery and Café  

Manning's Bakery and Café
  • Mon-Sat 7.30-18.00. Closed Sunday.
  • 39/40 Thomas Street, Dublin 8
  • 01 454 2114
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Christchurch & The Liberties
  • Café
  • Average Cost
  • European - Irish

Manning's is a proper old school Dublin bakery. You know the sort of place that serves huge cream slices and for whom salt in caramel is a mistake not a sign of sophistication. With bakeries located in Blachardstown and Tallaght this Thomas Street bakery and cafe is the only branch where you can actually sit down and have a pot of tea with your cake. Thankfully the interior has been modernised, retaining an old world charm while adding a fresh modern almost funky feel. Savoury food also served. Last visited 02-04-2013
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Agapé Restaurant & Gourmet Sandwich Bar  

Agapé Restaurant & Gourmet Sandwich Bar
  • Mon-Fri 8.00-18.00, Sat 10.00-18.00. Closed Sunday.
  • 4 Nugent Street, Station Road, Kildare Town
  • 045 533 711
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • Outside Dublin
  • Café
  • Average Cost
  • European - Irish

If you are out and about visiting the historic sights surrounding Kildare Town or more likely doing a bit of shopping in the Kildare Village outlets why not opt out of the typical tourist lunchtime stops or the hectic L'Officina and try somewhere laid-back, local and actually good! Agape Gourmet Sandwich Bar offers sandwiches and soup, alongside savoury crepes, baked potatoes and of course cake in a pleasant modern cafe less than 50 yards from the tourist office. Last visited 29-03-2013
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Baxter & Greene  

Baxter & Greene
  • Mon-Fri 7.00-17.00. Closed Saturday and Sunday.
  • Harcourt Centre, Harcourt Road, Dublin 2
  • 01 478 1016
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Portobello & Camden St.
  • Café
  • Average Cost
  • European - Irish

Café Sol has moved out and Baxter & Greene have moved in. Aimed solely at the local office workers this clean line café is a welcome addition to the neighbourhood serving sandwiches, drinks and a range of hot food. Unfortunately the salad selection was depleted by the time I arrived (mid-afternoon) but they were still able to put together a decent hot lunch. The large window at the back adds a light and airy feeling to the dining room though a couple of plants in the concrete pit it looks out onto wouldn't go astray. Last visited 28-03-2013
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Fade Street Social - The Gastro Bar  

Fade Street Social - The Gastro Bar
  • Mon-Thur 17.00-22.00, Fri-Sun 14.00-22.30
  • Fade Street, Dublin 2
  • 01 604 0066
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Grafton & Georges St.
  • Restaurant
  • Average Cost
  • European - Various

There is something bizarre about a restaurant being by somebody, as if it were a rare and valuable work of art parading its authorship with aplomb. Despite this I was naturally curious to try Fade Street Social by Dylan McGrath and in particular the Gastro/Tapas Bar about which I had heard so much. Having shown up at their door on no less than four occasions at various times and on different days of the week I had almost given up hope until one rainy Wednesday night at 6pm we were granted access. The experience was something of a mixed bag with high enough highlights (the beef carpaccio, the buzz) and not sufficiently low lo-lights (the squid, the service) to deter me from making a return visit. Last visited 27-03-2013
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Pasta Fresca  

Pasta Fresca
  • Mon-Thur 11.30-23.00, Fri-Sat 11.30-23.30, Sun 12.30-22.00
  • 4 Chatham Street, Dublin 2
  • 01 679 2402
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Grafton & Georges St.
  • Café
  • Average Cost
  • European - Italian

Pasta Fresca with its wide shop front and outside tables has been a landmark of cosmopolitan Chatham Street since the mid eighties. Although I have fond memories of the cheap and cheerful meals of early adulthood here, my most recent experience was disappointing at best. Eating out in Dublin has evolved over the last couple of decades but Pasta Fresca has not. Although the pasta itself, which is still made fresh on the premise, is delicious, the sauces are no better than one would make at home while the menu is far too long, the prices are not competitive and the service is shoddy. Sad to say but long as its past may be without some serious change Pasta Fresca’s future does not look good. Last visited 23-03-2013
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Avoca - The Egg Café - Rathcoole  

Avoca - The Egg Café - Rathcoole
  • Mon-Sat 9.30–16.30, Sun/Bank Hol 10.00–17.00
  • Rathcoole, N7 Naas Road, Dublin
  • 01 257 1800
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • Westside
  • Café
  • Average Cost
  • European - Irish

The Egg Café at Avoca in Rathcoole is a table service café which offers a pleasant respite from the shopping downstairs and is certainly the better option when compared to the self-service Birdcage Café next door which can be a bit manic with the buggies and bustling shoppers. The location, on the N7 out of Dublin, makes the Egg Café a convenient place to stop and fuel up when westward bound. Grab a free paper and tuck in to the particularly tasty vegetarian mushroom breakfast and assuming you can rouse yourself back into action you will be all set for a trip out west. Last visited 16-03-2013
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The Mint Bar  

The Mint Bar
  • Mon-Thur 12.00-23.30, Fri 12.00-26.00, Sat 12.00-24.30, Sun 17.00-23.00
  • The Westin Dublin, College Green, Westmoreland Street, Dublin 2
  • 01 645 1318
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Pearse & Tara
  • Pub
  • Expensive
  • European - Various

This swish bar in the basement of The Westin Hotel is the perfect place to wear a low back dress, sip an old fashioned (or new-fangled) cocktail, listen to some soft jazz and play pretend. The former bank vault attracts the expected mix of wealthy American tourists in baseball caps, British business men in expensive suits and thirsty thirty-something locals looking for somewhere a bit more sophisticated for their after work drinks. There is a proper food menu available Monday to Saturday from 12 noon to 10.30 pm and on a Sunday from 5pm. Beware of the inevitable rush back to reality on receiving the bill. Last visited 14-03-2013
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The Hen House  

The Hen House
  • Tue-Fri 12.00-15.00, 17.30-21.00, Sat 12.00-21.00, Sun 12.00-20.00. Closed Monday.
  • Unit 8, The Pavillion, Dún Laoghaire, Co. Dublin
  • 01 663 6611
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • Southside - Dún Laoghaire & Monkstown
  • Restaurant
  • Average Cost
  • North American - Various

The Hen House is a casual American style eatery serving whole chickens, half chickens, chicken wings, chicken salad, chicken tenders and chicken fillets cooked in a wood burning oven and accompanied by chips or potatoes. There are also a handful of other options available including beef, lamb and two decent vegetarian mains. This is simple satisfying food served in a modern on-trend dining room that is likely to appeal to young families and anyone looking for a fuss free meal out. It is interesting to note that this modern casual eatery was once home to the unsuccessful off-shoot of Roly's Bistro whose main restaurant in Ballsbridge has been serving well-to-do south-siders uninspired posh nosh since 1992. Last visited 12-03-2013
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Avoca - Salt Café - Monkstown  

Avoca - Salt Café - Monkstown
  • Mon-Tue 8.30-17.00; Wed-Fri 8.30-17.00, 18.00-21.00; Sat 9.30-17.00, 18.00-21.00; Sun 9.00-17.00
  • The Crescent, Monkstown, Co. Dublin
  • 01 202 0220
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • Southside - Dún Laoghaire & Monkstown
  • Café
  • Average Cost
  • European - Irish

It is a mystery why it took Avoca so long to open a southside branch especially when one considers that selling rural dreams of domestic harmony to wealthy suburbanites is essentially what they do best, but if the weekend crowds are anything to go by the one year old Avoca Food Market and Salt Café seems set for lasting success. The menu here has more of a sophisticated restaurant feel than in other Avoca Cafés however happily the food itself remains flavour focused and seriously satisfying. Having said that the slightly fussy plated desserts did leave me longing for a generous slice of the inelegant gooey sponge cakes which I have come to associate Avoca with. Ah well one can always hit the Food Market! Last visited 10-03-2013
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Burritos & Blues - Anne Street  

Burritos & Blues - Anne Street
  • Mon-Thur 12.00-22.00, Fri-Sat 12.00-04.00. Closed Sunday.
  • 28 South Anne Street, Dublin 2
  • none
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Grafton & Georges St.
  • Fastfood
  • Cheap
  • Latin American - Mexican

The South Anne Street branch of this popular burrito chain doesn't quite match the urban cool of the original Wexford Street location however they do manage to deliver the same great value flavourful burritos with all the bits, although the tacos are a bit disappointing. Perhaps it's the location just off Grafton Street, the narrow premise or the lacklustre staff which look like they belong in Burger King but for some reason or other this conveniently located fresh fast food joint just doesn't do it for me. Last visited 08-03-2013
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Avoca - Fern House Café - Kilmacanogue  

Avoca - Fern House Café - Kilmacanogue
  • Mon-Wed 9:30-17.00, Thur-Sat 9.30-21.30, Sun 9.30-17.00
  • Kilmacanogue, Bray, Co. Wicklow
  • 01 274 6990
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • Outside Dublin
  • Café
  • Average Cost
  • European - Irish

This vast conservatory with its Victorian sash window frames painted in beautiful duck eggshell and monochrome tiled floor feels more like the faithfully restored wing of some Great House rather than the modern addition to a single storey structure which it is. Authentic or not the Fern House Café is the perfect place for when you feel like something a little bit more special, providing a delightful retreat and an air of elegance not found in the self-service Sugar Tree Café. The food here is a simplified elevated version of what's on offer in the main café but with some wonderful additions like the blueberry pancakes served with maple syrup, fresh berries and cream (picture). Last visited 24-02-2013
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Fallon & Byrne - The Deli  

Fallon & Byrne - The Deli
  • Mon-Wed 8.00-21.00, Thur-Fri 8.00-22.00, Sat 9.00-21.00, Sun 11.00-19.00
  • 11- 17 Exchequer Street, Dublin 2
  • 01 472 1010
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Grafton & Georges St.
  • Café
  • Average Cost
  • European - Irish

On the ground floor of Fallon & Byrne hidden behind shelves piled high with gourmet goods is a fabulous deli and patisserie counter. Serving salads, stews and meats, a full range of sandwiches and desserts this place is a great option for a solo meal or a cup of coffee with a piece of restaurant quality cake. Unfortunately the seating area consisting of high tables and backless stools is not really somewhere you want to linger but then again you can always go upstairs to the restaurant or wander downstairs to the basement wine bar if you are looking for something more formal. Last visited 11-02-2013
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Diwali  

Diwali
  • Mon-Fri 12.30-14.30, 17.30-24.30, Sat-Sun 17.30-24.30
  • Unit 1, Castle House, South Great Georges St., Dublin 2
  • 01 475 0091
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Grafton & Georges St.
  • Restaurant
  • Average Cost
  • South Asian - Various

Serving straightforward Indian and Nepalese food in a slightly dated dining room you wouldn't expect Diwali to be so popular. However despite this being a trend conscious area with a lot of competition Diwali does seem to manage to keep its head well above water. One of the reasons may be the huge servings which when shared provide good value for money not to mention the well executed South Asian favourites on offer. Last visited 04-02-2013
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Against The Grain  

Against The Grain
  • Mon-Wed 11.00-23.30, Thur-Sat 11.00-24.00, Sun 11.00-11.30
  • 11 Wexford Street, Dublin 2
  • 01 470 5100
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Portobello & Camden St.
  • Pub
  • Average Cost
  • European - Various

A night in the pub in Ireland used to look something like this: A group of friends dressed in jeans and rugby shirts talking in increasingly loud voices while perched on uncomfortable stools and crowded around a low table laden down with more beers of the black stuff than any of you were likely to finish. Oh, and the possibility of a bag of chips or a snog on the way home. If this never really appealed to you then you are in luck because things are changing. At modern continental style bars like Against the Grain and it's 7 sister pubs split between Dublin and Galway you can sit at a proper table, drink craft beer, a nice glass of wine or a whiskey, eat some real food and even play board games with people like you. *NB: Interesting outfits and stimulating conversation not guaranteed. Last visited 02-02-2013
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Locks Brasserie  

Locks Brasserie
  • Mon-Wed 17.00-late, Thur-Sun 12.00-late.
  • 1 Windsor Terrace, Portobello, Dublin 8
  • 01 420 0555
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Portobello & Camden St.
  • Restaurant
  • Expensive
  • European - French

This bare table brasserie in the charming area of Portobello has always had a good reputation, however it was not until it was awarded the coveted Michelin star status last year that it really came into the media spotlight. I had often walked by Locks impressed by the good value lunch menu and the early bird offering but was determined not to sully my lips until I had tried their evening al la carte and after finally securing a Friday night booking I was not disappointed. The standout dish on the night was definitely the snails served on a bed of pesto risotto while the mains were well executed, though my swede was a little hard (as it tends to be) and the desserts were suitably sinful. The perfect combination of pared down elegance and fuss-free French food. Last visited 01-02-2013
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The Cake Café  

The Cake Café
  • Mon 8.30-18.00, Tue-Fri 8.30-20.00, Sat 8.30-18.00. Closed Sunday & Bank Holidays.
  • The Daintree Building, 62 Pleasants Place, Dublin 8
  • 01 478 9394
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Portobello & Camden St.
  • Café
  • Average Cost
  • European - Irish

The Cake Café is a media darling. Well-dressed, well-heeled and with just enough edge to suggest she doesn't give a damn. Serving sumptuous freshly baked cakes and an eclectic range of light savoury plates such as the Myles Special (!) this unusual courtyard café is the perfect place to hide from the day-to-day drudge. Exit through the Daintree Paper Shop for a real Alice in Wonderland experience. Last visited 12-01-2013
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Mama’s Revenge - Thomas Street  

Mama’s Revenge - Thomas Street
  • Mon-Fri 11.30-20.00, Sat 11.30-18.00. Closed Sunday.
  • 80 Thomas Street, Christchurch, Dublin 8.
  • 086 370 2654
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Christchurch & The Liberties
  • Fastfood
  • Cheap
  • Latin American - Mexican

