Dublin's Best Spots to Grab a Casual Bite



Dublin’s city centre and environs is full of great places to grab a bite to eat without needing to choose between the set menu or the à la carte. Whether it’s delicious pizza chosen from a blackboard at Paulie’s Pizza or while ordering at the counter in Neon. Some of the best of Dublin’s casual dining comes in the form of ethnic cuisine, from the little enclave off Duke Street Yum Thai to the great Mexican treats you can pick up at Pablo Picante or its neighbouring venture Pablo’s Tortas. That said, some of the most unique offerings of Dublin’s casual dining scene come from the same Irish restaurateur who has created both Jo’burger and Crackbird - some of the only Dublin restaurants you’ll see with an in-house DJ and food that will leave you with cravings for months afterwards. If you’re a dedicated carnivore looking for a high-protein feed you’ll want to sample the Bison Bar’s new BBQ menu that features giant trays of Texan style offerings. Meanwhile for those who prefer their fare to come from the sea Bite has reinvented the fish and chip shop with a great pre-gig menu worth giving a go. If you can’t decide what you want but you’d like it cheap Green Nineteen has main courses for €10 with great variety yet excellent quality.



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Pablo Picante's has been voted the best burrito in Dublin and the quick expansion of this Mexican Haven from a single small burrito bar into 3 busy restaurants is proof of this. Run by Irish man Colm McNamara, Pablo Picante is a fictional 'luchador and chef' who has brought his wares to Ireland after learning his trade in the Americas. Regardless of how much of his story is reflective of reality the food here is delicious and the range of burritos and burrito-related options will leave your mouth watering. There is plenty of rivalry in the Dublin burrito scene so rest assured you're receiving the creme de le creme here.


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The ethos of Bite café is that of 'Uptown Food, Downtown Vibe' and it's basically recreating your average fish and chip shop into a more upmarket fish experience with some interesting reinventions along the way. Gone is the greasy batter in a brown bag, replaced with hake in a vodka and beer batter accompanied with mushy peas and pancetta fries. The usual pre-theatre menu has been replaced with a 'Pre-Gig Menu', seeking to resonate with the modern diner. Tables can be reserved or made at the door and there's an extensive wine and cocktail list along with the promise that requests can be catered for provided the ingredients are behind the bar. It's a fun concept and a modern feel that's definitely worth experiencing.


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Green Nineteen is another relaxed eatery on Dublin's buzzing Camden Street and prides itself on its 'local cafe-bar' atmosphere where almost all main courses come in under €10. Don't think that this means compromising on taste and quality however - the décor is modern and funky, the produce is sourced in the same places as Dublin's top restaurants and the cocktails are top-notch with everything from your classic Negroni to a more adventurous Mexican Green. Expect treats like slow-braised pork belly with chorizo and white bean cassoulet and Moroccan spiced lamb tagine - the menu hops around the globe from curries to steaks. This is the perfect place to grab a bite to eat when you aren't sure what you're craving.


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Located on bustling Camden Street, it would be easy for Neon to get lost in the abundance of asian restaurants that line either side of the road. The concept and execution however put them a cut above the rest. With chic décor and long, sharing tables you order at the till and with lightning fast service even in rush hour you'll find a large, hearty portion of your dish of choice. The emphasis is on dine and dash, your food is served to your in take out containers and you're encouraged to then use the bowls on hand to make it into as much of a sit down meal as you would like. Pair this with your free soft serve ice-cream and the deal has most certainly been sweetened.


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Southside suburbs


 

Tucked away on the corner of South Lotts Road and Upper Grand Canal Street is a small restaurant serving what is arguably the best pizza in Dublin. Paulie's is always packed to the brim and serves up delicious wood-fired pizzas cooked to an authentic Neapolitan recipe. They use only approved flour, tomatoes and slow-proved dough cooked to perfection at 450 degrees celsius. If pizza isn't your thing never fear, there are plenty of delicious Italian main courses and pasta dishes with just as much attention to detail worth trying. Mix this with an intimate, bustling atmosphere, great music and outdoor seating with a canopy and blankets for cooler evenings and you've got a winning combination.


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The sister restaurant to the original Jo'Burger in Rathmines, the town version on Castle Market offers more space, more music and a bigger drinks menu to boot. The same branding and atmosphere that can be seen throughout all of Joe Macken's restaurants is here in abundance - you might sometimes feels like you're prepping for a night out while you munch on your burger. The same great quality food and interesting flavour combinations still apply however and the giant jam jars of homemade spritzers and lemonades can be 'spiked' to create super sized, delicious cocktails. This is the perfect place to go for an offbeat, quirky meal that eschews the usual burger joint format.


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Yum Thai is the perfect place for lovers of Thai food that want a delicious, quick fix while wandering around the city. Located just off Grafton Street opposite The Duke pub you'll find this little wonder that offers healthy, locally sourced food cooked in typical Thai style. If you've got a large appetite and a low budget then this is definitely one of the best value places to eat - large take away boxes are filled to the brim with various noodle and rice concoctions that won't cost you much more than five euro - you may even have some left over.


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Phoenix Park and quays
Bison Bar & BBQ
Photo courtesy of Press Up Entertainment


 

Bison Bar was initially just another annex to the ever expanding Workman's Club but has now managed to cultivate a vibe and clientele of its own. Beginning by offering a dedicated whiskey selection it has now branched out into authentic Texan barbecue food that requires you to arrive hungry. All the meat is slow cooked for 13 hours and a tray of meat with two sides comes in at €12.95. Expect huge portions of beef brisket, sausage links, and St. Louis Ribs with coleslaw, homemade fries and spicy beans. The presentation is simple and unabashed, a pur carnivorous delight. Those with room to spare can dig into a peach cobbler or chocolate brownie but you'll probably have reached breaking point.


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CrackBird, one of restaurant entrepreneur Joe Macken's litany of trendy Dublin eateries has been rehoused several times, now taking pride of place in an old Chinese restaurant on Dame Street. Macken has pretty much single-handedly brought fried chicken back in fashion, but it's the quality of CrackBird that really makes it a cut above the rest. You can opt for a full or half chicken in either buttermilk batter or soy and garlic. The sides are all reasonably priced and you can wash it down with a large jam jar full of lime and ginger spritz or homemade lemonade.


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Pablo's Tortas
Photo courtesy of Emily Carson


 

The latest addition to the Pablo's family is handily located just beside its Clarendon Market burrito-house but takes some of the most delicious Mexican treats and creates hearty sandwiches with great sides to match. See slow roasted pork, steak and marinated chicken pair up with jalapeno alioli, spinach and cheese in crisp rolls to create a sort of fusion with fluffy Italian bread providing the vessel for rich marinated Mexican fillings. This is a less messy way to consume all the goodness offered next door in the burrito bar and also allows you to enjoy some of these flavours in a different way. Creating twists on classics like the tuna melt and the sloppy joe makes Pablo's Tortas an interesting alternative to your regular sliced pan sandwich.


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Meet 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...  More About Emily

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