Dublin’s food scene is thriving. Along every street, we saw places that looked happening and cool. The menus in the windows drew us in, with a variety of cuisines and dishes. There were so many places to eat, so many reasons to come back and feast. If you’ve only got two days, however, here are two places for a nice dinner with fresh and local ingredients not to miss.
The Winding Stair, named after a Yeats poem, is a beautiful chic restaurant above the River Liffey, with a cute cafe and bookshop on the ground floor. With a wall of wines, an open kitchen, rustic ruined tables and chairs, and purple and yellow flowers, the atmosphere is happy and pleasant. The dress is smart casual-tourist. The food was so fresh and wholesome, a contemporary French-Irish fusion. They have a three course monthly set menu, full of local and seasonal dishes. I started with the James McGeogh’s smoked white pudding fritter, with mixed beetroot and frisee salad and duck and apple ketchup. The fritters with a funnel cake-crunchy outside were hearty and went perfectly with the sweet, smooth applesauce condiment. The salad was bright and fresh. For the main I had Doran’s mackerel fillets with fried potato, samphire, and piccalilli. It was delightful. A crisp mackerel, not oily, with fresh potatoes and green samphires topped with a yellow pickled mix of pickles, green beans, peppers, cauliflower, and onions beautifully plated with fabulous color. It was €26.95 for the two courses, lunch is €19.95, and was well worth the price. The beautiful view and the dappled sunlight through the window created a lovely Dublin dining experience.
Mulligans Grocer is a bar, pub, and restaurant on the northside of Dublin near the River Liffey. They have an expansive variety of beers and wines, and even pair each dish. A quirky dinner place, where they reserve tables with scrabble pieces and serve the menu in old books. As a grocer, they make sure to list exactly where they are sourcing their local ingredients. For a starter, we shared the Ploughman’s Platter, which was a little small for the five of us. It was served with Hegarty’s Cheddar Style Cheese, House made Piccalilli, pickles, and relish with two slices of sourdough bread. It was delicious, and I really loved the pickles. For our mains, we ordered the Bacon Cheeseburger, the Vegetarian Burger, and the Moules Frites (Ireland is known for their fresh mussels and seafood). The Cheeseburger was huge, and the Vegetarian burger was delicious, and uniquely served with sesame seeds in the patty. The mussels were served a chunky wine and tomato sauce with coriander. The twice cooked chips were crunchy and fantastic. We got the beers to match, the Brown Paper Bag Project Shmoake which was smokey and the Orkney Hopper, a lighter carmel version of Guinness. For dessert, I had the Chocolate and Earl Grey Mousse, which was divine. Served in a teacup with homemade shortbread, pistachios, and rose bits, it was adorably delicious. It was a casual, happening atmosphere, and the prices were pricey, but worth it, about €27 per person. Overall, a delicious local experience – there were definitely no tourists here.