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The 12 best Italian restaurants in Dublin

Dreaming of perfect pies and splendid spaghetti? These are the best Italian restaurants in Dublin for pizza, pasta and more

The amatriciana at Grano restaurant in Dublin
Photograph: Grano
By Nicola Brady |
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Think of Italian food, and you’ll likely drift off into a misty-eyed daydream, picturing perfectly charred pizza crusts, gooey burrata and forkfuls of delicate, fragrant tagliatelle. Unfortunately, when it actually comes down to it, la cucina italiana is one of the most bastardised cuisines out there, with sub-par chains slopping out overcooked pasta, overloaded pizza and plastic bread masquerading as bruschetta.

Thankfully, in Dublin at least, the shit stuff’s easily avoided – because this city’s home to a wide array of brilliant Italian restaurants, where the food that comes out of the kitchen looks just like it would at a proper Tuscan trattoria. Here you’ll find a plate of (surprisingly delicious) tripe alongside a decadently rich ragú, and a cosy neighbourhood kitchen where the owner’s mamma flies over to make the pasta right in front of your eyes.

So, if you are worn out after a day’s exploring this city’s marvellous attractions and things to do, dive straight into some of the best Italian food this side of Bologna. Dublin really can make your Italian food-themed dreams come true.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in Dublin

Best Italian restaurants in Dublin

1
Terra Madre
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp / Valeria B

Terra Madre

You might not expect to find a cracking restaurant down a small staircase by the River Liffey. But at Terra Madre, that’s just what you’ll get. Walk in, and you could almost be in Italy: the menu is tiny, with most of it based on traditional dishes the owners’ grandmothers made back home. The ravioli del ‘Plin’ is doused in black truffle, and the olive oil on each table is a spicy delight – splash it on the warm hunks of bread that emerge from the kitchen. 

Price: Mid-range

2
A seafood main at Rosa Madre restaurant in Dublin
Photograph: Rosa Madre

Rosa Madre

There’s always an element of spectacle at Rosa Madre. The focus here is on Italian seafood – dishes include things like a whole sea bass baked in salt and set alight as it comes out of the kitchen. Order a bottle of champagne and owner Luca de Marzio might just teach you how to open it with a sabre. But all the theatre doesn’t distract from the fact that this is some of the best Italian food in all of Ireland.

Price: Mid-range

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3
A fish main at Enoteca delle Langhe restaurant in Dublin
Photograph: Daniele Idini Photography

Enoteca delle Langhe

There are a handful of restaurants in what’s known – by its developers – as Dublin’s Italian Quarter. In truth, most offer brilliant food at surprisingly decent prices. But Enoteca delle Langhe is the place to go if you’re craving a first-rate bowl of pasta: they whip up a dreamy cacio e pepe, and their pumpkin ravioli is a masterpiece. Head down later on for a glass of wine and a cheese plate.

Price: Bargain

4

Osteria Lucio

The area around Dublin’s docklands can sometimes feel a little quiet in the evening – most of the crowds rushing around during the day are folk from Google and Facebook, who disappear come nightfall. Those who hang around are likely heading to Osteria Lucio, the restaurant co-owned by Ross Lewis, of the infamous Chapter One. Here the food is as beautiful as it is delicious, with highlights ranging from delicate platters of salumi to a homemade tagliatelle with duck ragú that’s damn near heavenly. 

Price: Mid-range

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5
A pizza from Pi Pizza in Dublin
Photograph: Pi Pizza / www.killianbroderick.com

Pi Pizza

One of the hottest tables in town – don’t blame us for the wait on a Saturday night – Pi Pizza actually wouldn’t feel out of place in Naples. Toppings are sparse but packed with flavour, like the spicy ’nduja drizzled with honey and chilli, and even the margherita packs a punch with its delicious fior di latte from Cork. This is a good shout for vegans, too – there’s an excellent number with cashew ricotta and courgette, as well as a classic marinara. 

Price: Mid-range

6
Cannoli at Da Mimmo restaurant in Dublin
Photograph: Da Mimmo

Da Mimmo

If you’re out by the North Strand, Da Mimmo is a must-visit. And even if you’re not, it’s worth making the trek for their pasta or wood-fired pizza. There’s huge variety on the menu, whether you want to keep things simple with buffalo mozzarella and basil, or go all out with Italian sausage and artichokes. The wine menu is top notch, and very reasonably priced to boot.

Price: Mid-range

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7
The amatriciana at Grano restaurant in Dublin
Photograph: Grano

Grano

Residents of Stoneybatter couldn’t believe their luck when this little spot popped up in 2018. A family restaurant in every sense of the word – their mamma comes over regularly to cook – this is where you’ll find genuine Italian cuisine at some of the best prices in town. Their cacio e pepe spaghetti comes swaddled in black truffle, and the pappardelle with wild boar ragù is pure heaven.

Price: Mid-range

8

Al Vesuvio

Temple Bar gets a bit of a bad rap, but there are some diamonds to be found in this bit of rough. On the edge of Meeting House Square, Al Vesuvio is a cosy little spot where you’ll find excellent small plates like bruschetta and carpaccio, as well as a copious menu of pasta dishes and secondi. Their oven-baked gnocchi is bathed in cheese and feels like a hug in a bowl. 

Price: Mid-range

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9
A meat course at Manifesto restaurant in Dublin
Photograph: Manifesto

Manifesto

You know a wine menu is good when it takes up half the table. There are 54 pages of wine at Manifesto, but don’t despair – the team know their stuff (and they won’t turn their noses up if you just want a glass of house white). The pizzas are exceptional, as are the pastas and mains, like slow-cooked lamb with aubergine puree, and chargrilled venison with violet chard and salsify. Order some deep-fried courgette, too – you won’t regret it. 

Price: Mid-range

10
The interior of Host restaurant in Dublin
Photograph: Host

Host

Since opening in 2017, Host has won legions of loyal fans, who now flock to Ranelagh to snaffle small plates to share over a bottle of Tempranillo or a white port and tonic. The menu is fairly small, but filled with winners, from a burrata with tomato and mint to a shiitake mushroom tagliolini. The warm chunks of focaccia that kick off every meal are divine.   

Price: Mid-range

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11

Bottega Toffoli

On a back street near Dublin Castle, this place isn’t always open, and sometimes only accepts reservations. But if you do wangle your way in, you’ll be treated to a stellar selection of pizzas, alongside a few specials, pasta dishes and salads. They pride themselves in sourcing ingredients from the very best Irish producers, so expect to find one-off seasonal treats on the menu, too. 

Price: Mid-range

12
A spaghetti dish at Dunne & Crescenzi
Photograph: Joanne Murphy

Dunne & Crescenzi

A favourite on the Dublin dining scene since 1999, Dunne & Crescenzi is a consistently excellent restaurant on Frederick Street South. There’s a whole menu of mozzarella and burratas, some excellent nibbles to kick things off with, and their wild mushroom ravioli is exceptional. There are other outposts in Sandymount, Dundrum and Kildare Village, too. 

Price: Mid-range

Craving a pint of the black stuff?

The exterior of Mulligan’s pub in Dublin
Photograph: Flickr / William Murphy
Bars and pubs, Pubs

The 11 best pubs in Dublin

If there’s one thing Dublin is known for, it’s pubs. While it isn’t quite true that you can’t cross the city without walking past one – that myth was debunked a couple of years back – there sure are a lot of pints to be had here.

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