L'Ecrivain has been serving up French-style, Michelin-starred fare for over 20 years and is still as popular as ever. Headed up by husband and wife team Derry and Sally-Anne Clarke, L'Ecrivain brings the classical French gastronomic experience to new heights with 6 and 10 course tasting menus and even a dedicated menu for vegetarians. Their Sommeli�re has also been awarded Best Sommeli�re and L'Ecrivain works with a number of small, family-run producers that keep the wine menu consistent and exclusive. For those looking for private dining there are two rooms seating up to twenty people. Perfect for a business group or larger parties.
Recommended for Fine Dining because: There aren't that many places offering a special area for diners to have an intimate experience in Dublin at this level.
Local Expert tip: L'Ecrivain is constantly in high demand so get your bookings in well in advance of your visit.
The Greenhouse is heralding a new wave of fine dining in Dublin having opened its doors just a year ago. under the management of massively successful chef/restaurateur Eamonn O'Reilly. The goal of this place is to offer you a 'memorable dining experience' and the lavish menus and settings help to create a lasting impression. Both the tasting menus and the set menus also offer good value considering the level of expertise that accompanies these dishes. Head Chef Mickael Viljanen once brought those from far and wide down to his previous restaurant in the West of Ireland so benefit from the opportunity to enjoy his skill in the capital.
Recommended for Fine Dining because: For a high-end restaurant the atmosphere at the Unicorn is relaxed but electric and this gives it a unique feel.
Local Expert tip: Choose the tasting menu to get a real sense of what The Greenhouse has to offer.
Locks Brasserie is a one Michelin-starred restaurant and yet it stills remains somewhat of a hidden gem. Situated in leafy Portobello and Harold's Cross, Locks specializes in traditional French cuisine with an Irish twist. In the spirit of Frenchness they also open later so you can enjoy your dinner at a more European hour. The style of the main dining room is informal but if you're looking for a more intimate and special experience then there are private dining rooms at your disposal.These can be accompanied by a special chef's menu that will take you on a specially curated culinary journey of France.
Recommended for Fine Dining because: Lock's are passionate about their producers and have a long list on their website detailing their dealings with Irish producers around the country.
Local Expert tip: Locks is almost anti-Michelin in its ethos of casual, spur of the moment dining and it encourages spontaneous arrival.
If you want a Michelin-starred experience with less of an impact on your wallet then don't shy away from Dublin's other, much-coveted, fine dining experience. Situated just over the Liffey on Parnell Square, Chapter One features wide ranging menus from the Kitchen Table Tasting menu with matching wines to the decidedly more cost effective Pre-Theatre menu which offers 3 courses for �36.50. The restaurant itself offers some private dining rooms as well as the experience of dining at the 'Chef's table' – a volcanic rock table that allows the diners to look into the kitchen and speak with the chefs as they enjoy their meal; a unique dining experience with the credentials to match.
Recommended for Fine Dining because: In honour of The Gathering journalists are being wined and dined in Chapter One for the wow factor.
Local Expert tip: Get seats at the Chef's table for the optimum dining experience.
Kinara Kitchen is a new addition to the great restaurants to be found in southside suburb Ranelagh. It has the unusual combination of having a fantastic dedicated cocktail bar with high-end Pakistani cuisine. The cocktail bar is headed up by Paul Lambert, proprietor of covert Dublin bar The Blind Pig and his attention to alcoholic perfection is evident in his mix of classic and inventive new tipples. Kinara started off as a single restaurant in North Dublin seaside suburb Clontarf, the success of which has spawned two more establishments including Kinara Kitchen in Ranelagh. Upon tasting the food you'll see why, this is delicate but flavourful cuisine that doesn't play into the often overpowering nature of Indian and Pakistani food. The early bird menu of 3 courses for �19.95 is an absolute steal.
Recommended for Fine Dining because: There are plenty of vegetarian options here for the veggie diner in your life, something many restaurants don't offer.
