Ireland might be better known for its national brew than its cuisine, but the Irish capital has come a long way since the days of corned beef and cabbage. A wide range of restaurants now line the capital’s streets, serving up a variety of international fare, but if you’re looking to sample some authentic Irish dishes the best place to go is the local pub.
The national dish is the hearty Irish lamb stew – a slow cooked blend of meat, vegetables and potatoes – and it’s still a staple on pub menus. Look out for other old-fashioned classics like champ (a mix of scallions, mashed potatoes and butter), colcannon (kale or cabbage mashed into buttery potatoes) or black pudding (a breakfast special made from barley and cow’s blood). A favorite of Ulysses author James Joyce, the Davy Dyrnes pub on Gafton Street serves up a good selection of traditional Irish home cooking with some delicious pie and mash dishes and the popular O’Neill’s Pub does a good Irish stew doused in Guinness. Make sure you sample the so-called ‘Gaelic Steak’ too – a huge slab of beef cooked up in Irish whiskey. Whatever you order, make sure you mop it up with a few slices of yummy Irish soda bread (bread leavened with baking soda).
If the old school recipes strike you as a little bland, head to the Temple Bar Farmer’s Market for some homegrown foods that show off Ireland’s gastronomic credentials to the fullest. The Saturday market is a playground for food lovers, with artisan cheese and bread makers, seafood fresh from the coast and plenty of ready-to-eat innovations. Be sure to stop by the Nóirín’s Bakehouse stall for some delicious baked goods and pay a visit to John Mac’s makeshift restaurant to sample some of the finest oysters in the capital. The recent cheese making resurgence can also be enjoyed at Sheridan’s Cheese mongers, where countrywide specialties like Cork’s soft Milleens cheese, the crumbly Cashel Blue and the cheddar-like Bandon Vale are all popular choices.
- Zoe Smith