Town is packed and all you want is a quick meal that will be as delicious as it is filling. Look no further — these ten Dublin fast food eateries have you covered for the festive season
Whether you’re last-minute shopping or simply forgot to book somewhere to eat before a night out, here are ten spots around town that not only take walk-ins but are also designed to feed you fast. City eating at its best.
The Ramen Bar, 51 South William Street, Dublin 2
Tucked into a basement on happening South William Street, ramen reigns supreme at this handsome Japanese spot — all dark wood, paper lanterns and bamboo. They make luscious broth bases from scratch and fresh handmade noodles are piled in every bowl. The classic tonkatsu is a firm favourite stuffed full of warming soup; tender pork chashu; nori and a seasoned egg, as are the aromatic garlic lovers’ ramen and the virtuous spicy salmon.
They are a joy to slurp through and there are plenty of options for customisation on the menu and veggies. Tempting appetisers are worth squeezing in as sides or starters — nikuman burgers are steamed buns with pork and spicy sauce and the pumpkin korokke and sharing prawn cracker nachos.
They can take bookings but happily accept walk-ins.
Bunsen, various locations Dublin, Cork & Belfast
Their tagline is ‘Straight Up Burgers’ and it doesn’t get more straight-up than a business card-sized menu of hamburger, with or without cheese, fries and a soda, milkshake or beer. The compact menu is a refreshing change from oversized, pimped-up burgers of previous years but it’s not just the simplicity that appeals — the taste is spot on too.
Burgers are fresh minced Black Aberdeen Angus, with perfectly melting cheese, pickle for umami and a classic American Amish dinner roll bun. There’s a skill in the grilling which involves a quick steam before serving. All served up to us on a dinky retro silver tray, wrapped to minimise mess. Simple and sublime and worth a wait at busy times.
They take bookings for 8-10 people, otherwise, it’s just walk in.
Chimac, 76 Aungier Street, Dublin 2
Grab a taste of Seoul on Aungier street at Chimac. They specialise in KFC (Korean fried chicken) — really crispy, spicy, perfectly non-greasy chicken served as wings, nuggets and of course burgers, although they are called sambos here. Their Classic sambo is twice-fried, Irish free-range chicken breast in a potato bun with house pickles and Korean hot sauce.
The most ordered and Instagrammed will most likely be the Kimcheese sambo — an oozing, delicious combo of Ssamjang (Korean dipping sauce) and cheddar cheese sauce with crispy fried chicken. It’s a fun spot, great chicken and I imagine it’s going to be pretty busy these next few weeks.
No booking, walk-in only.
Bowls, 56 Marlborough Street, Dublin 1
Head away from the madness of the shops towards Parnell Street for some respite at Bowls. Chef Kwanghi Chan offers up plenty of dim sum dishes with daily specials. For dumplings, choose from pork and chive potstickers, pork and prawn siu mai and baked char sui bao. There’s a small bowls section with some unctuous choices like crispy wok-fried prawns with XO sauce, Korean kimchi and wakame seaweed. There are even some sweet dumplings —Tang Yuan, black sesame puree in rice ravioli. And whatever you order, make sure to leave space for the irresistible Macau style egg tarts.
No booking, walk-in only
Umi Falafel, various locations
If you happen to come across an enticing Middle Eastern waft on the street, chances are you’ve stumbled upon Umi Falafel — now with five locations, three in Dublin, one in Cork and one in Belfast. The waft can be pinned to their signature sandwiches — pockets of fresh-baked flatbreads stuffed with delicious deep-fried balls of chickpeas and piquant sauces. The Palestinian is king here packed with falafel, hummus, tomato, cucumber pickles, fried aubergine, flat parsley and chilli and tahini sauce. Eat in and enjoy the substantial mezze menu plenty of flaky filo rolls, bright fresh salads, grilled halloumi, stuffed vine leaves and baba ganoush. Vibrant fresh juices and drinks are a great match (though no booze) and plenty of honey-soaked baklava.
No booking, walk-in only
Mad Egg, Dublin 2, Dublin 1 and Dundrum Town Centre
Good news for fried chicken fans: Mad Egg has expanded so you can get a taste of their fried chicken delights in Dublin 1, Dundrum and on Camden Street. They specialise in fun, laid-back, free-range fried chicken. Everything is tea-brined for 48 hours, then double dredged in buttermilk and their house-seasoned mix for crunch and spice.
And it works out pretty well in their burgers — try the OG with lemon and herb mayo; the Hot Chick with chipotle and the hangover favourite, the Heartbreaker — dripping in cheese, hot sauce and pickles. They do great chicken tenders too — and a fun DIY cheesecake to finish.
No booking, walk-in only
Pi Pizza, Georges Street, Dublin 2
Head to Pi for excellent pizza from a roaring wood-fired oven, smart white tile tables, tin can wall, a brilliant bathroom, and handy city centre location. Chewy, chewy dough with pristine toppings. Salsiccia has been flying out — tomato, piquillo peppers, Gubbeen chorizo and Toonsbridge Fior di Latte, as has the Salumi. The Fungi is the foodie favourite: a Bianca base (no tomato sauce) with spinach, mushrooms, garlic and sage crema. The vegan option bursts with flavour, with roast cauliflower and chilli cashew ricotta. A firm staple on city dining lists.
No booking, walk-in only
Musashi, various locations Dublin
These lively and casual noodle and sushi spots have a solid reputation for serving up the best and authentic sushi, sashimi and maki in the city. Sushi is served in a traditional manner and beautifully displayed, made fresh to order so there’s never a bit of cold rice (the cardinal sin of sushi).
Order beyond sushi for tempting tempura and katsu and plenty of authentic Japanese favourites like Tako Sunomono, a cucumber, seaweed and octopus salad. They do a solid ramen selection as well as perfect serves of bento. There’s also a good selection of Japanese drinks — beers, sake and plum wines to tuck into.
They do take bookings, but with five locations spotted around the city, they happily accept walk-ins.
Boco Pizza, Bolton Street, Dublin 1
Pared-back pizzas served up in sleek, industrial-chic surrounds, Boco keeps things simple which makes for a great, fuss-free pizza feast. An open kitchen fills the restaurant with that irresistible doughy aroma, with a great selection of classic combinations and chewy sourdough bases as well as a weekly pop-up special.
There are plenty of Irish products name-checked, including black pudding, goats’ cheese; Highbank orchard syrup and Cashel Blue cheese and their vegan pizza with tomato, nutritional yeast, grilled peppers, artichoke, caramelised onions and pea shoots is a great choice whether you are vegan or not. The dessert is fantastic: a Bean & Goose sharing special — single-origin, Irish-made craft chocolate smashed on a board.
They take bookings but happily accept walk-ins and there’s a bar for waiting.
Sano Pizza, 1-2 Exchange Street Upper, Temple Bar, Dublin
Sano pitch themselves as fresh, affordable pizza and that’s exactly what they are, not what you’d expect to find in the middle of Temple Bar. Plus the fact that they have 150 seats means you shouldn’t ever wait too long for a seat. Their Neapolitan Pizza menu prices start from €6 and they’ve received plenty of rave reviews for them. Add an extremely affordable drinks menu with glasses of wine from €4 and you’ve got a recipe for quite a delicious bargain dinner.
They take bookings at certain times but it’s mostly walk-ins.
Read more: Last-minute shopper? Here’s how to do Christmas on a budget and save your money
Read more: 7 Christmassy cocktail recipes to enjoy with friends this party season
Read more: 10 Christmas shopping pit stops dotted around Dublin city centre
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