There aren’t many things in life both as soothing and filling as a big old Italian meal out. Whether you’re just feeling like a slice or five of pizza, an indulgent bowl of pasta, or something a little more special, there’s guaranteed to be something for all tastes at an Italian restaurant. However, due to the huge popularity of Italian cuisine, there are unfortunately just as many cheap knock-off chain restaurants out there as genuine spots serving high quality dishes. But if you know where to look, you can be sure to find some cosy spots serving freshly prepared, traditional Italian food in most big cities.
This is certainly the case in Dublin, where there is a wide range of fantastic Italians hiding in all corners of the historic city. With everything from high-end pasta restaurants with grated truffle aplenty, to affordable pizzerias serving beautifully-made Neapolitan pizzas, you’ll be sure to find somewhere to suit all occasions and budgets. What’s more, in a city with quite so much to see and do, there aren’t many better ways to end a tiring day of tourism than to crash in the cosy corner of a trattoria and refuel on carb-y goodness.
With so many Italian restaurants to choose from in Dublin, it’s tough to know where to start looking and how to make sure you don’t end up eating overpriced rubbish. So, we’ve done the hard work for you and put together a guide to best spots in the city. We’ve tried to cover all styles, price ranges and areas of the city to make it as easy as possible for you to decide on the ideal spot. So next time you find yourself in the fair city, be sure to book into one of these restaurants and make sure to leave yourself plenty of room to indulge.
Best Italian Restaurants in Dublin
Why: Da Mimmo may be not be particularly central but it's well worth making the journey over to the North Strand simply to try the wonderful food on offer here. Although from the outside this cosy Italian might seem a little understated, the minimalist dining space provides the ideal ambience to enjoy dishes ranging from a wodge traditional hearty lasagne to wood-fired pizzas. This is also a particularly great spot for oenophiles thanks to the impressively long wine list that accompanies the food.
Where: 148 North Strand Road, North Dock, D03 FK52
Why: Down some rickety stairs, right on the edge of the River Liffey sits the charming Terra Madre. If you’re looking for white table cloths and sleek interiors, this probably isn’t the place for you. However, if you’re wanting to feel as close as possible to being in a restaurant in the heart of Italy, you’ll struggle to find anything better in Dublin. Serving dishes inspired by the recipes of the owners’ grandmother, the ever-changing menu might include traditional plates such as rabbit gnocchi and pork carpaccio.
Where: 13A Bachelors Walk, North City, D01 VN82
The Little Pig Speakeasy
Why: If you know that you’re fancying Italian food but are wanting something a little bit different from a standard restaurant, The Little Pig Speakeasy could be just what you’re looking for. This 1920s style speakeasy hidden away in the centre of Dublin not only serves some pretty spectacular cocktails, but also offers a fantastic food menu of Italian classics. You can indulge in dishes ranging from burrata with Parma ham and melon to lobster spaghetti, all while enjoying the classy ambience of the velvet-clad room.
Where:6 Glendenning Lane, Wicklow Street, D02 NP97
Why: You have to be careful when wandering the streets of Temple Bar because otherwise you can end up paying a lot of money for some bang average food. However, there are plenty of hidden gems to be found if you know where to look and Al Vesuvio is one of them. Located in Meeting House Square, its vast menu covers everything from fresh pasta and pizzas, to more hearty classic main courses such as veal Milanese. The bonus is that it’s all very reasonably priced given the area.
Where: Meeting House Square, Temple Bar, D2
Why: It’s a toss-up as to what’s more impressive about Manifesto - the beautifully presented Italian food, or the 54-page wine list! Regardless, if you head to this upmarket spot in Dublin’s Rathmines, you can be sure that everything you try will be of the highest quality. Whether you go for an award-winning pizza or a secondi such as chargrilled venison fillet, make sure to leave space for one of Manifesto’s fantastic dolci as well.
Where: 208 Rathmines Road Lower, Rathmines, D06 K466
Why: This cool neighbourhood joint based in the South Dublin village of Ranelagh is all about sharing, with its menu full of Italian-inspired small plates changing daily depending on what is available. Host's shabby chic dining room may be about as far away as you can get from an Italian trattoria but the restaurant’s modern takes on Italian dishes are well worth a journey. Expect dishes such as ricotta and honey on crisp wafers, and beautifully made pumpkin pasta.
Where: 13 Ranelagh, Saint Peter's, D06 V0C1
Why: If you’re a fan of Italian seafood, Rosa Madre is the perfect place for you. With a menu centred around fish, the Temple Bar restaurant is also never short on theatre. Dishes such as gratinated Wexford scallops come served on loudly patterned plates, while whole fishes are filleted at the side of your table. Charismatic Italian owner Luca de Marzio is also always on hand to have a chat and help you pick the perfect bottle of Champagne to accompany your lobster.
