We’ve never had a shortage of toasties on offer in Dublin. These hot, cheesy delights are a staple in city pubs, but there’s a new toastie in town and this sandwich is distinctly different. Firstly, they are not just restricted to pubs and secondly, the focus has shifted from a vehicle for soakage or missed dinners to being an event in itself. Think brilliant farmhouse Irish cheeses, homemade condiments, magnificent bread and not an Easi-Single in sight….
Daniel, 19 Clanbrassil Street Lower, Dublin 8
3FE’s latest offering Daniel seems like the perfect place to dig into a toastie, with the interiors a homage to a cosy pub snug; all dark wood, net curtains and upholstered stools. Chef Hilary O’Hagan Brennan has created a top-notch toastie menu, the most talked about being 'The Black and Blue', consisting of Whole Hog black pudding, Cashel Blue cheese and onion marmalade. She came up with this last Christmas after a few pints and a fridge raid, making it all the more apt. Another must-try is the cheese toastie with buttered batch bread, Wicklow bán Brie, Irish cheddar, mustard & red onion marmalade. Plenty of condiments on offer and of course glorious 3FE coffee to wash it all down.
Loose Canon Cheese & Wine, 29 Drury St, Dublin 2
Yes, I’m recommending Loose Canon once again, but it would be impossible not to mention them when it comes to toasties. This deli, wine shop and bar features fridges laden with all manner of interesting Irish cheeses, including the notoriously hard-to-find Young Buck, so you know there’s going to be some interesting eats. The toasties, served from 12 to 4pm, offer delights such as a classic grilled cheese made with Derg cheddar, 18-month Coolea and scallions and the Young Buck, which features said-cheese, along with pickles and tomato jam. Then they mix things up by adding their exceptional charcuterie for a mozzarella and salami toastie, coming not from Italy but Cork, with Toonsbridge cheese and Gubbeen salami, with a Durrus & Gubbeen chorizo option as an extra slice of Munster.
Meltdown, 2 Curved Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2
A summer pop-up, that has now found a more permanent home in a hole in the wall on Curved Street, specialises, as the name suggests, in all things melted. This bright neon ‘Meltdown’ sigh is loud, as is everything about this place, but that’s not a bad thing. Their ‘All The Cheese’ is a good mix of raclette and cheddar, with a generous helping of pickles and whole grain mustard. The 'BBQ Debut' is BBQ chicken, peppers, red onion and Monterey jack cheese; a melting delight that works great in sandwiches. There’s an old-school tuna fish melt and even a ‘Vegan Hun’, made with ‘mozzarella’ shreds. Don’t miss their top billing, the 'Mac Mama', where macaroni cheese, bacon, scallions and Monterey jack cheese are all encased in golden bread. Your hangover and or your Instagram will thank you.
Vice Coffee, 54 Middle Abbey St, Dublin 1
Tucked away on Middle Abbey Street, Vice coffee serves up some superb coffee options and a concise, well put-together toastie menu with some tasty, unconventional offerings. There’s the classics with the 'XXX', a triple cheese blend that always hits the spot and is perfect with one of their filter coffees, or the ham & cheese, full of shaved ham, cheddar and Emmental. Then things get interesting; a roast turkey, thyme, cranberry and Emmental combination is reminiscent of classic Christmas sandwich dinners, or you can go a bit gourmet with pear, gorgonzola, walnuts, quince and rocket. They are all are served with at least two types of the fine Edmond Fallot Dijon mustards. The PBJ, although not cheesy, is worth a mention, with organic crunchy peanut butter and raspberry jelly, mascarpone optional. And there’s even a sweet option - banana, Nutella and espresso mascarpone.
The Market Kitchen, Meeting House Square Market, Temple Bar (Saturdays only)
This weekly Saturday market in the heart of Temple Bar is a haven for fresh, tasty, great Irish produce and amongst it, you'll find The Market Kitchen stall, where they whip up some of the tastiest cheese toasties in the country. Expect to find ingredients from the neighbouring stalls, including Le Levain sourdough, dairy from Corleggy Cheese and their signature addition, creamed leeks from McNally’s farm. Their veal toastie, when available, is incomparable. As well as this Saturday market, they do pop-up events throughout the year and are a firm favourite for festival goers looking for a fix of proper comfort food.
Clanbrassil Coffee Shop, 5b Clanbrassil Street Upper, Dublin 8
The tiny coffee shop next to the much-lauded Clanbrassil House mirrors the restaurants’ casual, creative style and offers a pared-back sandwiches and bakery selection that is worth seeking out. But we’re here for the toastie and in this case, it’s 'The Kimcheese'. They make their own vegetarian kimchi in-house, add lashings of Hegarty's cheddar and Crozier Blue on buttered Le Levain bread. Get there early to nab one at their busy lunchtimes and don’t forget to grab some of their excellent bakery selection, which can include sea salt brownies and lemon curd palmiers.
Oxmantown, 16 Mary's Abbey, North City, Dublin 7
Trundle a little off busy Capel Street towards Smithfield fruit & vegetable market and you’ll come across Oxmantown, a small, smart café serving some of the best made-to-order sandwiches in the city. The menu, handwritten on the white subway tiles, show refined New York style toasties, including a marvellous, melting Grilled Cheese made up of mature cheddar, Gruyere, Parmesan and bechamel, and their divine take on the ham and cheese with ham hock, grilled gruyere, bechamel, roast tomatoes and pickles on sourdough.
Fia, 155B Rathgar Rd, Dublin 6
This small, casual neighbourhood café has been pumping out their excellently sourced seasonal brunch menu to critical acclaim since opening in 2016. In keeping with the theme, the menu is small too, but you’ll find everything you need, including their well-renowned Gubbeen Toastie. Malt sourdough stuffed with this favoured Cork cheese, you’ll find it served with all manner of moreish condiments depending on the time of the year - recently it was burnt applesauce. There’s also an option to add an egg.