I know I keep complaining about Irish opening hours but with nothing even halfway-palatable in the area and a 1000 hungry revellers pouring out of the Vicar Street venue most nights of the week why does Mama’s Revenge not cash in and open late? Complaining aside Mama’s revenge does do a mean burrito (not as spicy as the restaurant name might suggest) and some great looking sides. Last visited 11-01-2013
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Beshoff Bros - Mespil Road  

Beshoff Bros - Mespil Road
  • Mon-Thur 11.30-22.30, Fri 11.30-23.00, Sat 12.00-23.00, Sun 12.00-22.30
  • 75 Mespil Road, Dublin 4
  • 01 660 7463
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • Southside - Ranelagh, Rathmines & Harold's Cross
  • Fastfood
  • Cheap
  • European - Irish

There is something reassuring but also quite rare about knowing where your deep-fried batter-covered fish is actually coming from. But with Beshoffs having their own wholesale fish mongering business you can be fairly certain what you are getting here is fresh local produce. This Mespil road restaurant has a pleasant 1950's interior with a clean modern edge making it one of the few chippers you might actually want to eat in. One disappointing niggle is the fact that they insist on charging for any extra sauce - one tiny container of ketchup or tartar sauce with a big box of fish and chips is nothing short of silly! Last visited 03-12-2012
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BEAR  

BEAR
  • Mon-Wed 12.00-22.00, Thur-Sat 12.00-23.00, Sun 12.00-21.00
  • 34/35 South William Street, Dublin 2
  • 01 474 4888
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Grafton & Georges St.
  • Restaurant
  • Average Cost
  • North American - Various

The decor may be a modicum more sophisticated, the music quieter and the lighting a lot darker, but don’t be fooled by the sexy spin BEAR is still very much a Jo’Burger joint. If you don’t like sitting on a stool, sharing your table with strangers or paper menus you won’t like it. Serving cheaper more grizzly but also significantly more flavoursome cuts of beef than we have become used to this is the kind of place that can make a lukewarm meat-eater like me salivate. While the sides such as the delicious million dollar fries and some great sauces help slide everything down, BEAR and the beef they serve could certainly benefit from a better craft beer selection. Last visited 30-11-2012
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LimeTree café  

LimeTree café
  • Mon-Fri 8.00-16.30, Sat 10.00-16.00. Closed Sunday.
  • Kilmainham Square, Inchicore Rd., Dublin 8.
  • 01 902 2420
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Kilmainham & James
  • Café
  • Average Cost
  • European - Various

Sitting across the road from Ireland's most notorious jail in this lovely light-filled café you might find your humming “Dublin can be heaven...”. Follow their soup and sandwich combo up with a stroll through Kilmainham Gardens and you’ll probably be singing. The uncluttered but pretty dining room, combined with a good coffee and cake selection makes this a popular meeting ground for mums. The only wonder is, with the constant stream of tourists and the lack of competition in the area, why does The Lime Tree Café close on Sundays? Last visited 24-11-2012
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brasserie sixty6  

brasserie sixty6
  • Mon-Thu 12.00-22.00, Fri 12.00-23.00, Sat 10.00-23.00, Sun 10.00-22.00
  • 66-67 South Great Georges Street, Dublin 2
  • 01 400 5878
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Grafton & Georges St.
  • Restaurant
  • Average Cost
  • European - Irish

Brasserie Sixty 6 offers an elegant and buzzing dining atmosphere with a kitchen serving the kind of hearty but elegant food that in these times makes dinners feel like they are getting good value for money. The largely carnivorous menu certainly reads well and while the meat is cooked with care and the portions are generous there is definitely something missing here. Maybe it is that when you are doing food this simple it should be superb not just substantial. That said I think this place is worth another look if only for the atmosphere and a good looking weekend brunch menu. Last visited 26-10-2012
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Café Topolis  

Café Topolis
  • Mon-Wed 12.00-22.00, Thur-Sat 12.00-23.00, Sun 12.30-22.00
  • 37 Parliament Street, Dublin 2
  • 01 670 4961
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Temple Bar
  • Restaurant
  • Average Cost
  • European - Italian

The high ceiling, exposed brick walls and warn wooden tables at Café Topolis create a simple rustic atmosphere which is given warmth and authenticity by a wood burning pizza oven turning out great tasting classic pizzas to order. Other menu items include straight-forward Italian fare such as Caesar Salad and Lasagna all well executed but you would be making a mistake to come here and not order a pizza and possibly a bottle of the reasonably priced house wine. Last visited 16-10-2012
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Seagrass Restaurant  

Seagrass Restaurant
  • Tue-Sat 12.00-23.00, Sun 10.00-21.00. Closed Monday.
  • 30 South Richmond Street, Portobello, Dublin 2
  • 01 478 9595
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Portobello & Camden St.
  • Restaurant
  • Average Cost
  • European - Irish

Seagrass Restaurant does one very important thing right - comfort food. The roasted supreme of chicken served with properly seasoned potatoes and portobello mushrooms in a divine cream sauce being an outstanding example. Unfortunately the chef does occasionally leave his remit with the odd dish including flavour combinations that are poorly thought through. Come here for solid food and their corkage free byob policy and steer clear of anything that sounds too clever and you will leave well satisfied and with money still in your pocket. Last visited 14-10-2012
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Hop House - Kimchi Restaurant  

Hop House - Kimchi Restaurant
  • Mon-Thur 12.00-22.30, Fri-Sat 12.00-23.00, Sun 12.00-22.00
  • 160-161 Parnell Street, Dublin 1
  • 01 872 8318
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - North Georgian
  • Pub
  • Cheap
  • East Asian - Korean

Good quality and decent value Korean and Japanese food served with big pitchers of beer in a seriously informal atmosphere by friendly Asian staff. The beauty of this place is that because it’s divided into two halves, a pub (Hop House) and a restaurant (Kimchi), you don’t need to go anywhere else for pre or post dinner drinks making it ideal for big get-togethers. Another advantage is that because you can order from the restaurant menu in the pub your skint or just skinny friends can still join without the need to order any food. Nice crowd of regulars in the pub. Last visited 06-10-2012
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La Peniche  

La Peniche
  • Wed boarding at 18.00, Thur/Sat/Sun boarding at 18.00 and 21.00, Sunday boarding at 18.00. Closed Monday & Tuesday.
  • Grand Canal, Mespil Road, Dublin 2
  • 087 790 0077
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Grand Canal Dock & Ringsend
  • Restaurant
  • Average Cost
  • European - Various

Stepping inside the cabin of this unusual restaurant is like boarding the nautical equivalent of The Orient Express. Teak wood and oil lamps conspire with the situation itself - being in a small intimate space with twenty-odd strangers, to have one surmising who will be the first found dead. Of course if you are not prone to a touch of Agatha Christie you might just enjoy the novelty of drinks on the deck, dinner in the cabin, and the excitement of passing through the lock gates. Unfortunately the food was disappointing, most likely having been prepared elsewhere and simply assembled and heated on board. With the challenge of a galley kitchen perhaps the solution lies in a 'no menu' dinner a la Rigby's or maybe they just need a better chef. Last visited 07-09-2012
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Coffee To Get Her  

Coffee To Get Her
  • Mon-Fri 8.00-15.00. Closed Saturday & Sunday.
  • 11-12 South Richmond Street, Dublin 2
  • 087 676 1397
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Portobello & Camden St.
  • Café
  • Expensive
  • European - Italian

By night it's The Bernard Shaw - a too cool for school student pub, by day it's Coffee to Get Her - a homespun cafe. This part-time café serves a simple menu which incorporates coffee, good enough to get ‘her’, Panini’s, made from surprisingly fresh bread, soup and Arrostini, the house speciality of thin skewers of lamb and beef. From Monday to Friday this dark and somewhat grungy space is transformed into a cute café run by a charismatic Italian and his team of young compatriots making it a great place to inject a bit of weekend atmosphere into your workday week. Last visited 30-08-2012
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Keshk Café Restaurant  

Keshk Café Restaurant
  • Mon-Sat 12.00-22.00. Closed Sundays and Bank Holidays.
  • 71 Mespil Road, Dublin 4
  • 01 667 3002
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • Southside - Ballsbridge & Donnybrook
  • Restaurant
  • Average Cost
  • Middle Eastern & North African - Various

Keshk Café has the warm and friendly atmosphere of a neighbourhood restaurant. Offering a good range of tasty Lebanese and Middle Eastern food this is a popular little spot made all the more popular by their corkage free byob policy. Portions are large and some people may find the food a little on the heavy side but if you are looking for a filling man-sized feed in an atmosphere that is buzzing any night of the week you can’t do better than to come here. The spicy potatoes are a must. Last visited 21-08-2012
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Avoca - Suffolk Street  

Avoca - Suffolk Street
  • Mon-Wed 9.30-16.30, Thu-Fri 9.30-17.30, Sat 9.30-16.30, Sun & Bank Holidays 11.00-16.30
  • 11-13 Suffolk Street, Dublin 2
  • 01 677 4215
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Grafton & Georges St.
  • Café
  • Average Cost
  • European - Irish

Spanned across four floors and two mezzanines this is the sole city centre bastion of Avoca - the clothing, home-wares, garden goods and food empire. Although the basement deli has a couple of tables suitable for a quick respite after a hard day of shopping you would be silly not to head up to the light-filled top floor which uncommonly for an avoca café offers table service. In comparison to other locations the savoury food here is a little more refined, a little less wholesome and the dessert selection is somewhat limited however the overall atmosphere and the excellent location make it a great place to rest your feet when the christmas shopping craziness has overwrought you. Slightly noisy dinning area. Last visited 19-08-2012
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161 Cafe & Bistro  

161 Cafe & Bistro
  • Mon-Tue 9.00-18.00, Wed-Sat 9.00-22.00, Sun 11.00-17.30
  • 161 Upper Rathmines Road, Dublin 6
  • 01 497 8049
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • Southside - Ranelagh, Rathmines & Harold's Cross
  • Café
  • Average Cost
  • European - French

The glossy wall paper, chandeliers and attentive service at 161 Café & Bistro lead one to expect a breakfast of toast cut in triangles, served on a silver rack and accompanied by hard boiled eggs, a lunch of duck livered terrine and an afternoon of tea and bonbons. However this small café situated in the leafy suburbs between Rathmines and Rathgar serves up a fairly standard brunch of Eggs Benedict, French Toast, the fashionable Hueveros Rancheros and the de rigueur Full Irish. An unexpected and somewhat heavier option amongst the brunch options is Steak and Eggs, setting the tone for a lunch selection that is anything if not bemusing. Last visited 19-08-2012
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The Port House  

The Port House
  • Mon-Sat 11.00-25.00, Sun 11.00-23.00
  • 64a South William Street, Dublin 2
  • 01 677 0298
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Grafton & Georges St.
  • Restaurant
  • Average Cost
  • European - Spanish

On the lower ground floor of one of South William Street’s georgian buildings sits this snug little wine bar serving a satisfying range of tapas dishes. Descending into the candlelit cellar with its exposed brick and various nooks you are transported to somewhere a little less mundane, a little more Paris, and a whole lot more romantic than your average after-hours Dublin establishment. Five or six of the Irish sized tapas could easily provide a full meal for two while three make for the perfect accompaniment to the excellent wine list. First daters might want to steer clear of the delicious garlic that infuses most dishes. Last visited 12-08-2012
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Ivans  

Ivans
  • Mon 12.00-16.30, Tue-Wed 12.00-21.00; Thur 12.00-21.00, Fri-Sat 12.00-22.00, Sun 12.00-21.30
  • 17-18 West Pier, Howth, Co. Dublin
  • 01 839 0285
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • Northside - Howth & Malahide
  • Restaurant
  • Expensive
  • European - Irish

Named after Ivan Beshoff, Ivans the posh paterfamilias of Ireland’s most recognisable fish and chipper is well situated on the west pier in the picturesque fishing village of Howth. The prime location and the floor to ceiling glazing allow for excellent people watching. The menu is appropriately seafood orientated with an excellent fruits de mer platter. On our last visit they were doing a seriously indulgent seasonal special of a whole lobster served with garlic and herb butter, frites and a side salad to help balance it all for just 22 euros. Last visited 12-08-2012
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777  

777
  • Tue-Wed 17.30-22.00, Thur 17.30-23.00, Fri-Sat 12.00-16.00, 17.30-24.00. Closed Monday.
  • 7 Castle House, South Great Georges Street, Dublin 2
  • 01 425 4052
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Grafton & Georges St.
  • Restaurant
  • Average Cost
  • Latin American - Mexican

Walking through the kitchens in search of the (unisex) bathrooms isn’t something one would normally associate with eating out in the most of-the-moment establishment - but nothing is what you would expect in this place. From the frosted glass frontage, to the monochrome tiled interior with its practically pornographic mural - 777 as popular with D4 diner as Harrington hipsters is an anomaly that would not look out of place in Hell’s Kitchen. The food is modern Mexican, light, fresh, flavoursome fare without the stodge most commonly associate with the region. Drinks are a bit pricey but otherwise a fairly brilliant addition to the Dublin dining scene. Last visited 10-08-2012
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Taste of Emilia  

Taste of Emilia
  • Tue 17.00-22.30, Wed-Sat 12.30-22.30, Sun 15.30-22.00. Closed Monday.
  • 1 Lower Liffey Street, Dublin 1
  • 01 878 8188
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Capel & Quays
  • Restaurant
  • Cheap
  • European - Italian

This fabulous little deli-bistro imports artisan meats and cheeses directly from the Emilia region of Italy which includes the famous food capitals of Bologna and Parma. They serve simple Italian inspired salads, delicious filling bruschetta and best of all huge platters of meat and cheeses where the high quality ingredients are allowed to speak for themselves. Top it all off with a glass of their reasonably priced wine which is served by the glass, carafe or bottle, or a quick shot of real Italian espresso and you’ll soon be planning your next holiday to Italy. Last visited 05-08-2012
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Bibi’s  

Bibi’s
  • Tue–Fri, 9.00-15.30, Sat 10.00-16.00, Sun 12.00-16.00
  • 14b Emorville Avenue, Dublin 8
  • 01 454 7421
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Portobello & Camden St.
  • Restaurant
  • Average Cost
  • European - Irish

