If you miss dining out as much as we do (a safe bet), you’ll be counting down to the reopening of outdoor dining this month like it is Christmas come early.
Many of our favourite spots have invested and adapted to provide outdoor dining spaces so they can welcome us back as soon as possible and soak up the summer as best we can, whatever the weather.
Perhaps the elusive Irish summer sunshine will make an appearance, but at this stage we’ll armour ourselves against the elements to perch for an evening in one of the below al fresco Dublin dining spots we’ve booked and are dying to get back to.
The Terrace at The Shelbourne
Emerging from lockdown in one piece is as good a reason as any to treat yourself. As a nice, luxurious pat on the back, we’ll be booking in to the newly expanded Terrace at The Shelbourne for seafood platters, charcuterie and plenty of bubbles to toast our release. Come rain or shine, it is the perfect (heated!) spot to spoil yourself this summer.
If you are looking for a seamless blend of exquisite outdoor dining and warm hospitality, Volpe Nera in Blackrock is a no-brainer. Barry Sun’s clever creations are not to be missed, and will be just as delicious enjoyed in the heated outdoor seating area as they have always been in the cosy dining room.
Having successfully pivoted to produce exceptionally good takeaway meal kits during lockdown, Georges’ Street haunt 777 has adapted even further to add Afuera, an outdoor dining area as vibrant and exciting as the flavours you can always expect here. With their famous Margarita in one hand and treats like tostadas, empanadas and taquitos before you, making the most of outdoor dining this summer will be a breeze.
If you can’t be wandering down sun-filled streets in Provence, you can at the very least enjoy delectable Gallic-inspired delights sitting under a chic striped canopy on Fade Street at L’Gueuleton. This Creative Quarter gem converted to a charming little market during lockdown but will be back to doing what it does best as an al fresco brunch haven this summer.
Ever so stylish, ever so buzzy the second the sun comes out, Charlotte Quay has always been a top contender for summer drinks in Dublin. Their outdoor terrace on the water feels like a little escape in the city and they have just nabbed Circa’s Gareth Naughton as head chef, which spells something very exciting menu-wise. We’re expecting great things and great times down at this Grand Canal Dock gem this summer.
There are few places that can transport you to sunnier, more exotic climes as convincingly as Howth’s seafront institution King Sitric. The finest lobsters, crab claws, a chilled bottle of vino and the salty sea air make this an unmissable stop, plus you can park yourself in one of their handmade beachüttes or on the heated terrace.
Fade Street Social
A personal lockdown standout for me, Fade Street at Home made the long months of pretending my dining table wasn’t also my desk so much more bearable. With the re-opening of a reimagined rooftop Winter Garden, Fade Street Social will likely make outdoor dining exponentially better too. Flawless cocktails, imaginative wood-fired dishes and views of the city, what’s not to love?
Michelin Bib touting Circa was less than a year open when lockdown hit, so it was all the more heartening to see them persevere with a cracking Circa@Home offering, followed by the opening of a colourful, heated garden dining area. Cool, contemporary plates, Spritz cocktails and laid back vibes make Circa well worth a trip to the suburbs this summer.
While we will miss the beautiful Italian marketplace Riba seamlessly morphed into during lockdown, we’re excited to visit the the festoon lit terrace that feels far more like Southern Italy than Stillorgan. We’re drooling at the thought of antipasti followed by their sensational fritto misto, hopefully served with a side of sunshine. Bonus points for a covered, heated terrace, meaning we can ignore the rain should we need to.
Saba Secret Garden
Festival decor, fiery street food and ferociously good cocktails make Saba Baggot Street’s Secret Garden a perfect little outpost for al fresco revelry this summer. Over-ordering is almost obligatory here, as you’ll want a little taste of everything to linger over for hours, soaking up the atmosphere/pretending you’re on your holidays in Thailand.
WRITTEN BY DARINA COFFEY