Uncovering new additions to the capital's foodie credentials has made for an interesting start to the decade, writes Ali Dunworth
The Dublin food scene has been changing and evolving a lot in the last few years which is mostly good news for diners but, unfortunately, also means we have said goodbye to a few gems.
Thankfully, the situation has balanced out a little with some newer openings, especially places with a local focus. It’s not an easy time to be a restauranteur in the city, so when you are eating out, do try to seek out independent venues, going the extra mile to serve us up good and interesting food and drink.
Here are some of these spots on our list for 2020:
Mister S, 32 Lower Camden Street, Dublin 2
I know these guys have been open since September last year, but I’m including them as I know I will be back here plenty in 2020.
They’ve already garnered a strong reputation for fun, casual eating out with good vibes and drinks. There is great care taken in the local sourcing of their meats, fish and vegetables, and almost everything is cooked over live fire. A welcome addition to the already-lively Camden Street.
Spitalfields, 25 The Coombe, Dublin 8
The team from the brilliant Pigs Ear opened this new spot, under the radar, late last year.
Housed in an old pub in the heart of The Coombe, it is very much restaurant food with nods to hearty pub fare. The heartiest perhaps being the family-sized (although they say for two) Cock-a-leekie pie with a beautiful lattice topping. The Parker Roll is another must-try.
They do an excellent value early-bird menu and there’s a strong drinks list with some nice wines on tap.
Glas, 15/16 Chatham Street, Dublin 2
Vegans, veggies and plant-based fans really need to know about Glas Restaurant on Chatham Street, or indeed anyone who just loves great food.
Their innovative vegetarian and vegan focused menu has been winning rave reviews since opening late last year with good reason. The focus here is not on replacing meat but simply cooking lots of great stuff without it.
Open for lunch and dinner and just off Grafton Street. One to add to your list.
Allta, Corner of Sth Frederick St & Setanta Place, Dublin 2
One of the most hotly anticipated openings of 2019 has so far been more than living up to expectations.
This compact, impressively designed restaurant has managed to deliver high-end food in super laidback surrounds and pull it off well. A menu of small plates of housemade pasta, charcuterie and a plethora of local suppliers along with a funky wine and playlist, makes this THE place to get a table in 2020.
Daddy’s, at The Circular, 538 South Circular Road, Dublin 8
New opening in Rialto, The Circular, from John Mahon and the Luckys team has become the place to be this January.
It's a cool, refurbished pub with tunes, quizzes, a strong drinks selection. Daddy’s is their daytime cafe, and their fun lunch and brunch dishes have been popping up on all the in-the-know Dublin food Instagrams.
Does a double-baked croissant pudding with bacon and honey sound good? The pub does Coke Lane pizza also, so consider making a day of it.
Little Dumpling, 28 Mary Street Little, Dublin 7
Little Dumpling has recently opened just off Capel Street, taking the space of one of the 2019 restaurant casualties, Fudo Izakaya.
But at least they have been replaced with something good, because who doesn’t like dumplings? The menu features plenty of tasty bun combos. Think Castletownbere crab bao, beetroot dumplings with prawns and roast duck xiao long bao with hoisin.
There’s even a dessert dumpling — fried Nutella with marshmallow. An all-in menu for €15 allows you to try all the dumplings.
The Wine Pair, 79 Lower Clanbrassil Street, Dublin 8
Another repurposing of a closed space, this was previously home to deli and food store Salt & Stove. The space now houses The Wine Pair, a neighbourhood wine bar and store serving wine, cheese and charcuterie.
They stock plenty of old-world, mixed with some naturals, biodynamics and a few tipples on tap. Food is mainly plates made for drinking alongside.
Volpe Nera, 22 Newtown Park, Blackrock, Co. Dublin
Heading a bit out of town for this one, but I think it will be worth it.
Volpe Nera is the new opening from Barry Sun Jian, former head chef at Etto. Here he is doing casual and informal dining with Mediterranean influenced snacks, small plates and sharing platters. An interesting wine list includes vermouth, white port and a selection of sherries.
Bobby’s Wine Bar, 17 Upper Baggot Street, Dublin 4
A few years ago this spot was home to Cavern Wine Bar, which was great and fun so I was sad to see it close.
But I am equally delighted that space has opened once again as a wine bar, still serving the great wines and this time with Holly Dalton (ex-3FE) at the stove.
Holly’s food is fun and tasty — and perfect with their playful wine selection. This address will be firmly back on my regular list for 2020.
Amy Austin, Drury Street, Dublin.
The buzz has been building about this new wine bar from the 777 team for quite some time now and my sources (Instagram...) predict it will be any day now.
It’s a tiny space tucked in by the entrance to Drury Street carpark that promises to be ‘a wine bar, but different’.
Judging by how hopping neighbouring city centre wine bar Loose Canon can get, this will definitely be one to watch.
Image via Volpe Nera
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