It is no secret that Dublin, Ireland, has a vibrant and popular pub culture, but did you know it is also a foodie’s paradise? It’s true! Whether you want to indulge in traditional staples like Irish stew and fish and chips, or visit a five-star Michelin restaurant, Dublin has you covered.
One of my favorite ways to explore an area’s food is to participate in a food tour; luckily, Dublin offers many options. After extensive research, I decided to take a Secret Food Tour in Dublin, and I was glad I did! Dublin’s Secret Food Tour allowed me to taste some incredible food, and I learned loads of history about Dublin and made some new friends!
Before I introduce you to some of the yummy dishes I tried on my Dublin food tour, the stops on the tour may have changed. Please visit the Secret Food Tour website for the latest tour information. Let’s dive into my favorite dishes I tried while on Dublin’s Secret Food Tour (foods are listed in no particular order).
I was gifted a tour by Secret Food Tours, but, as always, all opinions are my own.
1. Traditional Irish Breakfast
From the outside, Kilkenny Design looks like a design store, so I wouldn’t have ever thought to venture inside for a good meal. When our tour guide stopped in front of it, I assumed he would just give us information about the neighborhood. To my surprise, this was the first stop on our food tour. As we ventured inside and went up the stairs, we were greeted with a bustling little café full of delicious smells and happy-looking people.
The first dish we received on the tour was a traditional Irish breakfast. The dish consisted of potato cakes, brasher (ham for my American friends), white pudding, and fried tomatoes. Having tasted the other items before, I was most excited to try the white pudding since it was new to me. White pudding is a meat dish that consists of fat, oatmeal, or barley with breadcrumbs, spices, and in some recipes, pork and/or pork liver. These ingredients are combined, filled into a natural or cellulose sausage casing, and then cooked.
I couldn’t believe the size of the portions. Reminding myself that this was our first stop, I decided to pace myself and only eat a few bites of each item. I must admit, though, this was hard as the food was so good!
2. Irish Stew
The Hairy Lemon
My first taste of traditional Irish Stew took place on the Secret Food Tour while visiting a fabulous Irish pub named The Hairy Lemon. The Hairy Lemon is a quintessential Irish pub right in the heart of Dublin. There are random, fun decorations hanging all about and televisions showing sporting events throughout the bar. People are laughing and the beer is flowing! The wood paneling and cozy tables enhanced the lively atmosphere of the Hairy Lemon and made me just want to sit and stay a while.
When my Irish stew arrived, I was greeted with a steamy bowl of thick, hearty stew full of chunks of meat and vegetables. The dish was accompanied by a slice of Irish soda bread perfect for dipping. Compared to an American stew, the Irish stew had a thicker consistency. In addition, lamb meat was used instead of beef, which resulted in a richer flavor. I have read that some Irish stews can also be made with mutton (mature sheep). I did not try the mutton, so I cannot speak to its taste. If you are not sure if the stew you are getting is made with lamb or mutton, just ask your server.
3. Guinness Pie
The Hairy Lemon
Since my husband, Marty, and I were both participating in the food tour, I had the opportunity to share dishes with him during our visit to The Hairy Lemon. Marty ordered the Guinness pie. Having never heard of it, I was excited to try it!
Guinness pie is beef cooked in a savory gravy with vegetables and spices and then covered in pastry. I equated this dish to a delicious homemade pot pie. The crust was buttery and flaky, and the filling was flavorful. We paired ours with a big, fresh pint of Guinness beer, which was perfect. Honestly, I enjoyed the Guinness pie more than I did my stew. I highly recommend you try it!
4. Fish & Chips
Leo Burdock began serving delicious food to the Dublin community in 1913. Its website says they would wrap their fish and chips in day-old newspapers when they first began. This fast food-style fish-and-chips tradition caught on quickly as the company became famous for having some of the best in the area. According to our guide, Cal, it is not uncommon for Burdock’s to have a line around the corner. (Cal added that it is well worth the wait, and the line usually moves quickly.)
The restaurant’s interior has a relaxed, nautical vibe that instantly makes you feel at home. Looking over the menu, I was surprised at the choices offered. Not only do they serve fish and chips, but Leo Burdock also offers a wide variety of other foods, such as chicken tenders, hamburgers, sausages, and smoked cod. They even have a kids’ menu that offers reasonably priced, child-friendly choices.
During our visit to Leo Burdock, our tour included tasting the fish and chips. The fish was perfectly cooked and piping hot! The batter was light and crisp, and the tender, flaky fish inside melted in your mouth. Of course, the chips (french fries for my Americans) were also perfectly cooked. I loved that the meal was wrapped in paper, making it easy to sit and eat on or transport with you on the go.
We have eaten a lot of fish and chips on our travels, and I have to admit, Leo Burdock’s might be some of the best we have ever tasted. With that in mind, you should add this dish to your list of things to eat in Dublin!
5. Ice Cream
Murphy’s Ice Cream
If you’re an ice cream lover, you should probably book a flight to Ireland right now. I don’t know what they do to their dairy products, but they are amazing, and this is especially true for their ice cream! Murphy’s Ice Cream has churned out delicious ice cream since 2000. According to their website, their goal is to “make memorable flavors that put a smile on your face.” The company prides itself on using only natural ingredients. There are “no colorings, flavorings, or powdered milk.” I guess that is why it tastes so good!
Stepping into the Murphy’s Ice Cream store in Dublin immediately made me smile. The building was small but charming, cute, and, best of all, the employees were all smiling and happy. The menu showcased their delightful flavors, including Dingle sea salt, Irish brown bread, chocolate, and butterscotch. They even have alcohol-infused flavors like chocolate whiskey infused with West Cork whiskey, and Micil Irish cream infused with Irish whiskey and Irish cream!
My favorite thing about Murphy’s is that they will let you sample the ice creams until you decide on a flavor you love! This was important to me as I had difficulty choosing a flavor. I finally settled on the Irish cream and Marty chose the chocolate. The Irish cream ice cream was so decadent and creamy. I equate it to eating a frozen Irish coffee. Marty’s chocolate was just as delicious. The smooth and rich chocolate flavor just melted in your mouth. The server at Murphy’s told me that they use one of the best cocoas in the world to make their chocolate ice cream, which gives it a distinct and rich chocolate taste. It was amazing! I loved Murphy’s ice cream so much that I ate it daily. We even found one on our day trip to Kilkenny!
6. Irish Whiskey
Celtic Whiskey Shop & Wines On The Green
I don’t know if Irish whiskey qualifies as a “dish,” but I just couldn’t write this without including it! During our Secret Food Tour, we had the opportunity to visit a charming little shop in Dublin named the Celtic Whiskey Shop & Wines on the Green. This shop, centrally located near St. Stephen’s Green, is worth stopping in Dublin.
The shop’s interior was warm and welcoming with wood paneling and hues of brown and green. One side of the shop contained wine for sale, and the other housed the whiskey. Our tour included tasting three Irish whiskeys: Teelings Whiskey, The Dubliner, and Tullamore Dew. All three were smooth and delicious, but my favorite was the Teelings. I liked it so much that we chose to tour the Teelings Whiskey Distillery after our food tour!
Pro Tip: Food Tours
I have participated in Secret Food Tours worldwide — including Dublin, Boston, and Rome — and one thing I have learned is that you will eat a lot of food! My top tip when participating in a tour is to wear comfortable clothing and to pace yourself.