Food Life Travel

#Northside4Lyf: My top haunts on Dublin’s Northside

August 8, 2016

I’ve been living on Dublin’s Northside, in various different postcodes, for the past six or seven years. At first, I lived in Stoneybatter (so hip!), but for the past four years I’ve been living in Dublin 1, just off Parnell St, near Mountjoy Square. And I love it!

I can walk into the city centre in 15 minutes, my rent isn’t extortionate (although, let’s face it, all Dublin rents are a bit insane right now) and, on my little street, I know several of my neighbours to stop and say hi to, which appeals to the little old lady inside of me.

Things I regularly get asked? “Are you not afraid walking home alone at night?” Er, I don’t walk home alone at night – and I wouldn’t walk home alone at night, even if I lived in Dublin 4. That’s to do with being female, not my postcode. “Is it not very rough?” What does that even mean? Sure, there are some tough little kids who roam around on their bikes late at night, but I have never had a bad experience here. That’s not to say they don’t happen, but in my experience, the people who live in my area are no more violent or likely to mug you than in any other area.

All of that is to reiterate: I love living on the northside. And I love a lot of places on the northside, too. (Mostly food-related, I’ll be honest.) So, without further ado, here are a few of my top sites on DNS.

Pho Viet, Parnell St

This Vietnamese restaurant is delicious, which is always my #1 priority – but it’s also seriously good value. Recommendations? The fresh rolls, filled with prawn and pork, are amazing, and the Bun (I usually have pork, and substitute the spring rolls for more prawns) is to die for! You’ll spend less than €20 if you stick with a starter, main and tap water.

Joe’s Coffee, Liffey St

I’m not really a coffee snob, but I do love coffee – and Joe’s Coffee in Arnotts does some good java. They always try to get you to go for filter over an Americano, but for good reason; the filter coffee there is incredible. They also now stock Alchemy’s spirulina and protein balls (Joe’s, like Alchemy and Itsa Bagel, is owned by the Kemp sisters) so it’s a win-win.

The Spire, O’Connell St

Sometimes I feel like the only Irish person who loves the Spire, but I do; I love when I suddenly see it, on my way home, and realise I’m almost there. I love that people congregate around it. I love that it turned into a light sabre for The Force Awakens. It makes me happy. So there.

Cotto, Stoneybatter

Pizza of dreams @cotto_pizza 🙌🏻 * * * #foodie #food #pizza #foodporn #dublindining #cheatmeal #iifym #restaurant

A photo posted by Rosemary Mac Cabe (@rosemarymaccabe) on

I used to be a serious Paulie’s fan – or Base, which is also yum – but now that I’ve found a really, really good pizza place on the Northside, why would I ever battle through town to go anywhere else?! Cotto does seriously good pizza in seriously cool surroundings. The one thing I wouldn’t bother with? Dessert. No great shakes.

Dollymount Strand, Clontarf

It is a truth universally acknowledged that there are no nice sandy beaches South of the Liffey (although The Happy Pear is worth the trek alone). Okay, so you’ve to walk about three miles before you can actually get into any kind of deep water, and sometimes a group of teenagers will sit down next to you with a ghettoblaster (which is just not right), but it’s just a beautiful beach, and the walk all the way to Howth is well worth doing. (Plus: ice-cream at the end is a must.)

Lift Training Studios, Smithfield

Duh – it’s my gym. But it’s also my therapy. It’s my respite. It’s been my salvation (no exaggeration). It’s got so much to do with my newfound positive state of mind, not to mention my newfound fit, healthy, strong body. It’s probably where I spend the most time (aside from my house), so I’d want to love it, right?!

Two Boys Brew, Phibsborough

Delicious brunch options, even more delicious desserts and seriously good coffee is essentially the combination that results in my own personal paradise. The one gripe I’d have with this new Northside eatery is that the coffees were a little on the small side, but that might be just me! It’s well worth a visit.

The Tram Cafe, Wolfe Tone Square

Are you noticing a theme? Seriously – all of my favourite places in the world seem to serve coffee and food. Okay, so the Tram Cafe is super cute and kitsch, but I also love that it’s a great place to eat outdoors so I can bring my pupper! There are far too few outdoor eats in Dublin if you ask me.

There are so many more places I could – and should – include, but the list would never end. These include Proper Order Coffee in Smithfield; Brother Hubbard on Capel St; The Winding Stair and Woollen Mills restaurants, both by the Ha’penny Bridge; Arnotts, which is, hands down, my favourite department store; Slice in Stoneybatter; Le Petit Breton in Drumcondra; Kinara in Clontarf; and, of course, my regular haunt, Jo Burger. Do you know of any Northside gems I’m missing?

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  • Reply Mairead August 8, 2016 at 3:02 pm

    Da Mimmos in North Strand for pizza and pasta, can’t believe you missed that one!

    • Reply Rosemary August 8, 2016 at 6:01 pm

      Mairead, I used to LOVE it, but last time I got the pizza I wasn’t that impressed! Granted, that was about two years ago, so I might give it another go!

  • Reply Tommy August 8, 2016 at 6:02 pm

    You’ve left out Urbanity. In my opinion, they serve the best coffee on DNS!

    • Reply Rosemary August 8, 2016 at 6:03 pm

      I do love Urbanity, but to be honest, I prefer Proper Order because the guys are just so super friendly in there!

  • Reply Dee August 8, 2016 at 6:55 pm

    <3 the northside! I love Bay in Clontarf (they've just opened a sister restaurant Fishbone & the menu looks fab), Okayu sushi on the North Strand, Wigwam for coffee & reliable wifi, M&L for authentic Chinese, and the Dog House in Howth for BYOB vino & a cheese board 🙂

  • Reply Caren August 9, 2016 at 12:21 am

    All great suggestions. To add I would include Andersons between Drumcondra and Glasnevin, it has great crepes, cake and coffee. Musashi on Capel street is a great old reliable IMO. Kingfisher used to have great fish and chips but is currently closed. The Back Page (another Bodytonic pub) in Phibsboro has UNBELAYYVABLE pizza. Oh and the Lighthouse cinema. And The Cobblestone. And Panti Bar! There are too many choices! Oh and finally Hophouse/ Kimchi has amazing korean and japanese food. And ACTUALLY finally, Im getting carried away here, The Gravediggers for some amazing Coddle followed by a walk through the cemetery to the Botanical Gardens. Done. D1 is the business!

  • Reply Mairead August 9, 2016 at 9:48 am

    Da Mimmo have upped their game Rosemary! They have moved into a swanky new premises next door, they have modernised their website, they have a new menu and branded pizza boxes, same lovely food though! Apparently they’re gonna be serving little canapes and glasses of wine in the old place for people waiting for a table in the new place. Best Italian on DNS

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