By Mark Keane
It’s hard to believe that such a beautiful, picturesque place is only a short DART trip away from Dublin's city centre. With a mix of excellent bars and restaurants, to go along with stunning attractions like Dalkey Castle and Heritage Centre, this area has become a must-visit for those wanting great seafood and a bit of culture.
In the heart of Dalkey village lies the Magpie Inn, a cosy bar that captures the best traits of what an Irish pub should be, while also offering a food menu as good as any restaurant. It has over 20 beers on draught to choose from, with choices from craft beer breweries such as Eight Degrees, Wicklow Wolf, Sierra Nevada and O'Haras, as well as an extensive wine list. The Magpie's Head Chef uses locally sourced Irish producers, offering mussels and oysters from Sligo, langoustines with Irish seaweed mayonnaise, flank steak with fried duck egg, Irish beer battered fish and chips, and the classic brunch dish of eggs benedict with bacon. For those wanting a hearty meal after some post-work drinks, the Magpie Inn also serves big plates such as grilled whole fish and dry-aged steak with truffle chips and bearnaise sauce. Great beer and great food, that's what every gastropub should strive for, and its something that the Magpie Inn does very well.
Dalkey's location makes it ideal for restaurants who want to serve the freshest and most local seafood possible. One restaurant which has been doing that since 1957 is the Guinea Pig, run by Mervin Stewart who is known as the 'King of Dalkey' since his coronation in 1986. The restaurant, which is only 40 paces from Dalkey DART station, is ideal for those wanting to try some locally caught crab and lobster. Its early bird menu is great value at €29 for three-courses, which includes the famous Guinea Pig smokies with cream, tomatoes, herbs, then topped with cheese and baked, a classic seafood chowder, or fillets of sole in a white wine sauce. Healthy, tasty fish, what more could you want.
Spice lovers will be well aware of Kathmandu Nepalese Restaurant in Dalkey. It has been serving up classic dishes of chilli garlic masala, jalfrezi, onion bhaji's, samosas, rogan josh and biryani's. The latter of which is available with lamb, chicken or prawns. The restaurant's early bird menu, which runs from 5-8pm Monday to Thursday, is ideal for those looking somewhere to go for a regular night out during the week. It also caters to those wanting somewhere tasty to host a birthday or special event. With takeaway options also available too, there is no reason not to be trying all their dishes and educating yourself on the different spices that Kathmandu Nepalese uses.
Jaipur is one of Dublin's most beloved Indian restaurants and deservedly so. It has been banging the drum for this style of cuisine since opening its doors. The restaurant marinates meats in ingredients such as chilli, yogurt, turmeric, saffron and cooks them in traditional clay ovens to ensure customers get a real look at all that Indian cuisine can offer. Depending on your hunger level, Jaipur has an early bird menu of two courses for €22.99 or a tasting menu for €45 per person. Dishes on offer include a pan-fried potato cake called aloo tikki, tandoori prawns, crab cakes, duck madras and lamb shank, among many tasty others. Whether you're a vegetarian, fish or meat lover, there are tasty options for everybody at Jaipur.
DeVille's is what happens when a traditional French bistro meets a New York city steakhouse, it's a culinary mixture that can do no wrong. Seafood lovers can gorge on fresh oysters, salted chilli squid and dover sole, while those wanting a big slab of meat can choose from braised short ribs, steak frites with bearnaise sauce, and duck confit. On the other hand, those seeking their latest brunch spot, can avail of dishes such as French onion soup, club sandwiches, eggs florentine and something sweet in the form of creme brulee from 12- 4pm on weekends. Of course any French bistro worth its salt should have a great wine selection. DeVille's does, and its list is one that contains mostly French wines from the likes of Bordeaux, Burgundy and the Rhone Valley. Swing by for brunch, grab a bellini and enjoy your weekend!
When Surf 'N' Turf is done well, one leaves the restaurant a very happy customer. Ouzo's knows that its bread and butter is serving great seafood and steak dishes. Using local ingredients has been a bit of a buzz word in the culinary scene for a while now, but it doesn't get any more local than using fish caught between Sandycove and Arklow. Those looking to get as much omega-3 into their diet can visit the restaurant for a €23.95 three- course lunch or a three-course early bird for €25.95 every day. Some people just love shellfish and they won't do better than Ouzo's lobster and crab claw salad or seared king scallops with celeriac puree and black pudding. There's also smoked salmon sandwiches, hake cassoulet and a classic seafood platter for 2 or 4 people. As for steak, a 14oz Irish ribeye on the bone with crispy fried onions and black peppercorn or wild mushroom sauce has all the makings of a very enjoyable meal.
The Corner Note Cafe
Those seeking a truly unique dining experience need look no further than The Corner Note Cafe. It offers casual Bistro-style food, ticking all the boxes with breakfast, lunch and brunch options, as well as having its own recording studio available for those looking to start a career in music when finished eating. Brunch options, which runs till 3:30pm, include favourites such as bacon benedict with hollandaise sauce and French toast with maple syrup, ideal dishes to have outside on its terrace. Those looking for something really healthy can choose from The Corner Note Cafe's 'Salad Bar Menu', with ahealthy roasted beetroot, spinach, butternut squash and lemon-creme fraiche dressed salad, an ideal choice to go alongside a juice or smoothie. No Dalkey restaurant would be complete without some fish options. Customers can choose from classic moules marinière with a white wine and garlic cream sauce, prawn linguine or herb baked salmon, as well as specials like pan-fried ray wing with caper butter. The Corner Note Cafe can even host events and design special menus for up to 50 people!