At the top of our list of things to do in Dublin was to go on a food tour. During our short trip to Ireland in January, my Mom and I only had a few days in Dublin and we wanted to see, drink, and taste the very best it had to offer.
In my search for a fun and informative food tour, I came across Irish Food Trail, a tour company whose goal is to show visitors the best Irish food, restaurants, and pubs in Dublin through the eyes of a local expert. Unlike other food tours I’ve been on that have stopped at multiple locations for small bites, the Irish Food Trail takes its time visiting three Irish restaurants or pubs so guests can savour an appetizer, a main course, a dessert, and a drink at each location. Think of it as a progressive meal winding through the lively streets of Dublin with new international foodie friends. The restaurants and pubs selected for each tour are slightly different each time, so you may even get to try some different places than the ones I went to.
We met our cheerful guide Justine at our meeting point outside of Dublin Castle. My Mom and I were joined on our tour by guests from Finland, Russia, Belarus, and the United States. After a warm introduction by Justine, we set off for our first taste of the tour. Along the way, we passed through the colourful, flag-filled Dame Lane, a narrow thoroughfare in the bustling Dame District.
Our first stop: Gallaher & Co Bistro & Coffee house, a contemporary European restaurant located in the historic D’Olier Chambers building dating back to 1891. The elegant yellow brick and terracotta building (which remains mostly unchanged to this day) was originally built for Gallaher’s Tobacco Company, hence the name of the restaurant.
Once inside, we were offered the option of several starter-sized dishes on the menu including the soup of the day, a honey-glazed goat cheese salad, a ham hock terrine, or fish and chips. Since I brought my appetite with me that day and was craving some seafood, I opted for the fish and chips, while my Mom chose the goat cheese salad. My hand cut chips were perfectly crispy on the outside and warm on the inside, and the fried fish was nicely complemented by the celeriac remoulade and watercress.
The bite of my Mom’s goat cheese salad I had was also perfectly dressed and flavourful. To drink, we both selected a Dowd’s Lane Big Vat cider, a delightfully refreshing cider that uses fresh juice from locally sourced apples. The cider was my favourite drink of our entire trip to Ireland (and I even poured my own pint of stout at the Guinness Storehouse!), so make sure to try it if you’re in Dublin!