Rosemary Mac Cabe

Hemlines, heels and haute couture – your daily dose

Roll on 2013: the restaurants to watch

A starter sampler at one of my old faves, Saba. (Have you entered to win a copy of the Saba cookbook yet?) Following on from yesterday’s post on the young names to watch in 2013, we move on to one …

Thu, Dec 27, 2012, 07:30


A starter sampler at one of my old faves, Saba. (Have you entered to win a copy of the Saba cookbook yet?)

Following on from yesterday’s post on the young names to watch in 2013, we move on to one of my favourite subjects: food! I could write a whole post on my own favourite restaurants, but it seems more relevant to concoct a list of restaurants that have opened, improved or re-launched recently. (A broad-ish definition, I know!) The past two years has seen a wave of restaurant closures, a wave that has, bizarrely, coincided with a wave of restaurant openings or, as one friend of mine likes to call it, the Joe Macken-isation of Dublin. Either way, there are plenty of new restaurants from which to take your pick, and others that have reshuffled or otherwise reopened and are also worth taking a second look at!

777 Let’s just get this out of the way: 777 is expensive. Not Shanahan’s expensive, but expensive for those of us used to eating our Mexican food from a tinfoil-bound tortilla wrap. But the food is delicious, the cocktails are even more delicious and the décor is very cool. Maybe not New York cool, but definitely new London cool, which his good enough for me. My recommendation? Try the tapas-style bits’n'pieces rather than forking out on a pricey main course. More cost effective, and you get to try more than one dish, which is always a winner.

Keshk This is a relative oldy, but a goody, that has moved from its location on Leeson Street to a new, brighter location on Mespil Road. It’s a BYOB Greek food joint with amazing hummus, friendly waiters and a great line in lamb moussaka. It’s also ridiculously good value for delicious, filling food (or else I’m used to forking out for not-that-delicious, not-that-filling grub).

Brother Hubbard I’ve talked about this Capel St café before, in glowing terms, but sure I’m never one to shy away from loading too much praise on something (see also: Angela Scanlon). Has Bean coffee from the guys at 3FE, amazing home-made scones (with even more amazing orange butter) and seriously yummy sandwiches, served with, I’ll admit it, quite trendy salads with unpronounceable ingredients, all made on-site. Seriously good. (Plus, last time I was there, I bumped into Ireland’s number one couturier, Peter O’Brien. #lametofame or what?)

Hilan This Asian (Korean / Chinese, to be precise) restaurant – also on my favourite, Capel St – is not all that much to look at, despite recent renovations. It is quite canteen-y, the music is terrible and the service is really enthusiastic (almost too enthusiastic). But the food is really good. (And by “food”, I mean the one thing I have ever eaten there: the Korean barbecue, which consists of a variety of meat and potatoes, which you fry yourself on a barbecue plate in the middle of the table, and eat while drinking plum wine and chatting about how mad it all is. So much fun.)

And y’know what? I can’t recommend any more, because I haven’t been. But on my list for 2013 are: Asador, Dillinger’s (I know, sins!), the Butcher Grill and the Vintage Cocktail Club, all of which I’ve heard great things about. Before any of that, I’ll be bringing Daddy Dearest to Shanahan’s to celebrate his 65th. I’ve already told him: no starters, and maximum one glass of wine. Every penny counts in there.

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