Expert recommendations for the best places to eat in four price ranges: budget ($), moderate ($$), expensive ($$$), and luxury ($$$$)
Attractive, light-filled café perched above charming shop near Trinity College; thick homemade soups, fresh salads, and hearty sandwiches. 11–13 Suffolk Street, Trinity College, Dublin 2; tel. 353 0 1 672 6019. www.avoca.ie
Museum Café at the National Museum of Ireland-Archaeology and History
More than just a typical museum café; informal but classy with beautiful mosaic floor; known for sandwiches, quiche, and cakes. National Museum of Ireland-Archaeology, Kildare Street, Dublin 2; tel. 353 0 1 677 7444.
The place to go when it’s cold and you’re hungry but money is a bit short; healthy portions of traditional Irish fried fish fillet and some thick French fries wrapped together in paper; find a place to sit nearby and dig in. 2 Werburgh Street, Dublin 8; tel. 353 0 1 454 0306.
Queen of Tarts
Small cake shop is a great spot for a light lunch of quiche or salad; finish up with a delicate scone, big slice of cake, or an irresistible homemade pastry. 4 Cork Hill Dame Street, Dublin 2; tel. 353 0 1 670 7499.
Alexis Bar and Grill
Lovely bright bistro in seaside Dun Laoghaire; local foods form French-influenced dishes ranging from a tatin of caramelized onion and goat cheese with beetroot dressing to slow-roasted pork belly with mustard potatoes, and a fig and apple compote; well-priced wine list. 17-18 Patrick Street, Dun Laoghaire, County Dublin; tel. 353 0 1 280 8872. www.alexis.ie
Modest looking but highly rated second-floor restaurant; excels at light versions of European cuisine such as vegetable curry with homemade chutney, fillet of organic Clare Island salmon with red pepper sauce; funky atmosphere; lots of art to view and newspapers to read. 100-102 Talbot Street, Dublin 1; tel. 353 0 1 874 5011.
Seats in this warm, French-influenced bistro can be hard to come by; attracts a Prada-clad crowd; featured items on the changing menu include whole roast sea bass with new potatoes and chive beurre blanc, and venison casserole with juniper and organic root vegetables. 1 Fade Street, Dublin 2; tel. 353 0 1 675 3708.
Beloved café recently reworked into a sleek, gorgeous restaurant; wood floors, big windows, and stunning river views; dishes are modern interpretations of Irish favorites—steamed mussels and homemade chips with aioli, and Irish lamb chops with cheesy potato bake, greens, and red wine gravy. 40 Lower Ormond Quay, Dublin 1; tel. 353 0 1 872 7320. www.winding-stair.com
Romantic, unusual restaurant with granite walls; seasonally based meals emphasize Irish organic produce in French-influenced dishes such as sea bream, roast fennel, braised squid, tomato, and shellfish sauce. Tip: Book a table for the three-course pre-theater menu served 6-7 p.m., Tuesday-Saturday. 18-19 Parnell Square, Dublin 1; tel. 353 0 1 873 2266. www.chapteronerestaurant.com
Restaurant Bon Appétit
Silk-covered walls, crystal chandeliers, cream decor; luxurious ingredients featured in fresh menu items such as slow-roasted pork belly with king scallops and Muscat pumpkin puree, and a risotto of crab with avocado sorbet. 9 St. James Terrace, Malahide, Co. Dublin; tel. 353 0 1 845 0314. www.bonappetit.ie
Glamorous eatery specializing in Irish produce and meat—think seared wild Irish venison. Tip: Opt for the more affordable two-course lunch menu. 109 Lower Baggot Street, Dublin 2; tel. 353 0 1 661 1919. www.lecrivain.com
The Tea Room
Stylish, minimalist dining room; white walls, simple wood chairs, fresh flowers, and crisp linens on each table; Irish game (breast of Barbary duck with minted peas, Moroccan lemon paste, and bigarade sauce) and seafood top the menu; a favorite of celebrities visiting Dublin. The Clarence Hotel, 6–8 Wellington Quay, Dublin 2; tel. 353 0 1 407 0813.
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