Best comfort food in Dublin…and where to find it!

Dublin might be most famed for its lively pub life and live music, but did you know it is a true foodies’ paradise, if you know where to go? Picture this: you’ve been exploring the fair city for a day, but now your feet hurt and you find yourslef craving a nice bowl of Irish stew, or maybe something sweet to go with your afternoon coffee. But how do you choose the best placet o eat, when there’s a pub (or two) on every corner? Luckily, I’m here to help! Read on to find out all about my favourite places to grab something to eat in Dublin!

Avoca

One of the best places for comfort food in Dublin is the food market, gift shop & bakery in one, called Avoca Handweavers. You’ll fin dit right at the heart of Dublin, just a few steps from the popular Grafton Street. This unexpectedly spacious building offers just about everything: from home-made jams to beautifully packed tea, herbs & spices, sweets, cakes and – last but not least – an array of hand-woven goodies to bring home as a quintessentially Irish souvenir. However, the real hidden gem is their restaurant on the top floor. If you make your way up, you’ll be rewarded with a delicious cup of coffee, cakes and other baked goodies to die for.

Home-made bread? Yes please!

Whether you to choose to stop by for a dessert, or sit down for a proper lunch, you’ll bound to leave with a filled belly and a happy feeling. My absolute favourite is any of the Avoca soups of the day – usually preatty heavy and creamy – with a piece or two of their famous bread (freshly baked in their own bakery!). Overall, this place is a delight – airy, light, with cute decor and the loveliest staff. It’s a popular spot for lunch, though, so it might be a bit crowded – but it is worth a wait, trust me. Even when the place is filled, it never feels rushed and you will be able to enjoy your meal any time of the day here.

Avoca Handweavers food market in the centre of Dublin
Avoca Handweavers – the best gift shop and restaurant in one

Opening times:

Mon – Tue – Wed – Sat 9.30 a.m. – 6 p.m. / Thu – Fri 9.30 a.m. – 7 p.m. / Sun 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Address: 11-13 Suffolk Street, Dublin 2

Price range: €€-€€€

The Hairy Lemon

An equally charming (and, admittedly, a bit quirky) place to grab a good lunch is The Hairy Lemon. This unconventional pub offers a surprisingly wide selection of good food, from pub classics (think bangers and mash, lamb shank) to healthier dinner options, such as calamari or salmon salad.

Located in a laid-back area (not far from the Gaiety Theatre), The Hairy Lemon has made it to the Dublin for Foodies! Trip Advisor list, and remains a popular choice for a night out in Dublin, with seven nights of live music a week.

Try the Five Lamps – locally brewed beer

One of the best discoveries I’ve here ar The Hairy Lemon was the fresh and fruity beer, called Five Lamps – served at many other places around the city, you’ll easily recognise it by their special ‘Irish slang’ glasses. This is so much time you’ll spend more time reading and trying to pronounce the phrases, than actually drinking your beer. Nevertheless, it is an excellent choice for any beer fan. Give it a go!

Opening times: Mon – Thu 11.30 a.m. – 11.30 p.m. / Fri – Sat 11.30 a.m. – 1.30 a.m. / Sun 12.00 a.m. – 11 p.m.

Address: 41-42 Stephen Street Lower, Dublin 2

Price range: €€

The Merchant’s Arch

If you’re looking for a cosy pub to warm up in at the end of a busy day, look no further: The Merchant’s Arch, located right off the famous Ha’Penny Bridge, is the place to be for both a nice pint of Guinness and an evening of fantastic live music. Even though it is quite a lively bar, you can find some quieter tables upstairs, where you can enjoy a burger or Irish stew. Unless you expect a fancy dining experience, you won’t be disappointed; the food is nice and the overall ambiance is amazing.

Beer lovers, unite: meet Chieftain

The Merchant’s Bar offers a good selection of craft beers, so if you’re not a Guinness fan, you might want to try the much lighter Chieftain. Brewed locally, in Cork, it is an award-winning IPA (Irish Pale Ale) beer with a delicious, fruity taste. It goes really well with fish and chips.

Bonus tip: the pub has one of the nicest Christmas decorations I’ve seen around town, so if you happen to be visiting Dublin during Christmas season, I’d definitely stop by!

