Why not enrich your weekends or day off by combining a bit of cultural activity with a great feed? Here are some extra tasty spots to fill up around Dublin where you can make sure to cram in a bit of culture with your food.
The Chester Beatty and Silk Road Café, Dublin Castle, Dublin 2
Image: Chester Beatty Library
A stone's throw from the busy city centre, you’ll find the serene Chester Beatty, a marvellous and engaging museum and library that’s home to manuscripts, rare books, and other treasures from Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and Asia. And nestled amongst this trove you’ll find the aptly named Silk Road Cafe carrying the exotic flavours of the collection to the food with plenty of spice, heat and aromatics. Bright, fresh salads are piled high in bowls with a focus on Lebanese, North African and Turkish dishes. Think plenty of hummus, falafel, moussaka and lamb. Don’t miss the irresistible sweets like Persian love cake and baklava — the perfect partner to a pot of mint tea.
The Winding Stair Bookshop & Restaurant, 40 Lower Ormond Quay, Dublin 1
Shopping can be cultural too I believe, especially if you’re shopping, or even browsing for books. And there are few better places to do that in Dublin than The Winding Stair, home to one of the oldest surviving independent bookshops in town. Here, you’ll find a wide selection of thoughtfully curated books, both old and new, that stretch to much more interesting areas than your average bookshelf. Upstairs, you’ll find the restaurant, with its Yeats-inspired name and historical architecture, you’re already filling up on your culture fix. The dining room is a joy to eat in, with views of the Liffey and Ha’penny bridge and the warm wooden interiors. Then there’s the menu full of Irish producers and an extensive drinks list showcasing lots of great Irish artisan beers and ciders.
IMMA, Kilmainham & Storyboard, Islandbridge, Dublin 8
The Irish Museum of Modern Art ticks a lot of boxes for an outing. Just on the outskirts of the city and set in the picturesque grounds of Royal Hospital Kilmainham, it provides the ultimate weekend trifecta of a walk, some culture and a great feed. There is an above-average cafe within the gallery building, but then there is also Storyboard about a ten-minute walk away on Clancy Quay, for you to add to your plan. At this picture-perfect cafe, they serve well made 3FE coffee and colourful, tasty and locally sourced lunch and brunch cafe dishes by day. On Friday and Saturday, they do wine and small plates in the evenings.
Museum of Literature and The Commons Cafe, 86 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2
This newly opened city centre gallery is all about Irish literature. Readers and storytellers alike will enjoy immersing themselves in Irish storytelling across the centuries. And once you’ve had your fill of literature, there's no need to leave the building to get a proper feed. The Commons Cafe offers all-day Irish kitchen and dining in a beautifully restored room that opens out onto their Courtyard Garden. Choose from some fast fix cafe favourites like soups, sandwiches and sausage rolls, or you can settle in for a full three-course lunch featuring plenty of Irish suppliers. Coffee comes from Roasted Brown and they cater well for vegans and veggies too. A welcome addition to gallery dining in the city.
The Print Museum & Press Cafe, Haddington Rd, Dublin 4
A lesser-known museum in Dublin that is well worth seeking out, The Print Museum in Beggars Bush is home to a fascinating collection, made up largely of letterpress printing equipment. Design and art fans should be impressed by the history of this now commercially obsolete craft, with the collection displayed and organised like a traditional 1960s print shop. The museum also hosts plenty of events and workshops worth checking out. And what about the food? Right on the grounds, you’ll find the enchanting Press Cafe, serving homemade cafe fare with lots of Irish ingredients and coffee from Cloud Picker. On the weekends, they do a busy service for their rustic brunch.
Science Gallery & Cafe, Trinity College, Dublin 2
Since opening its doors over ten years ago in a forgotten corner of Trinity College, the Science Gallery has housed ever-changing, cutting edge exhibitions that both educate and question us on how we live today. The recent Plastic exhibit is a perfect example of this. Within the gallery, there is a bright, modern cafe offering an extensive menu for breakfast and lunch, sandwiches, salads and fresh stonebaked pizza using local and seasonal ingredients. In fact, you’re a bit spoilt for choice cafe wise around here with the exceptional bakery and cafe Bread 41 across the street along with Cloud Picker coffee (who were originally in the Science Cafe) and the busting Honey Truffle too. A well-fed, well-learned day to be had for sure.
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
One of my favourite combinations of museums and food is having Hatch & Sons in both The Hugh Lane Gallery in Parnell Square and right by The Little Museum of Dublin in St. Stephens Green. The Hugh Lane Gallery is home to the foremost collection of contemporary art in Ireland and the famous preserved studio of Francis Bacon. On the other side of the city, The Little Museum of Dublin offers a unique insight to Irish culture and history with a collection based on artefacts donated and loaned from Dubliners reflecting everyday life in the city over the years. Both outposts offer comforting all-day menus peppered with Irish suppliers like 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 and Irish rapeseed mayo.