Answers from Our Experts (1)
If you thought Irish food was bland and boiled, best hidden by a pint of Guinness, think again. The food culture in Ireland has bloomed in recent years, influenced by an influx of immigrants from all over Europe and inspired by farm-to-table movements such as Darina and Rachel Allen’s Ballymaloe Cookery School. Here are Forbes Travel Guide editors’ top five favorite places to eat in Dublin:
1. Yamamori Noodles. Consistently a Dublin favorite, Yamamori’s three locations are easily some of the most popular stops in the city for locals. In their original location on S. Great George’s Street, diners sit at long wooden benches slurping wok-fried noodles and ramen soups. Their Ormond Quay location specializes in sushi, and their newest venture, Yamamori Izakaya, feels like a Japanese drinking house, with small plates and a chic urban vibe. Can’t decide? Try a bento box special for a little bit of everything.
2. Cornucopia. Despite popular misconceptions, vegetarians in Dublin need not fear. Nestled in the maze of streets south of Dame Street packed with restaurants, this whole foods-focused mainstay was recently voted Best Restaurant of the Year at the 2011 Dublin Living Awards. Casual dining at its coziest, grab a tray and chat about the day’s rotating menu with the friendly servers behind the counter at the salad and hot bars. Don’t forget to snag a glass of organic wine and something decadent from the dessert case. Keep an eye out for their killer vegan cashew “cheesecake.”
3. Trocadero. Part-Italian and part-eclectic European and all parts fine dining, “the Troc” on St. Andrews Street is a favorite among theater-goers for its early-bird specials and as a popular locale for drinks once the curtain falls. À la carte or prix fixe, it’s hard to resist the charms of each of five Georgian rooms decked out in demure lighting and plush red velvet upholstery. Call ahead to score a table on “The Stage,” its raised seating open to the dining room on three sides to celebrity-spot and best watch the bustle unfold. Italian favorites like pea and pancetta risotto and fresh-rolled cannelloni are mainstays, but stick to the set dinner menu for the most top-notch three-course meal south of Dame Street.
4. O’Neill’s. The very definition of “craic agus ceol” (good times and music), this may be the perfect Dublin pub. For casual dining, O’Neill’s is hard to beat. With Irish breakfasts, carvery lunches and traditional Irish grub served counter-style and prepared to order, you may want to find your own nook amongst the scores of snug alcoves and stick around all day. Sip a classic pint or discover a new favorite from the Irish craft beers on tap. Live music sessions nightly will keep your toes tapping, and we enjoyed the new rooftop beer garden. Fish and chips on your plate and a Guinness in hand, real Dublin doesn’t get much better than this.
5. The Winding Stair. If you’d rather have a quiet night, Winding Stair on Ormond Quay is upscale Irish with a twist. This restaurant and bookshop has been a popular haunt among writers since the 1970s. With views across the Liffey by Ha’penny Bridge, the upstairs dining room serves up simple, rich dishes with a farm-fresh, organic bent. Traditional Irish foods get an indulgent makeover, like seafood chowder with chorizo and treacle bread, and artisanal, hand-smoked fish. Be sure to budget extra time before dinner to browse through the bookshop’s selection of new and used books.