Opening times: Mon – Thu 9.00 a.m. – 12.30 a.m. / Fri – Sat 9.00 a.m. – 3.00 a.m. / Sun 10.00 a.m. – 12.00 a.m.

Address: 48-49 Wellington Quay, Temple Bar, Dublin

Price range: €€ – €€€

The Lincoln’s Inn

If you’re looking for a pub with a unique atmosphere, try The Lincoln’s Inn. This traditional pub has been frequented by James Joyce himself (any Irish literature fans out there?), and his legacy lives on: there are numerous mentions of the love of his life, Nora Barnacle (who used to work here as a chambermaid), as well as photographs and newspaper snippets. Once you step inside, it feels like you’ve been transported back in time. Most of the tables are usually occupied by locals, who come here regularly to discuss just about everything (while grabbing a pint or two).

Lincoln's Inn Dublin city centre
Going back in time: The Lincoln’s Inn

Best curry in town

But besides this agreeable ambiance, they just happen to serve the best curry I’ve ever had. Believe me, it is worth the trip – located just opposite the National Gallery (which is free and very well worth a visit as well), you’ll find your own oasis of peace and calm here. It is not for nothing that this inconspicuous-looking pub received 4,5* rating on TripAdvisor.

Bonus tip: if you’re a bit of a beer fan, try one of the special beers they have on tap, inspired by James Joyce: Joyce’s Stour, Bloomsday Lager and Nora Barnacle’s Red Ale.

Opening times: Mon – Thu 8 a.m. – 11.30 p.m. / Sat 9 a.m. – 12.30 p.m. / Sun 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.

Address: 19 Lincoln Place, Dublin

Price range: €€ – €€€

Queen of Tarts

Even if you only have time for a quick stop on your explorations, make sure to pop by for the best scones in town. In my experience, when you come in for a quick cup of coffee, you’ll easily spend an hour just enoying the ambiance, as well as the said scones. My personal favourite are their classic scones with raspberry jam and whipped cream. Yum!

Scones and jam at Queen of Tarts
Best scones in town at Queen of Tarts

Needless to say, the staff is lovely (as pretty much everywhere else in Dublin), and the decorations are simple and cute at the same time. If you have a bit more time on your hands, make sure to visit the Gutter Bookshop just around the corner, for quirky Oscar Wilde-inspired souvenirs.

Opening times: Mon – Fri 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. / Sat – Sun 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Address: Cow’s Lane, Temple Bar

Price range: €€

Crabby Joe’s

Ok, so while this amazing restaurant technically isn’t in Dublin, you’ll have to believe me: it it absolutely worth the short trip to Howth. The thing is, while you might find some decent fish & chips in Dublin, nothing beats the fresh sea food you’ll find in Howth. This beautiful fishing village is situated on the coast, about 30 minutes by train from Dublin, and it offers some of the best sea food you’ll ever eat. Trust me. While there are plenty of restaurants to choose from my personal favourite is Crabby Joe’s, located right at the harbour. The interiors are incredibly cosy, the staff is friendly (they’ll call you ‘love’ and check whether you’re enjoying everything between the courses) and the variety of freash sea food they have on offer is amazing. Tip: if you’re not a fish fan, try their exquisite butternut squash soup.

Shrimp salad with lemon and veggies

Walk it off in Howth harbour

As a bonus, Howth will provide you with an excellent opportunity to walk off all the good food you’ve been sampling during your visit to Dublin. If you’re feeling a bit adventurous, this coastal village boasts a number of popular hiking routes along the cliffs, which offer breathtaking views. But even if you’re not much of a hiking fan, you can also choose to just go for a leisurely walk around the harbour, spotting the seals playing in the water and admiring the fancy yachts in the Howth Marina. One way or another, if you happen to have an extra day or a free afternoon while in Dublin, a short trip to Howth is definitely worth it. I promise you won’t regret it!

Opening times: Mon – Thu 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. / Fri – Sat 9 a.m. – 10 p.m. / Sun 9 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Address: 14 West Pier, Howth, Dublin

Price range: €€- €€€

I hope you’ll get the chance to try out at least some of these amazing places during your next trip to Dublin! And if you have any personal favourites, let me know in the comments – any tips or foodie inspiration are welcome!

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