The area around Capel Street was back in the spotlight recently with news that something might finally be happening with the historic Smithfield Fruit & Veg Market. We’ve taken a deep dive into some of the best spots for grabbing a bite in this buzzy part of the capital.
A new and exciting development was announced earlier this week for the area surrounding Capel street, but locals and food fans alike are watching and waiting details of the plans, hoping they will reflect the foodie scene in the area right now instead of offering simply sterile and easy-to-please options.
Capel Street and it’s environs are some of the most diverse places in Dublin for food and drink right now, so here’s hoping we’ll see some of the energy from these brilliant spots dotted all around this lively street.
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Bar 1661, 1-5 Green St, Dublin 7
Poitín has been slowly shaking off its associations of ill repute thanks in part to Bán Poitín creator Dave Mulligan. He’s even opened a bar dedicated to this overlooked Irish spirit. Bar 1661, just off Capel Street has become a talking point around these parts. Inside the smart, curved window exterior, you’ll find Poitín, of course, but also a fun wine list put together by Station to Station Wines, cocktails, excellent Irish coffee and even a concise food menu of tasty sandwiches, snacks and bar bites.
Bullet Duck & Dumplings, 27 Mary Street Little, Dublin 7
Named after the bullet-oven in which they cook their meats, this compact, fun restaurant specialises two very delicious cuisines – Hong Kong barbecue and Chinese dumplings. Perfectly cooked, luscious roast meats are served Cantonese-style, on the bone with steamed jasmine rice. Handmade shu mai and har gau dumplings come out fast with crispy shallots on top. They also do Chinese soup noodles and local suppliers are proudly named on the menu.
Fudo Izakaya, 28 Mary Street Little, Dublin 7
Right next to Bullet you’ll find another cosy spot, Fudo Izakaya. It’s the sister venue of Sisu, a casual Japanese spot near Stephens Green. Here they are concentrating only serving sushi, doling out sharing plates that are bright, colourful and very Instagrammable. A chilled place for lunch or dinner and it’s BYOB.
Aobaba, 46A Capel St, North City, Dublin 1
>This busy canteen-style Vietnamese spot is generally packed full of people and flavour, serving up Bahn Mi and steaming broth-filled bowls all day. Try something from the extensive soup & noodle menu full of bright, fresh, deep flavours. The Beef Pho is a delight, as is the Wonton Soup, both need to be slurped to be truly enjoyed. You will also find it hard to resist the char siu steamed buns – pillowy pastry stuffed with sweet barbecued pork.
Mr Dinh, 101 – 102 Capel Street, Dublin 1
Mr. Dinh has all the right looks on the outside for me – glistening roast duck hanging in the window and a photographed dim sum menu plastered on the front. A menu offering Japanese, Hong Kong, Malaysian and Thai Cuisine can all be a bit overwhelming but rest assured, everything here is good and made from scratch in-house. An enticing dim sum menu features all the classics and favourites but as the master (that’s the dim sum master) only works until 5 pm, be sure to plan an early visit to get stuck into these.
Arisu Korean, 120 Capel Street, North City, Dublin
A great option for a tasty, casual dinner serving dishes packed with flavour that (mostly) tick the health conscious box too. Stick to the three B’s here – bibimbap, bulgogi and barbeque and you will enjoy. Dolsot Beef Bibim-bap is our go-to dish of rice, beef, vegetables and spicy Korean sauce served in a hot stone dish, a wholesome and umami-packed choice. Bulgogi is marinated meat, fast cooked and served with crunchy vegetables. All the BBQ dishes are great fun, the meat arrives raw and is cooked on a grill built into your table, then you build your own bites, with crunchy lettuce shells and scoops of kimchi.
The Virgin Mary Bar, 54 Capel Street, Dublin 1
Ireland’s first alcohol-free bar opened earlier in the year to much curiosity. The idea (which came from drink’s experts) was to offer a space to socialise in without booze being on offer. There is an excellent list of well-curated, seasonal cocktails along with alcohol free wines and beers. A refreshing alternative for catch up drinks.
The Hacienda Bar, 15 Little Mary Street, Dublin 7
You’ve probably heard of it, and if you’ve walked by, you’ve definitely noticed it – the white stucco style walls, small black windows and terracotta tiles make this place quite striking. Seek it out The Hacienda for a drink unlike anything else in town. Behind the always closed door (you’ll need to ring a bell and answer some questions to make it inside) you’ll find an eclectic, buzzing warren of rooms packed full of bar paraphernalia, a pool table, darts and classic 80s tunes. Claim a corner, grab a drink and try and spot some of the celebrities that often seem to have passed through.
Feature Image via Mr Dinh
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