Where: 7 Crow Street, Temple Bar, D02 YT38
Why: A relatively recent addition to Dublin’s Italian food scene having opened in 2016, Cirillo’s is the ideal cosy spot to get lost in pizza, pasta and wine. Located just off St Stephen’s Green, the crowd-pleasing menu features a small selection of starters and small pasta dishes but is headlined by its pizzas. And these are proper pizzas. The puffy crusted Neapolitan bases can be topped with everything from ham and mushrooms, to truffle cream sauce and Italian sausage depending on just how fancy you’re wanting to go.
Where: 140 Baggot Street Lower, Saint Peter's, D02 HT73
Why: Dublin’s docklands may seem an odd area to head for dinner but once you arrive at Osteria Lucio you won’t regret making the trek. Based in a gorgeous old stone building, the restaurant isn’t short on wow-factor with its high ceilings, exposed brickwork, and various different seating areas all providing slightly different vibes. What’s more, the elegantly presented and flavour-packed Italian food on offer more than lives up to the expectations set by the décor. Dishes such as squid ink tagliolini with Irish squid, clams and mussels are impossible not to love.
Where: The Malting Tower, Grand Canal Quay, Clanwilliam Terrace, D02 DW90
Why: This tiny restaurant over towards Dublin castle has a wonderfully laid-back feel to it with the menu scribbled up on a black board and the owners always keen to come over and have a chat while you wait for your food. When it comes to food, it’s mainly about the pizza at Bottega Tofolli, with a different pizza on offer every day for just €10. However, with a focus on always sourcing the finest Irish produce, you can also expect the odd seasonal special cropping up now and then.
Where: 34 Castle Street, D2
Why: Another Temple Bar restaurant, Pinocchio has the bonus of also offering Italian cookery classes for those who enjoy the food so much that they want to learn how to create it themselves. With wine bottles lining the walls of the snug dining room, it would be easy to think you were in a cellar restaurant in Tuscany rather than in the centre of Dublin. The food keeps up the act, with the classic menu featuring everything from Italian meatballs to spaghetti carbonara.
Where: 1 Pudding Row, Essex Street West, Temple Bar, D8
Why: No prizes for guessing what this restaurant’s menu is centered around. However, there’s a reason why the queues at Pi Pizza have been growing longer and longer ever since it opened. The pizza on offer here is pretty special, and arguably the best that Dublin has to offer. The short menu includes a scamorza, nduja and honey number which was named the best pizza in Dublin in 2019 by Lovin’ Dublin, as well as a brilliant selection for vegans and vegetarians too.
Where: Unit 10 Castle House, 73 - 83 South Great George's Street, D2
Why: This tiny family-run spot in Stoneybatter is all about serving contemporary plates of food while still very much respecting traditional Italian cooking techniques. This means that Grano is a great place to go if you want to taste some ultra-traditional Italian food in Dublin without paying the earth. Homemade pasta dishes all sit below the €18 mark and vary from a simple spaghettoni cacio e pepe, to a more unusual black pig guanciale rigatoni dish.
Where: Norseman Court, Unit 5, Manor Street, D07 XD89
Dunne & Crescenzi
Why: Having been around since 1999, Dunne & Crescenzi has gained a reputation over the years for serving some of the highest quality Italian food in the whole of Dublin. Whether you want to go in just for a warming bowl of pasta, or fancy going all out with a €40 three course set menu full of goodies, you'll be sure to leave Dunne & Crescenzi smiling, and stuffed full of exceptional Sicilian-inspired food. There are also two other branches across Ireland on top of the original Dublin City centre outpost.
Where: 16 Frederick Street South, D2
Why: Located in the city’s Portobello district, this small but thriving restaurant prides itself on using a mixture of both Irish and Mediterranean ingredients to cook classic Italian dishes. The simple décor of I Monelli's dining room and white table cloths provide a traditional feel, while dishes such as beef arancini, sliced veal, and pappardelle with venison ragu are very difficult not to love.
Where: 1 Portobello Road, Saint Peter's, D08 E0C0
Why: Specialising specifically in the food of the Italian island or Sardinia, Wallace’s Asti offers something a little different to your average Italian restaurant. While the North Dublin restaurant does have pizzas and pasta on the menu, it’s the traditional Sardinian dishes, such as zuppa gallurese (bread baked in meat stock and pecorino cheese) and tuna speck, which are particularly worth trying. With an impressively lengthy wine list to boot, Wallace’s Asti is a perfect option for an evening of indulgence.
Where: 15 Russell Street, Drumcondra, D01 VW02
Wanting to treat yourself to an extra special meal out? Check out our guide to every Michelin-starred restaurant in Ireland