One of a host of new eateries in the Fade St/Drury St area, this holds it own with a downstairs restaurant and cocktail bar and incredibly cool upstairs dining space. Grab a glass of wine, and some nibbles form the Cicchetti (small snacks) menu and head out back to the heated outdoor terrace, a perfect way to while away an evening.
EDEN BAR & GRILL
7 South William Street, Dublin 2, Ireland, tel: (01) 6706887, edenbarandgrill.ie ¤ A good brunch spot, Eden Bar & Grill (the offshoot of the original Eden on Meeting House Square) has all the brunch bases covered: a good window seat for people watching on South William Street, comfy banquettes for those who are incapable of sitting upright, and a very bright, high-ceilinged atrium out the back for the perky post-pilates and yummy mummy brigade. On the plate, things are more consistent. Dishes all hover around the tenner mark (we refuse to pay ¤16 for eggs) and include salt-baked beetroot with goats cheese, poached eggs and wild mushrooms and wild asparagus omelette with almonds and Cashel Blue.
60-61 Parnell Street, Dublin1, 01 872 8318, hophouse.ie ¤ Korean food is all the rage these days, but the Hop House was serving it before your granny could say Kimchi. It’s all a bit crazy, with noise from the bar next door spilling through to the restaurant, but it’s the only place to go for authentic Bibimbap (a hot stone bowl filled with rice, assorted vegetables, Gochujang chilli pepper paste, slices of marinated beef and a raw egg yolk). Their flashing disco pitchers of Korean beer are worth the trip alone.
GRAB & GO
As tonight is Culture Night – and there are hundreds of free events on around the country – there’s simply no time to sit down for dinner. Better to grab something on the go, and cram as much as you can into the evening. In Dublin city centre,
(umifalafel.ie) on Dame Street is a great pit stop, with
77 Mespil Rd, Dublin 4, (01) 660 8616, kanum.ie ¤ Kanum’s green signage has become a ubiquitous sight at festivals and markets in the past couple of years, but the tiny premises on Mespil Road offers far more than festival staples of Pad Thai and curries. Fast, efficient take away service, but you can eat in on high benches or at tables outside. The Pad Prik Haeng with cashews, onions and whole chillies is excellent, as is their spicy Tom Yum soup - perfect as the weather gets colder. Also in Rathgar.
MATT THE THRESHERS
32 Pembroke Street Lower, Dublin 01 676 2980, mattthethresher.ie ¤¤ Upmarket bar and seafood restaurant, Matt The Thresher can be pricey and has a crowd to match, but its excellent chowder makes it worth a trip. A large bowl of steaming, creamy chowder, packed with generous lumps of meaty white and smoked fish, mussels and served with excellent malt brown bread, it’s a meal in itself for ¤7.50. Add in a pint of Guinness and you’re good for the day.
Lebanese and Palestinian falafel (both ¤6), crammed with pickles, hummus, fried aubergine and more.
A chance to peek inside the Freemason’s Hall on Molesworth Street is an annual Culture Night favourite. Before you head in, stop across the road at
at 32A Dawson Street (littleass.ie) where you can pick up any burrito and drink for ¤7 until 5pm.
Up in Smithfield, there’s lots going on in Block T and the Lighthouse cinema, where you can watch four Irish Film Board
15 Capel Street, Dublin 1 01-532 80 68, musashidublin.com Unit 2, Burton Hall, Custom house Square, Mayor St Dublin 1 01-555 73 73, ¤ Dublin’s best sushi restaurant broke our hearts when it opened in far too small a room on Capel Street a few years ago. No bookings, scant space, you had to elbow your way in to try their delicious Ebi Tempura Masago rolls, slivers of spicy tuna or sashimi selection named after Japanese flowers. Thankfully its newer, larger sister restaurant in the IFSC makes it easier to access this taste of Japan. And the quality of their delivery menu is excellent, recreating the restaurant experience, even if you don’t have the cute Japanese furniture at home.