Sitting in my Tokyo flat back in 2010 while leafing through thoughtfully cut out and posted sections of the Irish papers I came across an article on Portobello. More specifically a piece on Bibi’s Café and the adjoining Dolls Boutique. ‘Moving back to Dublin doesn’t have to be all dreary’ I thought to myself. ‘They have French Toast . . . and Japanese tea! I don’t remember French Toast and Japanese tea in Dublin.’ ‘Well if I do ever move back I’ll move to Portobello’ thought I. And so I did. Thankfully Bibi’s was still there, still serving French toast and still giving this little corner of Dublin a cosy cosmopolitan complexion. Last visited 04-08-2012
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skinflint  

skinflint
  • Mon-Sun 12.00-24.00
  • 19 Crane Lane, Templebar, Dublin 2
  • 01 670 9719
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Temple Bar
  • Restaurant
  • Average Cost
  • European - Italian

This popular pizza place from the people who brought us Joburger serves slim oblong pizzas with odd toppings. We went for the 'lil': poached pear, blue cheese, pickled red onion and cream; and the 'susie': ground chorizo, mozzarella, pecorino cheese, pink peppercorns and tomato. The 'lil' was a little sweet and the 'susie' a little heavy but these are pizza designed for sharing. Go with a group and share three or four pizza between you to enjoy a full flavour profile. Last visited 01-08-2012
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Jo'Burger  

Jo'Burger
  • Mon-Sun 12.00-23.00
  • 137 Rathmines Road, Rathmines, Dublin 6
  • 01 491 3731
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • Southside - Ranelagh, Rathmines & Harold's Cross
  • Restaurant
  • Average Cost
  • North American - Various

The flagship of the Joe Macken empire which spans Crackbird, Skinflint, Bear and the new branch of Joeburger on Castle Market Street. Excellent burgers with traditional as well as original toppings and a variety of oversized sides for when you are really pushing the boat out. Some nice beers by the bottle and a young vibe make for a pleasant midweek dining experience. Last visited 23-07-2012
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Ukiyo Restaurant  

Ukiyo Restaurant
  • Mon-Sun 12.00-23.00
  • 7-9 Exchequer Street, Dublin 2
  • 01 633 4071
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Grafton & Georges St.
  • Restaurant
  • Expensive
  • East Asian - Japanese

This stylish if a little dimly lit restaurant serves good Japanese, Korean and Chinese food and great drinks in a sexy atmosphere. The portions are large and tasty but unfortunately missing some of the finesse that one would expect from such a place. The restaurant can get very busy especially on the weekend so it is best to book ahead. The bar stays open late and there are karaoke booths downstairs for the brave. Last visited 22-07-2012
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La mère Zou  

La mère Zou
  • Mon-Fri 12.00-14.30, 17.30-Late. Sat 12.00-14.30, 17.30-Late. Closed Sunday and Bank Holiday.
  • 22 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2
  • 01 878 8188
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - South Georgian
  • Restaurant
  • Cheap
  • European - French

Traditional french food served in the upmarket location of St. Stephen’s Green. La Mère Zou has something of an expensive reputation but the lunch here is actually quite reasonably priced undoubtedly due to the economically chosen ingredients but with all options being solid people pleasers they are unlikely to get any complaints. Pleasant airy atmosphere despite the basement location. Overall this long standing Dublin restaurant offers a good if slightly underwhelming dinning experience. Last visited 14-07-2012
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Dada Moroccan Restaurant  

Dada Moroccan Restaurant
  • Mon-Fri 17.00-23.00, Saturday 12.30-23.00, Sunday 14.00-23.00.
  • 45 South William Street, Dublin 2
  • 01 617 0777
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Grafton & Georges St.
  • Restaurant
  • Average Cost
  • Middle Eastern & North African - Moroccan

This cavernous Moroccan restaurant is hidden away at the top of South William Street with an unfashionable luxurious interior in an era when ethnic restaurants opt towards minimalist cool to secure their urban appeal. The dining area is unnervingly large and often quite empty and the menu is worryingly long, however overall the food here is pretty delicious with the fragrant tagines topping the bill. Dada is a good place to go with a big group as they have plenty of space and a bar downstairs to which you can bring your own atmosphere. Last visited 27-06-2012
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Café Brazil  

Café Brazil
  • Mon-Sat 8.00-19.00. Closed Sunday.
  • 1 Lower Rathmines Road, Dublin 6
  • 087 615 4706
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • Southside - Ranelagh, Rathmines & Harold's Cross
  • Café
  • Average Cost
  • South American - Brazilian

Situated on the south side of the canal at Portobello bridge this brilliant little find may serve the best or at least the boldest cakes in town. Sugar, food colouring and sheer sinfulness combined with the fact that nine out of ten choices invariably feature chocolate will have you coming back again and again. The Brazillian staff and customers add a nice out-of-town but local vibe. Savoury options are secondary. Last visited 25-06-2012
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The Corner Note Cafe  

The Corner Note Cafe
  • Tue-Sun 07.30-18.00. Closed Monday.
  • 1 Coliemore Road, Dalkey, Co. Dublin
  • 01 202 3922
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • Southside - Dalkey & Killiney
  • Restaurant
  • Average Cost
  • European - Irish

Despite the celebrity status and silly house prices, Dalkey remains one of the few suburbs of Dublin that still feel like a village. Situated right in its centre is this lovely cafe which opened its doors just one year ago and has already become a popular spot for local ladies and their babies, and day-tripper alike. The brunch menu features the eggs benedict and a full fry, while the lunch includes mussels mariniere, sirloin steak and sandwiches. Overall options and quality remains high with a couple of hiccups here and there such as the poorly prepared black and white pudding accompanying the breakfast and a friendly but somewhat disorganized service. Last visited 03-06-2012
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brioche  

brioche
  • Mon-Thur 7.00-19.00, Fri 7.00-18.00, Sat 9.00-18.00, Sun 9.00-16.00. Closed Bank Holidays.
  • 65 Aungier Street, Dublin 2
  • 01 475 8536
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Grafton & Georges St.
  • Café
  • Average Cost
  • European - French

Ok, I was doomed from the get-go. Arriving well after the traditional brunching hour when staff were probably tired and stocks were low but even so. After waiting an age to be served, I ordered the vegetarian breakfast; Poached eggs, spinach and mushrooms on a corn fritter with an english muffin on the side - sounds delicious right? Unfortunately they were out of corn fritters and asked me if I minded it being replaced with a buckwheat pancake to which I agreed, much to my subsequent regret I agreed. Not only was the pancake sincerely stale but they hadn’t even heated it to a sufficient temperature to hide the fact. The large latte I ordered never came. Rarely have I not finished a meal but despite being tired and hungover this was one of those times. Last visited 27-05-2012
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Tolteca  

Tolteca
  • Mon-Thur 11.00-23.00, Fri-Sat 11.00-24.00, Sun 11.00-23.00
  • 38 Upper Baggot Street, Dublin 4
  • 01 668 8604
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • Southside - Ballsbridge & Donnybrook
  • Fastfood
  • Cheap
  • Latin American - Mexican

Mainly geared up for the local well-to-do workers that occupy Upper Baggot Street Monday to Friday, this lunchtime spot is understandably pretty utilitarian and unfortunately essentially soulless. I say unfortunately because the burritos are actually quite excellent. Great tacos and a mean vegetarian option complete the picture. Nothing in particular sets this place apart, aside from the consistent quality of its offerings - a talent most likely learnt during the lunchtime rush which given the location Tolteca experiences like no other burrito bar in town. Last visited 21-05-2012
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The Bald Barista  

The Bald Barista
  • Mon-Fri 6.30-20.00, Sat 7.30-18:00, Sun 7.30-16.00
  • 55 Aungier Street, Avaolon House, Dublin 2
  • 086 312 9980
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Grafton & Georges St.
  • Café
  • Cheap
  • European - Irish

This roomy café is part of the Avalon youth hostel ensuring a nice Saturday morning mix of bright-eyed and bushy-tailed internationals together with local coffee aficionados and the odd aul’ lad in for a good value fry-up. The counter service means a short wait for your coffee fix, while the food options include a full breakfast selection, sandwiches, pastries and a pretty good-looking goats cheese rosti which I have yet to try. Nothing spectacular here, with a standard pre-made reheated system but prices are reasonable, service is friendly and while this is far from gourmet fare you are also unlikely to be disappointed in your choice. The fantastic Flat White and the early morning opening hours are beginning to make this place a firm favourite with me. Last visited 19-05-2012
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Mitsuba  

Mitsuba
  • Mon-Fri 18.00-23.00, Sat-Sun 16.00-24.00
  • 154 Parnell Street, Dublin 1
  • 01 814 6999
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - North Georgian
  • Restaurant
  • Average Cost
  • East Asian - Japanese

Mitsuba offers quite an impressive array of fresh sushi and sashimi served by the platter or in slightly oversized sets of two. Other options run the full spectrum from humble bowls of rice with chicken to Irish rib-eye steak served with shrimp. The combination of single serving set meals and items designed to share with little indication of which is which, mean that choosing your perfect meal at Mitsuba is a bit of a challenge. Having said that overall quality is good and dishes are authentic. Unfortunately the faded interior and stiff decor make Mitsuba somewhere you need to bring your own atmosphere to. Last visited 15-05-2012
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Lennox Café Bistro  

Lennox Café Bistro
  • Mon-Fri 8.30-17.00, Sat-Sun 9.30-17.00
  • 31 Lennox Street, Dublin 8
  • 01 478 9966
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Portobello & Camden St.
  • Café
  • Average Cost
  • European - French

This improbably popular neighbourhood cafe is laid-out over two floors in a small Portobello redbrick. With lunchtime queues and outside seating occupied even in February I have to admit I was curious to try this place. Unfortunately, while the atmosphere is good, the chai is excellent, and the menu looks mouth-watering, the Lennox Café suffers from a surprisingly common problem amongst other 'on trend' establishments - poor execution. My French Toast was minuscule while the bread was brushed with egg rather than soaked in it, resulting in a distinctly disappointing dish. The Eggs Huevos (racheros) were a lot better though under spiced. Overall worth another shot for me but certainly not worth going out of your way for. Last visited 06-05-2012
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Café Java - Leeson Street  

Café Java - Leeson Street
  • Mon-Fri 7.30–15.00, Sat 9.00–15.00, Sun & Bank Hol 10.00–15.00
  • 145 Upper Leeson St, Dublin 4
  • 01 660 0675
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • Southside - Ballsbridge & Donnybrook
  • Café
  • Average Cost
  • European - Irish

Reliable Irish café chain offering the basics that will please the bread and butter brigade alongside some cosmopolitan flourishes such as an extensive coffee menu which probably seemed a lot more impressive when they first opened back in 1992. Lots of menu options but you really can't beat the Café Java Breakfast Bagel. This small narrow café isn't somewhere to spend any quantity of time but the seats in the conservatory in back are definitely the best option. A good spot for a reasonably priced, reliable lunch/breakfast if you're in the area. Last visited 28-04-2012
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herbstreet  

herbstreet
  • Mon-Fri 8.30-11.30, 12.00-16.00, Sat/Sun 10.00-16.00, Mon-Sun pre-show open until 19.30
  • Hanover Quay, Grand Canal Dock, Dublin 2
  • 01 675 3875
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Grand Canal Dock & Ringsend
  • Café
  • Average Cost
  • North American - Various

The retro modern interior of this canal-side eatery is just right for a late morning brunch or sunny afternoon's lunch. Unfortunately the day we went was wet and windy, and the steel chairs and grey walls felt more uncompromisingly clinical than urban cool. Anyway, the simple generously proportioned food soon won us back. Breakfast items include porridge, full Irish, pancakes and French toast served Monday to Friday with a more elaborate brunch menu taking its place on weekends. Last visited 27-04-2012
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Neon  

Neon
  • Mon-Sun 12.00-23.00
  • 17 Camden Street, Dublin 2
  • 01 405 2222
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Portobello & Camden St.
  • Fastfood
  • Cheap
  • South East Asian - Various

This trend-conscious area of Dublin has more than its fair share of grungy ethnic establishments and pricey arty bistros – but Neon is definitely something different. Serving fast, cheap South-East Asian 'Street Food' in takeaway boxes on long communal benches this impeccably clean and quite cool restaurant is making a big hit. Some dishes such as the Tom Yam Goong soup are stronger than others, an inevitable failing of an overly long menu which is straddling the balance of a takeaway and eat in restaurant. Having said that; this is a place that you can go alone or in a big group confident in the fact that there will be something available to please all palates Last visited 22-04-2012
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Burritos & Blues - Wexford Street  

Burritos & Blues - Wexford Street
  • Mon-Thur 12.00-22.00, Fri-Sat 12.00-04.00. Closed Sunday.
  • 2 Wexford Street, Dublin 2
  • none
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Portobello & Camden St.
  • Fastfood
  • Cheap
  • Latin American - Mexican

Unquestionably the coolest of the various burrito joints. So cool it prompts me to use the word ‘joint’. With a spacious interior, late opening and liquor license (again being unconsciously prompted to use unusual lingo) - darn did it again strike ‘lingo’ from the record and replace it with words! Anyway style aside Burritos & Blues has a fair bit of substance with a choose your own steak, chicken or pork, beans and veg. scenario. The Silver Bullet Burrito offers the additional option of an old-school minced meat burrito for just 5.95 while the Bean & Cheese burrito brings it even further back to basics for six euros. Last visited 04-04-2012
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Han Yang  

Han Yang
  • Mon-Sat 9.00-20.00, Sun 12.00-19.30
  • 22 Great Strand Street, Dublin 1
  • 01 887 4405
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Capel & Quays
  • Café
  • Cheap
  • East Asian - Korean

