Although I hate to say it, I didn’t have extremely high expectations of the food scene in Dublin. I don’t mean this in a negative connotation, but it was not something I was planning my trip around. That being said, some of the places we went outright impressed me. Two of the places we visited, I absolutely loved! If you are in Dublin, you have to check out these establishments. You will not be disappointed.
1. Hugo’s. This is a lively place that we happened to walk by our first day in Dublin. The place looked packed when we were sightseeing, and we went back to the hotel to do a little more restaurant research. We ended up stopping back by for dinner after perusing the menu online. I had the grass fed sirloin with frites. The restaurant was good, and they had a great wine selection. I was not at all disappointed with our meal, but I would not return here on a visit to Dublin.
2. Bar 9 Below. I found this on a “best bars in Dublin” list online. The bar is actually in the basement of a building from the 17th century. We were seated in a small “nook” in one of the rooms with exposed white brick, low ceilings, and shelves filled with books. So … great atmosphere. The other rooms looked equally as appealing. The drinks were “good”, but I have high standards for my cocktails. I enjoyed the vibe, but the cocktails themselves did not present any degree of uniqueness to me. We made a reservation online ahead of time. I would recommend this if you are considering a visit. It was a rather busy bar. We did arrive 20 minutes late of our scheduled reservation time, and they were gracious enough to seat us without any hassle in the table we had reserved.
3. Peruke and Periwig. This place is absolutely incredible. If you are in Dublin, do not miss a visit here. We made a reservation online one week prior for “drinks and bites.” They emailed back to say that we were reserved for 2.5 hours. In Dublin, they seem to like having a start and finish time to the reservation, which I found interesting. We found the 2.5 hour reservation time block to be perfect. We enjoyed every second of our time. The first floor is a bar. When you walk to the back of this room, there is a check-in station. You then see that there is a staircase going up to multiple additional floors. We had dinner and bites on the second floor. The decor was fantastic! Old, stately, proper … it was a gem. We had a table by the window, but there really wasn’t a bad table in the place. The cocktail menu has so many distinctive and quirky choices. I have never seen a menu where so many drinks were enticing me. In the end, I ended up having three different cocktails and not a single one was anything but spectacular. My dining partner had three completely different cocktails, and I could say the same for him because I tried all of them. Their food was also good. I didn’t know what to anticipate with their food because it certainly seemed more of a “cocktail bar.” The carmelized onion hummus, gnocchi, and cheese plate for dessert all turned out to be great options. The cheese plate left us with plenty to enjoy with our cocktails.
4. Forest and Marcy. This place was my other absolute favorite! It is a small restaurant that we happened across online. We reserved ahead of time, and we did place a credit card deposit for the reservation. They have a small amount of tables in the front and the remainder is all bar seating. We sat at the end of the bar in the back of the restaurant. I truly enjoyed watching them prepare a number of the courses right in front of me. You can choose from a 4 or 6 course fixed menu. We decided upon the 4 course. The 6 course was not significantly more in price. I was absolutely stuffed when we left; however, the two courses that we missed looked fantastic. They do provide you with “extras” and “small appetizers” so 4 courses is really more. We also opted for an add on a cheese plate prior to our dessert course. It was an abundance of cheese with even the accompanying crackers being ridiculously good. I will share our experience in photos. They have a great selection of wines. For me, the sparkling, red wine, and dessert port that I tried did not leave me disappointed. I love cocktails, and I am sometimes left uninspired when this isn’t an option. This was not the case at Forest and Marcy. The wines with the meal were just what it needed. This is another restaurant that I would return to without hesitation on another visit to Dublin. It is magnificent!!