Local Expert tip: Get the early bird menu and then opt to spend some of your budget on the fantastic cocktails. The Pulp Fiction is a particular delight.
Located in the opulent surroundings of Dublin's Mansion House on Dawson Street, Fire has been built in what was originally the Lord Mayor's supper room and is now a magnificent space with stained glass windows and vaulted ceilings. The food is all locally sourced and cooked to a high standard with a good mix of meat, vegetarian options and seafood - the jumbo prawn starter is the house speciality. There is also a special steak menu with a variety of cuts of ages, marinated beef that are sure to make a meat-lover's mouth water. Tie this in with melt in the mouth desserts and you'll leave happy.
Recommended for Fine Dining because: Fire are good at arranging special extras accommodating dietary requirements so get in touch ahead of your booking.
Local Expert tip: If you're planning to make Fire one of your dining experiences check to see which accommodation they have deals with, it could cheapen your hotel stay.
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. The cooking uses great ingredients to create upmarket versions of some classics like chicken cacciatore, bruschetta and pannacotta. Local producers supply the high-quality meat and fish and the wine list is also excellent. A different and more interesting take on your usual Italian.
Recommended for Fine Dining because: The feel of this place has wide appeal - young and modern while still appealing to an older generation.
Local Expert tip: San Lorenzo's also do a brunch menu if you want to sample some of the great cooking without paying evening prices.
Patrick Guilbaud's certainly has the credentials of a top Irish restaurant, sporting our country's only two star Michelin kitchen. If opulence and fine dining to the extreme is your bag then make sure to sample this mix of contemporary Irish, French and classical roots. Guilbaud's has been at the centre of Irish fine dining for thirty years and is somewhat of an institution. Expect the level of quality to be matched by the prices but you won't be disappointed, this is certainly a quintessential Dublin dining experience. With courses like lobster ravioli, lacquered Challans duck and French and farmhouse Irish cheese you'll be stuffed with the best money can buy and no doubt keen to repeat the experience.
Recommended for Fine Dining because: The customer service at Patrick Guilbaud's is second to none and makes even dining with children a pleasure.
Local Expert tip: Take a walk around Merrion Square to build up your appetite before sampling these delicacies.
Forest Avenue is the newest addition to this list, having popped up on Sussex Terrace beside the Grand Canal in November 2013. John and Sandy Wyer, who had previously spent time in the kitchens of L'Ecrivain, are the couple behind one of Dublin's most exciting fine dining venues of the past few years. Forest Avenue is pitched as a 'neighbourhood dining room' with an emphasis on modern tasting menus that are more affordable than many of their city centre counterparts. The 5 course tasting menu comes in at 49, with smaller menu options available as the 'Residents Menu' on Wednesday and Thursday evenings. The menu changes week to week, but some typical courses include braised pork neck with whole roasted savoy cabbage, carrots and prunes or celeriac baked in pine salt with homemade ricotta and pata negra.
Recommended for Fine Dining because: Forest Avenue has only been around about a year but has quickly become one of Dublin's fine dining heavyweights.
Local Expert tip: Book ahead for the 5-course brunch for a more cost effective taste of what Forest Avenue has to offer.
Etto may appear to be somewhat of a casual dining experience, the room is quite small and the atmosphere is warm and convivial. However, this Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurant and wine bar has something special on offer and at very reasonable prices, hiding just off Stephen's Green on Merrion Row. The menu is cleverly comprised of both regular main courses and starters and smaller plates and nibbles so that you can choose between a more casual graze or a full-on cote de boeuf with ease. Some surprise ingredients like a smoked egg yolk or a kohlrabi, chervil and caper salad take this from a typical wine bar to something more upmarket and exciting.
Recommended for Fine Dining because: Etto is one of the more forward-thinking new fine dining venues in the city.
Local Expert tip: Get the red wine prunes and forget everything you think you know about prunes.