Paradoxically situated just off the millennium walkway in the heart of Dublin’s ‘Latin Quarter’ lies Han Yang Asian Market. Walk past the deli counter and the shelves piled high with ingredients most of us would be hard pressed to find a use for and you will discover one of the best value canteens in town. 5.50 will buy you a plate heaped high with a selection of hot korean dishes or go for the fantastic Bibimba; rice, meat and vegetables cooked and served in a piping hot stoneware bowl. The mainly Asian customer base bears testimony to Han Yang’s authenticity as unfortunately do the fluorescent lights and hard benches. Last visited 31-03-2012
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Rotana Café  

Rotana Café
  • Mon 16.00-23:30, Tue-Sun 11.30-24.00
  • 31 South Richmond Street, Portobello, Dublin 2
  • 01 475 9969
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Portobello & Camden St.
  • Restaurant
  • Cheap
  • Middle Eastern & North African - Lebanese

Delicious Lebanese food in Portobello. There are no real surprises here with dishes having a strong focus on familiar flavours such as hommus, falafel, aubergine and lamb but everything is delicious and well executed. Service can be quite slow so try to sit near the counter at the back, that is unless you are out front with the cool young folks puffing on a Shisha. This is a good value B.Y.O.B. with the Mezze offering particularly good value for money. Be sure not to go home without picking up a Baklava or two to take with you. Last visited 26-03-2012
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Little Ass Burrito Bar - Rathmines  

Little Ass Burrito Bar - Rathmines
  • Mon-Thur 11.00-22.00, Fri-Sat 11.00-04.00, Sun 11.00-22.00
  • No.1 Upper Rathmines Road, Dublin 6
  • 01 406 2614
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • Southside - Ranelagh, Rathmines & Harold's Cross
  • Fastfood
  • Cheap
  • Latin American - Mexican

MOVED TO DAWSON STREET. This adorable little burrito bar in Rathmines is a great place to get a quick healthy feed. The short menu is a welcome relief from the popular burden of ‘build your own burrito’ as are the manageable size portions. With ingredients such as chorizo, feta and fresh coriander Little Ass Burrito Bar probably has the most flavourful fillings amongst its numerous competitors. In fact, they could easily be taking a number one place, if it weren’t for one crucial failing, that they seem to repeat time and time again - the ridiculously over-cooked rice. Failing aside this place is definitely worth a try especially if you live in the area. Last visited 23-03-2012
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Yamamori Izakaya  

Yamamori Izakaya
  • Mon-Thur 17.00-00.30, Fri-Sat 17.00-01.30, Sun 17.00-00.30
  • 12/13 South Great George’s Street, Dublin 2
  • 01 645 8001
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Grafton & Georges St.
  • Pub
  • Average Cost
  • East Asian - Japanese

Appropriately situated in the basement of the old Bewleys Oriental Café on Georges Street lies this lovely little Japanese style Café Bar. Izakaya serves small but substantial Japanese and Asian tapas into the wee hours making it the perfect place for an atmospheric date or a late-night rendezvous. The prawn dumplings and sweet potato wedges are particularly tasty. The Asian influenced drinks menu includes cocktails made with Korean rice wine, a pan-asian selection of beers and the always delicious Japanese plum liqueur. Yamamori Izakaya is part of the Yamamori chain which also comprises Yamamori Sushi, Yamamori Noodles and Yamamori Oriental Cafe. Last visited 16-03-2012
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The Bakehouse  

The Bakehouse
  • Mon-Wed 10.00-18.00, Thur-Fri 9.00-22.00, Sat 10.00-22.00, Sun 10.00-15.00
  • 6 Bachelors Walk, Dublin 1
  • 01 873 4279
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Capel & Quays
  • Café
  • Average Cost
  • European - Irish

Sometimes something beautiful happens. This nineteen fifties americana inspired café serving nostalgic Irish favourites with modern flair is one of those times. As the name suggests the theme here is baked goods, soup served with or in home baked bread, sandwiches made with their own batch pan and oven baked pies. Sweet options are unrefined, oversized and brightly coloured homages to childhoods passed. Come baked or sober. Last visited 04-03-2012
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Made by Mary  

Made by Mary
  • Mon–Fri 8.00-20.00, Sat 8.00-18.00, Sun 8.00-17.00
  • 375 North Circular Road, Dublin 7
  • 01 811 7522
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • Northside - Phibsboro & Cabra
  • Café
  • Cheap
  • European - Irish

I knew I was making a bad choice. I just didn’t realize how bad. I mean everyone in the place was ordering the full Irish fry. But who can resist the promise of French toast with maple syrup and crispy bacon on a Saturday morning? What I got was unforgivable. Part burt, part soggy fried bread that had never seen the sight of an egg served with two thick slabs of salty rashers and a tube of imitation maple syrup produced as an after-thought. I was appalled and we won’t even go into the state of the latte. Last visited 04-03-2012
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Speak Easy Café Bar  

Speak Easy Café Bar
  • Mon-Wed 17.00-24.00, Thurs 17.00-00.30, Fri-Sat 17.00-01.30, Sun 17.00-24.00
  • 4 South Great Georges Street, Dublin 2
  • 01 677 8906
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Grafton & Georges St.
  • Pub
  • Average Cost
  • North American - Various

The recent history, accompanying politics and public relations fiasco of the former Shibeen Chic cannot be forgotten as you look around the half empty interior of the new Speak Easy Café Bar. A venue which on a Thursday night would have been heaving with a student-heavy, trend-conscious crowd just a few short months ago. However apart from the obvious lack of bodies this bar remains remarkable unchanged with one welcome exception - food. Dave’s Woodfired Pizza Company which has long been touring the food markets around Dublin now has a home, or at least a rest stop; six varieties of pizza plus a Weekly Seasonal Special ranging in price from five to seven euros are served to the table in the box. These are simple well executed rustic pizzas perfect for accompanying a beer or three. However be warned if you are hungry or don’t want to wake up with a massive hangover you will probably need to order two. Last visited 01-03-2012
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Café Tiesan  

Café Tiesan
  • Mon-Fri 8.00-17.00, Sat-Sun 10.00-17.00
  • 46b Harrington Street, Dublin 8
  • 01 478 9254
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Portobello & Camden St.
  • Café
  • Average Cost
  • European - French

Ah, Sunday morning! Sunday papers. Check. Sunshine. Check. Side street Café. Check. Outdoor seating. Check. Comprehensive coffee menu. Check. Beyond the basics breakfast menu. Check. Guinness bread French toast? What the ...? Well, never one to turn down an offbeat offering I gave it a try. Predictably enough this was a heavy unappetizing mix of stodge and sugar that just didn’t work. The kind of thing an Irish American might dream up while pregnant. However Café Tiesan with plenty of ticks in it’s check box is still well worth a visit on a sunny day, just be sure to order with caution. Last visited 25-02-2012
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Bleecker Street Café Bar  

Bleecker Street Café Bar
  • Mon-Sun 9.00-21.00 (drinks till 23.00)
  • 68 Upper Dorset Strret, Dublin 1
  • 01 804 4459
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - North Georgian
  • Pub
  • Average Cost
  • North American - Various

This New York inspired Café Bar with its bright blue awning and outdoor seating offers a pleasant cosmopolitan escape from the occasionally inhospitable environs of Upper Dorset Street. Attracting a nice mix of professionals working in the area and international students living in the area there is an understated buzz here most evenings. The food options are limited but tasty and a definite level above pub grub with the bruschetta pictured being particularly good. Regular live music. Last visited 18-02-2012
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The Winding Stair  

The Winding Stair
  • Mon-Thur 12.00-17.00, 17.30-22.30; Fri-Sat 12.00-15.30, 17.30-22.30; Sun 12.00-17.00; 17.30-22.30
  • 40 Ormond Quay, Dublin 1
  • 01 872 7320
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Capel & Quays
  • Restaurant
  • Expensive
  • European - Irish

There is something magical about The Winding Stair. Despite its reinvention in 2006 from the cheap café beloved of unemployed actors, writers and students into a smart modern bistro it has somehow retained its soulful charm. Keeping the bookshop downstairs intact and largely unchanged has certainly helped but it is really the dining room that is to be thanked. A large light-filled space with creaking floorboards, iron pillars and towering arched windows that entice you into a long languid lunch and slow deep conversations. The food is unadventurous indulgent Irish comfort food, well executed and ideal for the setting. Last visited 04-02-2012
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Alexis Bar and Grill  

Alexis Bar and Grill
  • Tue-Fri 12.30-14.30, 17.30-22.00. Closed Monday.
  • 17/18 Patricks Street, Dún Laoghaire, Co. Dublin
  • 01 280 8872
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • Southside - Dún Laoghaire & Monkstown
  • Restaurant
  • Expensive
  • European - Irish

CLOSED DOWN JANUARY 2013 - SEE MORELS REVIEW
I was looking forward to my goats cheese croquette, imagining a hot piping slightly pungent cheese encased in a crusty shell and balanced by a thick slab of beetroot. What I got was a fridge cold slice of depressingly mild cheese, lightly dusted with something beige and perched on top of a pile of tiny diced beetroot. The main course was a lot more successful, slow roasted beef tenderloin smothered in the kind of rich reduction that a french man would be proud of. One bite of any of the real down home dishes that form the core of Alexis’ menu make it obvious that these chefs really know how to cook. Unfortunately one glance at the over elaborate trend conscious flourishes that litter the page makes it just as clear that someone here has a serious case of aspirations to grandeur. Last visited 03-02-2012
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Paris Bakery  

Paris Bakery
  • Mon-Sat 8.00-20.00, Sun 11.00-20.00
  • 18 Moore Street, Dublin 1
  • 01 8044 112
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Henry & Moore St.
  • Café
  • Average Cost
  • European - French

Trying to get your hands on decent bread in Dublin can be depressing, north of the Liffey it can drive you to distraction. Well, after months of grabbing people by the scruff of the neck in search of a decent croissant I am happy to report that this is no longer the case. The Paris Bakery and Pastry Café on Moore Street has just passed its first birthday and is celebrating its success by importing new ovens to bring even better French bread and fabulous little pastries to our starved shores. It is wonderful to discover this buzzing dining room with refined food and worn out furniture amongst the fruit sellers and Asian buffets of Moore Street but I was disappointed to see fat Irish chips served with the mussels. A worrying sign that Dublin may leave a more lasting impression on the Paris Bakery than it will leave on Dublin. Last visited 28-01-2012
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The Independent Pizza Company  

The Independent Pizza Company
  • Mon-Thur 12.00-23.00, Fri-Sat 12.00-00.00, Sun 12.00-23.00
  • 28 Drumcondra Road Lower, Drumcondra, Dublin 9
  • 01 830 2044
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • Northside - Drumcondra & Glasnevin
  • Restaurant
  • Average Cost
  • North American - Various

This ironically named local pizzeria is actually part of the Gotham Restaurant Group consisting of their successful South Anne Street premises and the recently opened Gotham South in Stillorgan. Concentrating on what the group does best - pizzas, The Independent Pizza Company has been satisfying Drumcondra residents and nearby DCU students since the 90’s. The starters, sides and desserts here won’t win any prizes for originality but they will keep the kids happy. However the pizzas while lacking some refinement in their toppings are damn tasty and the bases are probably the most authentic you will find in Dublin. The Calzone, pictured is perfection. Last visited 26-01-2012
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Ikea Restaurant  

Ikea Restaurant
  • Mon-Fri 10.00-21.00, Sat 10.00-20.00, Sun 11.00-19.00, Bank Holiday 10.00-21.00
  • IKEA Dublin, St. Margaret's Road, Ballymun, Dublin 11
  • 1890 987 938
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • Northside - Ballymun
  • Café
  • Cheap
  • Russian & Scandinavian - Swedish

An hour or two spent dreaming the Scandinavian dream upstairs followed by another couple of hours trawling the shop floors downstairs can really take its toll. And while the Ikea café is certainly not somewhere to go out of your way for you would be making a mistake to leave the building without fueling up on their unbelievable cheap fare. Full breakfasts for €1.95, tasty gravalax or cheese plate starters and a basic hot food canteen with swedish meatballs toping the short menu will please most uncomplicated palates. This is far from gourmet, and even further from fashionable food but the Ikea café is guaranteed to let you leave Ballymun feeling slightly less shattered. Last visited 11-01-2012
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La Maison  

La Maison
  • Mon-Wed 12.30-22.00, Thur-Sat 12.30-23.00, Sun 13.00-21.00
  • 15 Castlemarket Street, Dublin 2
  • 01 672 7258
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Grafton & Georges St.
  • Restaurant
  • Expensive
  • European - French

Ten years ago La Maison des Gourmets was the site of the only decent boulangerie in town, a place where those in the know flocked to get beautiful little quiches and melt-in-the-mouth butter croissants. In the heady days of the boom they decided to branch out with a moderately successful café upstairs. As the towers of power began to collapse around us this honest little establishment was rebranded La Maison, a french bistro with fine dining aspirations. Counterintuitive perhaps but then again the food is clean, elegant and wonderfully balanced with that same buttery goodness I remember from years ago infused in every dish. Unfortunately they don’t seem to be getting the business they deserve and the bored staff and 2009 reviews on their website suggest that some of the fire has gone out of chef-owner Olivier Quenet’s belly. Last visited 10-01-2012
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Indian Curry Club  

Indian Curry Club
  • Mon-Fri 17.00-23.30, Sat 17.00-24.00, Sun 17.00-23.30
  • 6 South William Street, Dublin 2
  • 01 677 6873
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Grafton & Georges St.
  • Restaurant
  • Average Cost
  • South Asian - Indian

It is refreshing to find a reasonably priced straight-up concept free restaurant in this part of town and from the full dining room it is obvious that a lot of other people feel the same. However I am sad to report that the Indian Curry Club is little better than just ok. The menu is far too long and while the nan is pretty darn good, the curries themselves are one dimensional and sauce heavy. The biriani on the other hand packed a pretty good punch. On the night we went service was slow and unapologetically so. Last visited 08-01-2012
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The Art of Coffee - Grand Canal Dock  

The Art of Coffee - Grand Canal Dock
  • Mon-Fri 7.00-17.30, Sat 9.00-16.00, Sun 10.00-16.00. Closed Bank Holidays.
  • Unit 1, Alto Vetro, Grand Canal Dock, Dublin 2
  • none
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Grand Canal Dock & Ringsend
  • Café
  • Average Cost
  • European - Irish

