Dublin Environs Restaurants

Dining out in the area is usually a casual affair, but Dublin's top restaurateurs are influencing the cooking—and the prices—at the finer establishments outside the capital. The economic downturn has also encouraged smaller, innovative, and, above all, good-value restaurants like Las Rada to spring up in unlikely places like Naas. Chefs hereabouts have a deep respect for fresh, locally grown and raised produce. You'll find everything from Continental-style meals to hearty ploughman's lunches.

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  • 1. Aimsir

    $$$$

    This new sensation of Irish cuisine was awarded not one but two Michelin stars only months after it opened. It didn't come as a surprise...

    This new sensation of Irish cuisine was awarded not one but two Michelin stars only months after it opened. It didn't come as a surprise to those in the know, with the husband-and-wife team of Jordan and Majken Bech Bailey both having worked in some of Europe's most feted eateries. The name, pronounced "imshur," is Irish for weather, and the focus here is Irish food and produce, played with and transformed in inventive new ways. The fifteen course (don't worry, many are petite little offerings) tasting menu includes wonders like Flaggy Shore oyster in roasted koji butter and Dublin Bay skate with leeks and chicken-skin butter sauce. Each course can be matched with either wine, beer, cider or some very inventive juice concoctions. The stark, modern dining room is in contrast to the lively cocktail bar when the inventions continue.

    Lyons Rd., Celbridge, Co. Kildare, Co. Kildare, Ireland
    01-630--3500

    Known For

    • Unique nonalcoholic pairing menu
    • Impeccable service
    • Bucket-list dining experience

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Sun.--Tues. No lunch.
  • 2. Roundwood Inn

    $

    Travel back to the 17th century at this evocatively furnished inn, distinguished by its wooden floors, dark furniture, and diamond-shape windows. The place is best...

    Travel back to the 17th century at this evocatively furnished inn, distinguished by its wooden floors, dark furniture, and diamond-shape windows. The place is best known for its wonderful, hearty game and seafood lunches and dinners that are served in a nook of the bar—try the glorious cream of seafood soup. They also do a mean Sunday lunch. The menu blends Continental and Irish cuisines, reflecting the traditions of the German proprietor, Jurgen Schwalm, and his Irish wife, Aine. Highlights include an excellent seafood platter of salmon, oysters, lobster, and shrimp, along with a rich Hungarian goulash.

    Main St., Roundwood, Co. Wicklow, Ireland
    01-281–8107

    Known For

    • Hearty Sunday lunch
    • Historic setting
    • Game and seafood dishes

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: Reservations essential
  • 3. Square Restaurant

    $$$

    Award-winning young chef Conor Halpenny returned to his hometown to open this impressive little eatery right on the Market Square. The setting is simple and...

    Award-winning young chef Conor Halpenny returned to his hometown to open this impressive little eatery right on the Market Square. The setting is simple and cozy, with a small room dominated by the big window looking out onto the bustling square. But the food is a bit special, with a genuine focus on local produce. Thrilling starters include the smoked trout with buttermilk dressing, fennel, kohlrabi and dill and the venison with celeriac, brussels sprouts, and green peppercorn is a standout main. Try the wickedly seductive beef fat chips as a side if you dare. 

    6 Market Sq., Dundalk, Co. Louth, Co Louth, Ireland
    042-933--7969

    Known For

    • Best food for miles around
    • Exceptional service
    • Great vegetarian options

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Mon.--Wed. No lunch.
  • 4. The Green Barn

    $$$

    Look out the floor-to-ceiling windows and see the veggies that you're about to eat growing in front of you at this family-run, organic restaurant in...

    Look out the floor-to-ceiling windows and see the veggies that you're about to eat growing in front of you at this family-run, organic restaurant in a revamped barn on the rolling grounds of gorgeous Burtown House. Seasonal and homegrown are the buzzwords on the small, ever-changing menu, where Irish beef ribs with sauteed Savoy cabbage and herb mash is melt-in-the-mouth perfect. The chocolate ganache with sea salt and vanilla ice cream is the pick of the desserts. Burtown House is a small trip out of town on the way to Athy.

