With Father's Day on the horizon, it got us thinking about restaurants that are family friendly, in the grown-up way - somewhere suitable for parental catch-ups. There are usually a few things to consider. Will there be something for everyone? Will it be noisy? Comfortable? Good service? The remit may be wide, but we’ve gathered some crowd-pleasers that always seem to deliver and impress, making them great go-to spots for your family get-togethers.
The Washerwoman, 60 Glasnevin Hill, Dublin 9
This charming Glasnevin local has excellent pedigree coming from the Winding Stair and Woollen Mills team. Housed in an old stone cottage, it boasts beautiful interiors, an airy dining room, all wood, blues and greys with specials scribbled on blackboards. The food more than matches this charm with marvellous lunch, breakfast, dinner and weekend brunch menus. They even have a dinner classics menu, with mussels and chips, wings, burgers, salads and more.
FX Buckley, various locations
Family gathering? Why not head to one of Dublin’s best-known family run business, FX Buckleys. Their steakhouses cum gastropubs are now spotted all around the city, of course with a focus on top-notch, dry-aged steaks, but plenty more besides. Think chowder, ribs, pies, fish and plenty of indulgent sides, along with a considerable drinks list of good wines and cocktails. On weekends, the classic Sunday roast is hard to resist; rib of beef, Yorkshire pudding, duck fat roast potatoes, gravy and Bloody Marys. The cook in the family will thank you.
Oliveto, 9 - 12 Haddington Terrace
When you see the views from Oliveto's handsome wood-floored dining room, you’ll understand why it’s a popular choice. Part of the charming Haddington House hotel, the restaurant overlooks Dublin Bay and has a fantastic outdoor terrace for the finer days. An Italian-leaning menu offers something for everyone; antipasto, salads, pasta, pretty impressive pizza and they mix great drinks. Although kid-friendly by day they take adult only bookings from 8.30pm - a breath of sea air.
Hugos, 6 Merrion Row, Dublin 2
A handy stone's throw from Stephens Green, you’ll find the unassuming Hugo’s on Merrion Row. It feels like an elevated local, serving comforting and classic dishes like whipped goats cheese, charcuterie boards, steak, good fish and great fries and mash, all deceptively simple and well cooked. There is attention to sourcing local ingredients and add to that friendly service and a respectable wine list and you’ve got a recipe for a real crowd pleaser. A wonderful option for lunch and good value pre-theatre menus.
The Old Spot, 14 Bath Avenue, Dublin 4
The cosy pub interior was re-designed a few years ago, all leather booths and brass-detailed fittings providing ample seating for groups small and large. An elevated pub menu features Irish oysters, Prawn Pil Pil with sourdough and tuna tartare with apple and miso for starters. Mains are, for the most part, the warming comforting kind: smoked pork shoulder, roast duck with pomegranate and orange, dry-aged rib eye with hand-cut fries. Desserts like pecan tart with salted caramel ice cream sound too good not to order. Perfect food for group dining with something for everyone, well-balanced cooking and downright tasty dishes.
Mr. Fox, 38 Parnell Sq. West, Dublin 1
For informal fine dining in dapper surrounds, Mr Fox will deliver. The menu, as the name may suggest, features plenty of brave, bold, meaty plates like beef cheek, venison and pheasant but there is also a dedicated vegetarian menu. It’s an absolute must for nostalgic dessert lovers, with palate pleasers like homemade ‘Iceberger’, the Clementine Super Split and delightful walnut whips. A cunning spot indeed.