It is wonderfully appropriate that a café with such a self-reverential name should share occupancy with a surrealistic old-world barber on the ground floor of Grand Canal Dock’s beautiful and esoteric Alto Vetro building. Having said that, the coffee is good, the food is tasty, and the view is delightful. The Art of Coffee is a fantastic little sun trap situated right on the water where outside the busy lunchtime rush of office workers grabbing a takeaway coffee and Panini you can really loose yourself in palaces of the mind. Palaces only guaranteed if you order the goats cheese, red pepper and pesto Panini. Last visited 06-01-2012
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Le Plancha  

Le Plancha
  • Tue-Sat 17.30-22.30, Sun 13.00-20.00. Closed Monday.
  • 22 Newtown Park, Blackrock, Co.Dublin
  • 01 210 3950
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • Southside - Blackrock & Booterstown
  • Restaurant
  • Average Cost
  • European - French

In the quiet enclave of suburban Blackrock lies this little Iberian-Irish eatery. With no competition around and serving a short popular menu of simple dishes it’s no surprise that Le Plancha does good business. Overall dishes are fairly tasty if a bit uninspired however on the night we went the fish of the day had been replaced by flavourless cod which had quite obviously been fished from the freezer. In a premises which has seen many failed ventures Le Plancha, still in its first year is at sink or swim stage and I am sorry to say that the signs are there to suggest it could go either way. Last visited 05-01-2012
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Pablo Picanté - Clarendon Market  

Pablo Picanté - Clarendon Market
  • Mon-Wed 11.30-20.00, Thur-Sat 12.00-21.00, Sun 12.00-18.00
  • 2 Clarendon Market, Dublin 2
  • 01 662 9773
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Grafton & Georges St.
  • Fastfood
  • Cheap
  • Latin American - Mexican

Just off Chatham Street on the narrow lane-way that is Clarendon Market lies yet another Burrito joint. With a palm obstructing the doorway, brightly painted rough plastered walls and sultry foreign staff, a trip to this casual eatery injects some tropical flavour into a typically rainy Irish afternoon. Seating is the usual shared bench and stool scenario. The burritos themselves are pretty similar to its competitors with the welcome addition of feta cheese in several combinations and a better veggie option than elsewhere. Last visited 04-01-2012
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Woodstock  

Woodstock
  • Mon-Sun 7.30-20.00
  • 156 Phibsboro Road, Dublin 7
  • 01 830 0265
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • Northside - Phibsboro & Cabra
  • Restaurant
  • Cheap
  • European - Irish

There is a real community feel to Woodstock Café. Not the self-conscious aspirational hippie community suggested by its name but a real honest Old Dublin community vibe that makes it an integral part of Phibsboro life. Early morning sees taxi drivers, Garda and locals alike, pulling up chairs to each-others tables before tucking into the 4.95 full breakfast that brought them there. Later on you can sit back and listen while young mothers with buggies and old ladies with shopping trollies share the latest gossip over a scone. In the early evening elderly men can be found chatting to the staff like old friends before tucking into a proper ‘Meat and Two Veg’ from the hot canteen. Still later young professionals will wander in grateful for a plate of ‘Mammy Grub’ after a long day spent in modern Ireland. Last visited 02-01-2012
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The Cedar Tree  

The Cedar Tree
  • Mon-Sat 12.00-23.30, Sun 14.00-22.00
  • 11a Saint Andrew’s Street, Dublin 2
  • 01 677 2121
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Grafton & Georges St.
  • Restaurant
  • Average Cost
  • Middle Eastern & North African - Lebanese

This family-run restaurant just off Wicklow Street has been serving tasty and reasonably priced Lebanese food for decades. The drastically dated interior and somewhat dubious belly dancing attest to the age of this establishment but fortunately do not detract from the authentic and well executed dishes on offer. If you’re not sure what Lebanese food is, think Greek and you won’t be far off. As an introduction the Mezze for two is excellent value and offers a selection of small taster dishes and ranges in price from €19.50 p.p. for the filling Vegetarian Mezze right up to a more sumptuous selection priced at 40.00 euro per person. Avoid the house wine. Last visited 30-12-2011
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itsa... - Arnotts Abbey Street  

itsa... - Arnotts Abbey Street
  • Mon-Wed 9.00-18.30, Thur 9.00-20.30, Friday 9.00-18.30, Sat 9.00-18.30, Sun 12.00-18.30
  • Arnotts, Middle Abbey Street, Dublin 1
  • 01 804 4555
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Henry & Moore St.
  • Restaurant
  • Average Cost
  • North American - Various

This branch of the successful bagel café franchise is located along with a Butlers Chocolate Café at the Middle Abbey Street Entrance to Arnotts Department store. Arnotts which was a fading old school department store has recently been revamped into a much more upmarket and modern offering and these two cafés which are comfortably located at this quieter side-entrance to the store are a welcome addition. itsa serves great bagel sandwiches with a variety of gourmet fillings on offer along with good coffee. Counter service. Last visited 23-12-2011
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Boojum  

Boojum
  • Mon-Fri 11.30-21.00, Sat 12.00-21.00, Sunday 13.00-18.00.
  • Millennium Walkway, Dublin 1
  • 01 872 9499
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Capel & Quays
  • Fastfood
  • Cheap
  • Latin American - Mexican

Serving up burritos, fajitas and tacos with quality ingredients to the hungry masses, this place with two branches in Belfast and one in Dublin is a popular spot for students and office workers alike looking for a filling lunch or after work bite. The burritos are delicious and stuffed with rice, beans, your choice of shredded beef, shredded pork, vegetables, chicken or steak and topped off with cheese, sour cream and your choice of corn and salsa or a spicy sauce. However be warned - the burritos are huge, possible too huge. Try the chicken tacos for a more manageable meal. Recently this place has become so packed at lunch time and that I haven't been in. Last visited 21-12-2011
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Foam Café  

Foam Café
  • Mon-Fri 10.00-21.00, Sat 11.00-21.00, Sun 11.00-19.00
  • 24 Strand Street Great, Dublin 1
  • 086 342 6904
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Capel & Quays
  • Café
  • Average Cost
  • European - Irish

On a narrow, slightly dingy street between Liffey Street and the Italian Quarter sits this glorious sequin-covered anomaly. Foam Café serves soup, sandwiches, omelettes and suchlike during the day, tapas in the evening and coffee and cake all the time - but what really matters here is the interior. Cataloguing the content of the first floor would be impossible but lets just say there are pictures on the ceiling, art books on the tables and a white piano in the corner and you might begin to get an impression of what to expect from this Aladdin's cave. Upstairs there is more lounge seating where seriously stylish retro furniture competes with a frivolous array of lamps. Lovely Lattes. Last visited 20-12-2011
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Starbucks - Dame Street  

Starbucks - Dame Street
  • Mon-Fri 7.00-22.00, Sat 8.00-22.00, Sun & Bank Holiday 9.00-22.00
  • 1 Dame Street, Dublin 2
  • none
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Temple Bar
  • Café
  • Average Cost
  • North American - Various

The second Starbucks to open in Ireland with a great location bang on Dame Street and close to Trinity College and The Wax Museum ensuring a steady flow of largely American tourists and study abroad students. However the location also means that this particular branch is far from tranquil with a constant jostling for seats and a general sense of disorder that is not helped by staff who seem largely disinterested in clearing tables. Having said all this the Dame Street Starbucks is a great place to rest your feet after a long day’s shopping or meet a friend for a non-alcoholic evening drink. Last visited 19-12-2011
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KC Peaches - Pearse Street  

KC Peaches - Pearse Street
  • Mon-Fri 8.00-20.00, Sat 10.00-16.00, Sun 11.00-16.00
  • Unit 10A Trinity Enterprise Centre, Pearse Street, Dublin 2
  • 01 677 0333
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Grand Canal Dock & Ringsend
  • Restaurant
  • Average Cost
  • South American - Various

KC Peaches started off as a catering company back in 2006 before opening this bright and airy American style café / deli in the booming Grand Canal Dock area a couple of years later. Sandwiches and sweets make up the majority of the menu here with a more extensive and pretty good brunch on the weekend. While this location offers the best daytime cafe environment, the variety and quality of food available is a lot better in their newer Nassau Street branch. Last visited 15-12-2011
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Leo Burdock - Phibsboro  

Leo Burdock - Phibsboro
  • Mon-Sun 12.00-23.30
  • Unit 1, Phibsboro Shopping Centre, Dublin 7
  • none
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • Northside - Phibsboro & Cabra
  • Fastfood
  • Average Cost
  • European - Irish

This place situated in the Phibsboro Shopping Centre is an offshoot of the famous Christchurch shop which has been running since 1913. The chips here are utterly delicious and it is refreshing to see a wide range of fish including fresh ray on offer though you will need to work your way through an inch of artery clogging batter to actually get to it. However I am told that is one of the joys of traditional fish and chips and if you can manage to share one of their huge portions between two you won’t be any the worse off for it. The ‘Deal of the Day’ which is served from noon ‘till four and features a reasonable amount of chips with either fish goujons or sausages and a drink for 4.95 is a good option for filling a mid-afternoon junk food craving. Last visited 02-12-2011
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The Granary Café  

The Granary Café
  • Mon-Fri 8.00-19.00, Sat 9.00-19.00, Sun 10.00-18.00
  • Temple Lane South, Temple Bar, Dublin 2
  • 01 633 4186
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Temple Bar
  • Café
  • Cheap
  • European - Irish

I must have walked by The Granary Café dozens of times, desperately in search of a mid-morning snack or a late afternoon pick-me-up, but never, not once, venturing to go inside. The reason is simple - this is Temple Bar and the profusion of low-quality, high-priced tourist traps is such that I was certain that this quaint little café with it’s thick granite walls and it’s colourful awning couldn’t fail but be one. I was wrong. Apart from a decent range of sandwiches, pastries and all the usual café drinks the great value breakfast menu here is a clear winner. With menu items going beyond the typical full breakfast fare to offer lighter and tastier options such as porridge, smoked salmon scrambled eggs and beans on toast The Granary Café is certainly somewhere worth going back to. Last visited 01-12-2011
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Chi Restaurant  

Chi Restaurant
  • Mon-Fri 11.00-23.00, Sat-Sun 15.00-11.00
  • 9 George's Ave, Blackrock, Co. Dublin
  • 01 872 9499
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • Southside - Blackrock & Booterstown
  • Restaurant
  • Average Cost
  • East Asian - Various

Local family eatery serving a huge range of dishes from across Asia. With Thai, Chinese and Japanese cuisine on offer, the 'bit of everything for everyone' approach unfortunately means that the quality slips on some dishes such as the Peking Duck which is dry rather than crispy. However other dishes are more successful and even quite tasty. Possibly due to being the only viable asian option in the area Chi do pretty good business which results in a pleasant buzzing atmosphere. Servings are very generous so it is probably best to order less than you think you want. Last visited 27-11-2011
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Town Bar & Grill  

Town Bar & Grill
  • Lunch: Mon-Thur 12.30-15.00, Fri-Sat 12.30-17.00. Closed Sunday. Dinner: Mon-Sat 17.30-22.30. Closed Sunday for July and August.
  • 21 Kildare Street, Dublin 2
  • 01 662 4800
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - South Georgian
  • Restaurant
  • Expensive
  • European - French

Definitely more of a restaurant than a “Bar and Grill” but there is no point splitting hairs when the food is this good. A concise Italian inspired menu with a generous selection of vegetarian dishes ticks all the right boxes. While all the flavours are wonderful it is a pity that some of the dishes aren’t a little more controlled as the chef does seem to have a tendency to add one flourish too many to some dishes - cherry panna cotta, balsamic and lemon jelly, marshmallows and every spare piece of fruit they could come across to garnish. Having said that some of the ambitious combinations work wonderfully such as the mixed salad of crispy pancetta, gorgonzola and poached pear. This is a warm inviting place to enjoy the perfectly executed over thought food of the early 2000‘s and forget the woes of recession Ireland - conveniently located across the road from the government buildings. Last visited 26-11-2011
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Zaytoon - Parliament Street  

Zaytoon - Parliament Street
  • Mon-Sun 12.00-28.00
  • 44-45 Lower Camden Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2
  • 01 400 5006
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Temple Bar
  • Fastfood
  • Cheap
  • Middle Eastern & North African - Various

The second branch of the superior Camden Street Zaytoon (see below) but still with the same great food. Fresh flatbreads made on the premises encase delicious kebabs and donners served open and topped with an array of fresh ingredients and tasty sauces. This place due to its location and formica interior is a lot more late night kebab shop than the Camden Street branch but the food is just as good and the window counter can make an excellent vantage point for viewing Temple Bar’s late-night revelers assuming you are not one of them yourself. Vegetarian option available. Last visited 25-11-2011
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The Joy of Cha  

The Joy of Cha
  • Mon-Sat 9.00-20.00, Sun 10.00-22.00
  • 10 East Essex Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2
  • 01 679 3393
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Temple Bar
  • Café
  • Average Cost
  • European - Irish

In the beginning there was The Joy of Coffee and The Joy of Cha, both situated within one hundred yards of each other on Temple Bar’s main thoroughfare. Now The Joy of Coffee has been rebranded as Brick Alley Café and taken the vast majority of the trade while The Joy of Cha situated on the quieter end of the street near The Project Arts Centre has remained fairly quiet. However this quiet cosy café makes for a lovely venue a quiet venue to enjoy their sumptuous range of flavoured teas and tasty cakes. Last visited 15-11-2011
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Queen of Tarts - Cows Lane  

Queen of Tarts - Cows Lane
  • Mon-Fri 8.00-19.00 Sat 9.00-19.00 Sun 10.00-18.00, Closed Bank Holidays.
  • 3-4 Cows Lane, Temple Bar, Dublin 2
  • 01 633 4681
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Temple Bar
  • Restaurant
  • Average Cost
  • European - Irish

