For many, the notion of eating out in Dublin conjures up visions of pub hopping, baskets full of soda bread and a daily dose of steamed and starchy potatoes. But on a recent trip to Dublin, I set myself on a mission to avoid the standard pub grub and am happy to say I successfully tapped into a uniquely local interpretation of Irish cuisine.
In the heart of Temple Bar sits Gallagher’s Boxty House, which opened its doors in 1989 and ever since has been serving up traditional northern midland cuisine to hungry locals and curious tourists.
The menu at Gallagher’s focuses on Irish boxty, a dish that contains grated raw potatoes, flour, baking soda, buttermilk and egg. Interpretations include a griddle fried crêpe offering as well as steamed dough reminiscent of Italian gnocchi. My boxty crêpe was filled with cured Irish corned beef and cabbage, which sat in a rich and creamy parsley sauce.
Without a doubt the Irish love their tea and there’s no better spot in town to relax your afternoon away than the Four Seasons Hotel. Be sure to treat yourself to its Deluxe Afternoon Tea, which starts the ritual with a refreshing glass of Perrier-Jouet Belle Epoque Champagne.
Afternoon Tea at the Four Seasons Dublin is an indulgent one, so bring an empty stomach, good conversation and prepare to relax with close friends. The program here offers a selection of loose leaf teas, dainty sandwiches, warm scones with Devon cream and preserves and a wild assortment of sweets.
Chef Dylan McGrath is a culinary superstar in Ireland. He recently opened Fade Street Social, an 8,000-square-foot elegant restaurant space featuring high ceilings, an open kitchen, a cute bar and a menu that celebrates the farmer.
Fade Street Social wows with its creative cocktail offerings. Two of the beverages I sampled featured carrot and beetroot juices, a homage to the country’s roots. The kitchen features a beautiful wood-fired oven that produces addictive thin-crust pizzas. I devoured the pumpkin, pork and chestnut pie.
If you want to wine and dine yourself in Dublin with the likes of Bono and Bon Jovi, be sure to make a reservation at The Shelbourne Hotel’s Saddle Room. A national treasure built in 1824, The Shelbourne Hotel has been magnificently restored and is wildly known as the crème de la crème in five-star accommodation and dining.
Whisk your way past the oyster bar and open kitchen and you’ll find The Saddle Room offers a sophisticated yet relaxed space to sample some of the city’s finest dishes. The chef here focuses on showcasing local producers. The salad of St. Tola goat’s cheese with beetroot, apple and candied pecans was a delight.
In the heart of downtown Dublin sits one of the most eclectic, eye-popping restaurant interior designs I have ever encountered. 37 Dawson Street offers a wild splash of colour, textural jubilee, purse-adorned chandeliers and busts of moose and bison.
Once you’ve finished taking in the restaurant’s funky décor, the fun continues into the kitchen’s American gastro-pub-centric menu. Be sure to pay a visit to its Whisky Bar, where you can sample endless bottles of the country’s favourite spirit. Remember to sniff, swish and sip.