Despite popular belief, you’ll find some delicious traditional Irish food in Dublin – you just need to know where to look!
When people talk about ‘Irish food’, they tend to reference the likes of Coddle or Boxty, but there’s a lot more to traditional Irish dishes than these two.
In fact, there’s some glorious restaurants in Dublin that do magical things with local ingredients and immense talent.
Below, you’ll find the best Irish restaurants in Dublin, from The Old Mill and Sheehan’s to Delahunt and more. Dive on in!
Where to find traditional Irish food in Dublin
In the first section of our guide, I’ll take you through specific Irish foods (like Coddle, Irish Stew, etc.) and tell you which are the best Irish restaurants in Dublin to find each of them.
The second section of the guide looks at the finest places to grab Irish food in Dublin, from fine dining to casual cafes.
A good coddle is like a cuddle in a bowl; it’s warm and inviting, it soothes and nourishes, and it’s absolutely delicious. The dish itself is a slow-cooked one-pot masterpiece, and the name ‘coddle’ comes from the gentle simmering that cooks it.
A traditional Dublin coddle will include chunks of pork sausage alongside thick-cut bacon rashers, sliced potatoes and onions. It’s also usually served with plenty of soda bread to soak up the broth.
The Irish cousin to a French rösti, or a Jewish latke, it’s a potato pancake that has a distinct almost dumpling-like texture.
Made from a mixture of grated raw potato and mashed cooked potatoes, it’s bound together with flour, salt and pepper, and fried in butter until golden brown.
Once cooked, in either individual or larger servings that need to be cut up, it can be served alongside just about anything.
From breakfast with poached eggs, bacon, and roasted tomatoes, to an afternoon or teatime treat with melted cheese and ham, or smoked salmon and crème fraîche. Try them at Gallagher’s Boxty House – our favourite of the many restaurants in Temple Bar.
3. Irish stew
If you’re travelling to Ireland, you must have heard of Irish stew. It’s a world-famous traditional dish of slow-cooked oh-so-tasty and melt-in-your-mouth mutton, onions, and potatoes.
A far more common modern interpretation uses lamb, which lacks the true depth of flavour, and can often include carrots and/or pearl barley.
The cardinal crime, however, is weak and runny gravy; instead, it should be rich, thick, and luxuriant and able to be mopped up with mashed potato or soda bread. Go to The Brazen Head for an authentic version!
4. Irish soda bread
Quick to make, and even quicker to eat, soda bread is every baker’s dream loaf, and it’s one of the more popular Irish food amongst visiting tourists.
Whether you prefer it made from stone ground wheat flours, or slightly sour rye, maybe with some honey, dried fruit, or bran and oats, Irish soda bread is the loaf that can be customised and personalised to your tastes.
Served as part of afternoon tea, alongside a bowl of stew or coddle, soda bread is a must-eat when visiting Ireland. To sample the best loaves on offer, head over to The Bakehouse or The Bakery, both of which are in Temple Bar.
5. Cockles and Mussels
A visit to Ireland’s coastline wouldn’t be complete without trying some of their famous shellfish, and there’s none more famous than cockles and mussels.
Served pickled or in a white wine and cream sauce, cockles and mussels are absolutely delicious, especially when someone else does all the hard work of shelling them!
In years gone by, shellfish has received some bad press, and that’s not fair, as these protein powerhouses have been a dietary staple for aeons (as Molly Malone will attest!).
What we think are the best Irish restaurants in Dublin
The second section of our guide is packed with places that we think dish up the best Irish food in Dublin. These are places that one or more of The Irish Road Trip Team have eaten in.
Below, you’ll find everywhere from The Old Mill and Trocadero to The Winding Stair and some often missed traditional Irish restaurants in Dublin.
1. The Old Mill Restaurant
Just south of Ha’Penny Bridge is one of the best-kept dining secrets. The Old Mill is a quaint eatery that’s mostly frequented by locals, and those visitors who’re in the know.
Don’t be fooled by the decor, the food is top-notch and packed full of flavour to boot! It’s here you’ll find authentic Irish stew, the famous Wicklow Lamb Shank, a Dublin coddle that’ll put your world to rights, and a slow-cooked beef and Guinness stew.
A family business for generations, Sheehan’s is a Dublin institution and beloved by all who’ve had the pleasure.
Whether you need to wet your whistle after exploring the streets of Portobello, or you’re looking for a bite to eat before a big night out, at Sheehan’s you’ll only find the finest Irish foods.
Book a table and try their braised lamb shanks, traditional fish and chips, or of course the beef and Guinness pie. The also have an amazing Irish Oak Smoked Salmon, and a Cajun chicken Caesar salad if your taste buds want to wander off the Irish menu.
