By Jessica Colley—
You don’t have to order the (sort of scary?) black pudding or the full Irish breakfast to enjoy a meal that will banish your Guinness-induced headache on a Sunday morning in Dublin. While there are still plenty of places in town to find your traditional “fry” (as an Irish breakfast is often called), there are also new places serving up brunch with a twist.
The ingredients are just as Irish—including smoked salmon, hearty brown bread, and farm fresh eggs. What’s new is the preparation, a slight focus on healthy options over greasy ones and a pleasant atmosphere in which to enjoy it all.
Here are three of my favorites in Dublin City Center:
1. The Canal Bank Café
146 Upper Leeson Street, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4
Tel: 353 (01) 478 9966
This leisurely café is the perfect place for groups. Inevitably, one person wants breakfast while another wants brunch. One wants only a fruit plate while another craves a hearty burger. The Canal Bank Café has it all—on a lovely corner in Dublin, where light streams through the windows and locals read newspapers at the tables.
I also like how spread out the tables are. Your chair won’t be bumped and you don’t need to listen to the next table’s conversation while you dig into your Eggs McSwiggan (similar to Eggs Benedict, but replace the ham with Irish smoked salmon). They aren’t in a rush here though, so if you arrive hungry be sure to order an appetizer (like their divine buffalo chicken) while waiting for your meal.
Bath Avenue, Dublin 4
This neighborhood favorite has the best interpretation of brunch in the city. Menu items are perfectly sandwiched between breakfast and lunch—think steak and eggs—and are hearty enough to carry you through until dinner. Open for brunch only on the weekends, the tables fill up fast when this spot opens at 11 a.m.
The best tables are outside on the sidewalk, especially if you’re in a small group. Inside can feel quite cramped, as there are only eight tiny tables for two. On the inside, however, you have the perfect view of the chef as he creates your meal. I love Junior’s take on French Toast—this is a dish I would wake up craving on a Sunday.
3. The Lennox Café
31 Lennox Street, Portobello, Dublin 8
Tel: 353 (0)1 478-9966
The most stylish of these three brunch options is the Lennox Café, tucked into the Portobello neighborhood amongst prime examples of historic Georgian architecture. The best tables here are outside on the patio, or upstairs on the second floor, where you can get a glimpse of this building’s former life.
Everything on the menu is delicious and beautifully presented, but one of my favorite dishes is their take on huevos rancheros. Perfectly poached eggs, cheddar, chorizo and avocado all find a home with a little salad on top of a toasted tortilla. Spicy and nourishing, this is a meal I always find myself reurning to.
Don’t believe the rumors that Irish food is bland and boring. By venturing away from the Irish breakfasts on offer at pubs, you can find cafés that are bringing serious brunch culture to Dublin.
Your favorite breakfast spot?
Do you have a favorite brunch or breakfast spot in Dublin? Tell us about it in the comments section.