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

The 13 best restaurants in Dublin right now

Get that appetite ready. All tastes (and budgets) are catered to when it comes to the best restaurants in Dublin

Written by
Nicola Brady
&
Amy O'Connor
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The people of Dublin have long cultivated a reputation for creativity, and that innovative streak extends to its kitchens. The chefs of the city are taking the recipes of yesteryear and twisting them into new and exciting shapes, serving up some delicious grub in the process. The true winners? The diners, obviously.

Here, the food is good and times are great. Our ranking of the best restaurants in Dublin attempts to capture just how diverse and exciting the food scene in this city is right now. Curated by Ireland-based writers Nicola Brady and Amy O'Connor, here you’ll find everything from meaty feasts and delicate veggie innovation to exciting fusion dishes. Tuck in! 

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This guide was recently updated by Amy O'Connor, a writer based in Dublin. At Time Out, all of our travel guides are written by local writers who know their cities inside out. For more about how we curate, see our editorial guidelines

Top restaurants in Dublin

Note
Photograph: Al Higgins

1. Note

At first glance, Note may seem like yet another bog standard wine bar and small plate spot. But look past its effortlessly cool facade and you'll discover a dining spot that successfully marries style and substance. Situated on Fenian Street, it boasts a vibrant, seasonal food menu as well as an expertly curated selection of wines. Visitors can enjoy a casual evening over snacks and small plates or splurge on the whole hog (starter, main and dessert). Either way, this is seriously elevated cooking that wouldn’t be out of place in London, Amsterdam or Paris. For a cost-effective outing, take yourself out for Sunday lunch where you can nab yourself a three-course set menu for €35.

Price: Mid-range

  • Restaurants
  • Irish
  • price 3 of 4

It didn't take long for Clanbrassil House to become a firm favourite among Dubliners. This tiny restaurant has a friendly neighbourhood feel, with exposed brick walls, chalkboards and high wooden tables. Expect standout starters like veal sweetbread and tuna crudo, and the ever-popular Hereford rib-eye for two. A side order of fried spuds with roast garlic mayo? Mandatory. 

Price: Mid-range

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  • Restaurants
  • French
  • price 4 of 4

If you want to go for one super-luxe, blowout meal when you’re in town, then Chapter One is the place to head. Yes, it’s pricey, and you’ll need to book in advance, but this is the pinnacle of fine dining in Dublin. As with most of the city’s fanciest restaurants, the lunch and pre-theatre menus offer tremendous value.

Price: High-end

4. Bambino

Saunter by Bambino on any given day and you’ll see a smattering of very excited looking people patiently waiting for their number to be called out. And with good reason. Since opening last year, this New York-style pizza slice shop has established itself as one of the best pizza joints in the capital.  The menu is deceptively simple  pizza slices, fountain soda and beer  but manages to hit the spot each time. Highlights include the Hot Pep, a spicy pepperoni number drizzled in hot honey, and the incredibly moreish courgette and ricotta. You can pick up two hefty slices plus a can of their house beer for €14.50, making it one of the best-value meals in the city. 

Price: Bargain

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  • Restaurants
  • Burgers
  • price 1 of 4

If you’re craving a burger, then Bunsen is your only man, as Dubliners would say. With multiple outposts dotted across the city, it’s the perfect spot to pop into for a dinner that’s quick and satisfying. The menu is so small it fits on a business card – they only do one thing, but boy, do they do it well. The patties are minced every morning and dripping pink and juicy, while the hand-cut fries are quite possibly the best in town. Wash it all down with a glass of their signature pale ale, developed in conjunction with Dublin-based brewery Whiplash. Outstanding. 

