Forget boiled bacon and cabbage or crisp sandwiches, modern Irish food has so much more to offer. A brilliant renaissance of Irish cuisine has meant chefs and restaurants are embracing the abundance of fresh, tasty local ingredients, from high-end terroir cooking to an exciting new wave of local food-focused cafes. Here, we’ve rounded up our favourite places showing off the best of Irish food right now.
Forest Avenue, 8-9 Sussex Terrace, Dublin 4
Image: Forest Avenue Instagram
Perhaps the most quintessential example of new Irish cuisine in Dublin, the team at Forest Avenue have been setting the standards for casual fine dining for the past few years. They serve changing, seasonal tasting menus in a smart and cosy dining room with a beautiful open kitchen. Dishes like sea trout, potato mousse and kelp butter or lamb and wild garlic are elegantly plated and served with a laid back, high-end style that is so hard to get right. They champion Irish and local suppliers, cooking them with authenticity and originality that is hard to beat. This is the place to show off just how good Irish cooking can be (along with their sister restaurant down the street, Forest & Marcy).
The Fumbally, Fumbally Lane, Dublin 8
Image: The Fumbally
An uber-influencer on the cooking scene in Ireland is The Fumbally. Housed in a space that was meant to be offices, they transformed the blank interiors with fantastic Dublin Flea finds, keeping the kitchen and food very much on show. Their food-first, locally sourced, slow approach to ethical eating and drinking makes for an accomplished café menu. Vegetables from McNally's Farm, Gubbeen cheese & meats, Highbank Orchard syrup and Le Levain sourdough all feature. They make all their own drinks, pickles and ferments recently becoming self-sufficient in vinegar made from the leftover juicing pulp.
Breakfasting here is a must for the infamous Green Eggs & Ham - which has been re-interpreted by many cafés around town. Coffee is locally roasted from 3FE and milk is organic from The Village Dairy. Keep an eye out for their weekly Wednesday suppers where a different chef will put together a menu of what is inspiring them at the moment, working with local suppliers, seasonal availability and personal passion.
The Pig’s Ear, 4 Nassau St, Dublin 2
Image: The Pig's Ear
Faultless cooking and spot on sourcing make for an impressive Irish dining experience at Dublin stalwart The Pig’s Ear. The chic and charming wood-floored restaurant is spread across a couple of floors all overlooking the iconic Trinity College. The name implies there is an emphasis on meat here, and the carnivores will be very happy with Irish beef tartare, bone marrow and Wicklow game, but they also know how to elevate their vegetables. Dishes like Jerusalem artichoke with barley, chestnuts & sage and cauliflower with St.Tola ash cheese, mustard, buckwheat & dillisk feature on the menu. Don’t miss the playful desserts for a dose of delicious nostalgia - the Pig’s Ear coconut snowball arrives in a pink and white candy-striped paper bag, ready to be opened to oohs and aahs.
Dublin Pizza Company, 32 Aungier St, Dublin 2
Image: Dublin Pizza Company via Instagram
How does Italian style pizza served from a no-frills hole in the wall on Aungier Street fit in with this homage to Irish food? Well, when they went to Italy to learn the art of pizza making, they also brought home the habit of sourcing as locally as possible. Happily, Ireland can deliver pizza toppings to rival the most gourmet of Italian imports. The mozzarella torn and melted across most of their pies is Toonsbridge from West Cork along with the usually exclusively Italian scamorza. Charcuterie comes from On The Wild Side in Kerry and they also use a Teeling's salami. Even more Irish cheese comes from Cashel Blue, Coolea and from Wexford, St. Killian's seasonal Humming Bark. They grow their own seasonal herbs and have plans in place to start growing even more of their own produce.
Bastible, 111 South Circular Road, Dublin 8
Since opening in 2015, the buzz around Bastible has never lessened and rightly so. A pared-back navy & racing green dining room is home to brilliant changing menus based on seasonal fare with interesting dishes that you want to eat. They keep things simple with the three by three menu - three dish options for three courses and have fun with their bar snacks - think cabbage crisps, taramasalata & furikake or smoked eel with quince. A table on Sunday is a pretty covetable booking. Settle in for an original take on family-style lunch with kitchen’s choice snacks to start and then mains based on select cuts of meat or fish with cleverly cooked seasonal vegetables. Their local supplier's list is long and plentiful and there is always an excellent Irish cheese to finish your meal.
Klaw Temple Bar, 5A Crown Alley, Temple Bar, Dublin 2
Temple Bar can be hit and miss when it comes to a true taste of Ireland but seek out Klaw to experience and an impressive approach to Irish seafood. Think Cape Cod meets Coliemore with a tiny crab shack style room serving up locally caught seafood, expert chowder, drool-worthy lobster and new takes on classic fish dishes. Sip on a Guinness and journey around the Irish coast with their extensive oyster menu from Galway Bay, Waterford, Doon Castle and Flaggy Shore. All are served three ways: naked, dressed or torched. The seafood platter piled high with mussels, crab and more oysters is worth the cracking and picking for a splendid taste of the sea.
Hatch & Sons, Dublin City Gallery, The Hugh Lane, Charlemont House, Parnell Square North, Dublin 1 and The Little Museum of Dublin, 15 St Stephens Green, Dublin 2
Image: Hatch and Sons
When day tripping with an out of towner, you can’t go wrong with a visit to The Little Museum of Dublin and a bite below in Hatch & Sons. Nestled in the basement of a grand Georgian house, the cafe is both homely and handsome, tastefully restored and painted in muted greys with details like bone handled knives and bright pops of coloured crockery. Delve into a comforting all day menu peppered with Irish suppliers Burren Smokehouse, Mossfield organics, Barry’s tea and their star sandwiches - the Blaa’s. Soft white bread rolls from Waterford are stuffed with terrific ingredients like Irish spiced beef, Coolea cheese, onion relish, Irish rapeseed mayo. Keep an eye out for their Supper Clubs where they celebrate Irish food once a month on Wednesday evenings.