Subscriber OnlyRestaurants

Nine of the best places to eat on Dublin’s Capel Street right now

This recently pedestrianised street on Dublin’s northside brims with great cafes and restaurants serving world food at reasonable prices

Capel Street feels like it could have been plucked out of London’s West End and transplanted on to Dublin’s northside. A heady blend of pubs, restaurants, cafes, second-hand stores, sex shops, world food outlets and a few workaday retailers give this short drag a distinctive feel.

Until recently, cars snaked their way down the narrow street towards the Liffey quays, but thanks to a Covid-era pedestrianization scheme, Capel street is now a joy to explore on foot. As one of our restaurant reviewers remarked, it’s Dublin’s little pocket of individuality. And it is also very well served with restaurants and cafes – here’s our pick of some of the best places to grab a bite.

Gushi Asian Bar & Kitchen

48 Capel Sreet; 01 558 5895

Vina Lin came to Ireland as a student from southern China 21 years ago. In 2007, she opened Full House with a business partner, Ireland’s first Chinese buffet restaurant. More recently in 2020, she opened Gushi on Capel Street, a restaurant and karaoke function room that offers a broad range of Japanese dishes and includes specialities such as shabu-shabu hot pots. The food is tasty and the portions are generous. The beauty of the menu is that there is enough choice to suit everyone, including vegetarians and vegans. Corinna Hardgrave


46a Capel Street;

The Vietnamese noodles at Aobaba are the only handmade Vietnamese-style noodles in Ireland, and, as well as finding them in bowls of steaming pho at this casual restaurant, Asia Market sells them under the Jan Jan Noodles brand. There are a few prime stools at a bar counter inside, looking on to the street, and even if you don’t land one it’s the sort of place where you would be perfectly comfortable eating on your own. Or, indeed, chatting to the people beside you. CH


Dash Burger

159 Capel Street

Inspired by burger guru George Motz, Barry Wallace opened Dash Burger in Dublin in 2020, combining the LA smash burger with the 1940s Oklahoma onion burger. These are spectacularly good burgers. The thin, cheesed patties with frazzled bits of meat and caramelised onion are absolutely delicious. The Clonakilty black pudding is smashed between two burgers so you get a taste in every bite, and the smoked onion mayo enhances the flavour. A triple smash may sound like too much, but we managed to eat it all, the lacy, crispy bits, gooey cheese, and sweet, caramelised onions, topped off with a very spicy jalapeño sauce. The skin-on fries, smothered in chipotle cheesy sauce, were also devoured. CH


53 Capel Street; 01-8734659

Kopitiam offers an extensive Malaysian food menu. There’s a wide choice of options, including meal deals, satays, noodles and rendang dishes, and an impressive selection of vegetarian and fish dishes. Everything is incredibly tasty, and the servings are substantial. The tofu is deep-fried and piled up with cucumber, lettuce, carrots, and bean sprouts, dressed in a satay sauce. It’s an appetiser that would make a very nice lunch, or a salad to be shared. The roti canai are similar to paratas, puffed up and crispy, delicious dipped into a red chilli and curry leaf sauce. The food is great and really tasty. There is a huge cross-section of dishes available, so it is ideal for ordering for a group of people. CH


45 Capel Street, Dublin 1; 01-8748677,

Hilan Chinese and Korean restaurant often flies under the radar but has consistently delivered excellent Asian food for many years. Regardless of the time of day, it’s often full, with tables covered in platters and bowls. Many of the traditional Chinese dishes are Sichuan or Hunan in style, so think little barbecued lamb skewers flavoured with cumin and chilli, spicy Chongquing chicken or dan dan noodles. The prices are good, so order a few plates to share and find a new favourite dish. Joanne Cronin

Brother Hubbard

153 Capel Street

Brother Hubbard took over from Wolfe’s Bistro in 2012 as a daytime place that upped the game for lunches on Capel Street. The Brother Hubbard crew, led by owners Garret FitzGerald and James Boland, have also been looking after vegetarians and vegans since 2012, with Middle East-inspired menus. Try their home-made vegan cornbread with grilled greens and corn for brunch, or book yourself in for an evening meze feast. Catherine Cleary

Ristorante Romano

12 Capel St; 021 4919019

Pasta, when it’s good, is one of the great basic foods. Unfortunately, it is very rarely good outside its homeland. But if you want the real thing, made with organic flour and free range eggs, a trip to Ristorante Romano will prove an inexpensive treat. The unfashionable decor may not be to everyone’s taste – but that’s all part of the charm. Tom Doorley

Cafe Lisboa

28 Mary Street Little, Dublin 7; 087-2845920

Ever since Sergio and Jussiane Fernandes opened up their little coffee shop just off Capel Street, they have been running to keep up with demand. The reason for their success lies in their pastel de nata or Portuguese custard tart. These little tarts have achieved cult-like status in recent years thanks to their crispy flaky pastry and sweet filling. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to enjoy one fresh from the oven, and for just a little while, you can pretend you’re in Portugal. JC

BoCo Bar + Oven

57 Bolton Street, Dublin 1; 01-8730128

Before it became BoCo it was Bodkins, which had a Mexican restaurant in one half and a pub in the other – but you couldn’t drink in the restaurant or eat in the pub. So they decided to marry both activities under one roof, shipped in a French wood-fired pizza oven and gutted the place to make way for a paint-by-numbers industrial-hipsterville look. There are concrete floors, corrugated zinc panelling, cages and more bare brick than you could shake a breadstick at. The pizza is very good though and the whole thing works because this building has the bone structure to carry it off. They’ve got a lot of things right. Like the students it’s aimed at, it’s at its best in term time and earlier in the evening. CC

Follow a link below for more great places to eat in Ireland

By area

The best places to eat on Dublin’s Camden Street right now

County-by-county guide to the best places to eat in Ireland

The best places to eat in Kilkenny

The best restaurants to try in Waterford right now

The best restaurants to visit in Clare right now

The best restaurants in Cork right now

The best restaurants to try in Donegal right now

The best restaurants to try in Galway right now

The best places to eat in Malahide right now

The best places to eat in Ranelagh right now

The best places to eat in Rathmines right now

Great restaurants to try along the north side of Dublin Bay

Great places to stop and eat just off the motorway in Ireland

The best dog-friendly cafes, pubs and restaurants around Ireland

By food

The best places to eat pizza in Ireland right now

Best places for fish and chips in Ireland

The best fish restaurants to try around Ireland right now

Five of the best restaurants for pasta in Ireland