Price: Bargain

Etto
Photograph: Etto / Paolo Polesel

6. Etto

You’re all but guaranteed an amazing meal at this intimate spot on Merrion Row. The Etto menu brims with dishes you’ll be dreaming of for months after you lick your plate clean, and there’s a great value weekday lunch menu for two courses. Dishes often change by the day, but be sure to order a side of crispy hashed potatoes with Lyonnaise onions, and the red wine prunes with vanilla mascarpone for dessert. If enjoying a romantic dinner for two, consider the Côte de Boeuf. It comfortably serves two and is one of the best in the city. 

Price: Mid-range

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  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • price 2 of 4

Temple Bar isn’t exactly known for its first-rate dining options, but there are a few winners among the tourist-trap bars hawking €9 pints. Banyi is one of the city’s best sushi spots  it’s unpretentious, casual and reasonably priced. The tempura prawn and avocado roll is a winner, and the sashimi is quiveringly fresh. You'll also find comforting rice bowls and big, steaming bowls of ramen on the menu  the perfect pick-me-up for grey, gloomy days.

Price: Bargain

  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • price 2 of 4

This tiny Italian joint only has a few tables, but the food coming out of the kitchen is exquisite. This is the kind of earthy food you’d be served in a Tuscan village, with moreish pasta dishes and traditional secondi. The plates of pasta are rich and prepared perfectly, with just the right amount of flavour packed into the sauces, while the involtini di bresaola, a starter of lean beef wrapped around celery and aged parmesan, is nothing short of heavenly.

Price: Mid-range

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Michael’s
Photograph: Michael’s

9. Michael’s

Michael's, down in Mount Merrion, has a cult-like following among Dubliners. And with good reason – head chef and owner Gaz hand-picks the best the local waters have to offer each day, and there’s a cracking wine list. You can’t go wrong with anything on the menu here, but for the ultimate treat, go for one of the restaurant’s signature sharing platters. Choose from the seafood platter or the surf n’ turf, both served with lashings of herby garlic butter. For something more casual, wander a few doors down to Little Mike’s, which has more of a wine bar feel.

Price: Mid-range

Pi
Photograph: Pi Pizza / www.killianbroderick.com

10. Pi

Join the inevitable line at the door, put your name on the list and order a pint while you wait for a table to come free - because Pi continues to be one of the hottest tickets in town. Rest assured, though: the pizza is worth the wait. The crust is charred, chewy and perfectly done, and the toppings, including Irish chorizo and artisan cheeses, are divine. Be sure to leave space for dessert – their vanilla ice cream, topped with extra virgin olive oil and sea salt, is dreamy.

Price: Mid-range

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  • Restaurants
  • price 3 of 4

It’s still (inexplicably) a little off the radar, but Mr Fox is serving up some of the finest food in the city, hands down. It operates a seasonal set menu, focused on impeccable ingredients served simply – think juicy lamb with smoked ricotta and black garlic or langoustine carpaccio. Save room for dessert, too, as they are serious about that around here. Vegetarians are catered for with a vegetarian set menu, but do note that there is currently no vegan set menu.

Price: High-end

12. Fish Shop

If it's seafood you’re after, make it your business to stop by Fish Shop in Smithfield. This modestly sized seafood bar does exactly what it says on the tin, serving up everything from traditional fish & chips to Irish oysters and mussels. The Fillet o’ Fish Burger is one of the stars of the menu but don’t look past the delicious snacks, including smoked haddock croquettes and anchovy and Russian salad on toast. Prop yourself up at the counter and enjoy with a glass of wine or sherry from their extensive wine list. Warning: space is tight so be sure to book in advance. 

Price: Mid-range

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  • Restaurants
  • Middle Eastern
  • price 2 of 4

It opened during the dark years of the recession, but Brother Hubbard has gone from strength to strength, recently expanding its branch on the vibrant Capel Street. By day, it offers a vibrant Middle Eastern-inspired breakfast and brunch menu with a baba ganoush aubergine plate and lamb shawarma plate to die for. At night, it transforms into a restaurant with sharing plates and mains – think flatbreads served with labneh and Lebanese-style chicken wings with feta-yoghurt dip. 

Price: Mid-range

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