It's been a while, hasn't it? I spent the end of April and most of May travelling - first to Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way, then London, back to Dublin, and then later to Thailand! So I'm staying put in Mumbai (at least this month) and hope to give you a taste of my recent travels :) Starting with Dublin, Ireland.
I was very impressed with the quality and sheer variety of cafes, restaurants and pubs in Dublin, and I don't think I had a single bad meal there - which is saying something, considering I spent nearly a week in the Irish capital. So here's my list of where to eat, drink and be merry in Dublin.
This was, hands down, my favourite cafe+restaurant+deli+shop in Dublin. Probably because I had my first meal in Dublin here, most certainly because I wandered in here cold & hungry and had the most heartwarming soup and some of the best bread I have ever had (I kid you not!). Avoca is essentially a sprawling, family-run business manufacturing exquisite handwoven products, clothing, home & kitchenware, perfumes, soaps, candles etc. There are 11 stores across the country. The store at Suffolk Street is spread over seven levels, including a deli and a food store in the basement and a cafe on the topmost floor. The cafe is bright and open plan, with large windows looking out over the city.
Food is top-notch; I had pancakes and sausages for breakfast, and a soup for lunch - both excellent. Coffee is fab and they bake their own bread, which was so good I actually contemplated bringing some back to Mumbai! I also bought quite a few of my souvenirs & gifts from the store.
A small, indie cafe on Capel Street, Brother Hubbard serves excellent 3fe coffee; a double shot of espresso is standard - my kinda place! I had a breakfast of champions here - a breakfast special where, for €9.95 you can get a hot drink + OJ + toast / (a massive) scone / scroll + porridge / granola / beans (which come topped with feta yoghurt and a sprinkling of sumac - delish!).
This is a cafe & patisserie with two locations on Dame Street. Admittedly I had a breakfast on the go from here, but it's a cute little place to start your day at. A homely place with bright red accents, Queen of Tarts has some scrumptious cakes, scones and brownies.
All of the above breakfast places serve lunch (or brunch), as do the pubs listed below. If you don't want to sit down for a meal, or are looking for a quick soup & salad sort of lunch, I'd recommend Blazing Salads on Drury Street. They have a daily menu of soups and hot dishes, a salad bar and assorted pies and quiches. Everything is made fresh and you have vegan and gluten-free options as well.
You will truly be spoilt for choice in Dublin - there are so many good cafes! The breakfast places listed above, as well as the "treats" below all serve fab coffee. I'd also highly recommend Kaph. This is a hip, relatively new coffee shop on Drury Street - minimalist decor, good music & excellent coffee.
The Woollen Mills, overlooking the Ha'Penny Bridge and the River Liffey, is also a lovely place to stop for a coffee and a cinnamon roll. They also do lunch, salads, sandwiches, soups etc. More coffee recommendations here.
Located at the Powerscourt Centre, and serves the best Victoria Sponge Cake ever - enough said!
Located on Dawson Street, this quaint little cafe is in the basement of a building filled with indie designer & artisan shops. Head here for some fantastic coffee and really lovely cannoli.
You would probably need a month or two to really do justice to Dublin's pub scene! Here are the ones I visited & loved (in no particular order). And no, I didn't visit the Temple Bar Pub...
O'Neill's Bar & Restaurant
O'Neill's has been around for 300 years and is a genuine old Irish pub. There's a lot of seating space spread out over a couple of levels, excellent pints of Guinness, hearty food (the seafood pie I had was humongous!) & traditional Irish music every night. They also do a full (or mini) Irish breakfast every weekday morning till 11.30 a.m.
Gallagher's Boxty House
Located in Temple Bar, the Boxty is a homely sort of a pub. Try their prix fixe menu and make sure to order their seafood chowder.
Quay's Irish Restaurant
This is a boisterous pub in Temple Bar area - loved the ambience and vibe. Their "Duo of freshly steamed mussels & creamy seafood chowder" is good value for money at €15.50.
The Stag's Head
Another traditional Irish pub, The Stag's Head in Dame Court is a great place for a quick pint, live music and a comedy night. A tavern has existed here since the 1780s, though the current pub has been around since 1894.
The Lotts Cafe Bar
Located near the Jervis Shopping Centre, this is a great pub for sports fans. They also do a quiz night every Thursday, which is fun. The pub is known for its steaks - these are seared for just 1 minute and then served at your table on a hot lava stone, so you can cook it to your liking.
East Side Tavern
This slightly hipster pub/bar (complete with exposed brickwork & distressed timber) is located on Leeson Street and is heaven for whiskey lovers. Food is Irish in an international style and superb. There's a live DJ on Fridays & Saturdays.
Arthur Guinness, the founder of Guinness Brewery got married here in 1761. Therefore it's fitting that after St. Mary's Church of Ireland closed down in 1964, it should be refurbished and opened as a bar! This 18th century building now houses a cafe, restaurant and nightclub, plus a huge bar in the centre of the 'church'. Original stain glass windows and the church organ still stand proudly.
Located above the Winding Stair bookshop (named after a Yeats poem, and having an actual winding stair going upstairs), this restaurant is the perfect place for a special dinner.
Try and get a table by the window for a sweeping view of the River Liffey and the iconic Ha'Penny Bridge. The restaurant serves seasonal Irish fare and also has an extensive wine list & craft beer menu. The food menu changes often, produce is freshly sourced and the dishes gorgeously presented (and delicious). The seafood dishes are especially recommended.
So is Dublin on your radar this year? If you are looking for some history, culture, good food, awesome brews (both alcoholic and of the caffeine kind) and craic (fun), head over to the Irish capital this summer. And get a taste of Dublin with a fantastic food tour with Fab Food Trails.
If you're in Dublin this week, don't miss the Taste of Dublin festival - from Jun 11th to 14th at Iveagh Gardens.
Labels: Dublin, Ireland, travel