Where To Eat In Dublin South
Recently, Katy McGuinness published a review, that is what she does. The review itself is interesting but not the point of this article. Katy wrote one sentence which sums up perfectly how I feel about restaurants and it stirred me on to type away.
Katy wrote: “The city is in danger of losing fine establishments that have been around for years because there are simply not enough customers to sustain them all, and there is a natural tendency to flock to the new. There is hand-wringing whenever one closes, but the simple fact is that if we want restaurants that we like to stay in business, then we have to eat in them. Every day I hear rumours about the imminent demise of well-known establishments.”
This frightens me.
Over the same weekend, Lisa Katie Cope, editor at All The Food, wrote about Food Adventurers. This was the theme of her recent thesis. She says that there are two types of diners, the Food Adventurers, and those like me, who like comfort over the excitement of forever trying the next new thing.
This also frightens me.
You see, I think we can have it all. I believe we can have favourite restaurants which excite. If the food is seasonal and the chefs skilled and inventive, I am happy to sit in the same restaurant again and again. They say that those, like me, who are of the loyal ilk, tend to have 5 restaurants in a rotation and randomly enough, that’s precisely what I have.
I have an enormous list of restaurants, I want to try, but I’m nearly afraid to because then, I will love them and I’ll have to eat less in my current ones. This is quite the first world conundrum but actually this comes from a place of love.
I live in Dublin South and I mainly avoid town these days so the restaurants below are all south of the Liffey and more often than not out in the suburbs. I love a good neighbourhood restaurant and I’ve listed these in order of distance from the river.
I did a bit of work helping these two restaurants manage their social media a while back and it meant I got to really get to know the quality of the ingredients, the soundness of the staff and the skill of the chefs.
I like Riba for lunch, I love Riba for dinner. Riba is the type of place we all deserve to have in our neighbourhood. Firstly, it’s affordable and family-friendly with a lovely buzz. What’s the big deal you say? Well, let me tell you what the big deal is. The big deal is called Cristian Mircea Matei and he is the very sound and very passionate. He did his chef training in his native Romania. Cristian and I have had many a fun chat about how much he enjoys coming up with creative ways to cook the best of Irish ingredients. Riba prides itself in sourcing the best quality produce and many a small producer finds themselves on their menu. What Cristian brings to the kitchen, Shane Molony brings to the wine list which offers fairly priced and excellent wines. Bring in the most glorious of staff and you have the holy trinity of great restaurants: food, drink and service combined make Riba a very special restaurant indeed.
PS: They are the type of place who give you ice cream AND custard on your crumble.
If you follow me on twitter, facebook or Instagram, (and frankly if you don’t, then get to it) my love of Ananda will be familiar to you already. I first went there shortly after Karan Mittal, the head chef, started there, so nearly two years ago now. Since then, I’ve been back for every change of the tasting menu, which means, I’m there about once every six weeks. Today, as I type, Karan is going battling at the Eurotoquest Young Chef competition. I believe his career will be stellar. His food is delicate and exciting and through his tasting menu he makes you travel around India and Ireland as he uses the best of our produce. The fact that the front of house staff are absolute dotes doesn’t hurt either.
What is there left to say about Michael’s anymore? Since the last time I wrote about him, Gaz has slid into pole position and is now the undisputed Butter King of Twitter. Talha is as effortlessly charming and efficient as ever and I sure hope Nuno and Chris are never allowed to leave because they are the backbone of that kitchen. This of course before we even start to think about the massive seafood platters (surf and turf for me) bathing in the most indulgent of butter sauces.
Little Mike’s has opened a few doors down and by all account, it has been extremely popular, but my heart, predictably enough, stays with the original.
Last but not least, 3Leaves, located in the Blackrock Market, a gem tucked away in a pedestrian corner. I love that place. Where Ananda is all fine dining (without the stuffiness), 3Leaves is all about the street food of which there is so much in Santosh Thomas and Milie Mathew‘s native India. Between the hugely exciting food that Santosh produces with intense joy in the small kitchen and warmth of the welcome you receive from Milie, 3Leaves is somewhere that you simply can’t go to just the once. It has to be a repeat affair. There is not a year that goes by where they don’t win some kind of awards and I’m so happy for them. I was chatting with Santosh recently and he was chatting about his culinary plans for 2020. Let me tell you, I’ll be there with bells on.