This bustling café offers a wide range of fairly scrumptious savoury and sweet tarts together with decent sandwiches and slightly less successful soups. They also serve full breakfasts ‘till twelve on weekdays, one on Saturdays and two on Sundays. There is the usual café drinks on offer and wine is also served making this a popular spot for ladies who lunch and girls who giggle. Located in the increasingly trendy back end of Temple Bar with outdoor seating taking advantage of this quiet pedestrian lane-way location and a pleasant interior. A perfect place for a leisurely lunch and a definite winner when compared to their Dame street branch. Last visited 14-11-2011
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Kokoro Sushi Bento  

Kokoro Sushi Bento
  • Mon-Sat - 11.00-19.00, Sun-12.00-19.00
  • 19 Lower Liffey Street, Dublin 1
  • 01 872 8787
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Capel & Quays
  • Café
  • Average Cost
  • East Asian - Japanese

This small place on Liffey Street serves cheap and cheerful Japanese hot staples such as Miso soup, Yakisoba Noodles, Teriyaki, Japanese Curry, Fried Rice and Beef Donburi, however the main thing here are the sushi bentos, sushi rolls and sushi wraps. Although Kokoro has a couple of tables with high modern stools Kokoro is primarily a quick stop shop for busy office workers looking for a fresh lunch box to take back to their office. It’s a bit of a shame that the interior of Kokoro, which means heart, isn’t a little in tandem with it’s name offering a comforting place to sit and enjoy their simple but delicious food. Last visited 13-11-2011
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Lovin’ Spoon  

Lovin’ Spoon
  • Mon-Sat 7.00-18.00
  • 15 North Frederick Street, Dublin 1
  • 01 804 7604
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - North Georgian
  • Café
  • Average Cost
  • European - Irish

This adorable little gallery café is located on North Fredrick Street just around the corner from the Hugh Lane Gallery. The food is pretty simple but tasty with a full Irish breakfast, a veggie breakfast and a range of sandwiches and Paninis on offer. The Mozzarella Melt is particularly good while the coffee, which is a little bit on the bitter side, may not be to everyone’s taste. Outside the café there are a couple of tables while the interior is light, bright and laid back, with mellow music playing and friendly staff giving a pleasant Sunday afternoon vibe to the many local office workers who make this place a mid-week must. Last visited 12-11-2011
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Delhi O’Deli  

Delhi O’Deli
  • Mon-Sat 9.00-20.00, Sun 12.00-20.00
  • 112 Moore Street, Dublin 1
  • 01 872 9129
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Henry & Moore St.
  • Café
  • Cheap
  • South Asian - Indian

Delhi O’Deli claims to be “the first Indian vegetarian restaurant in the Ireland” not to mention “the first Indian fast-food” however false these claims may be it does seem to be doing something different. Namely strip lighting and super cheap food. The Daily Fivers offers your pick of five items from their self-service canteen for five euros providing a huge amount of food for very little money. While the rest of the lengthy menu offers some lesser spotted items on Irish Indian menus including the South Indian speciality Dosa and a selection of Indian street food such as the chickpea and fried bread combo that is Chole Bhature. Unfortunately Delhi O’Deli does not live up to it’s potential with poor hygiene standards, extensive reheating and an obvious lack of fresh ingredients. Well I suppose this is fast-food... Last visited 10-11-2011
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Hilan Chinese & Korean Restaurant  

Hilan Chinese & Korean Restaurant
  • Mon-Sun 12.00-26.00
  • 45 Capel Street, Dublin 1
  • 01 874 8677
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Capel & Quays
  • Restaurant
  • Cheap
  • East Asian - Chinese

If you can ignore the plastic food out front and turn a blind eye to the warn out decor inside you just might manage to have one of the best, and the best value, Korean meals in town served by the friendliest staff around. Lunch time sets come in at six euros fifty cents with the Bibimbap - a hearty mix of rice, spice, veg and meat topped with an egg and cooked in a special stoneware bowl being the star of the show. With a good selection of Chinese dishes and a sprinkling of Japanese dishes you might be forgiven for thinking this is an inauthentic experience but the large groups of Koreans which come here would beg to differ. Last visited 01-11-2011
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Botanic Gardens Café  

Botanic Gardens Café
  • Mon-Sun 9.00-18.30
  • Botanic Road, Glasnevin, Dublin 9
  • 01 804 0300
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • Northside - Drumcondra & Glasnevin
  • Café
  • Average Cost
  • European - Irish

There are two cafés here; The Courtyard Café, which offers table service in an atmosphere sadly devoid of life and generally also customers, and The Botanic Gardens Café, which is self-service, and generally bustling with customers. The customers are a lively mix of the elderly, young mothers with toddlers, tourists and people whom I am guessing just happen to be unlucky enough to be in the vicinity and hungry. And unlucky they are. The food here is most definitely below par, the hygiene is pretty bad and the prices are inappropriate. A wide selection of cakes, salads, sandwiched and savoury bakes all make a fair impression of somewhere which has ambition however unfortunately this is an entirely unfulfilled ambition. A dreadful shame given the stunning location. Last visited 31-10-2011
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Zaytoon - Camden Street  

Zaytoon - Camden Street
  • Mon-Sun 12.00-28.00
  • 44-55 Lower Camden St, Dublin 2
  • 01 400 5006
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Portobello & Camden St.
  • Fastfood
  • Cheap
  • Middle Eastern & North African - Various

It’s difficult not to eat here everyday. The freshly baked flatbread on which all kebabs and donners are served is simply delicious. The selection of beef, lamb, chicken or vegetable kebabs are all fantastic and taste, dare I say it, almost good for you. The donners are juicy, And everything is served with lettuce, pickled cabbage, a spicy red sauce and a garlic creamy sauce. The meal sets which most people seem to opt for include chips and a soft drink which really are not necessary and don’t do justice to this great food. There is another branch down on Parliament Street but the brick walls, mood lighting and wood interior of the Camden Street branch combine to make this a place that you will want to actually spend time in. Last visited 27-10-2011
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Lemon Jelly  

Lemon Jelly
  • Mon-Sat 7.30-21.00, Sun 10.00-20.00
  • Millennium Walkway, Dublin 1
  • 01 873 5161
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Capel & Quays
  • Café
  • Average Cost
  • European - Various

If you are looking for a little more class in your café this stylish place located in Dublin’s (quote unquote) Italian Quarter is a good option. Big enough to suit large groups but small enough to still feel like a café. Lemon Jelly serves a decent range of savoury and sweet crepes, bagel and panini sandwiches, omelettes and a full Irish breakfast. Not the most original place but the coffee is good, the waiters are handsome and the clientele is highly watchable. Last visited 23-10-2011
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The Counter  

The Counter
  • Mon-Thur 12-22.30, Fri-Sat 12.00-24.00, Sun 12.00-21.30
  • 20 Suffolk Street, Dublin 2
  • 01 611 1689
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Grafton & Georges St.
  • Restaurant
  • Average Cost
  • South American - Various

This American chain restaurant has bizarrely placed both of its only overseas restaurants in little aul’ Ireland but we’re not complaining. The food here is good, with quality meat and interesting toppings in a city where up until a couple of years ago a hamburger usually meant Mc Donalds or the geriatric giant that is Captain Americas. The build your own burger formula adds a fun family friendly element to the meal. Choose your patty - beef, chicken, turkey, veggie or the Market Selection special. Choose your patty size. Choose a cheese. Choose four original toppings. Choose a sauce. And finally choose whether you want it in a bun or in a bowl. The Roasted Corn and Black Bean Salsa topping is excellent as is the Horseradish Cheddar. Sides are somewhat less interesting and a little greasy. Last visited 16-10-2011
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Andersons Food Hall & Café  

Andersons Food Hall & Café
  • Mon-Wed 9.00-19.30, Thur-Fri 9.00-21.00, Sun 10.00-19.30
  • 3 The Rise, Glasnevin, Dublin 9
  • 01 837 8394
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • Northside - Drumcondra & Glasnevin
  • Café
  • Average Cost
  • European - Various

This sister restaurant to Andersons Creperie down the road in Drumcondra is unfortunately not as good for two key reasons: the seating is cramped and there are no crêpes! Of course I may be biased due to my longstanding love of the crêpe but unfortunately the Andersons Food Hall and Café doesn’t really seem to specialize in anything. Irish breakfasts and sandwiches make up the bulk of the daytime fare while the evening meals consist of mediocre Mediterranean inspired mains. Outside seating available. Last visited 16-10-2011
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Ten Thousand  

Ten Thousand
  • Mon-Sun 12.00-23.00
  • 20 Lower Liffey Street, Dublin 1
  • 01 872 9656
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Capel & Quays
  • Restaurant
  • Average Cost
  • East Asian - Japanese

Ten Thousand with it’s dark and cavernous interior is a good place to while away a winters evening with some good conversation while sampling their extensive Sake selection. It’s a bit of a Chinese interpretation of Japanese food with sweet Chinese green tea and a menu which is trying to cover one too many bases but then again Japanese food, like most countries cuisines, is a bit of a mishmash of regional influences and modern interpretations. When last visited the spicy seafood Ramen was spot on with flavour but unfortunately the noodles had been left sitting in the broth too long and were disappointingly soft. There is a good range of reasonably priced sushi on offer which tends to be popular with the daytime crowd. Last visited 09-10-2011
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Castello Bruno  

Castello Bruno
  • Mon-Sat 10.00-23.00, Sun 12.30-21.30
  • Main St, Castleknock Village, Dublin 5
  • 01 822 8400
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • Northside - Castleknock & Blanchardstown
  • Restaurant
  • European - Italian

A local favourite in the well-healed neighbourhood of Castlenock, this busy restaurant offers up tasty Italian fare of a somewhat standard but entirely reliable variety. Inside the layout is a little cramped and noisy with a kitchen that is partially open to the dining room and a combination of booth and table seating however this does make for a cosy family-friendly atmosphere. The menu is pasta and pizza heavy with a couple of highlights including the bacon cream ravioli. Castello Bruno may be no suburban jewel but it is a decent spot to pop into for a mid-week meal or a good feed for the whole family. Last visited 07-10-2011
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Govindas - Middle Abbey Street  

Govindas - Middle Abbey Street
  • Mon-Sat 12.00-21.00, Sun 12.00-19.00
  • 83 Middle Abbey Street, Dublin 1
  • none
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Henry & Moore St.
  • Restaurant
  • Cheap
  • Vegetarian - Indian

I spent years avoiding this restaurant, the mothership of the three city centre Govindas Vegetarian Restaurants and the only one north of the Liffey. Not because I wasn’t a fan of the hearty vegetarian fare served up in their other locations. Nor due to the awkward north-side location. But because this Middle Abbey Street location also housed the Govindas Spiritual Centre. I was nervous, scared even that I might be accidentally indoctrinated into some form of faith or at the very least questioned as to my non-existent vegetarian principles. Anyway I made it in and am glad to report that the Spiritual Centre is safely located upstairs and the food is as good as ever. Unlike the Aungier Street branch which only serves regular or large plates this location also offers a small plate piled high with a selection of Indian tinged specialties from the hot canteen. Last visited 05-10-2011
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Lemon - Dawson Street  

Lemon - Dawson Street
  • Mon-Fri 8.00-19.30, Thurs 8.00-21.00, Sat 9.00-19.30, Sun 10.00-18.30
  • 60 Dawson St, Dublin 2
  • 01 672 8898
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Grafton & Georges St.
  • Café
  • Average Cost
  • European - French

The tangy orange interior and spartan shared seating may not be to everyone’s taste but this recession defying chain offers good crêpes, decent coffee and a fuss free lunch. The breakfast crepes are filling and if you make it in before eleven Monday to Friday they are also pretty good value. With an open kitchen and all crepes made fresh to order this is a place worth coming back to and not just for the good looking staff that they have managed to install in all their branches. Last visited 02-10-2011
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Hot Wok Thai Style Noodle Bar  

Hot Wok Thai Style Noodle Bar
  • Mon-Sun 11.00-24.00
  • 2 North Earl Street, Dublin 1
  • 01 824 6230
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Connolly & O'Connell
  • Fastfood
  • Cheap
  • South East Asian - Thai

Looking for sweet sticky noodles on the wrong side of town at an unfavorable hour? Hot Wok is the place to go. Paper boxes stuffed to the brim full of chicken, prawn or vegetable noodles which are stir fried to order for next to nothing and served with a can of coke and a stick of chicken for a little more. They also serve Thai curry and rice but it’s the noodles that make a trip here worthwhile. Sure it’s junk food but given that other local options after nine include Burger King and Supermacs this little place is a real find and a genuine bonus to this somewhat bleak street scape. Last visited 01-10-2011
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Andersons Café & Creperie  

Andersons Café & Creperie
  • Mon-Thurs 9.00-19.00, Fri 9.00-20.00, Sat 9.00-19.00, Sun 10.00-19.00
  • 1A Carlingford Road, Drumcondra, Dublin 9
  • 01 830 5171
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • Northside - Drumcondra & Glasnevin
  • Café
  • Average Cost
  • European - French

Tucked in amongst the impeccable redbrick terraces of this residential street in Drumcondra sits Anderson Creperie. The savoury crepes are made with buckwheat flour and served in the french style; folded into a neat square with the filling revealed in centre. Unfortunately my crêpe complète was served with an overdone egg - in the Irish style, but otherwise the savoury crêpes are delicious and make for a filling lunch. Apart from the aforementioned crêpes Andersons serves Irish breakfasts, sandwiches, desserts and the usual array of café drinks with the welcome addition of some alcoholic options. Food aside, the refreshingly stylish yet laid back interior makes this somewhere you will want to come again. Last visited 01-10-2011
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The Silk Road Café  

The Silk Road Café
  • Mon-Fri 10.00-16.30, Sat 11.00-16.30, Sun 13.00-16.30. Food served 12.00-16.00. Closed Mondays October till May.
  • Chester Beatty Library, Dublin Castle, Dublin 2
  • 01 407 0770
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Christchurch & The Liberties
  • Café
  • Average Cost
  • Middle Eastern & North African - Various