    Kildare, Co. Kildare, Co. Kildare, Ireland
    059-862--3865

    Known For

    • Stunning setting
    • Family-friendly junior menu
    • Heated outdoor dining

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Jan., and Mon. and Tues. No dinner Wed.--Fri. and Sun.
  • 5. The Hungry Monk

    $$

    The cloisters-and-refectory-style decor is definitely tongue-in-cheek at this upbeat, fun restaurant in sleepy Greystones, an old-fashioned seaside resort a couple of miles south of Bray....

    The cloisters-and-refectory-style decor is definitely tongue-in-cheek at this upbeat, fun restaurant in sleepy Greystones, an old-fashioned seaside resort a couple of miles south of Bray. Dinner is served by candlelight and the menu specializes in uncluttered seafood dishes in summer and wild game on cold winter nights. Owner Pat Keown is a great host, and his laughter and love of good food and fine wine are contagious. Sunday lunches, in the bar area, are famous for their length (they often last into the early evening) and for the lively atmosphere.

    1 Church Rd., Greystones, Co. Wicklow, Ireland
    01-287–5759

    Known For

    • Delicious seafood symphony
    • Wicklow game pie with champ potato
    • Fun and friendly atmosphere

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Mon. and Tues. No lunch Wed.–Sat.
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  • 6. The Strawberry Tree

    $$$$

    Claiming to be Ireland's first "certified organic restaurant," this idyllic spot is tucked away in a rural valley as part of the BrookLodge Hotel. Dunmore...

    Claiming to be Ireland's first "certified organic restaurant," this idyllic spot is tucked away in a rural valley as part of the BrookLodge Hotel. Dunmore East cod with dillisk and wild woodruff, and wood pigeon with crispy coppa and white tomato foam are part of the feast. The glossy decor—midnight-blue walls, mirrored ceiling, and gleaming mahogany furniture—comes as a surprise, but cues you to the creative menu that awaits. The Big Table, which seats up to 40, is perfect for large parties or people who want to eat family-style. After dessert, check out the spectacular wine cellar.

    Macreddin Rd., Macreddin, Co. Wicklow, Ireland
    040-236–444

    Known For

    • Offers a spectacular nine-course tasting menu
    • Fantastic vegetarian options
    • Great wine list

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Mon.; Oct.--Feb. closed Mon. and Tues. No lunch
  • 7. Bistro 53

    $

    This cozy, affordable eatery right on main street has quickly established itself as a favorite with the locals. Exposed beams and leather banquettes create the...

    This cozy, affordable eatery right on main street has quickly established itself as a favorite with the locals. Exposed beams and leather banquettes create the bistro setting, but the menu is more Italian inspired than French. The seafood risotto is a hearty combination of shellfish, mussels, chili, squid, and prawns, with blushed tomatoes. Another popular main is the beef cheeks with creamy mash potatoes, braised red cabbage, and red wine gravy. The death by chocolate is the go-to dessert.

    53 Main St., Maynooth, Co. Kildare, Co. Kildare, Ireland
    01-628--9001

    Known For

    • Great selection of vegetarian menu items
    • Warm, friendly atmosphere
    • Generous portion sizes
  • 8. Dubh Cafe

    $$$

    This little foodie gem at the center of Newbridge takes casual lunch to a whole new level. Try the outrageously good kimchi fried chicken sandwich...

    This little foodie gem at the center of Newbridge takes casual lunch to a whole new level. Try the outrageously good kimchi fried chicken sandwich with phat boy mayo, coriander, carrot, pickled red onion, and baby gem lettuce all on toasted Irish batch bread. The small dinner menu is nearly as good, with the roast duck a l’orange with caramelized chicory a standout. The bar out back is one of the cooler spots in town.

    10 Georges St., Newbridge, Co. Kildare, Co. Kildare, Ireland
    085-766--7911

    Known For

    • Delicious pastries and excellent coffee
    • Warm and friendly atmosphere
    • Hearty breakfast baps

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Mon. No dinner Tues.
  • 9. Eden

    $$

    Located in the impressive vaulted cellar of Bellinter House, Eden sticks strictly to a seasonal ethos with menus based on locally sourced produce. Oenophiles rave...

