TradFest 2019 kicked off today in Temple Bar and it sounds like it’s going to be the biggest one yet!

From January 23rd-27th, various Irish artists will assemble in Temple Bar to highlight the country’s best folk and trad music. There will also be lots of other events taking place at TradFest, including sewing workshops, kids activities and a Dublin food trail.

If you’re heading along to the festival this week, you’re sure to work up an appetite with so much lively music so we’ve rounded up 15 of our recommended places to eat in Temple Bar to make sure that you don’t go hungry! Check out the list below. 

Piglet Wine Bar, Cow's Lane

This is definitely the go-to spot for wine and casual dining in Temple Bar. Owners Enrico and Thibauld, Italian and French respectively, have created a unique wine experience, where old world wines are celebrated alongside the unusual or bio-dynamic. Their food is as good a reason to go here, with selections of tapas, boards and fish, meat and veggie dishes typically on the menu. Highlights for us include: Confit Duck Gizzards; Smoked Goat Bacon; Grilled Baby Octopus with chickpeas, chorizo and confit tomatoes salad and basil dressing; Orecchiette with Pork Ragú, smoked paprika and Parmesan.

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The neverending board. Just add wine...

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Tomahawk Steakhouse, Essex Street

The steaks at Tomahawk are aged upstairs in Dollard & Co Food Market’s dry ageing chamber for up to 28 days to ensure maximum flavour, so you know you’re in for a treat when you visit. The restaurant’s decor is elegant, yet cosy, and the open kitchen gives you a great view of your steak being cooked – try to get a seat at the bar to watch the action first hand. Obviously, the Tomahawk is amazing, and best shared, but you can’t really go wrong with any of the steaks on this menu.

Bunsen, Essex Street East

On the list as one of Dublin’s best burgers, Bunsen is a firm favourite with most. The menu is simplified to make your choice easy and allow the burger to be the star of the show – juicy beef burgers, hand-cut fries and milkshakes, all at an extremely reasonable price. Being so popular, Bunsen is usually packed, so you’ll usually have to wait a bit for a seat but, but we feel it's worth it.

Rosa Madre, Crow Street

This Italian restaurant is well known for its fabulous seafood and pasta. The vast menu has something for everyone, but we would recommend the black sole as it’s always perfectly cooked. The seafood display and fun atmosphere among staff and diners make dinner here always memorable. 

Chameleon, Fownes Street Lower

Chameleon restaurant definitely echoes the saying, 'an oldie but a goodie' as it is among Temple Bar's older established restaurants, but still as good, if not even better, over the years. It is not only serving up fantastic food, but it has such a fun atmosphere and is great to enjoy with a group. Owner and chef Kevin O'Toole was the first to bring the 'bao' to Dublin, and especially make them from scratch, and they are arguably some of the best baos you can feast on in the city. Plus, don't even get us started on his Beef Short Rib Rendang! 

Read more Make Kevin's Beef Rendang at home

Klaw: The Seafood Café, Fownes Street Upper

When we first heard that you could get lobster rolls in Temple Bar a few years ago, we thought it was too good to be true, but yes, it was true and they were and still are incredible. Niall Sabongi opened the first iteration of Klaw on Crown Alley with a small menu of Irish shellfish available, and it was frankly hard to walk past without popping in (and still is!). Now, The Seafood Café has taken a special place in our hearts too and has all the amazing Irish shellfish that the crab shack offers, plus lots more Irish seafood dishes and specials. We can't think the fish finger butty literally without drooling! Plus the Sunday brunch here is very special. 

Monty’s of Kathmandu, Eustace Street

We would argue that this is one of the best restaurants in Temple Bar; it’s hard to pick a favourite dish as there really isn’t a bad choice to be made. The finest of Nepalese cuisine and such amazing value. Grab some friends, get a big table and order loads! But if you visit, make sure you save room for dessert, as the gajar ko haluwa (a carrot, cinnamon and milk dish) is to die for.

