There are an abundance of restaurants in Dublin and with new eateries popping up all the time that it can be difficult to decide on the perfect setting for a special evening. I have listed five restaurants for you so take note for your next romantic soirée, be it an anniversary dinner, a special first date or even a ‘pop-the-question’ kind of night!
Nestled down a side street in the heart of Dublin city you will find this gem. Il Vicoletto is a typical Italian trattoria with a warm and infectious atmosphere, exceptional service, an extensive wine list, and authentic Italian food offering. They do an excellent job in sourcing the best of Irish produce and pairing with carefully selected cheeses and oils from Italy. A three course early bird with generous selection of choices is Eur35. Having tasted their hand-made pasta, we can appreciate when some say this place is better than Italian restaurants in Italy! Don’t miss the banana sticky toffee pudding for dessert. Simply sublime. Il Vicoletto opens seven days a week ’til late.
A multiple award winning restaurant just off Stephen’s Green, Etto recently won ‘Restaurant of the Year’ at the 2018 Irish Restaurant Awards. Perhaps even more impressively, it was also awarded a Michelin Guide Bib Gourmand for four consecutive years from 2014 to 2017. Simplistic in it’s decor with white walls, rustic wooden furniture, Etto is laid-back and relaxed and the intimate space makes this restaurant so cosy and romantic. Quality, flavoursome food is at the forefront. The menu here varies daily pending what ingredients are available. We recommend that you start at the bar with some smoked almonds and an aperitif and spend the rest of your evening dining on the likes of mussels, samphire, nduja and leek, or, a roast onion squat risotto with chanterelles and taleggio. Etta is open Monday to Saturday from lunch time.
Aqua is a gorgeous restaurant located at the end of the pier in Howth, a bustling fishing village about 20 minutes from Dublin city. This makes our list of one of the most romantic restaurants in Dublin because there are few other places with views as spectacular as those in Aqua. With floor to ceiling windows overlooking the sea, one might feel they were on a yacht! It is a seafood haven for fish lovers and of course there are options for all palates. Try the Castletownbere seared scallops to start, followed by a grilled lobster and finish with a classic crème brûlée. Watching your wallet? Try a two course lunch or early bird for Eur25. In 2019, Aqua celebrates 20 years in business, testament to the superb food and atmosphere. A real treat.
Top tip: Go while it is still bright so you can watch the sunset from your table.
The Vintage Kitchen
An intimate setting, delicious food and great fun sums up this charming eatery. What more could you lovebirds want? BYOW perhaps!? Yes, this restaurant allows you to bring your own wine and quite reasonably too at Eur3 corkage per bottle. Turn the romance up a gear by bringing your own record for them to play on their 1970s Vinyl record player. Fun and entertaining ambience aside, the food is top-notch fare. Some memorable dishes include Wicklow duck liver creme with lime jelly & pistachio or Slaney river slow roasted lamb shank with treacle gravy. Mouth-watering stuff!
The Vintage Kitchen opens five days a week for lunch and dinner but this place is so fantastic, it understandably can be tricky to get a reservation. Be an old romantic and book it in the diary months in advance!
A five minute jaunt by car from the city centre, this restaurant is located in the leafy suburbs of Donnybrook. This restaurant is all about Irish produce and ingredients and everything from the food on your plate to the linen dressing the table, is Irish. Start your night with a House cocktail in their lush (and heated!) outdoor terrace. The perfect way to begin might be with a Miss Polly Cocktail which is Irish Gunpowder gin, lime and a House made nettle cordial. Feeling relaxed and mellow, then move inside for a true culinary feast. The menus change weekly keeping it fresh and exciting but you can expect the likes of Wicklow venison tartare, Goatsbridge trout and hand-crafted Irish cheeses for dessert. A truly delicious and romantic spot for your ‘grá’! Mulberry Garden opens Wednesday through Saturday from 6pm.
Written by Catherine Allen and published in ‘Ireland Before You Die’.