Thanks to Ireland’s recent ‘economic challenges’ (let’s put it that way) lots of us now have a few friends across the water in London, dotted around Europe or even further afield in Australia. On the rare occasions that you get the gang back together for a catch up there’s no doubt it’s going to involve pints, but if you’re anything like me you’ll want a bite to eat first.
So what makes a good restaurant for catching up with people you haven’t seen in a while?
- Well it has to be reasonably priced, sure one of you is flying high in one of the big four, but your choice of restaurant has to cater for everyone at the table.
- Secondly, it shouldn’t be too loud. Sure, banging tunes will make for a great atmosphere later on, but if you’re going to go to the trouble of sitting down for a catch up you want to be able to have an actual conversation.
- The restaurant has to take reservations, obviously, no one wants to traipse around the city at 8pm on a Friday night.
- And lastly, in the words of the great poet Dolores O’Riordan you have to let it linger. You need a restaurant where you can happily linger over another bottle of wine and coffee. If you’re getting together for a catch up you don’t want to get whooshed out the door after an hour at your post.
With these criteria in mind here are a few suggestion from us:
1. Yamamori Izakaya, 12/13 South Great George’s Street, Dublin 2
Nice ambiance, a great drinks menu and lots of shareable options, sharing is caring at Yamamori Izakaya. It’s centrally located and close to many of the city’s best drinking haunts if you’re planning on things escalating.
2. Green 19, 19 Camden Street Lower, Dublin 2
Possibly the best value in the city – Green 19 must be applauded for keeping their prices reasonable while others are hiking them up. Mains cost between €10 and €19 – and those prices don’t end at 6.45pm on Tuesday, they’re the prices all of the time.
3. The Woollen Mills, 42 Lower Ormond Quay, Dublin 1
It’s the more casual and reasonably priced sister restaurant of the Winding Stair. With mains from €14 to €26 it just about falls into the reasonably priced category. The Woollen Mills describes itself as “quintessentially Irish, local and of its locale” so if you’re entertaining friends from abroad this might be just the place to impress them.
4. Musashi 15 Capel St., Dublin 1
It’s the second Japanese restaurant on the list. We’re big fans of Capel Street’s Musashi for many reasons; in this case it makes the cut because it’s got lovely long tables for your crew and it’s reasonably priced (especially if you factor in the fact that you can bring your own wine).
5. The Gotham Café, 8 South Anne St, Dublin 2
The Gotham Café has been rocking its spot on South Anne Street since 1993 so it must be doing something right. What appears at first glance to be an American style diner is actually more of a neighbourhood restaurant, serving reasonably priced food in an unpretentious and casual setting. They are good at accommodating groups so if you’re after something reasonably priced and not too fancy this will fit the bill.
6. 101 Talbot, 101 Talbot Street, Dublin 1
Talbot Street location might not be the first place you would flock to for a get together, but with a pretty reasonable menu (mains from €15.50 to €24) and a pleasant, quiet atmosphere, Talbot 101 is worth considering.
7. Seagrass, 30 South Richmond Street, Portobello, Dublin 2
Another BYOB restaurant, Seagrass mains range from €18 to €26 but its BYO policy makes it popular with groups. The Portobello restaurant serves good food at affordable prices in a pleasant dining room that’s perfect for chatting.
8. Bear 34/35 South William St, Dublin 2
The food at Jamie Heaslip’s steakhouse is made for sharing. Dinner for two can sometimes work out a tad expensive but when you dine with a group Bear can become excellent value for money. The monster meat platters are made for sharing. Bookings can only be made for groups and bear in mind this is a pretty funky spot – the music will be a bit louder than some of our other choices, but that’s sure to suit the rowdier groups out there.
9. Chez Max Palace St & Baggot St, Dublin 2
For some people when it comes to a get together the food will play second fiddle to the company, but for others the food will still be their number one priority. If that’s the case Chez Max is on hand. Mains range fro €15 to €26, meaning it’s not the cheapest option on our list, but it is a great spot for a nice meal served with oodles of Frenchness.
10. The Exchequer, Exchequer St., Dublin 2
There’s always one person who doesn’t want to bother with dinner and wants to go straight to the pub. Enter The Exchequer – it is indeed a pub, but it’s serving some of the best food in the capital, so everyone’s happy. Mains from €15 to €26