Irish Eyes are Smiling: Spilled Milk #14
Plus, thoughts on travel and the pandemic.
This is a travel and food column.
And while we will get to saluting Ireland soon, some urgent business needs attention.
With events unfolding so quickly in Ukraine, and EU air travel restrictions in place, travel bans etc, please check all state and government web sites for closure information and travel planning. Go to www.travel.state.gov for all the latest info.
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And it’s not just Ukraine, Central Asia, Russia and Europe that’s of concern to me. So many travel ‘experts’ are suggesting lots of other places to travel and I think we need to be reminded that it’s not ALL CLEAR everywhere for carefree travel.
The pandemic is being generically dealt with here in America as a thing of the past.
That’s not reality. Like HIV or malaria or many other dangerous illnesses, Covid will always be with us in one form or another (check out this informative piece from The Atlantic). While almost 80 percent of Americans have a shot ,and while there are plenty of shots and boosters in other industrialized western countries, in the world’s poorest nations, over 3 billion people have not gotten their first shot. In the world’s low-income countries, 13 percent of population have not received a single shot. In the poorest countries, virtually no boosters. India’s government says that since shots went into arms, the death toll is at 500,000. Most experts peg the real number at closer to five million.
As good global citizens, let’s make sure that we treat everyone equally, and not declare a pandemic over until it’s over for all.
With St Patrick’s Day coming around, and with Ireland being one of my favorite places to visit especially in the springtime, I thought it might be a good idea to share some Dublin dining ideas with you. Tomorrow, along with a fun recipe, we will share some greater Ireland ideas.
Dublin Restaurant Recommendations
Few modern European cities can match Dublin’s mix of raucous spirit and super-hip energy. Old-school pubs and scratchy-voiced musicians aren’t the only thing that’s hot here… there has been a recent influx of young entrepreneurial-types who have been fostering a place where creativity and contemporary ideas can flourish. With this unique meshing of old and new, there is no better time to check out Dublin and these notable restaurants.
Known locally as “Grave Diggers” for its proximity to the biggest cemetery in Ireland, Glasnevin Cemetery, this pub serves fantastic coddle, a time-honored comfort stew of slow-cooked pork, onion and potato. From the food to homey atmosphere, this place will warm you from the inside out.
Exquisite everything, but the kitchen really shines when working with their amazing connections for local produce and seafood. There is nothing precious about the place, a hallmark of Irish finer dining restaurants. Don’t let all the glowing reviews fool you, this is a fun restaurant with great food.
Grilled meats are the star here, as are all the other Levant stalwarts. A great place for a group of 4 or 6 to share the whole menu.
The Stag’s Head
Opened in 1770 in the historic city center, The Stag’s Head exudes genuine Irish hospitality and hearty comfort foods. Order the bacon and cabbage—a simple but deliciously deep dish that layers thick slices of tender salt-cured pork loin over savory cabbage and mashed potatoes, topped with a classic parsley sauce.
Incredible French fare shot though the Irish prism and the mind of the Michelin starred Mickael Viljanen, who left The Greenhouse to take over this kitchen. Chapter One is a local favorite for special occasions. They have won numerous awards including Food & Wine’s: Best Restaurant, Best Chef, and Best Sommelier. If you can manage, try reserving the chef’s table for an extra special menu and experience. A real must.
The Pig’s Ear
With an unmistakable hot pink door and black-and-white stripe awning, The Pig’s Ear features contemporary takes on traditional Irish cuisine. Try their rendition of shepherd’s pie made with slow-cooked Lough Erne lamb from Northern Ireland and for dessert, the warm Guinness and date pudding served à la mode.
A super pub with arguably the best wood fired pizzas in town. I think that says it all.
L. Mulligan Grocer
Located in the Stoneybatter district, L. Mulligan Grocer is re-inventing the traditional Dublin pub in a great way. They have a vast selection of craft beers and source local ingredients for dishes like vegetarian scotch eggs, black pudding and apple bon bons, and turkey Kiev with ham hock stuffing.
A marble topped counter, superb wines and simply fried fish or roasted whole fish. If you need one seafood meal in Dublin, this one is THE one.
Coal-fired ‘robata’ style Malay/Irish cuisine that is hard to make sense of, except that it’s so fucking delicious. Barbecue beef rendang spring rolls are on every table. While there is a lot of meat on the, menu don’t skip any fish dish coming off their grill.
Run by the Higgs brothers, this south inner city restaurant operates without a sign outside or gas hook-ups, so almost everything is cooked over wood fire. That might not be enough to make you run there for dinner, but if you didn’t. you would be missing some of the best food in town in an atmosphere that is achingly cool without pretense.
The best Indian food, northern Indian to be more specific, in the whole city. The goat keema is what they are famous for, but the whole menu shines and you must try as much as you can, so go with a group if possible. Lunch is a steal for their tiffin boxes, but the dinner menu really shines.
A superb Italianate Irish restaurant from Kevin Burke. If you eat one Italian-inspired meal using local ingredients (the langoustines!), this should be the one
Doheny & Nesbitt
One of the oldest family-owned pubs in Dublin, this place is always packed and offers standard Irish pub fare like fish and chips and shepherd’s pie. Most of the original features have remained through the years, including the dark mahogany woodwork and glass fixtures, making Doheny & Nesbitt a cultural asset for the city.
The best of old Ireland in this frozen-in-time pub, serving some pretty superb fare. Heart soups, carved venison and a stunner of a bar upstairs for swankier drinks.
Gallagher’s Boxty House
Warm and inviting, Gallagher’s Boxty House is a rustic Irish restaurant in the lively Temple Bar neighborhood in central Dublin. With a small and focused menu, Boxty House is known for their namesake boxty—a traditional Irish potato pancake or bread that, over the years, has been adapted into multiple variants such as gnocchi-like dumplings and even crispy fries. Its central location keeps this place bustling with all types, sipping Guinness and patiently awaiting boxty platters featuring four varietals: dumplings, loaves, fries and pancakes.
The Winding Stair
Updated Irish home-cooking is the specialty of this quaint restaurant above the The Winding Stair bookstore. Enjoy the view of Dublin’s Liffey River and Ha-penny Bridge, while eating Irish seafood chowder with chorizo, cheddar mash, or an array of Irish charcuterie served with homemade bread.
It’s all the Fergus Henderson-inspired foods that the name implies. Think bone marrow and INSANE housemade breads… it’s a gastropub worthy of several trips, an ode to Fergus’ food vibe without being derivative.
Superb Chinese food, and don’t skip the Peking style duck… walk through the front into the back room that is about as bright and delightfully louche as it gets.
Been to Dublin? What are your favorite spots? Share in the comments!
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Very lucky for me, I have been thru Ireland in 2002, first stop was Dublin, I can't remember the restaurant name, but I remember it happened to be the same as one I've seen in the US (not a "chain" or anything). They had Fish and Chips, I know that sounded touristy but it was very good for a first meal in Ireland. Quickly on the Pandemic, very much agree, I understand everyone is eager to get past it, but personally I need to see the Headline in the Papers with "Covid is Over" for it to be truly over. Sorry finally very quick, just to mention his name, I saw Jose Andres in the news on the front lines helping out with food for the Ukraine Refugees...another class human being...!
Been to both Galllagher's and the Winding Stair. Both excellent!