Nicole Taylor is an official CAPA blogger for spring 2016, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A journalism and media writing major at Lasell College, she is studying abroad in Dublin this semester.
In this week's post, Nicole tackles everyone's favorite topic: food! After having the majority of a semester to explore her options, she shares her top 10 restaurant recommendations for future CAPA Dublin students.
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It is hard to pin point just 10 of my favorite restaurants in Dublin, but this is a compiled list of the best of the best for taste, budget, service, and environment.
1. TOLTECA. Of course we all said Tolteca first! I am assuming that is because it is the equivalent to what most of us know back home as Chipotle. Tolteca has all the same options – nearly exact. There is not much to describe as it does not differ a whole lot to Chipotle other than that the restaurant colors are red and white, they say “take away” not “to go”, and they have a student deal for only €5. Yes, they also charge you for guacamole, but let’s be honest, it is delicious and none of us can pass it up. It is a quick meal to grab on the way home from traveling, it is easily accessible, and there are several locations right in Dublin! Highly recommended for people who cannot live without Chipotle.
(Photo from CAPA Dublin alumna Ashley Welsh)
2. BUNSEN. Ah, Bunsen—the very first place I went out to eat in Dublin. My roommates and I decided to go to Bunsen because it had good ratings and we really wanted something quick before falling asleep. The best place to compare Bunsen to is Five Guys, but it is a bit nicer inside and the food is fresh. The menu is the size of a business card and they only offer burgers and fries—plus a gluten-free option. The toppings are all free and they have delicious hand cut fries, but also offer sweet potato fries and shoestring. I recommend this place for people who love burgers. They have all you could want and the prices are very reasonable. It is easily accessible and on the same street as Tolteca! We love Camden Street.
3. JO' BURGER. Burgers, burgers, and more burgers! But let me tell you, Jo’ Burger has some of the coolest and weirdest burger options—hence the “gourmet burgers” subtitle. For example:
- Bari Burger: Bush peach curry sauce & Emmenthal cheese
- Zola: Roast pepper & rocket (arugula) almond pesto
- Mofolo: Chipotle, pineapple, balsamic relish and rocket
- Ikqezi: Caramelized chili banana, bacon and goats cheese
Weird, I know, but they are delicious and the environment is really laid back and rustic. Jo’ Burger is located right across from the Jameson Distillery. I highly recommend this place to adventurous eaters.
4. NEON. I could not rave about this place enough! Neon is a Thai restaurant located on…you guessed it, Camden Street. I absolutely love this place. Not only do you get a free soft serve ice cream cone at the end of your meal, but your food, whether eat in or take out, is served in boxes so there is no need to ask for a box when leaving with leftovers. There is also a long table that fills the length of the restaurant with a few smaller tables surrounding it making it a unique set up. They have everything for Thai lovers—pad thai, duck spring rolls, oriental beef, chicken satay, and much much more. They also give you free prawn chips. Although I do not like them, I always take them and give them to friends who enjoy them. It is a bit pricier than other places on this list but believe me when I say it is worth it.
(Photo from CAPA Dublin alumna Sydney Smith)
5. CAMDEN ROTISSERIE. This is starting to get awkward because Camden Rotisserie is also obviously located on Camden Street, but the street has good food, so what can I say? This place is small but is a delicious and reasonable option for lunch. They have burgers, paninis, other sandwiches, and appetizers. It is a laid back kind of place and is often dark inside for dinner—candlelit. It has a rustic feel to it and the service is great. We usually stop in for lunch before or after grocery shopping as it is located right at the bus stop making it much more convenient than going somewhere else.
6. SPARKS BISTRO. I have only been to Sparks Bistro once, but it was memorable. After a long lecture and walking tour through Smithfield Square, a bunch of us decided to try it out. It is a decent size bistro with several delicious options on the menu ranging from chicken curry to pulled pork sandwiches. The environment is cute and cozy—my chair was an ottoman! The service is quick and efficient. The food is good and it is fun when you are with a lot of people. Sparks Bistro is located right near Jo’ Burger and is easy to get to even by walking.
7. BURRITOS & BLUES. We obviously love burritos because just like Tolteca, Burritos & Blues is equivalent to Chipotle. It is not far from Tolteca and the prices are the same. The difference, to me, is all in the barbacoa. Barbacoa is my favorite meat from Chipotle— it's basically brisket. Burritos & Blues has better barbacoa than Tolteca, but Tolteca has better carnitas. See the dilemma? Ultimately, if you are at the end of Camden Street walking around or coming back from the city center, I would recommend giving this place a try. There is indoor and outdoor seating and the line always moves quickly. They have a student deal as well so what is there not to love?
8. SISTER SADIE. Sister Sadie is located extremely close to Griffith College, so we walk there on weekends when the weather is nice. They are known for brunch. The options on the menu are organic, natural, and quite appetizing. It's a nice way to start a Saturday or Sunday and leaves you feeling good and ready to take on the day. The prices are reasonable and they have healthy take-away snacks available inside the café. The outdoor seating is under a tent with heaters so even if it is cool outside, you will stay warm. If you like avocado, try their side order of avocado! It is delicious.
Sister Sadie is also known as the sister restaurant to Brother Hubbard. Brother Hubbard is exactly like Sister Sadie; organic food options as well as freshly baked goods. The menus are small but like they say “our menu is small and simple so we can try and make things the best they can be.”
9. CHOPPED. If you love salad but always want different things in it, Chopped is the place to go. The options and toppings are endless: chicken, duck, egg, avocado, pine nuts, sprouts, etc. Chopped is known for their salads but they also have sandwiches and wraps. I love the ‘create your own’ option because you can choose the type of lettuce, the protein, any veggies, and your preferred dressing. They toss it all into a bowl and begin chopping. They add the dressing and mix it all for you—saving you the hassle of losing half your salad by trying to mix it. The ingredients are all fresh and organic. The price is reasonable and the food portion is beyond satisfying. I highly recommend it for lunch!
10. HOUSE. House is possibly one of my favorite restaurants in all of Dublin, so I saved the best for last. I was introduced to House on the first day of my internship. The team took me out for lunch where they always reserve the same table in the back—a big round table with a green cushioned semi-circle bench. The menu is small but the options are to die for. My favorite item I have had in the three times I have been to House is the quesadilla plate. They serve it on a cutting board with three sauces and sweet potato fries. The chicken is chipotle spiced and the cheese is always so fresh. They also have huge salads, a chicken wrap, burger selections and a ‘Specials’ menu. You almost always need a reservation for larger groups (6 or more) but it is usually not a problem! The food is unbelievable and the service is great. In fact, my last week here, a bunch of us will be taking our program directors out to dinner there.
Nicole's journey continues every Friday so stay tuned.