Taste of Dublin at Merrion Square: The best things to eat, drink and do

From Artybaker’s lobster rolls to Bar Italia’s authentic carbonara, there is plenty of delicious food to try

Taste of Dublin 2024
Taste of Dublin 2024: The four-day event takes place in Merrion Square. Photograph: Allen Kiely

Taste of Dublin, one of Ireland’s longest-running food festivals, kicks off from today in a brand new location in Merrion Square.

The four-day event has two admission times each day, from 12pm to 4.30pm and 6pm to 10.30pm, and tickets are still available for each session (at time of writing), although the Saturday evening slot usually sells out in advance.

Tickets are priced from €18, although a Häagen-Dazs VIP suite ticket that includes unreserved seating with fast-track entry, a Häagen-Dazs ice cream, a glass of Champagne and an Aperol spritz will cost you up to €82.50 for the Saturday evening slot. Add on two signature dishes and the price goes up to €94.50.

What to eat?

Romain Tessier (Artybaker) makes his Taste of Dublin debut in 2024 and his lobster brioche roll is a plate of pre-summer indulgence, sure to garner the pastry chef a legion of new fans.


Bar Italia is serving up its renowned authentic carbonara (€7) with strozzapreti pasta which never disappoints, the cacio pepe is also a good call. Other queue worthy dishes include Bahay’s battered sausage (€7) and Nan Chinese braised Andarl Farm pork belly with Chinese brown sauce and steamed jasmine (€7). Fans of Shouk will enjoy its cauliflower pita (€7) with tahini, zhug herbs and salsa while Chimac’s Korean chicken nugs are pretty generous portion size.

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Taste of Dublin 20204: Lobster brioche roll from Artybaker
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Taste of Dublin 20204: Pasta from Bar Italia
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Taste of Dublin 20204: Chimac’s Korean chicken nugs

For something slightly more exotic, Mama Shee are serving up Nigerian dishes including jollof rice, beans and rice, plus your choice of a Nigerian beef or turkey dish. Be prepared to queue if you fancy checking out Disney+ Presents FX’s The Bear with Crudo as it was by far the longest line I witnessed, so I can only imagine what it will be like at peak times. That said, the arancini with lobster and Sambuca risotto, preserved bergamot and basil aioli looked very good and the icon dish of Crudo’s Hot Beef Sandwich with slow-braised Irish Wagyu sirloin, Cashel blue fondue, balsamic pickled Tropea onions and wild garlic gremolata on sourdough looked like excellent value for its size and price (€12).

Where can I find the best value?

If a guaranteed seat is important to you, the VIP tickets mentioned above are reasonable value, all things considered. Otherwise, pay €20 in and take your chances. Most dishes are priced at €7 and like anything, some are better value than others. The pasta and rice dishes offer more bang for your buck but all in all, most dishes I sampled were generous in size.

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Taste of Dublin 20204: VIP tickets include a glass of Champagne

Artybaker’s lobster roll is priced at €14 which seems very reasonable given its generous size, the handmade brioche roll making all the difference. Drinks wise, if you are with a few people, buying a bottle of wine (€40) or fizz (from €50) is better value than buying glasses, plus, it cuts down on all that pesky queuing time. An Aperol Spritz will set you back €11.50 and cocktails are about €12.50. Like many things, you can spend as much or as little as you want.

What’s new?

Taste of Dublin 2024 is located in Merrion Square, a new location for the event which started out life in the grounds of Dublin Castle before moving to the Iveagh Gardens, where it remained until last year. The new location feels much roomier than the Iveagh Gardens.

This year also sees the launch of the Return for Children, a new charity initiative that supports six of Ireland’s national children’s charities (LauraLynn, Barnardos, Barretstown, Childline by ISPCC, Jack & Jill Foundation and Make-A-Wish Ireland). The new campaign aims to raise money through recycling bottles and cans, with Taste of Dublin being the first national event to host the campaign. Launched by Re-turn, the initiative encourages attendees to donate their bottles and cans at designated Re-turn bins, the profits of which will be shared by the six participating charities.

What can I do when I’m finally full?

The Food for Thought stage with Lovin Dublin is a worthy pit stop when you run out of stomach space and need a breather. The Lovin Dublin team will be hosting an array of tastings, panel discussions, masterclasses and producer showcases from an eclectic line up of restaurateurs, chefs and artisan producers.

On Saturday evening, Sharon Noonan will be chatting with Aishling Moore, head chef and owner of Cork’s award-winning Goldie restaurant who will be challenging the concept of the “catch of the day” and offering pro-tips on how to cook fish to perfection. O’Brien’s Wines will also be hosting a series of mini wine masterclasses where you can taste and discuss two wines for €10.

Last but not least, be prepared and bring a brolly. Just in case.