13/14 Cathedral St, Dublin 1, (01) 874 8038, mlchineserestaurant.com ¤ Claiming the spot as Dublin’s “most authentic Szechuan restaurant”, M&L has garnered a cult following thanks to its seemingly endless list of tasty, MSG-free dishes. Fans speak in hushed tones of the “Chinese-language menu” that (most likely doesn’t) have extra specialties on it. No matter, the English language one offers
shorts Rubaí, Ghost Train, The Missing Scarf and Cod from 6pm-8pm. Pop into
– above – at 56 Manor Place (asliceofcake.ie) where their delicious sourdough sambos (¤6.50)are available until 5.30pm or you can buy dinner (shredded duck salad with pomegranate, ¤10.50) and people-watch on the square.
For a taste of the past, head to a free event at the
on Island Street, Dublin 8 where you can sample food that was served in the 1820s at Dublin’s oldest charity.
delights such as braised seabass in hot and spicy sauce and steamed razor clams with rice noodles. The spicy beef is about 50 per cent chilli - only for the brave of constitution. 17 Camden Street Lower, Dublin, 01-405 2222, neon17.ie ¤ It’s a real bone of contention, the optimum technique with which to pull the biggest ice cream cone. Hours of rowdy research have gone into it (and an old Saturday job pulling endless cones for tourists may have gone unmentioned). Neon brought this all on themselves of course, with their clever idea of giving you a free, empty cone with every meal and letting you loose on their ice cream machine. Gimmicky, yes. But free ice creams do not a Thai restaurant make, so just as well their food is as much fun. Fast, spicy Asian favourites of noodles, curries, soups and wok-fried dishes, plus an excellent, explosive duck larb salad for just ¤6.50 (the ice cream comes in handy afterwards)
OUZO’S FISH SHACK
Dún Laoghaire East Pier, 01-210 1000, facebook.com/OuzosDublin ¤ Watching the sun go down over
A Slice of
If you want to test your tastebuds, come to Merrion Square for
an Irish Times event as part of Downstairs Dublin, where from 5pm-9.30pm chefs Robbie Krawczyk, Cathal Dunne and Nicky Halliday will be cooking dishes you can taste but not see while a team from Trinity’s neuroscience department and the Science Gallery teach you a little about your senses. It’s free in, but only eight people per sitting. First come, first served. Have a great night.
Dine in the Dark,
Dublin Bay while munching our way through fresh crab claws, lobster rolls and fish and chips is on our top-five list of death row meals. This fish shack on the Dún Laoghaire’s East Pier has all of the above (but no death penalty required to sample them). Prices below a tenner, open from midday to sunset. 58 Grand Canal Street Upper, Dublin 4. (01) 664 3658, juniors.ie/paulies-pizza.php ¤ Pizzas just like Mama used to make them (if you share your Mama with Joey Tribbiani, that is). Bustling pizza joint serving up New York-style chewy thin-crust wood-fired pizzas with a wide range of toppings - the ‘Junior’ uses butternut squash puree - some classic Italian pastas and sides. S Great George’s St, Dublin 2, (01) 478 9383, sanlorenzos.ie ¤¤ Pared back New York-style Italian restaurant, best known for its early birds and weekend brunches. Always loud, always busy. For brunch, we vote for the confit duck and spring onion hash potatoes, or if you’re feeling extravagant, splash out on the lobster eggs Benedict.
SCIENCENCE GAGALLERY FLUX CAFÉ
Science Gallery, Naughton Institute, Pearse Street, Trinity College, Dublin 2, 01 896 4091, sciencegallery.com ¤ An excellent spot for lunch or early dinner, the ground floor of the ever-evolving Science Gallery is a buzzy, vibrant spot. Many of the exhibitions spill over into the café, which you reach by passing through the gift shop - avert your eyes or prepare to spend. Instead, you can opt for a variety of sambos, platters, salads and soups. Best option is the stewp (no we’re not stewp-id, that’s how they spell it), a hearty hybrid of stew and soup - and only ¤6.
TERRA MADRE CAFE
13, Bachelor’s Walk, Dublin 1, (01) 873 5300 terramadre.ie, ¤ Food - and machismo - flown direct from Italy, Terre Madre calls itself a café, but it’s a lot more than that. In a blink-and-you-miss-it tiny basement room on the quays, it serves authentic Italian dishes made with Lardo di Colonnata, Campofilone egg pasta, Porchetta carpaccio and Terena Ascolana olive oil. We may once have ordered the Sicilian caper sprout bruschetta for starters and then again for dessert…