Sunny spots to eat out in Dublin
So many spots to enjoy some alfresco dining
Head to Herb Street on Grand Canal Dock for a sunny weekend brunch and excellent people watching
Carluccio’s benefits from its dual aspect corner spot, with the morning sun hitting the outdoor seats on Duke Street
High summer is almost upon us. So this week we’re looking at good spots for sunny meals in Dublin city centre.
Sun-trap seats are at a premium when the rain stops and it helps to know where gets the sun and at what time of the day.
For breakfast, head to the glass-walled café on the roof of Marks & Spencer Grafton Street. This bright café has an outdoor terrace (beware the monster seagulls) and some indoor seating if it’s bright but breezy. You can get a full Irish for €8.49 or some good pancakes with compote and crème fraiche for €3.99. Staff are friendly, if a little overworked. Open from 8am Mon- Sat and from 10am on Sundays.
Just down the road, Carluccio’s (52 Dawson Street) benefits from its dual aspect corner spot, with the morning sun hitting the outdoor seats on Duke Street. Breakfast is served from 7.30am on weekdays: try a rocket-fuel Napoli espresso (€1.95) and the pane con maremllata di fiche – a selection of toasted breads, including rosemary and raisin and a very good walnut bread, with butter and sweet fig jam (€4.95). Or if you fancy a treat, the Breakfast Magnifica is a hearty offering of free-range eggs, grilled pancetta, sausage, mushrooms and toasted Italian bread with juice and tea or coffee €11.95.
Also on Dawson St, Lemon Crepe & Coffee Company (60 Dawson St) and Mooch Frozen Yoghurt (4-5 Dawson St) have outdoor tables and are good for a mid-morning snack. Try Lemon’s enormous club galette, stuffed with chicken, bacon, lettuce, tomato and mayo €6.95, or Mooch’s bowl of frozen yoghurt with blueberries, honey and hazelnuts (€4.25 for a small).
For lazier weekend brunches, Herb Street (Hanover Quay) on Grand Canal Dock gets some of the best sun in town. Expect to queue if it’s sunny, but the outdoor tables offer some excellent people-watching and the Eggos Mexicalos (baked eggs on a spicy tomato and chillis sauce with Swiss cheese and pulled pork, corn chips and guacamole, €14.95) will cure what ails you. Their chicken wings are excellent too, served with a Cashel Blue dip (€10/€16). Brunch from 10am at weekends.
If you can’t stand the wait, pop across the dock to Il Valentino Italian Bakery on the corner of Pearse St and grab one of their coffees and a sugary ricciarelli almond cookie and sit by the water’s edge and watch the world go by.
For lunch, head to The Woollen Mills beside the Ha’penny Bridge (42 Ormond Quay Lower, Dublin 1) where The Yarn, their large first-floor terrace has a retractable roof and a gorgeous view of the Liffey. Pizza and cocktails are the thing here. Though we’re still sore with them for discontinuing their fantastic sausage rolls, the lunchtime soup and sambo offer (€9.95) does include a very tasty Oritz tuna on potato sourdough with spinach, capers, guacamole, olives and tomato; and the curried crab claws on toast with samphire and chips is finger-licking good (€24).
Castle Market, between Drury Street and South William St, is another sun trap, with JoBurger (4/5 Castle Market), which serves massive organic burgers for a tenner at lunchtime (with lemonade or fries). They know the value of their outdoor seats here, so there’s a one-hour limit on the terrace tables at lunch. Across the road, La Maison serves French fare in its sheltered outdoor seating area. Try a proper gooey French omelette with chips and baby gem (€11.50) or mussels and cockles with smoked pork belly and apple (€13.50).
For dinner, head south to Chez Max, which has a lovely garden and terrace out the back of its Baggot St premises, with check table cloths to boot. A great spot for a lazy glass of wine and charcuterie and cheese boards, or try the early bird (two courses for €19, 5.30pm-7pm, Sun-Thurs) that includes French onion soup and a huge serving of Moules Frites.
Milano on the corner of Baggot Street and Haddington Road has one of the loveliest terraces in town, with a large number of tables overlooking the canal, plus it stays sunny until very late on summer evenings. They serve simple pizzas, pastas and salads here. Try the Melanzanine (€6.95), layers of marinated aubergine, with passata, mozzarella, basil and Gran Milano cheese. Or one of their Leggera pizzas – thin crusted with a hole in the middle full of salad. We like the American Hot (€12.65) which is loaded with tomato sauce, pepperoni, mozzarella, and your choice of hot peppers. There’s a cheap and cheerful wine list – there’s a decent Valpolicella Ripasso (€29.95) to sip while you watch the ducks float by.
If you have some recommendations of good sunny spots, we'd love to hear. Just let us know in the comments box below.