Day-tripping or staycationing – whatever type of holiday you happen to be on, these Irish restaurants (and dishes) will tick all your aspirational summer dining boxes – and then some…
Dede at the Customs House, Baltimore
I have written previously about my intense desire to dine at Dede at The Customs House in Baltimore, and much to my chagrin, I am yet to make it happen. Still, it’s good to have ambitions and dining at chef Ahmet Dede’s restaurant at the Customs House is certainly one of mine. Summer feels like the ideal time to take a trip to Baltimore for an al fresco lunch, accompanied by a signature seaweed margarita with tequila, Manzanilla, lime, seaweed syrup and triple sec. The two Michelin stars are a sweet and savoury bonus. www.customshousebaltimore.com.
A truly beautiful restaurant, in a most stunning setting, Lignum offers a unique and memorable dining experience and I imagine this experience can only be more elevated with the luminous summer light. Each month, chef Danny Africano and his team curate a seasonal ‘larder’ where they take inspiration for dishes, ensuring guests enjoy the very best, peak seasonal produce from the surrounding area. An early summer dish of native Irish shrimp with piennolo tomatoes, buffalo milk and fig leaf oil was inspired by the flavours synonymous with Danny’s hometown of Naples and would certainly inspire a return visit. www.lignum.ie.
Hot on the heels of his most recent cookbook, chef Denis Cotter of Paradiso in Cork appears to be on fire, professionally speaking. A stalwart of the Irish restaurant scene, Paradiso is one of the foremost restaurants in Ireland; and I don’t just mean within the vegetarian realm. So far this summer I have seen invigorating dishes such as tomato, cucumber, jalapeño with corn crisp and a sunshiny plate of Macroom buffalo mozzarella with fennel, strawberry, pickled orange and hazelnut crumb that would tempt the most hardcore carnivore. www.paradiso.restaurant.ie
Dax, Dublin 2
May 17. That was the date. The date I stopped in my tracks while scrolling through Instagram and caught a glimpse of one of chef Graham Neville’s most popular dishes at Dublin’s Dax restaurant; Iona Farm courgette flower stuffed with Lambay Island lobster and Dublin Bay prawns with a lobster sauce. If a dish was ever to define summery fine dining, this would be it. The dish is available on both the summer lunch and dinner menu, but make haste, Irish summers are notoriously short and I have a feeling that this is a dish we would remember. www.dax.ie
The Seafood Bar, Dublin 7
Sometimes seafood is meant to be enjoyed beachside, on a warm balmy evening, the smell of salt in the air, and then sometimes, you dart out of the Irish summer rain and nab a seat at the newest spot on the block and thank your lucky stars that you did. The Seafood Bar on Blessington Street in Dublin 7 has certainly hit the ground running and with good reason. Whole lobster with fries for €34 was a bargain but the moreish crab on toast was the highlight of my recent visit. Three slices of lightly toasted bread were heaped with mounds of spanking fresh crab that was (surprisingly) lightly scented with curry. It was a generous dish with subtle flavours that happily didn’t overpower the delicate crab. The paella was plentiful and didn’t disappoint and the prices – for seafood of this quality – were a pleasant surprise. This is definitely one for the bucket list this summer. www.seafoodbardublin.com