    Located in the impressive vaulted cellar of Bellinter House, Eden sticks strictly to a seasonal ethos with menus based on locally sourced produce. Oenophiles rave about the value-for-money wine list. A popular starter is the house-made duck liver parfait, with blood orange jelly and toasted brioche, and the Andarl Farm free-range pork belly with smoked Irish black pudding croquette, celeriac purée, and pickled apples is a standout main.

    Navan, Co. Meath, Ireland
    046-903–0900

    Known For

    • Modern Irish bistro fare
    • Georgian manor-house setting
    • Decadent afternoon tea service

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: No lunch, Reservations essential
  • 10. Las Radas

    $$

    Experienced foodies Jules and Joanne Bradbury have taken a creative approach to tapas adding local flavor to their Moorish-inspired, brightly decorated bar and restaurant. Tapas...

    Experienced foodies Jules and Joanne Bradbury have taken a creative approach to tapas adding local flavor to their Moorish-inspired, brightly decorated bar and restaurant. Tapas choices include wonderful sweet potatoes with truffle mayo and cheese, and roasted red peppers stuffed with salmon and crab. The wine list always offers something out of the ordinary.

    New Row, Naas, Co. Kildare, Ireland
    045-879–978

    Known For

    • Excellent separate vegan and vegetarian menu
    • Lively atmosphere
    • Decadent desserts

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Mon. and Tues. No lunch.
  • 11. Poppies Country Cooking

    $

    This cozy café—with a pine-panel ceiling, farmhouse furniture, and paintings of poppies on the walls—is a great place for breakfast, lunch, or late-afternoon tea. Expect...

    This cozy café—with a pine-panel ceiling, farmhouse furniture, and paintings of poppies on the walls—is a great place for breakfast, lunch, or late-afternoon tea. Expect potato cakes, shepherd's pie, lasagna, vegetarian quiche, house salads, and soups. The most popular dishes are Poppies chicken (a casserole-like concoction) and beef and Guinness pie. For dessert try the apple pie or the rhubarb crumble, which is so good that the Irish rugby team stops by after practice.

    The Square, Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow, Ireland
    01-282–8869

    Known For

    • Farm-fresh produce
    • Irresistible desserts
    • Healthy choices

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: No dinner
  • 12. Sika

    $$$$

    Local produce and stunning views are the stars of this hotel restaurant, with the Wicklow lamb a thrilling house specialty in season. Low ceilings give...

    Local produce and stunning views are the stars of this hotel restaurant, with the Wicklow lamb a thrilling house specialty in season. Low ceilings give the very formal dining room a slightly overbearing feel, but floor-to-ceiling windows look out onto the serene Sugar Loaf mountain. The food focuses on Wicklow produce with a twist, and a favorite starter is the pheasant consommé with fairy ring mushrooms (also known as Scotch bonnet mushroom). You can follow that with the pan-fried halibut with purple potato chips, mussel and mushroom puree, citrus hollandaise, and seaweed salad. 

    Powerscourt Estate, Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow, Ireland
    01-274–9377

    Known For

    • Wild game on menu
    • Excellent service
    • Great wine list
  • 13. Ubh Cafe

    $
    Closed Permanently

    Ubh is Irish for egg and you'll find an appropriately mean eggs and hash breakfast at this quirky, green-focused eatery in the horse-mad town of...

    Ubh is Irish for egg and you'll find an appropriately mean eggs and hash breakfast at this quirky, green-focused eatery in the horse-mad town of Newbridge. The owner/chef abandoned the bright lights of the city to return home and establish a quality, chilled-out cafe. The decor is simple but cozy, with pine-topped tables and whitewashed walls. The menu includes uncomplicated delights like the Gubreen cheese toastie, packed with oozing gubreen, mozzarella, and onion jam.

    2 Georges St., Newbridge, Co. Kildare, Co. Kildare, Ireland
    085-766--7911

    Known For

    • Cozy vibe
    • Excellent coffee
    • Delicious breakfasts

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Mon. No dinner.
  • 14. Campo de Fiori

    $
    Closed Permanently

    The old posters, fishing nets, and wine bottles on display might suggest imitation Italian, but this award-winning eatery is introducing locals to the delights of...

