Edited by Elodi Troskie
Dublin might be small, but this city is an explosion of international culture where cuisines from all over the world come together. Exploring Dublin’s food scene is easy because everything is so conveniently close to each other. When thinking about Ireland’s characteristic foods, most people think potatoes, potatoes and more potatoes. Whilst that’s not entirely wrong, but Dublin’s cuisine has a lot more to offer! So here is my guide to Dublin’s must-eat foods and where to find them
Sunday roast with the locals
Sunday roast is a big thing in Dublin. Think of it as a Christmas dinner once a week! There’s nothing like a good meal to bring people together and these eventful Sunday lunches do just that. It takes a whole morning of cooking and preparing for the feast, usually involving the entire family. Dublin’s typical foods are quite heavy, so you can expect a lot of starchy foods like potatoes, beef, and bread. Sunday roasts are usually really big meals that you have around 2pm – after that, you won’t eat for the rest of the day. If you want to dine as the locals do, a real Irish roast is the best way to kickstart your Dublin trip! If you can’t work your way into an Irish grandmother’s house to join for Sunday lunch, visit one of the pubs around the city to get a taste of local cuisine. It’s always best to spot where the locals hang out – this is where you’ll find the best (and most affordable) food.
Irish stew at home
Traditional Irish stew is the ultimate cozy comfort food – perfect for the cold European winters. Similar to the typical Sunday roast, but with a twist. Irish stew can be made of anything and everything, blending a variety of meat and root vegetables. Most commonly used ingredients are lamb or mutton along with potatoes, onions, carrots and parsley. Families will often have their own adaption of this dish, but there is no exact recipe to it. Most of the time it depends on what you have in your fridge, or what you have left over from the last Sunday roast. This is a cheap, no-fuss and very versatile dish to make since you can vary it up with meatless options. You can order this stew from most restaurants in Dublin, but if you really want to make yourself at home here, try making it yourself (if your accommodation set-up allows for it!).
Chips at a chipper
Chippers are fast food outlets selling mainly chips and other deep-fried foods. There are few things as good as an indulgent pack of chips after a night out in the city. Portions are big, cheap, greasy and can be spiced up with garlic, cheese and curry sauce. Every town in Ireland has its own number one chipper where the locals prefer to get their fried-food-fix from. The best chipper in Dublin is a place called Temple Takeaway, located in the bustling riverside neighborhood of Temple Bar. Right in the heart of Dublin, Temple Bar is the most accessible place to get local foods. It might be a bit touristic, but it’s great for eating. Visit Temple Takeaway for a no-shame local treat that both you and your wallet will love!
Seafood at The Seafood Cafe
Dublin is a seaside city, so naturally we have a very active fishing culture with very good seafood. One of my favorite places to get seafood in Dublin is The Seafood Café in Temple Bar. Their fish is always super fresh, and the service is great. They serve simple dishes but add their own special touches, for example their watermelon water, candied walnut salad and prawns on toast are some of the really interesting options on the menu. Make sure you get a window seat for the beautiful view of the city, stretching all the way to Trinity College. Something pretty unusual about this place is their dog-in-restaurant policy, allowing their customers to bring their four-legged friends to join for dinner in a private area downstairs – not bad for dinner company! Opening hours are from 12:00 until 21:00 every day, and until 22:00 over weekends.
Vegetable dishes at O’Neill’s Pub
You’ll notice that Dublin’s food is largely centered around meat. But if you’re looking for vegetarian-friendly dishes, a great place I can recommend is O’Neill’s Pub. Located in the heart of Dublin’s city center just a few streets from Temple Bar, O’Neill’s is a must-visit traditional Old Irish-style pub. As one of Lonely Planet’s top picks for the best places to eat in Dublin, you won’t be disappointed! The staff are so friendly, making sure every guest is warmly welcomed into this atmospheric space. In addition to the wine bar, whiskey corner, and beer garden, they have an extensive menu of all the local favorites from the morning’s Irish breakfast all the way through to Sunday’s hearty roast. I’m suggesting this restaurant for meat-free options because they don’t skim on the greenery and source all their vegetables from the finest local producers. O’Neill’s are open from 8am until 11:30pm every day and until 12:30amover weekends.
Irish breakfast at Old Mail Pub
Ireland is a country of farmers, and one thing this has given way to is the traditional Irish farmer’s breakfast created to sustain farm workers for a full day of work. Similar to the typical English breakfast, the Irish breakfast is typically made up of bacon, sausages, baked beans, eggs, mushrooms, grilled tomatoes, hash browns, toast with butter and marmalade, and hot tea – it’s quite a mouthful! What makes it different from a full English breakfast is the addition of drisheen (black or white pudding) and Irish soda bread. This breakfast will keep you going for the rest of the day – perfect to prepare for a long day of exploring Dublin. Old Mill is a great pub to visit for the real deal when it comes to Irish breakfast. Old Mill serves their famous breakfast special from 10:00 until 15:00 every day. You can find this pub in the center of Temple Bar. If you miss out on their iconic breakfast set, you can try out their other specialty dishes like traditional Irish stew, cottage pie and slow-cooked beef. They also have vegetarian options!
Cake & coffee at Ann’s Bakery
Sure, coffee and baked goods aren’t unique to Dublin, but you’ll have to search long and far to find an equal to the lovely Ann’s Bakery. This is one of my favorite cafes in Dublin – it’s warm and homey, and I love that it feels as though you’re having tea in your grandmother’s kitchen. Ann’s is a family-owned bakery and café that’s faithfully been serving artisanal baked treats to Dublin’s residents for the past 40 years. The menu also includes small meals like soup, salad, sandwiches, quiche and all-day breakfast. A hot cup of coffee and a big slice of home-baked cake from Ann’s is like the whole of Dublin giving you a warm hug. Find Ann’s Bakery in Mary Street, Moore Street of North Earl Street. Opening hours are from 07:30 until 18:00 every day.
Guinness beer (anywhere!)
You can’t leave Dublin without trying the dark, dry Guinness beer Ireland is so famous for. This beer has been the country’s most popular alcoholic drink for centuries since the Irish first started brewing it in the 1750’s. The unique taste comes from the combination of malted barley and roasted unmalted barley, giving it that characteristic sting. No matter where you find yourself in Dublin, you’ll never be more than a few minutes’ away from the closest pub selling this Irish favorite. If you’re looking for a special Guinness-tasting experience, a really cool pub to visit is The Old Spot on Bath Avenue. This is a classic, timeless traditional Irish pub is one of the best bars in Dublin – even the Michelin thinks so. The Old Spot is one of Dublin’s only two gastropubs that’s made it on the Michelin’s ‘Eating out in Pubs’ Guide for the past four years. They have an extensive lunch and dinner menu and, of course, an enormous range of local wines, beers and ciders to choose from. A must-visit in Dublin! The Old Spot is open from 12:00 until the early morning hours.
Ice cream at Teddy’s
Teddy’s Ice Cream is a longstanding local institution in Dublin. Located in Dun Laoghaire, this shop has become a household name in the southern part of the city since it was established in 1950. Teddy’s have seen Dublin through three generations of families visiting the shop on warm Sunday afternoons, remaining a well-beloved spot in town. Their famous ice cream is something everyone has to try at least once! They also serve other treats like hand-made sweets, gourmet brewed coffee and baked goods. What makes this place so special is the sense of community. A lot of people knew Teddy, the original owner, and have heart-warming stories to tell about him and the rest of the staff. Teddy’s oldest serving member has been part of this family for more than 40 years! Definitely one of Dublin’s most amazing hidden gems.
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