SUNNY DINING SPOTS
May Day is almost upon us and despite the sleet, snow and hail this week, we are steadfast in our belief that summer is just around the corner… no matter how delusional we sound. So this week we’re looking at good spots for sunny meals in Dublin city centre.
Sun-trap seats are at a premium when the rain stops and it helps to know where gets the sun and at what time of the day.
For breakfast, head to the glass walled café on the roof of Marks &
Spencer Grafton Street (marksandspencer.ie). This bright café has an outdoor terrace (beware the monster seagulls) and some indoor seating if it’s bright but breezy. You can get a full Irish for ¤8.49 or some good pancakes with compote and crème fraiche for ¤3.99. Staff are friendly, if a little overworked. Open from 8am Mon- Sat and from 10am on Sundays. Just down the road,
Carluccio’s (52 Dawson Street, carluccios.com/restaurants/dublin) benefits from its dual aspect corner spot, with the morning sun hitting the outdoor seats on Duke Street. Breakfast is served from 7.30am on weekdays: try a rocket-fuel Napoli espresso (¤1.95) and the pane con maremllata di fiche – a selection of toasted breads, including rosemary and raisin and a very good walnut bread, with butter and sweet fig jam (¤4.95). Or if you fancy a treat, the Breakfast Magnifica is a hearty offering of free-range eggs, grilled pancetta, sausage, mushrooms and toasted Italian bread with juice and tea or coffee ¤11.95.
Also on Dawson St, Lemon Crepe & Coffee Company (60 Dawson St, lemonco.com) and Mooch Frozen
Yoghurt (4-5 Dawson St, moochme.ie) both have outdoor tables and are good for a mid-morning snack. Try Lemon’s enormous club galette, stuffed with chicken, bacon, lettuce, tomato and mayo ¤6.95, or try Mooch’s bowl of frozen yoghurt with blueberries, honey and hazelnuts (¤4.25 for a small). For lazier weekend brunches,
Herb Street (Hanover Quay, herbstreet.ie) on Grand Canal Dock gets some of the best sun in town. Expect to queue if it’s sunny, but the outdoor tables offer some excellent peoplewatching and the Eggos Mexicalos (baked eggs on a spicy tomato and chillis sauce with Swiss cheese and pulled pork, corn chips and guacamole, ¤14.95) will cure what ails you. Their chicken wings are excellent too, served with a Cashel Blue dip (¤10/¤16). Brunch from 10am at weekends.
If you can’t stand the wait, pop across the dock to Il Valentino Italian Bakery on the corner of Pearse St (ilvalentino.ie) and grab one of their coffees and a sugary ricciarelli almond cookie and sit by the water’s edge and watch the world go by. For lunch, head to The Woollen
Mills beside the Ha’penny Bridge (42 Ormond Quay Lower, Dublin 1, thewoollenmills.com) where their large first-floor terrace has a retractable roof and a gorgeous view of the Liffey. Though we’re still sore with them for discontinuing their amazing sausage rolls, the lunchtime soup and sambo offer (¤9.95) does include a very tasty Oritz tuna on potato sourdough with spinach, capers, guacamole, olives and tomato; and the curried crab claws on toast with samphire and chips is finger-licking good (¤24).
Castle Market, between Drury Street and South William St, is another sun trap, with JoBurger (4/5 Castle Market, joburger.ie) which serves massive organic burgers for a tenner at lunchtime (with lemonade or fries). They know the value of their outdoor seats here, so there’s a one-hour limit on the terrace tables at lunch. Across the road, La Maison serves French fare in its sheltered outdoor seating area (lamaisondublin.com). Try a proper gooey French omelette with chips and baby gem (¤11.50) or mussels and cockles with smoked pork belly and apple (¤13.50). For dinner, head south to Chez
Max, which has a lovely garden and terrace out the back of its Baggot St premises (chezmx.ie/baggot) with check table cloths to boot. A great spot for a lazy glass of wine and charcuterie and cheese boards, or try the early bird (two courses for ¤19, 5.30pm-7pm, Sun-Thurs) that includes French onion soup and a huge serving of Moules Frites.
Milano’s on the corner of Baggot Street and Haddington Road (milano.ie) has one of the loveliest terraces in town, with a large number of tables overlooking the canal, plus it stays sunny until very late on summer evenings. They serve simple pizzas, pastas and salads here. Try the Melanzanine (¤6.95), layers of marinated aubergine, with passata, mozzarella, basil and Gran Milano cheese. Or one of their Leggera pizzas – thin crusted with a hole in the middle full of salad. We like the American Hot (¤12.65) which is loaded with tomato sauce, pepperoni, mozzarella, and your choice of hot peppers. There’s a cheap and cheerful wine list – there’s a decent Valpolicella Ripasso (¤29.95) to sip while you watch the ducks float by.
– Rachel Collins bit.ly/HarrysBarFacebook ¤¤ Have you ever heard of the kind of restaurant that sits on a less than idyllic spot, perhaps next to a petrol station, but that foodies fawn over? Have you ever heard of the kind of restaurant that sits off the beaten track, perhaps next to a petrol station, that has food enthusiasts clambering into their cars to get to?
Harry’s is that kind of place. A totally unassuming location gives away to a passionate crowd of food lovers, whose main aim is to shout from the top of Malin Head about how great Inishowen produce is, as well as celebrating other great Irish producers.
You can follow proprietor Donal (that’s Harry’s son) on Twitter (@HarrysDonal) and if you ask him, he’ll tell you all about their walled garden a few minutes from the restaurant where they grow as much produce for their kitchen as possible. Check them out for lunch, early birds and evening meals. It’s a big place, with a large dining room with a good view of the kitchen pass, and an old-school family pub next door.
Their Sunday lunch is getting hard to beat, and three courses costs ¤20.95. For that, you could find yourself enjoying a walled garden onion tart with Coolea cheese, slices of roast Donegal turkey and ham with buttery onion and sage stuffing, followed by lemon posset with rhubarb.
So, if you’re hungry when you arrive in the beautiful Inishowen peninsula, make sure you stop off at Harry’s to eat.