Wedding Season Tips!

May 20, 2015


It’s wedding season! This year, we only have one wedding on the calendar and I’m in it! It’s my sister’s, so that means I get to help with the wedding planning as well. I figured at least a few of you are in the same boat (hehe!), so these tips I’ve been writing about for Wedding Party might help!

You can see more of my wedding party posts right here!

Image by my friend Ashley Ludaescher, Berlin and California based wedding photographer! 

A Public Service Announcement / It’s Rhododendron Season!

May 19, 2015

howth-deer-park-rhododendrons-ireland If you’re anywhere near Dublin at the moment or within the next few weeks, you just have to get yourself up to Deer Park in Howth to see the rhododendron trees in bloom. I’ve written about them in years past (lots more rhododendron photos from last year here), but I just went up yesterday and they’re in full bloom and look incredible. From white to pale pink to fuschia, it’s really the most incredible sight.  deer-park-rhododendron-trees Once you get to Deer Park, drive all the way up to the old hotel (someone really needs to re-open that place!) and park in the parking lot. Walk up along the right side of the hotel building along the path. When you get to the base of the cliff path, you’ll see the giant trees. You can walk all under and around them and I think you’ll be glad I made you go!

A Bright Living Room Makeover

May 18, 2015

living-room-makeover-2015 Happy Monday, everyone! Did you have a nice weekend? I caught a cold Friday and wore my voice out chatting with friends all day and night. I’ve been squawking and squeaking all weekend, and not helping my cause by talking (and singing Old MacDonald to my niece – or as she calls it E-I-O? – at least 782 times) all day long. Tomorrow I will hopefully stay quiet and finally stop squawking!

Now, let’s jump into the week with the final room in our apartment makeover. I’ve shared all the other rooms in our house, which we slowly made over and turned white and bright over the last year or so. (You can see our hallway, bedroom, bathroom and landing strip in case you missed those, and you can see the before photos right here.). We rent our apartment, but we have a flexible landlord. We’ve lived here for five years, so everything needed a coat of paint and if I never see another inch of off-white paint, it will be too soon. We painted everything a chalk white, and the living room definitely benefited the most.  from-hallway-living-room Our living room is at the very back of the apartment and is also our dining area. It’s a little inconvenient because the kitchen is down the hallway, but it’s so bright that all is forgiven. If you can believe it, I took these photos when it was relatively grey outside and even sprinkling a little. Unless it’s nighttime, this room is bright and that’s one of the things I’ve loved about this room. It benefits from windows along two walls looking out on our patio, and in our white makeover I painted the dark brown trim bright, glossy white. Michael went away for a weekend and came back to a transformed room. He criticized my painting techniques (I’m not the most careful painter) but he came over to the light side quite quickly.  living-room-windows We swapped out the giant overstuffed leather couches that came with the apartment and sent them next door to our neighbors (we share a landlord) and bought this couch. It’s bigger than I would have liked, but I rarely sit on the couch so Michael got a bigger vote than I did. It’s very comfortable, but its profile is a little large for the room. But even though I don’t love the couch, I like that cosy rust-colored chair in the corner the most. And so does Coco. He can be found there sleeping most days. When my mom came to visit a year and a half ago, she re-covered its ugly brown fabric and this last Christmas gave me those fun pillow covers to match. In fact, she made the covers for the blue flowery chair as well. Thanks, Mom!  dining-area-living-room This is our little dining nook. We swapped out the too-big table for a square table from Ikea that expands to fit six in a flash. Given, we have to scoot the couch over to fit that many people, but it has happened on occasion. I picked up the two chairs for maybe €10 at Second Abbey vintage shop. I painted them white (sensing a theme?!) and gave them green velvet covers. They’re not ultra comfortable, but they’re pretty to look at! When I work, I sit at the table but I swap out one of the chairs for a big blue exercise ball.