    The old posters, fishing nets, and wine bottles on display might suggest imitation Italian, but this award-winning eatery is introducing locals to the delights of hearty, authentic Italian cuisine. The pizza and pasta specials are always worth checking out, especially the spaghetti with lobster. Owners Laura and Marco Roccasalvo (he's also the chef) and their Italian staff give this little place a warm, informal vibe. The wine list is large, and the staff loves to help you match your vino to your food.

    1 Albert Ave., Bray, Co. Wicklow, Ireland
    01-276–4257

    Known For

    • Authentic Italian food
    • Wine by the glass
    • Pizza and pasta specials
  • 15. Celbridge Canteen

    $$$
    Closed Permanently

    Hidden away in nearby, sleepy Celbridge town, this buzzy little eatery turns local produce into some of the most daring and original dishes outside the...

    Hidden away in nearby, sleepy Celbridge town, this buzzy little eatery turns local produce into some of the most daring and original dishes outside the capital. Try the poached Carlingford oysters, with leek and watercreess velouté, followed by Irish beef with truffle pomme purée, shallots, and chanterelles. The wine list is small but eclectic.

    4 Main St., Celbridge, Co. Kildare, Co. Kildare, Ireland
    01-627--4967

    Known For

    • Performing miracles with potatoes
    • Big-city quality at country prices
    • Well-chosen wine list

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Sun. and Mon. No lunch Tues.--Fri.
  • 16. Fuchsia House

    $ | Indian
    Closed Permanently

    Ardee isn't the first place that comes to mind for great curry, but Bangladeshi owner-chef Sarajit Chanda is an expert at turning the best local...

    Ardee isn't the first place that comes to mind for great curry, but Bangladeshi owner-chef Sarajit Chanda is an expert at turning the best local ingredients into South Asian masterpieces. Critics have fallen in love with the authentic flavors and the family-run atmosphere—Sarajit runs the place with his Irish wife, Sarah. Have a drink in the tiny lounge-bar while waiting for your table, then enter the functional but cozy dining room. The set menu is a real treat for adventurous diners, with the mixed fritters of eggplant, zucchini, and cauliflower the perfect starter. For a main dish, try the Bengali fish curry with sea bass, cauliflower, and potato in a turmeric-and-chili sauce. Chanda also offers hands-on cooking classes most weeks.

    Dundalk Rd., Ardee, Co. Louth, Ireland
    041-685–8432

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Mon. No lunch
  • 17. La Serre

    $$
    Closed Permanently

    Choosing between a table in the sheltered courtyard or the splendid Turner-designed conservatory is the hardest thing about dining at this restaurant—nearly everything on chef...

    Choosing between a table in the sheltered courtyard or the splendid Turner-designed conservatory is the hardest thing about dining at this restaurant—nearly everything on chef Paul Carroll's menu is a winner. He masterfully mixes Mediterranean moods in such dishes as the risotto of crab, avocado, ginger, and lemongrass foam, or his signature pork loin with duck fat roastie, caramelized onion, and girolles. But the tastiest thing here may be the conservatory: one of the most gorgeous dining rooms in all Europe, its hard-rock walls and Victorian greenhouse windows create a swooningly delicious ambience. There are barbecues in the courtyard every Sunday in summer. La Serre is part of the Village at Lyons complex that is built up around an historic canal stop and manor estate.

    Village at Lyons, Kildare, Co. Kildare, Ireland
    01-630–3500

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Mon.–Thurs., Credit cards accepted
  • 18. Riva

    $
    Closed Permanently

    Much beloved by locals, Riva magically transforms over the course of the day from a bustling café and breakfast joint to a stylish, intimate restaurant...

    Much beloved by locals, Riva magically transforms over the course of the day from a bustling café and breakfast joint to a stylish, intimate restaurant and cocktail bar. The Irish breakfasts are legendary, but in the evening the baby back ribs and the chicken fajitas are favorite starters and mains. Located right in the center of Dundalk, the interior is a large open space dominated by an impressive chandelier, with a cool little cocktail bar tucked in the back. To complete the fully indulgent experience, try the bread-and-butter pudding with crème anglaise.

    3 Earl St., Dundalk, Co. Louth, Co. Louth, Ireland
    042-935--4578

    Known For

    • Local favorite
    • Excellent Irish breakfast
    • Great cocktails

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: No dinner Mon.

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