El Grito Mexican Taqueria, Merchant’s Quay

Tacos are definitely a "trend" we are going to see a lot more of in 2019 and while they pop up in menus all over the city, there are only a few places that we feel have really got it right. El Grito is that type of NYC-style Mexican street food spot, tucked away in a little alleyway, that gets us excited. You're not supposed to be there for long, just get your taco fill and go! It's the perfect mid-trad session nibble, just pop out, grab some tacos and head back in time for the next session to kick off! 

Di Fontaine’s Pizzeria, Parliament Street 

The legend that is. Who hasn't made Di Fontaine's there last port of call before home on a night out... eating slices of pizza, chatting to complete strangers and dancing to the hits? If the answer is 'me' then you need to change that. Nowhere reminds us of NYC more than this pizza spot – probably because they are a self-proclaimed 'New York Joint' – and if you crave a slice of the Big Apple in Dublin, then this is where you'll find it. 

Plus, if you do visit, make sure and 'Pay it Forward' by paying for a slice of pizza for someone else. The guys at Di Fontaine's then send the pizza to homeless groups that they work with around Dublin every week to help feed people who need it. We love this idea! 

Eatokyo, Wellington Quay

An unsuspecting gem of a restaurant in Temple Bar serving up excellent Asian cuisine. Don't be put off by the name, or the photos of food on the menu(!), the food is genuine and flavoursome and the staff are some of the friendliest we've come across. We recommend the tempura, beef Kushiyaki, trying out the traditional Japanese grill and the sushi was really decent too. It's worth noting you can BYOB and the menu is highly vegan-friendly.

Melt Down, Curved Street

There’s something to be said for a good toastie and MeltDown certainly does them well. With an ever-changing variety of delicious cheesy melts, you’ll never be bored with trying out the menu – we recommend to try the Chorizoroo (if still on the menu), it is divine! Excellent for lunch on a budget. 

Sano, Exchange Street Upper

The pizza game in Dublin has been become hyperactive of late with more new places opening and the standard in general becoming, well, competitive. Everyone has an opinion on where is the best or their favourite – if we have to overhear another pizza debate?! However, we feel that Sano deserves a place on any list of the best pizzas in Dublin. Neapolitan-style pizzas with beautifully-light dough base – only four ingredients, fermented for 48 hours and cooked at 500 degrees for 90 seconds – and traditional Italian toppings, it's a slice of the real deal. The price point is excellent value, easily one of the cheapest, quality slices in town too! 

Queen of Tarts, Cow’s Lane

In a time when every week there seems to be a new coffee shop opening, it's refreshing to go to a traditional tea room instead every once in a while. Queen of Tarts is one of our favourites and is well-known for its amazing baked goods, but there’s also a fab savoury menu on offer. If you’re looking for a pre-TradFest brunch, we’d recommend you hit this spot; that way you can beat the crowds and get yourself a sneaky cake to snack on later. 

Pieman, Crown Alley

Pies! We get a bit excited about them because, well, who doesn't love a delicious homemade pie?! Pieman does a little bit of everything: delicious handmade pies, sausage rolls, homemade cakes and desserts. There is always a variety of pie flavours available, including classic steak and stout, feta and sweet potato, chicken and mushroom and more, as well daily specials. The prices are really reasonable too, so pop in if you’re looking for a quick and satisfying bite.

Gallagher’s Boxty House, Temple Bar

Gallagher's Boxty House is a Temple Bar institution. It's been open for business for 30 years. Founded by Pádraic Óg Gallagher, a chef and potato aficionado, this restaurant highlights the best of traditional Irish fayre, including the famous Irish boxty. The restaurant’s lunch menu is fantastic value and of course, features varieties of dishes including their delicious boxty pancakes, so nip in from 11am-3pm to try it. Plus, their own label Jack Smith brews are worth tasting, especially if you like tasting different craft beers.

BONUS:

Irish Food Trails are offering two special TradFest tour options as part of the festivities. The first brings you to five different Temple Bar eateries over two hours, so you’re sure to visit some of the spots on this list. The second option is an Experience Dublin tour where you get a three-course meal with three classic Irish drinks at three of Temple Bar’s best restaurants. The tours require advance booking, so if you’d rather hit up a few foodie spots than just one restaurant, buy your tickets here now.

TradFest 2019 takes place from January 23rd-27th in Temple Bar, Dublin. Check out the full list of events and ticketing information here