16th Feb 2018
With Glovers Alley opening recently to much fanfare, we thought it was time to take stock of some of the other great new Dublin restaurants we’ve seen open in the last year. These five spots stand out, as they are truly modern takes on traditional restaurants – smart Italian, exciting seafood, elevated pub grub, new age bistro and high end canteen. With plenty of cooking with fire, seafood – especially oysters and focus on local and seasonal vegetables we hope these help to shape the growing and exciting dining scene in the city.
Host, 13 Ranelagh, Dublin 6
This elegant new Ranelagh local is a joy from start to finish. From the on trend interiors of navy, pinks and bright whites to the short simple menu that delivers on taste and looks – the Italian inspired menu is full of grin-inducing dishes. Small plates are colourful and flavour packed – Salami Napoli & ricotta bruschetta, burrata with beetroot & tahini, cod croquettes with black radish. Then there’s the homemade pasta – silky pappardelle with slow cooked duck ragu and pillowy cappellacci stuffed with pumpkin & sage. The drinks deserve a mention too – modern twists on iconic Italian drinks make this place the Host with the most.
Klaw Seafood Cafe, 11 Sprangers Yard, Fownes Street, Dublin 2
Do you (like me) return from abroad and think, ‘I should eat more seafood!’ but somehow, despite living on a small island, find it hard to come across the fun, casual seafood we find on our holidays? Then you need to check out Klaw Seafood Cafe in Temple Bar. The compact, upbeat space is made up of cosy banquettes and bar seats with ‘Island Nation’ written in bright neon on the wall. Mix and match oysters from around the Irish coast; Galway Bay, Waterford, Dooncastle, Flaggy Shore, and eat them naked, dressed or torched. Feast on fish & chips, seafood pies and lobster rolls and be sure to order ‘When I was 6’ a playful, nostalgic prawn dish. For a real treat spend an afternoon in this all-day cafe and work your way through the shellfish platter with the enthusiasm of the crew that are serving you. Shucks, it’s good.
Clanbrassil House, 6 Clanbrassil Street Upper, Dublin 8
Perhaps the most anticipated restaurant of 2017, Clanbrassil House opened to much acclaim and continues to deliver, casual, clever and creative cooking in this growing gastro-hub of Dublin 8. Inside rustic brickwork nestles into white walls and dark wood floors, paired back and stylish much like the food. It feels like a special local or casual diner worth travelling that tiny bit out of the city centre for. Snacks to start include ham croquettes and Irish oysters and move on to ‘plates’ which you can mix and match with juicy options from the in house charcoal grill. The roasted leeks, chopped egg & chicken skin, was an instant classic from day one. Then there’s onglet steak with bone marrow and chimichurri, homemade sausage with polenta and the new staple on all the hot menu’s – cauliflower, barbecued and served with curry butter. The dessert menu is a delight to read and to try – Warm ginger cake & salted caramel ice cream, Chocolate mousse with honeycomb & marmalade ice cream and pistachio semifreddo with prunes & dark rum. And they are just about to open Clanbrassil To Go, a daytime affair for all your coffee and pastry needs.
The Legal Eagle, 1-2 Chancery Place, Dublin 7
We have so many great pubs in the city but pub food, alas, has never really caught up – until now. Thanks to Elaine Murphy (The Winding Stair, Woolen Mills), The Legal Eagle reopened recently with superb pub grub and in lovingly restored surrounds, all dark wood, white tiles, exposed brick and smart light fittings. The extensive menu celebrates Irish food with a plethora of options for lunch, dinner and the rest. There is lots of seafood, meat platters, daily-changing roast-in-a-roll and the brilliant Irish potato flatbreads with toppings like bacon & cabbage or oxtail, truffle & turnip. Drinks include twenty craft beers, classic cocktails and a wine list to match the extent of the food. And did I mention the bar snacks? Pickled eggs, pork scratchings and homemade crisps are all on hand for the ultimate pub experience.
Hey Donna, 137 Rathmines Rd Lower, Dublin 6
There’s a wonderful relaxed simplicity in the menu and service in Jo Macken’s latest venture Hey Donna. The food is a bold, creative take on an all day canteen with Middle Eastern slant and a welcomed vegetable focus. Doors open from 8am for coffee and simple breakfasts of eggs & toast with sumac and apple baked porridge. All day ‘stuff’ includes pumpkin and chocolate bread and avocado toast. Lunch, features the already much instagrammed PLT – Kate Mac’s pastrami, lettuce, tomato on grilled Le Levain sourdough with aioli & pickles with Mossfield organic cheese. Dinner is a cosy affair, with a menu split into garden and grille and designed for sharing. ‘Garden’ covers slow roasted carrots, hazelnut, carrot top pesto, tahini and unbelievably tasty Dunany spelt with grilled radicchio, grape, almond, honey and blue cheese and from the ‘Grille’ don’t miss the berber spiced lambs chops. Make sure to visit the bathroom when you’re here – probably the most divine sink set up in the city.
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