Temple Bar in Dublin is renowned for pulling punters looking for a good night out in Ireland’s capital. So, with all that merriment on the cards, where to line your stomach first becomes increasingly important. The cobbled lanes and pedestrianised streets are bursting at their seams with crowded pubs, and the Temple Bar restaurant scene might just be one of Ireland’s liveliest dining experiences.
This buzzing neighbourhood is found on the riverside in Dublin, just down from the famous ha’penny bridge and draws a crowd of fun-loving groups and get-togethers looking to celebrate the city’s uniquely welcoming atmosphere and live music scene. From folk music to DJs, you won’t be short of entertainment here.
Now, just because this is perhaps well-known as a drinking destination, it doesn’t mean you have to settle for subpar when it comes to dining. The restaurants near Temple Bar are a varied bunch, offering up something for every occasion. You might be looking for pub grub for thirty, typically Irish fare to settle you into your surroundings, or a romantic meal for two. Whichever end of the scale you’re at, we like to think we’ve found the right spot for you. Below are ten of the best Temple Bar restaurants that each showcase something a little bit different. We hope you don’t mind we’ve taken an inch of creative license with the location, including a couple of close by options that strictly fall without the bounds of Temple Bar itself, but are close enough that they’re within easy walking distance (and definitely worth the stroll).
Our favourite? Well, it has to be the hot wings from infamous café Elephant and Castle. If you’re ready to find your own pick of the bunch, have a scroll below through our list of the best Temple Bar restaurants.
Why: Thanks to its spot on the shores of the Emerald Isle, Dublin plays host to some of Ireland’s best seafood spots and Klaw takes full advantage of this homegrown haul. Its unassuming casual interiors might make you think you’re in a bit of a lowkey joint, but the food is far from average. Perfectly fresh platters of oysters sit on the menu alongside crab on toast, lobster rolls and decedent seafood platters. With late-night dining and happy hour options Klaw can be a fun way to either begin or end a night, but it doesn’t take bookings – so be prepared to queue on busy evenings.
Where: 5A Crown Alley, Temple Bar, D02 VK88
The Boxty House
Why: For classic Irish fare you can’t beat The Boxty House. This fun and fast-paced restaurant celebrates the humble spud in all her beautiful guises, and also offers signature serves like Irish stew or hearty soup with soda bread. Boxty, if you were wondering, is a potato pancake, and the restaurant specialises in all different kinds of this magical creation including ‘boxty fries’ which sees thin strips of the potato pancakes fried and served with a garlic and rocket mayo. We’ll just take five portions of those, thanks.
Where: 20-21, Temple Bar, D02 ET6
Why: Cosy, welcoming interiors make the space feel immediately comforting at Tomahawk Steakhouse, with bare brick walls and leather banquette seating adding to the ambiance. As you might have guessed, the hero serve here is the Irish beef, found in various cuts and cooked to your liking over a wood grill. Sides and sundries complete the package with fries, salads and classics like a peppercorn sauce on offer. Vegetarians are catered for by way of a single main course, so beware if dining in a mixed group.
Where: 4 Essex Street East, Temple Bar
Piglet Wine Bar
Why: Don’t let convention dictate your Temple Bar evening, you could enjoy a relaxing evening in a wine bar rather than a raucous evening of Guinness in the pub next door (although, if that’s your bag, power to you). At the Piglet Wine Bar you can enjoy your refreshment alongside some seasonal plates of internationally influenced flavours. Pick between dining a la carte, from an express set menu or from a longer feast list. Expect starters like grilled octopus with chickpeas and chorizo, and mains of rabbit shoulder with smoky lardons of pil pil prawns, in all their garlicky glory.
Where: Cow's Lane, Temple Bar
Why: We’ve never met a plate of pasta we didn’t like, so if you’re after a classic crowdpleaser, why not head to Rosa Madre. This Italian restaurant in the heart of Temple Bar specialises in seafood, but is no stranger to the firm favourites either. Fish of the day sits alongside spaghetti vongole and a daily risotto special. An Italian meal wouldn’t be right without a sweet finish, and the tiramisu and panna cotta here round off a meal nicely.
Where: 7 Crow Street, Temple Bar, D02 YT38
The Seafood café
Why: If you liked the sound of Klaw, but think you’re up to some fancier fare you might find The Seafood Café to be the perfect spot. Owned by the same people, this slightly more spacious restaurant offers up beautifully cooked lobster smothered in garlic butter, crab on toast and bone-in roasted monkfish – i.e., all the good stuff. And just a hop, skip and a jump from the action, this makes a great pitstop inbetween pubs.
Where: Unit 11, Sprangers Yard, Fownes Street Upper, Temple Bar, D02 EC60
Why: Beginning life as a pop up, MeltDown has grown in a similar way to many of the trendiest restaurants in Ireland right now – through word of mouth. This isn’t a fancy dinner, but what it lacks in silver cutlery and fine linens it more than makes up for with artisan sourdough squashed either side of some pretty special cheese toastie fillings. Take the Ribmelt, for instance, which is made up of BBQ rib pork steak, mac ‘n’ cheese, caramelised onion and mature red cheddar. Think we can all agree that sounds like the perfect curer after a big night. While you’re there you can also pick up a pretty decent coffee, and sides include homemade soup.
Where: Curved Street, Temple Bar
Why: The founders of Sano Pizza were – like so many dough lovers before them – enchanted with the idea of bringing back a true taste of Naples with them following a holiday to Italy. And bring back a taste they did. Affordable, authentic pizza is the name of the game here and they do well to tick both boxes. Meals are made to order in traditional stone ovens and are topped with carefully sourced ingredients from 'nduja to Italian fennel sausage. There are regular specials too, so you can always find an excuse to go back.
Where: 1-2 Exchange Street Upper, Temple Bar, D08 XW7D
Elephant & Castle
Why: Elephant & Castle is an Irish mini chain and claims to be home to the country’s most famous wings. While we can’t attest to that, we can attest to the fact that they’re pretty damn tasty. Deep fried and smothered in hot sauce with a side of blue cheese dip, the basket of wings is what you’re here for. Wash it all down with a couple of beers and chuck some chips on the side for a very, very well spent afternoon.
Where: 1-2 Exchange Street Upper, Temple Bar, D08 XW7D
Monty’s of Kathmandu
Why: If you’ve gorged yourself on all the Irish stew you can find and have had it up to your eyes with Guinness, you might want to refresh you palate with something a little more unusual. If Nepalese doesn’t tick that box for you, we don’t know what will. Monty’s of Kathmandu is a family-run restaurant which serves up wonderfully fragranced plates of curry which can all be altered spice-wise in line with your tastes.
Where: 28 Eustace Street, Temple Bar, D02 WP30
If you're heading to Temple Bar for the weekend you might be keen to try some of the capital's best bottomless brunches.