Breakfast and Brunch Options to Satisfy Every Palate in Ireland's Capital
By Emily Carson
Dublin Local Expert
For some people breakfast is a meal they'd rather skip, whereas for some it is the driving force of their day. Whether you like to start your day with a cooked breakfast, fresh fruit and granola or french toast with all the extras there is a plethora of great choices in terms of breakfast and brunch for all tastes. If you're looking for a picturesque, waterside venue then head down to Herb Street on the docklands. If you're looking for a hearty start to the day that includes a lot of meat then look no further than Whitefriar Grill or Coppinger Row. Both are located in the heart of the city and offer a brunch that is bound to leave you stuffed.
If you're looking for even more vegetarian options then take a trip to The Fumbally in Dublin 8, which has large tables for bigger groups, or Brother Hubbard on nearby Capel Street who specialise in Middle-Eastern inspired dishes. If you're planning on catching a rugby match in the afternoon then popping into Farmer Brown's for their Irish fry-cum-salad is the right way to set yourself up for the day.
San Lorenzo's in one of the city's premiere Italian spots that isn't relying on the homely, rustic style that is the usual hallmark of Italian restaurants. The aim is modern cuisine that fuses classic Italian ingredients with a New York style of cooking. The interior is dark with light wooden benches in booths. You can just about peek into the action of the kitchen while sitting but when you take a trip to the unisex bathrooms you can find yourself transfixed with an eagle eye view of the culinary action. In recent months there has been a renewed emphasis on its brunch menu, which includes a lot of truly decadent dishes. The menu is called 'The Brunch of Champions' and features eggs with caviar and champagne and french toast with a coco pop crust and caramelised bananas. ((01) 478 9383)
The Fumbally found its home in a large space that fell victim to the bust of the Celtic Tiger and had been left empty since its construction. What's come from that is a caf� and restaurant that is more reminiscent of continental Europe in it's interiors and use of space. You can see all the fresh produce used in the food stacked up in one corner and the salads and ingredients stare out at you invitingly from the counter of the open-plan kitchen. The brunch menu is simple but hearty and includes favourites like green eggs and ham (eggs on brioche with avocado and fried chorizo) alongside weekly meat and vegetarian specials. This is a great place to eat if you're a vegetarian as well. (-)
The Whitefriar Grill is definitely the right port of call who like their brunch to include lots of meat. These portions are serious and the staff seem serious about curing your hangover as well, with plenty of cocktails and 'pick me up' options available on the menu. Their eggs range from the usual suspects to fine dining - the lobster hash includes caviar hollandaise - and you can even splash out on a rib eye steak. They often have a DJ turning your meal into a disco brunch and a full house so get down early or phone ahead to reserve a seat. ((01) 475 9003)
This café has the perfect setting to blow away the cobwebs, situated in the heart of Dublin's 'Silicon Docks'. Herb Street caters to the myriad of beautiful, modern apartment blocks and trendy tech offices that line the mouth of the Grand Canal and their brunch menu is regularly touted as one of the most enticing in the capital. They have a strong selection of pancakes including virtuous fruit and Irish oak-smoked salmon with horseradish creme fraiche. If you always find yourself undecided then this is the place for you, the brunch platter gives you all the options you need to feel satisfied with your choice. (+35316753875)
Brunch in Coppinger Row is truly aimed at those wanting to dive straight into a hearty meal early on. The menu is mouth watering and diverse, from your usual fare of Eggs Florentine to a mixed grill with lamb chops and Merguez sausage or salt cod croquettas with paprika aioli. This Mediterranean style of eating is fresh and seasonal and takes some interesting turns from the usual menu items that you might find in other brunch restaurants around the city, like the black pudding and caramelized apple salad that gives a twist to the usual Irish breakfast. If you purchase unlimited still or sparkling water you'll also be donating to the Movember Charity. ((01) 672 9884)
Brother Hubbard has gone from a small restaurant to a brunch behemoth in Dublin. Within a few short years they've opened an adjoining takeaway café in the form of 'Little Brother' and a sister café in Portobello called 'Sister Sadie'. By far and away their greatest success however has been their brunch menu, which has proven so popular that they now serve it all through the week alongside their main launch menu. This has been expanded considerably to include lots of delicious, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern inspired dishes like Turkish eggs menemen and Moroccan semolina pancakes. It's definitely one of the more adventurous brunch menus in Dublin and its popularity has only continued to rise as people find out about Dublin's best kept brunch secret. (01-441 11 12)
Tucked away in a residential area in Portobello, you'll have to look closely to find Bibi's but you will be more than rewarded once you do. This is a top class breakfast, brunch and lunch spot that boasts an ever changing and innovative menu. Expect things to go above and beyond the usual fare while never compromising on quality. Run by sisters Maisha and Petria Lenehan, this a quaint and intimate spot where you really feel as though you can have dialogue with the chefs and those serving you as well as read their inspiration in the tonnes of cookbooks that line the walls. ((01) 454 7421)
Situated in the leafy suburb of Ballsbridge, Farmer Brown's is a local restaurant specialising in simple Irish/American cuisine. Run by sisters Grace and Finnuala, Farmer Brown's is usually inundated with salivating customers at the weekends and when you take a look at the menu it's easy to see why. The portions here are really big and substantial, and with names like 'The Starvin' Marvin' you'll understand why. The Breakfast Salad is one of the more interesting and enterprising dishes - managing to make you feel like you've eaten a healthy salad while also consuming the entire contents of an Irish fry. The atmosphere is cosy and the lemonade is homemade, just make sure to book ahead. ((01) 660 2326)
Slice is a recent addition to the ever-expanding repertoire of northside suburb Stoneybatter. A sister-café to the Cake Café just off Camden Street, Slice is a small but perfectly formed little neighbourhood cafe that caters for breakfasts, lunches, dinners and supper clubs but has really excelled at breakfast and brunch. There are a wealth of options on offer from hearty sausage and avocado scramble on sourdough to a more virtuous series of porridge options that make provisions for those who prefer dairy alternatives. If you're feeling like carrying on the party there are also a seriously good range of brunch cocktails and the coffee is supplied by local coffee roasters 3FE. (+353 1 445 6100)
Forest Avenue's brunch experience has really caught the imagination of Dubliners, who have been raving about the 5-course brunch menu since it came on the scene. Forest Avenue is best known for being a high-end dining experience just over the Grand Canal in Dublin 4. The brunch menu is unique however, in that it gives you the opportunity to experience a tasting menu without paying a hefty premium. 26 will get you a small, sweet starter followed by a typical breakfast dish like granola. This is then followed by a more brunch-y course, a more lunch-based dish usually with meat at the centre and finished off with a dessert. The menu changes often so you're guaranteed a new experience each time. Great value and well worth forking out for. (01 667 8337)
About Emily Carson
Emily grew up in Dublin, and studied French and English Literature at the University of Edinburgh. During her university years, she lived in both Scotland and France, but traveled around Europe and Southeast Asia. She returned to Dublin after her studies to find it growing culturally (in spite of the economic downturn). While Dublin was once criticized for its expensive nature, a new wave of inventive and affordable restaurants have popped up as well as interesting and exciting cultural events that prove that Dublin is still progressing and rivals other major European capitals.
Read more about Emily Carson here.