Great wholesome food served hot and fresh from behind a canteen. The savoury dishes aren’t quite as spicy or exotic as you might expect from middle eastern cuisine however you are unlikely to be disappointed and desserts definitely offer up something a bit different from the regular fare. A worthwhile destination in itself this museum café may be slightly over celebrated but it can certainly teach other institutional eateries a thing or two (IMMA are you listening?). Great vegetarian selections. Last visited 23-09-2011
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Brick Alley Café  

Brick Alley Café
  • Mon-Wed 9.00-22.30, Thur-Fri 9.00-23.00, Sat 9.00-24.00, Sun 10.00-22.00
  • 25 East Essex Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2
  • 01 679 3393
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Temple Bar
  • Café
  • Average Cost
  • European - Irish

Quite possibly the only late night café in the city this Temple Bar institution serves hot drinks and serious slices of cake along with a smattering of savoury items. The hot chocolates are divine with the chili hot chocolate and the mint hot chocolate vying for first place. A particularly good café to come to alone as the communal table seating means you don’t have to endure the guilt of occupying a two person table for one and the counter seating, which looks out on the main drag makes for excellent people watching. Last visited 23-09-2011
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Yamamori Sushi  

Yamamori Sushi
  • Sun-Thur 12.00-22.30, Fri-Sat 12.00-23.30
  • 38/39 Lower Ormond Quay, Dublin 1
  • 01 872 0003
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Capel & Quays
  • Restaurant
  • Average Cost
  • East Asian - Japanese

The lovely open interior of this Japanese restaurant belies it’s cramped entrance on Ormond quay. The ceiling fans and skylights together with the communal benches and booth tables offer up a casual atmosphere with a refined touch a pleasing juxtaposition that is echoed in their food. The bento boxes give a good and filling selection of a range of Japanese favourites though with slightly less attention given to the balance of flavours than you might hope for. Having said this the execution particularly given the volume that this large dinning room must pump out is excellent and there is always something to please the more cautious palate. A great spot for bringing a larger party. Last visited 18-09-2011
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Dall'Italiano  

Dall'Italiano
  • Mon-Sun 8.00-23.00
  • Hart’s Corner, Glasnevin, Dublin 9
  • 01 830 2549
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • Northside - Drumcondra & Glasnevin
  • Restaurant
  • Average Cost
  • European - Italian

Dall'Italiano serves a decent full Italian menu of pasta and sides, in a casual bistro style dining room. However it is really as a café that this place works with their friendly Italian staff, excellent coffee and delicious Panini to eat in or take away. The frosted glass frontage on a busy road and narrow dining room makes this a better place to be on a sunny afternoon than for an cosy evening meal. Last visited 03-09-2011
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KC Peaches - Nassau Street  

KC Peaches - Nassau Street
  • Mon-Fri 8.00-20.00, Sat 9.00-19.00, Sun 11.00-17.00
  • 28-29 Nassau Street, Dublin 2
  • 01 633 6872
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - South Georgian
  • Café
  • Average Cost
  • North American - Various

This second branch of the Grand Canal Dock self-service café and delicatessen seems set to make a hit with a great new location on a street which despite getting a lot of foot traffic offers very little in the way of acceptable eats. The bewildering choice on offer is tempered by the simple system. Choose a small, medium or large plate and pile it high with any of the hearty options from the hot counter for a set price or load up on pretty delicious salads for a slightly lower price. There is also a large sandwich counter where you can mix and match your ingredients or just go for the much easier suggested combinations. Finally there is a cake counter and coffee dock with a fairly decent if slightly pricey selection of treats on offer. The pale blue interior and high ceilings add a nice airy feel to the busy dining room. Last visited 26-08-2011
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Crackbird  

Crackbird
  • Mon-Fri 12.00-12.00
  • 34-35 South William Street, Dublin 2
  • none
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Grafton & Georges St.
  • Café
  • Average Cost
  • European - Irish

This previously pop-up possibly permanent restaurant serves simple food with cracking flavours. A spartan interiors with high stools and benches and food served in buckets does its best to keep out the comfortably middle-aged and keep the improbably slim hipsters streaming in. But pretensions aside it is great to see Dublin unapologetically single ingredient orientated restaurants and Crackbird certainly is a worthy homage to the humble chicken. Quantities are generous so try to come in a group and be sure to order the fantastic soy garlic chicken. Last visited 24-08-2011
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The Market Café  

The Market Café
  • Wed-Sun 10.00-17.00. Closed Monday/Tuesday.
  • Blackrock Market, 19a Main Street, Blackrock, Co. Dublin
  • none
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • Southside - Sandyford & Stillorgan
  • Café
  • Cheap
  • South East Asian - Various

This hole-in-the-wall café right in the middle of Blackrock Market has changed hands many times over the years but has for the past year now been placed in the more than capable hands of William and Eva, aside from the soup and sandwiches staples the Market Cafe also serves home-cooked breakfasts and ethnically tinged lunches for the poor of pocket. The falafel pita (pictured) is always popular and served with a great mint yogurt and a chili sauce together with a nicely dressed salad on the side, it makes for a good healthy if a little bit light lunch. For the truly famished try one of their daily specials which often include filling tarts, quiches and even occasionally lasagna. Sweet offering are somewhat limited but try the absolutely delicious Indian chai and you won’t be missing dessert at all. Be sure to look out for the special evening events. Last visited 19-08-2011
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itsa... - Dún Laoghaire  

itsa... - Dún Laoghaire
  • Mon-Sat 9.00-17.30, Sun 10.00-17.30
  • The Pavilion, Royal Marine Rd, Dún Laoghaire, Co. Dublin
  • 01 236 0644
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • Southside - Dún Laoghaire & Monkstown
  • Café
  • Average Cost
  • North American - Various

Enigmatically rebranded or unnecessarily obtuse? Either way I am happy to report that the former ‘Itsa Bagel!’ still serves bagels and pretty darn delicious ones at that. The interior of this Dún Laoghaire branch has been given a makeover with more seating and bright pinks and silver matching the bling of the Crunch Fitness Premier next door. Outside seating has also been added along the pavilion front for Itsa and other local restaurants. The Gourmet Veggie is a thing of beauty with goats cheese, olive tapenade, lettuce, roasted red peppers, red onion marmalade, hummus and butter all on a sesame seed bagel. The perfect post gym pick-up! Last visited 17-08-2011
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The Giddy Goose Café  

The Giddy Goose Café
  • Mon-Fri 8.00-17.00, Sat-Sun 10.00-17.00
  • 138-139, Lower George's Street, Dún Laoghaire, Co. Dublin
  • 01 214 8634
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • Southside - Dún Laoghaire & Monkstown
  • Café
  • Average Cost
  • European - Various

A pleasant New England style cafe much in keeping with the fresh open spaces of the local harbour and marina, though not quite as well in keeping with the abandoned building of what used to be a pub just across the road. However, located in the slightly more run down area of Dún Laoghaire this relatively new cafe still seems to do a modest business with a selection of American accented desserts, designer coffees and simple savoury items. The low footfall combined with the free WiFi makes Giddy Goose a good place for a spot of afternoon work or a mid-week catch up with friends. Service is available both from the counter and at your table however it is clear that the under-worked staff would rather you placed your order at the counter. With one of the nicest day-time interiors in the area this place deserves to do a lot better. Last visited 17-08-2011
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Starbucks - Blackrock  

Starbucks - Blackrock
  • Mon-Fri 7.00-19.00, Sat 8.00-19.00, Sun 9.00-18.00
  • Main Street, Blackrock, Co. Dublin
  • 01 210 8430
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • Southside - Blackrock & Booterstown
  • Café
  • Average Cost
  • North American - Various

The first franchise of this phenomenally successful global brand came to Ireland relatively late, opening in 2005 in the similarly landmark Dundrum Shopping center. However with 22 stores now in Dublin and three outside Dublin this branch located in the former Blackrock Post Office is easily their nicest. Views across Dublin Bay and plenty of comfy seating together with the Starbucks trademark policy of ensuring customers feel comfortable to linger for as long as they want over a single cup makes for a welcome break from the outside world regardless of how you actually feel about their coffee. Try the new Flat White. Last visited 16-08-2011
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Select Stores Dalkey  

Select Stores Dalkey
  • Mon-Fri 8.00-18.30, Sat 8.00-18.00, Sun 10.00-17.00
  • 1 Railway Road, Dalkey, Co. Dublin
  • 01 285 9611
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • Southside - Dalkey & Killiney
  • Café
  • Cheap
  • Vegetarian - Various

This old-school corner store situated right in the heart of Dalkey village is easy to overlook and somewhat intimidating to enter but you would be making a big mistake to do so. Offering four varieties of veggie burger patties, various falafel wraps and daily specials, all cheap, filling, and adaptable with your choice of breads, dips and sauces and salads provided by the Blazing Salads Food Company. Select Stores provides the perfect spot for lunch following a walk up the local hills or a ramble along the nearby seaside and so long as you stick to lunch this is a a very cheap day out, just beware of the store's somewhat overpriced array of tempting specialty and health food items for sale. Last visited 14-08-2011
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Mao - Dún Laoghaire  

Mao - Dún Laoghaire
  • Mon-Wed 12.00-21.00, Thur 12-21.30, Fri 12.00-22.00, Sat 12.00-22.30, Sun 12.00-21.00
  • The Pavilion Seafront, Dún Laoghaire, Co. Dublin
  • 01 214 8090
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • Southside - Dún Laoghaire & Monkstown
  • Restaurant
  • Average Cost
  • South East Asian - Various

The Dún Laoghaire branch of this predominately Southeast Asian restaurant chain delivers decent dishes at reasonable prices. Lunch sets come in at under a tenner while dinner mains average at about thirteen euros. However with the main menu on offer throughout the day and night and the distinctly casual atmosphere you can feel comfortable popping in at any time to pick up a starter portion which go for about six euros and provide a decent filling snack. Mao’s food is unlikely to bowl you over but it’s unlikely to disappoint you either and with swift service and plenty of healthy and vegetarian options your likely to make a return visit. Last visited 11-08-2011
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il Valentino  

il Valentino
  • Mon-Fri 7.00-19.00, Sat/Sun/Hols 9.00-17.00
  • 5 Gallery Quay, Grand Canal Harbour, Dublin 2
  • 01 633 1100
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Grand Canal Dock & Ringsend
  • Café
  • Average Cost
  • European - Italian

Very popular bakery/patisserie located in the heart of the Grand Canal Dock with Google and Facebook offices ensuring a clientele of expatriated Europeans who actually know what a good croissant should taste like. Beyond the long deli counter which is filled with sandwiches, pizzas, pastries and numerous sweet treats lies a small seating area with uncomfortable modern furniture. However step outside to secure one of the four tables, which provide a great vantage point both for appreciating the success of this particular slice of urban renewal and for some grade-A people watching. Oh, and for enjoying an excellent espresso and that authentic croissant of course. Last visited 27-07-2011
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Cobalt Café  

Cobalt Café
  • Mon–Fri 09:00-15:30
  • 16 North Great Georges Street, Dublin 1
  • 01 873 0313
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - North Georgian
  • Café
  • Average Cost
  • European - Irish

Across the road from the James Joyce Centre on North Great Georges Street lies this deceptively spacious café spread over the first floor and garden terrace of a slightly disheveled georgian redbrick. A distinctly modern cobalt blue bar dominates the dining room serving up quite decent coffee and tea by the pot. With a range of the usual sandwiches and soups it’s not the food that will bring you back to this café but it’s quirky charm and the wonderful feeling of space you get from the soaring ceilings and simple interior. Last visited 20-07-2011
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Avoca - Sugar Tree Café - Kilmacanogue  

Avoca - Sugar Tree Café - Kilmacanogue
  • Mon-Fri 9:00-17.00, Sat-Sun 10:00-17.00
  • Kilmacanogue, Bray, Co. Wicklow
  • 01 274 6939
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • Outside Dublin
  • Café
  • Average Cost
  • European - Irish

With a large terrace overlooking the pleasant gardens and a convenient location just off the N11 this large branch of the ever-popular Avoca chain is always busy! The main café here is the Sugar Tree Café a self service canteen with a full range of Avoca specialties; hearty baked dishes with plenty of vegetables, gooey cheesy fillings and a full range of salads, baked goods and delicious indulgent cakes. The only real tragedy is that the generously sized main plates rarely leave room for dessert. If you are looking for lunch it is best to arrive slightly before noon when serving begins to avoid a long queue. The Fern House Café offers similar food with table service and dinner available from Thursday to Saturday. Last visited 12-07-2011
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Govindas - Aungier Street  

Govindas - Aungier Street
  • Mon-Sat 12.00-21.00. Closed Sunday.
  • 4 Aungier Street, Dublin 2.
  • 01 475 0309
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Grafton & Georges St.
  • Restaurant
  • Cheap
  • Vegetarian - Indian

There is distinctly old school vegetarianism vibe to Govinda’s; from the canteen style service, to the lack of thought given to presentation to the collection of serious looking skinny people who make up the bulk of the clientele. Having said this the food is cheap, tasty, and filling with most regulars opting for the excellent value Govinda’s Special; a plate piled high with basmati rice and a selection of eastern inspired items such as Dahl, paneer curry, stir fry and a piece of homely baked vegetable pie, all for just 6.95 for a regular plate or 10.45 for the (too large) large plate. Spices and ethnic flavours in general appear to be slightly toned down for the Irish palate of old however the flavours that are there are delicious and well balanced making this somewhere once discovered you are likely to visit time and time again. Last visited 09-07-2011
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Rasam  

Rasam
  • Mon-Sun 17:30 - 22:30
  • 18-19 Glasthule Road, Dún Laoghaire, Co. Dublin
  • 01 230 0600
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • Southside - Sandycove & Glasthule
  • Restaurant
  • Average Cost
  • South Asian - Indian

