As you explore Dublin, there’s no shortage of fantastic places to eat and drink along the way (Photo: Getty Images)

One of the most walkable capital cities in Europe, Dublin’s rich history is best enjoyed on foot – and it’s hard to take more than a few steps before spotting another fascinating window to the past. The good news is there’s also no shortage of fantastic places to eat and drink to recharge your batteries between bouts of sightseeing. From upscale Michelin-starred dining rooms to plush cocktail bars, here is a guide to the best that the Republic of Ireland's capital has to offer.

Explore the city's finest museums, with lunch along the way

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Fuel for exploration doesn't get better than the signature 32oz Côte de Boeuf at Moreland’s Grill, part of The College Green Hotel Dublin, Autograph Collection (Photo: Marriott International)

No trip to Dublin is complete without a few hours spent in the National Museum of Archaeology on Kildare Street. A treasure trove of extraordinary artefacts, it charts life in Ireland from 7000 BC to the 20th century. Highlights include the Ardagh Chalice, the beautiful Tara Brooch, and the world-famous Iron Age "bog bodies". Afterwards head for lunch in The College Green Hotel Dublin, Autograph Collection's Atrium Lounge. Located in a stunning five-storey glass atrium filled with warm, natural light, the best time to visit is without doubt during the day. Book ahead for the luxurious Champagne Afternoon Tea, an indulgent and unforgettable treat. With the Book of Kells, the National Gallery, and the Little Museum of Dublin all a short stroll away, it’s ideally located for those looking to further explore the history of the city.

After paying a visit to Dublin's historic Trinity College, refuel at Moreland’s Grill, located within The College Green Hotel Dublin, Autograph Collection. Sitting at the intersection between historical Dublin and contemporary dining, steaks are locally sourced from a fourth-generation Master Butcher and seared on an imported Josper Grill at a whopping 500 degrees Celsius, resulting in perfectly charred, succulent cuts of meat. The restaurant's signature 32oz Côte de Boeuf with sides – including divine truffled fries – and a sommelier-selected bottle of wine is as mouth-watering as it sounds and the perfect meal to share. For something a little lighter go for the Atlantic salmon with artichoke and caviar Bearnaise sauce. 

Experience the best of modern Irish cuisine in these historical settings

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The Portobello neighbourhood, home to Bastible restaurant, is a beautiful, historically rich area to explore before or after your meal (Photo: Getty Images)

With its instantly recognisable façade overlooking St. Stephen’s Green, few buildings are as steeped in Dublin’s rich history as the iconic The Shelbourne, Autograph Collection. From the drafting of the Constitution in room 112 to welcoming glitzy stars from Hollywood’s Golden Age, it has played a significant role in Dublin social life for close to two hundred years. The Saddle Room, an elegant dining space with an inspired seasonal menu, embodies this storied past in every way, from the cutlery to staff attire. 

Slightly further afield in the beautiful and historically rich Portobello neighbourhood, Bastible is a small, modern restaurant serving the most exquisite Irish fare. The menu is set and changes often, but it never fails to impress. Expect the likes of seaweed custard, mussel and Oscietra caviar to start, followed by wild halibut, heirloom tomato and baby courgette. By the time you’ve finished the fresh Wexford strawberries with sheep's yoghurt and lovage you’ll be ready for an evening stroll of the area, once known as “Little Jerusalem”, the old centre of Dublin’s Jewish community. Keep an eye out for the house where Leopold Bloom lived in James Joyce’s Ulysses. 

Take time to sample some of Ireland's finest whiskeys

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Enjoy a relaxing glass of the finest whiskey at The Shelbourne, Autograph Collection’s 1824 Bar (Photo: Marriott International)

For whiskey aficionados, a visit to 1824 Bar at The Shelbourne, Autograph Collection is a must. Reclining in a comfortable armchair, clinking glass in hand, admiring the warmly lit room with wood-panelled, book-lined walls is the perfect end to any day. Tucked away by the top of the grand staircase, it’s the definition of “hidden gem”, too. Keep an eye out for offerings from the superb Teeling Whiskey Distillery, which was the first new distillery in Dublin for 125 years when it opened its doors in 2015

If you need a break from the hustle and bustle of the streets below, take the elevator all the way up to the stunning WXYZ rooftop bar at Aloft Dublin City and enjoy a signature cocktail or a perfectly pulled pint of Guinness with panoramic views of the city. If you’re lucky enough to be visiting during a spell of good weather, you'll be able to appreciate what a relatively low-rise city Dublin really is. Looking south you can follow the patterns of the city’s expansion over time, from the warren of Industrial Age streets of Dublin 8 to the sprawl of the more recent suburbs, all the way to the Dublin Mountains. 

Embark on a gourmet tour through Georgian Dublin 

From The Winding Stair restaurant, located above one of Dublin’s oldest bookshops, you can enjoy beautiful views of the Liffey and Ha’Penny Bridge (Photo: Getty Images)

The distinctive Georgian architecture found throughout Dublin points to a fascinating social history. As part of a process of modernising the medieval streets of the capital in the 18th and 19th centuries, the grand red-bricked houses were originally built to house wealthy families. Since then, these buildings have gradually become part of the cultural fabric of the city, and it’s in the heart of Georgian Dublin you’ll find one of Ireland’s best restaurants.

Current recipient of two Michelin stars, Chapter One offers an experience you’ll never forget. With a carefully curated selection of Irish art and an interior designed by architect Maria MacVeigh, as much thought has gone into the space as the food. To make the most of it, go for the seven-course tasting menu, filled with such delights as line-caught mackerel tartare with oyster bavarois, and Anjou pigeon “à la Royale” with Jerusalem artichoke and pain d’épices. Be sure to set aside time to visit the nearby award-winning museum, 14 Henrietta Street, a fascinating trip through three hundred years of local history in a single Georgian house.

Just a short walk south of here, on the north bank of the River Liffey, you’ll find The Winding Stair. Located above one of Dublin’s oldest bookshops, it has a stripped-back aesthetic with exposed girders hinting at the building’s previous role as a tweed loom. Book a window table to enjoy views of the Liffey and Ha’Penny Bridge, both beautifully lit up at night. For starters go for the Potted Dingle Bay crab with pickled cucumber. If it’s a cold night, the hand-smoked haddock, poached in milk with onions and white Cheddar mash, will warm you right up.

Published: October 26, 2023

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