12 Irish restaurants that have nailed outdoor eating – whatever the weather

Restaurant critic Corinna Hardgrave shares her favourite food outlets to keep you covered

 

There are so many great places to eat outdoors this summer, but some restaurants have absolutely nailed the experience when it comes to all-round comfort, no matter what the weather. These are my top picks to keep you covered.

777

Unit 7 Castle House, South Great George’s Street, Dublin 2, 777.ie
Inventive, with the party vibe you expect from 777, the new Afuera (meaning outside) dining space is an impressive example of how to transform a carpark. Dramatic cantilevered awnings add plenty of cover, an Airstream slings out the margaritas, and the menu includes taquitos, tostadas and plenty from the wood-fired grill.

Asador

1 Haddington Rd, Dublin 4, asador.ie
With a retractable roof (a high-end awning system from Italy), glazed panels that slide up and down to allow for a clear airflow, tables clad in white linen, and spring-loaded upholstered banquettes, you’re talking a full-on restaurant experience here, where the speciality is meat, fish and vegetables cooked over fire.

Báidín

Clifden Boat Club, Clifden, Co Galway, Instagram @baidinclifden
The view from the terrace of Clifden Boat Club – just opened at the beginning of July – is matched by equally good food. It feels more casual summer holidays than elitist yachty. Seating is at wooden benches, both outdoors and under a marquee, wild flowers are on each table, festival lights are strung overhead and there’s the hum of happy chat.

Baste

Baste Food Market, 39 Clanbrassil Street Upper, Dublin 8, bastebbq.com
Tucking into steak frites and moules frites in Andy Noonan’s Portobello food yard is now an all-weather reality since he installed a number of very cosy huts which, I can tell you from experience, are water tight even in the worst of downpours. A good selection of natural wines with €10 corkage adds to the appeal of this casual spot.

Your eating out spot

Charlotte Quay

Charlotte Quay Dock, Dublin 4, charlottequay.ie
Anyone familiar with Grand Canal Dock will know that the place to be is on one of Charlotte Quay’s two terraces where you’ll catch the last rays of the sun. Both are fully covered and heated all year round, so it’s the perfect waterside setting whatever the weather. Comfortable and buzzy, with plenty of cocktail options and Mediterranean food.

Clashganny House

Clashganny, Borris, Co Carlow, clashgannyhouse.com
In the middle of the countryside, the atmosphere in the garden dining area of this country house is charming. Everyone seems to know each other – friends, family and couples out for a treat – and there’s quite a bit of chat about horses. With tables on the lawn, in a large marquee, and in a covered wooden terrace, it is ideal for Sunday lunch.

Dede

Custom House, Baltimore, Co Cork, customshousebaltimore.com
The outdoor space at this one-Michelin-star restaurant is cosy and atmospheric, with a wood burning stove, Athena pyramid flame heaters, sheepskin rugs and blankets. A large Perspex roof covers half of the area. With no time restrictions for dining, Ahmet Dede now offers an eight-course menu for €89, much of it cooked over flame and in the outdoor wood burning oven.

Fade Street Social

6 Fade Street, Dublin 2, fadestreetsocial.com
The winter garden at Dylan McGrath’s Fade Street Social, with outdoor heating and an electric awning, was designed for all-weather use, and now with black leather chairs and copper tables from the bar downstairs, it feels plusher than ever. Cocktails, a menu from the wood burning oven, and a good range of vegetarian and vegan options mean there’s plenty of Instagram love.

Grangecon Kitchen

Grangecon, Co Wicklow, grangeconkitchen.ie
You’ll feel like an insider here. Food is ordered at the hatch of the small, pretty restaurant, and the outdoor dining area is through a gateway into a garden. Wooden benches sit on gravel, some on the grass and others under a large stretch tent, so you’re covered if the weather doesn’t play ball. Brunch, coffees and cakes are the big thing here, but there’s also pizza on Friday and Saturday.

Shelbourne Terrace

27 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, theshelbourne.com
It feels like a secret, and you don’t need to be a resident to book a table on this hidden terrace at the Shelbourne Hotel. It has all the luxury you’d expect – the Tuci umbrellas have yacht technology with lighting and heaters built into them, Marley chairs and Gaze Burvill sofas mean you’ll be in no hurry to leave, and the unfussy menu ranges from fish and chips to oysters and Champagne.

Roots at Slane Castle

Slane Castle Demesne, Slane, Co Meath, slanecastle.ie
Allta Summer House may be the summer’s hottest booking, but there is now a second truly wonderful outdoor dining experience in the courtyard of Slane Castle. Keith Coleman and Aisling McHugh are behind the food at the taqueria here – you’ll want to eat everything – and the cocktails are top-notch. Outdoor tables overlook the River Boyne, there is plenty of indoor seating in a very fine marquee, and although it’s relaxed and casual, you’re talking serious quality here.

Suesey Street

Fitzwilliam Place, Dublin 2, sueseystreet.ie
John Healy of The Restaurant adds to the glamour quotient at what has to be one of the best outdoor dining spaces in Dublin. Partially enclosed with glass walls and plenty of greenery, there’s a retractable roof with heaters underneath, and Avoca blankets in case you feel a chill. A new secret garden has been installed at the back where long-lunchers can continue to investigate the wine list.