It can be hard to find good authentic Indian food in Ireland. It can be even harder to get Indian food served in an elegant atmosphere. Rasam has managed to do both. With a wide selection of meat, seafood and vegetable dishes listed with the regional setting in which they originate from together with some lesser known Indian starters, breads and side dishes, you can not only get a great meal here but you can also get a fairly good education in Indian cuisine. Prices are a little steep as ethnic food usually goes with some menu items likely to tip your budget over the edge, however if you order wisely, don’t dip too deeply into the comprehensive wine list, or arrive in time for the earlybird you will get away with a great meal at a good price. Last visited 06-07-2011
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L’Officina - Dundrum  

L’Officina - Dundrum
  • Mon-Wed 8.30-22.00, Thur 8.30-22.30, Fri/Sat 8.30-11.00, Sun 11.00-22.00
  • Unit 2, Dundrum Town Centre, Dublin 16
  • 01 216 6764
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • Southside - Dundrum
  • Restaurant
  • Average Cost
  • European - Italian

Sandwiched between several other good offerings in Dundrum Shopping Centre's outdoor area this popular Italian restaurant adds a nice epicurean element to the everyday. The menu features all the usual things you would expect from an Italian restaurant, antipasti, pasta, good coffee, however without the pizza and with a more authentic product orientated approach than you might expect. Ironically it is this commitment to delicious high quality artisan products such as Italian breads, meats and cheeses that has resulted in a lengthy menu where most dishes are disappointingly similar. Having said that if you like what you’re getting (and I do) and if you can handle a little slow service, L’Officina in the Dundrum Centre is an excellent choice, even if you have no shopping to do at all. Last visited 02-07-2011
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IL Fornaio  

IL Fornaio
  • Mon-Fri 9.00-22.00, Sat 11.00-23.00, Sun 11.00 to 21.00
  • IFSC, 1B Valentia House, Custom House Square, Dublin 1
  • 01 672 1852
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - IFSC & North Wall
  • Café
  • Average Cost
  • European - Italian

Slap-bang in the middle of the Irish Financial Services Centre this bakery café with restaurant pretensions is an excellent place to while away a lazy afternoon watching the Luas pass and wondering what ever happened to our economy. Perhaps as an unconscious nod to tightening belts the sandwich fillings here are far from substantial but the fantastic fresh baked bread, the great coffee and the myriad of sweet treats make up for it. Just across the tracks is a recently closed down Starbucks outlet proving that even in hard times the small guy can occasionally win. Last visited 28-06-2011
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Brownes  

Brownes
  • Mon-Fri 7.30-21.15, Sat 9.00-21.15, Sun 10.00-17.00
  • 18 Sandymount Green, Sandymount, Co. Dublin
  • 01 269 7316
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • Southside - Sandymount & Merrion
  • Café
  • Average Cost
  • European - Irish

This popular café situated just off the green in Sandymount village is a bit of a mixed bag. Take the seating; the main area, which is inevitably full, contains small café tables positioned a little too closely together creating a pleasant bustling atmosphere; while the overspill area, which is usually empty, is an oddly characterless former gallery repurposed with high-backed chairs and restaurant-style tables. Then there is the staff; pretty young European waitresses who usually seem to border somewhere between disinterested and actively rude. Finally there is the food; full breakfasts, salads and an array of interesting sandwiches filled with good quality ingredients, such as rare Irish beef, though sometimes combined in a bit of a hit-and-miss manner (bacon and smoked salmon?) and served on ciabatta, bloomer or in a wrap. All of which unfortunately leaves Brownes firmly in the could-be-good category. Last visited 26-06-2011
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China Sichuan  

China Sichuan
  • Mon-Fri 12.00-15.00 & 17.00-22.00, Sat 17.00-22.00, Sun 12.00-21.00
  • The Forum, Ballymoss Road, Sandyford, Dublin 18
  • 01 293 5100
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • Southside - Sandyford & Stillorgan
  • Restaurant
  • Average Cost
  • East Asian - Chinese

This restaurant where generations of southsiders celebrated children’s birthdays, wedding anniversaries or anything else that required a bit of a fanfare has recently moved premises from its original location at the top of Kimacud road to Stillorgan Business Park. The food has remained good and largely unchanged with plenty of celebratory dishes such as Sichuan Aromatic Duck served with all the accoutrements or the delicious Crispy Chili Beef Shreds. Having said this some may find the flavours a little too intense and the sauces a little too glutinous for their tastes. The new premises has done away with the dusty filigree and dark woods of the previous location in favour of a more open refined modern interior with a lot more seating for large groups. Last visited 14-06-2011
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Harry’s Café Bar  

Harry’s Café Bar
  • Mon 8.00-17.00, Tue-Fri 8.00-17.30 & 18.00-23.00, Sat 9.00-17.30 & 18.00-23.00, Sun 9.30-17.30
  • 21 Upper George's St, Dún Laoghaire, Co. Dublin
  • 01 280 8337
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • Southside - Dún Laoghaire & Monkstown
  • Café
  • Average Cost
  • North American - Various

Best know for their greasy spoon breakfast, this popular neighborhood hangout is also a good place to have lunch or just pop in during the day for a sandwich. Ingredients are good and many of the dishes have a certain international flair though the approach taken to such dishes and in particular to their presentation can often be little bit overtly Irish. Having said this if you are looking for honest food in a comfortable bistro style interior Harry’s is definitely a good solid choice. More recently they have started serving dinner from Tuesday to Saturday bemusingly branded as Night-Time@Harry’s. Last visited 10-06-2011
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The Gourmet Food Parlour - Dún Laoghaire  

The Gourmet Food Parlour - Dún Laoghaire
  • Mon–Wed 8.30-18.00, Thur/Fri 8.30–late, Sat 10.00–late, Sun 10.00–17.00
  • 7 Cumberland Street, Dún Laoghaire, Co. Dublin
  • 01 280 5670
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • Southside - Blackrock & Booterstown
  • Café
  • Average Cost
  • European - Irish

This self described ‘gourmet eatery/café, specialty food-store & wine bar’, situated on the Monkstown side of Dún Laoghaire where elevated eating options are limited, is understandably popular. Breakfast includes all the traditional options such as a full breakfast but spruced up by quality ingredients like Cumberland sausages and Clonakilty pudding. Lunch is pretty much a sandwich, soup or salad affair but with some tasty ingredients, unusual combinations, and odd ‘flairs’, some of which work, some of which just don’t. Dinner, which is served from Thursday to Saturday includes a selection of slightly pricey tapas and wine by the glass accompanied by live music. The Gourmet Food Parlour is a nice comfortable spot to have some decent food but like so many similarly ambitious establishments it seems more focused on it’s own mission statement than on it’s customers – trying to do a lot but often falling short in the details. Last visited 09-06-2011
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Starbucks - Blanchardstown Centre Leisureplex  

Starbucks - Blanchardstown Centre Leisureplex
  • Mon-Fri 8.00-21.00, Sat/Sun 9.00-21.00
  • Blanchardstown Centre Leisureplex, Dublin 15
  • 086 607 6060
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • Northside - Castleknock & Blanchardstown
  • Café
  • Average Cost
  • North American - Various

One of three Starbucks located in the vast Blanchardstown Centre complex, just beside the Leisureplex and between the TGI Fridays and the Draiocht Arts Centre. Though not an especially spacious branch, the two sofa seating areas by the window that covers one side of the store make it a good spot for large groups. On the day visited one of these areas was taken up by a knitting group of about ten women comfortably chatting away while sipping their coffees and hooking the odd eye. Starbucks cards not accepted in this branch. Last visited 07-06-2011
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Gourmet Café  

Gourmet Café
  • Mon-Wed 7.30-18.00, Thur-Fri 7.30-18.30, Sat 8.30-18.30, Sun 9.30-18.00
  • 79 Lower Georges Street, Dún Laoghaire, Co. Dublin
  • 01 230 4469
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • Southside - Dún Laoghaire & Monkstown
  • Café
  • Average Cost
  • European - Irish

A simple caf with café pretensions just beside Pennies in Dún Laoghaire with a menu that is suspiciously similar to the successful Café Java franchise but a clientele that is composed of harassed mothers looking for an escape route and lonely old men looking for their mothers’ fry-up. The food, which includes a large selection of the usual breakfast items and various sandwiches, is mediocre at best, disgusting at worst, which is a shame given that the menu seems to offer at least a modicum of sophistication. It is as if the chef took one look at the menu and made something that they think approximates the description, skipping or replacing ingredients and changing cooking methods at will. The coffee served by the polite but most likely underpaid staff is actually quite good but not good enough to warrant a second visit. Last visited 05-06-2011
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Avoca - Avoca Village  

Avoca - Avoca Village
  • Summer 9.30-17.30, Winter 9.30-17.00
  • The Mill, Avoca Village, Co. Wicklow
  • 04 023 5105
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • Outside Dublin
  • Café
  • Average Cost
  • European - Irish

The home of the Avoca empire located in Avoca village, a quaint little town in South County Wicklow which is famous for the not-so-famous TV series Ballykissangel. With a shop, a café and the working Avoca hand weaving mill, all housed in white stone cottages, this is a popular tourist destination. However, perhaps due to the traditional buildings, the cafe is long and thin and somewhat poky with a very limited food display area making this unfortunately one of the least pleasant of the seven Avoca cafes located countrywide (four of which are in Wicklow!). It still offers a slightly limited selection of the usual hearty and delicious Avoca fare, but you are probably best to get it takeaway and either sit outside on the picnic tables provided or find a nice spot in the local country side and make a real picnic of it. Last visited 29-05-2011
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Café Java - Blackrock  

Café Java - Blackrock
  • Mon-Fri 7.30-18.00, Sat 8.30-18.00, Sun/Bank Hol 9.30-18.00
  • Main Street, Blackrock, Co. Dublin
  • 01 278 1571
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • Southside - Blackrock & Booterstown
  • Café
  • Average Cost
  • European - Irish

This busy café in the center of Blackrock village advertises itself as being 'continental style' but offers a menu with a distinctly Irish lilt, including full breakfasts, plenty of soda bread and the liberal use of Ballymaloe relish in many dishes. Breakfast highlights include The Java Bagel Combo (pictured), which is served along with other healthier breakfast options such as granola all-day on weekends and until twelve on weekdays. Café Java also serves sandwiches and salads for lunch and cakes and sweet items all-day while the stack of free Newspapers allows those on a less hectic schedule to sit back and relax over it all. The continental element is added by the decent coffee and the cheerful young European staff. Seating is a little crowded and it can get quite noisy at times making this otherwise very pleasant cafe feel more like an Irish canteen. Last visited 24-05-2011
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Avoca - The Birdcage Café - Rathcoole  

Avoca - The Birdcage Café - Rathcoole
  • Mon-Sat 9.30–17.00, Sun/Bank Hol 10.00–17.30
  • Rathcoole, N7 Naas Road, Dublin
  • 01 257 1800
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • Westside
  • Café
  • Average Cost
  • European - Irish

The largest store of the incredibly successful Avoca brand, this megastore just off the N7 and not far from the Red Cow roundabout comprises a clothing store, a garden center, a foodhall and deli, and two cafes. The Egg Café provides table service and serves up a more refined version of the Avoca staples at a slightly more elevated price, while the Birdcage self-service café offers hot dishes such as tarts, bakes, nut loaf, salads and roast meats together with soups, sandwiches, homemade breads and a vast array of delicious cakes. Situated in what is essentially a large warehouse the aptly named and open-plan Birdcage Café can get very noisy especially on weekends. Last visited 21-05-2011
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Cornucopia  

Cornucopia
  • Mon-Wed 8.30-21.00, Thur/Fri/Sat 8.30-22.30, Sun 12.00-20.30.
  • 19/20 Wicklow Street, Dublin 2
  • 01 677 7583
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - Grafton & Georges St.
  • Restaurant
  • Average Cost
  • Vegetarian - Irish

A much loved restaurant that has been serving wholesome and filling food to vegetarians and vegans, students, musicians and artists, the health conscious and the just plain hungry since the mid-eighties. While the formula, of friendly and like-minded staff serving hot main dishes, original salads and various sides from the canteen-style counter, and many of the recipes have remained the same over the years, Cornucopia has recently had something of a rebirth with a cookbook published last year and an extension to the dining area recently completed. Plates are heaped high here and a main course with two salads for around 13 euro is likely to keep you full for a long time. Staples include pasta bake, quiche, casseroles and curries together with the ever popular homemade soups. Expect long ques at lunch. Last visited 19-05-2011
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Thai House Restaurant  

Thai House Restaurant
  • Tue-Sat 17.00-Late, Sun 16.00-Late
  • 21 Railway Road Dalkey, Co. Dublin
  • 01 284 7304
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • Southside - Dalkey & Killiney
  • Restaurant
  • Average Cost
  • South East Asian - Thai

Pleasant neighborhood Thai with a hit and miss mixture of classic dishes. Some standout items include the Tom Yam prawn soup and the well-cooked vegetables in all main dishes, however some dishes do occasionally veer on the slightly greasy side. The staff are friendly and the wine selection is good and reasonably priced which undoubtedly appeals to locals of this upper-crust down-at-heel area. All considered a good choice if you are in the area and looking for something reasonable and reasonably fuss free. The Value Set Menu which is served all night includes two courses at just under 16.50 and three at under 19.50. Last visited 15-05-2011
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Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud  

Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud
  • Tue-Sat 12.30-14.15(L.O.), 19.00-22.15 (L.O.). Closed Sunday.
  • 21 Upper Merrion Street, Dublin 2
  • 01 676 4192
  • Website

Dubh living essentials:

  • City Centre - South Georgian
  • Restaurant
  • Expensive
  • European - French

The tip-top-toe of Dublin’s culinary ambitions, Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud which adjoins the boutique Merrion Hotel is as much of an institution as it is an actual place to eat. Serving contemporary French cooking tapered to the Irish palate the al la carte menu is liberally doused with high-end ingredients such as truffles and Foie Gras, however it is the precision and originality of the dishes that really impresses. Service is obviously something they pride themselves on with the maitre d’ ensuring all diners feel like his personal guests, having said this there is an air of style over substance with waiters failing to serve the correct dish to the correct diner and occasionally misinterpreting orders rather than repeating for confirmation. Excellent value lunch with two courses for 38 euro or three for 50 euro. Last visited 21-04-2011
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