3. The Winding Stair
The menu is in the style of nouvelle cuisine and fine dining, so it’s best to go with that in mind. But, when it comes to local produce, you’re in for a feast!
The Wooded Pig Irish charcuterie board, Corleggy goat cheese and onion squash salad, Craigies cider-braised pork cheeks, and line-caught ray wing, and a chocolate and stout mousse with peanut praline are but a few of their exceptional dishes. Irish cuisine doesn’t come any better.
Towards the southern edge of Portobello, Delahunt restaurant serves up the best seasonal and local produce in what they call a ‘relaxed and welcoming setting’.
The aesthetic is formal, with dark wooden chairs and leather-backed booth seating, marble tabletops, and polished cutlery with long-stemmed glasses. It’s the place you go for a memorable dinner out.
You can expect seasonal changes in the menu, but it’s not uncommon for dishes like pomme soufflé with cheddar and leek, monkfish with curried peas and aubergine, or an almond custard tart with nectarine yoghurt.
If you’re looking for fancy spots to try Irish food in Dublin, you really can’t go wrong with an evening at Delahunt.
Set amid the art deco influences of trendy Temple Bar, Trocadero is the finest in Dublin dining experience. Close your eyes, sit back at your linen-covered table, and listen to the waiter describe the day’s specials, just try not to be swept away by the beauty of the building!
Their menu also features specialist Irish suppliers like Wicklow lamb, Duncannon Monkfish, and Wicklow Blue Brie cheese. They also use seasonal vegetables, so sides and menu items are likely to change throughout the year.
Pubs doing hearty Irish food in Dublin
Now that we have the best Irish restaurants in Dublin out of the way, it’s time to see what else the capital have to offer.
Below, you’ll find a handful of pubs that are knocking up some of the best traditional Irish food in Dublin.
1. The Brazen Head
The oldest pub in Dublin, The Brazen Head is one stop you really shouldn’t miss. If you’re heading out for a night on the craic, you won’t go wrong by starting here for your evening meal.
Try their Roaring Water Bay Steamed Mussels, or the beef and Guinness stew to prepare you for the night ahead.
The vegan Shepherdless Pie is so good even meat-eaters get stuck in! Want something sweet to finish off with? Then it’s the Bailey’s cheesecake or chocolate fudge cake you want.
2. Brannigans (Cathedral St.)
Brannigan’s is a ‘pub and kitchen’ that started way back in 1854, and has been a traditional family-run gastro pub in more recent years.
Open for lunch and dinner, the menu offers all the dishes you’d expect to see, plus an excellent traditional Irish lamb stew, bangers and mash, and a beef and Guinness casserole – an even heartier cousin to the stew!
Something sweet to finish? We thought you’d never ask, so don’t miss out on their homemade apple crumble, or their traditional Bailey’s Irish cheesecake!
O’Neill’s pub and kitchen, which dates back to 1713, and has been serving locals for nearly three hundred years!
Live music, fine ales and spirits, and of course the best of the Irish larder will all be found at this establishment. It’s a lively place, with games broadcast, and plenty of punters out for a good time, but isn’t that what a pub should be?
Grab a table and get stuck into their traditional fare, along with daily specials. They also do a wicked carvery, and an all-day breakfast!
4. The Celt
Think polished wooden tables, walls covered in pictures of days past, a bar where pints are pulled in the old style, and the lighting is soothing so you can focus on talking and drinking. That’s The Celt, and what makes it even better is their menu!
Enjoy some smoked haddock, cod, and salmon chowder, or perhaps Clonnany farm bangers and mash or their 100% Irish beef burger, all whilst sipping away on your Guinness and listening to some live music. Perfect.
Great Irish food in Dublin: Where have we missed?
I’ve no doubt that we’ve unintentionally left out some brilliant places for traditional Irish food in Dublin from the guide above.
If you have a place that you’d like to recommend, let me know in the comments below and I’ll check it out!
FAQs about the best Irish restaurants in Dublin
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘Where do I get the best Irish food in Dublin on a budget?’ to ‘Where does the best Irish stew in Dublin?’.
In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.
What are the best Irish restaurants in Dublin?
I’d argue that the best Irish food in Dublin can be found at Delahunt, Trocadero, The Winding Stair, Sheehan’s and The Old Mill Restaurant.
Where are the most casual places for traditional Irish food in Dublin?
If you’re looking for casual Irish restaurants in Dublin, Gallagher’s Boxty House, O’Neill’s and The Celt are great options.