The giant piece of driftwood hanging above the table is from my 30th birthday party decor, pulled from the Irish sea an hour before the party. I’ve hung a few non-Christmas-colored Christmas decorations and kept them there year round. I think most people think it’s weird, but it makes me happy. dining-table-living-room living-room-table Pillows I made from tea towels from the Carolyn Donnelly collection at Dunnes! I just sewed them up into envelopes, so easy and so washable! living-room-sitting-area On the other side of the room, we have a bookcase and this slightly typical Ikea chair that’s so comfortable it’s worth the eyesore. My friend Joi at 31 Chapel Lane managed to source us some cushion inserts and my mom made the flowered covers from old curtain fabric I picked up at Goodwill in the States a few years ago. The side table and the lamp benefited from coats of paint at some point along the way. side-table-living-room coffee-table-plant This is probably the last life this coffee table is going to have. I bought it for €10 second hand on our version of Craig’s List and painted it blue. I love the lines, but it’s had a hard life in our house. In our next home Michael is getting an ottoman for his giant feet instead of the coffee table! coffee-table-living-room flowers-living-room The little corner TV unit has been with us since we first moved into this apartment. I still can’t believe I found it on the same Craigs List type site for free! I gave it a new coat of white (!) paint and a new drawer pull. And having the TV back up to those windows has mostly meant it’s impossible to watch television in broad daylight – sneaky, huh? 😉  Also, that is the plant that will not die. I’m not complaining, but I am shocked! I bought it several months ago and I have to keep pruning the blossoms because they get so top heavy – but they never die on their own. It’s so incredibly cheerful. double-doors-living-room Our patio has been getting less and less green in the last few months. I don’t think we ever realized that so much of the greenery was actually overgrown from our neighbors’ gardens until they started pruning things back! It’s looking a little bare out there, but at least my flowers have finally taken off. I have one peony bud that’s on the verge of popping and hydrangeas that I’ve finally figured out. In Maine, you prune the heck out of hydrangeas after every season. In Ireland, apparently you do not. Took me four years to figure out why my hydrangea bush never grew an inch.  bookcase-living-room bookshelf-living-room coco-living-room And finally, Coco. He loves finding the sun spots in this room, and occasionally the shady spots when it gets too hot for his black fur.

So that is the grand finale of our apartment makeover tour. I’m realizing now how fun it is to look back and have a record of each room (clean and tidy!), and I’m sure we’ll be grateful for these photos years from now. And when I’m trying to convince Michael of the benefits of painting everything white in our next house, I can use the before and after photos to make my case!

Poet Patrick Kavanagh Sitting on the Canal

May 14, 2015

Patrick Kavanagh on the Canal in Dublin Last week, my friend Ruth graciously agreed to show me her neighborhood, down near Baggot Street, so that I could share with you some of the fun things to explore in that area. We spent a lovely afternoon chatting and walking, and as we walked along the canal, we happened upon the poet Patrick Kavanagh, sitting on his bench. I decided I should look up some of his poetry this week and since it’s a wet day in Dublin, this one seemed appropriate (if a month late).

Wet Evening in April

The birds sang in the wet trees
And I listened to them it was a hundred years from now
And I was dead and someone else was listening to them.
But I was glad I had recorded for him
The melancholy.

Quite melancholy altogether, and not reflective of our day along the canal last weekend, but I do know that feeling. Today is a soggy, soft grey and everything feels slow and fuzzy and a little lower than usual. It’s a wet evening in May and boy am I ready for some real summer sun!

Isn’t that statue great?! Such amazing texture, and the glasses! It’s so lifelike compared to most statues you see. Ruth said sometimes locals put a hat on him or a scarf, depending on the season or the holiday. Like an inanimate neighbor.


New Souvenirs and Gifts at the Irish Design Shop

May 12, 2015

Souvenirs and gifts at the Irish Design Shop in Dublin It had been a while since I’d had a chance to stop in and chat with my friends at the Irish Design Shop, so when I was in the city centre the other day I had a nice long chat with Clare about life, Drury Street, shop facades and all their new beautiful products. While we talked, I snapped a few photos of new souvenirs and gifts that caught my eye. Whenever I stop in to the Irish Design Shop, I want to buy everything. Since that’s not always the most economical idea, sharing them with you might be the next best thing!  New homewares at the Irish Design Shop, Dublin, Ireland First up, these wall hooks from the furniture design company Snug. Just €9.50 each. I’m contemplating one in each color for if we ever get a new house (I’d fill you in on the saga if it didn’t bring me to tears!)!  Irish Design Shop, Dublin, Ireland Irish notebooks from the Irish Design Shop, Dublin, Ireland The Irish Design Shop teamed up with Irish designer Fergus O’Neill and Duffy Bookbinders to make this range of gorgeous little notebooks inspired by spots around the city. Printed and bound on Dublin’s northside, they’re beautifully made and a super duper souvenir or gift idea.  Notebooks printed in Dublin, Ireland Irish Handmade Glass Light fixtures I’ve been ogling the custom lamps in the Irish Design Shop’s new(ish) location on Drury Street since they opened. Now they’re selling a whole range of these hand blown glass lamps, both hanging and standing, from the Irish Handmade Glass company. Great housewarming gift, in my humble opinion, you know, in case we ever get that darn house! Can’t find them on their website, but they make these colored votives which are also nice and probably more affordable. Souvenirs from the Irish Design Shop, Dublin, Ireland

The best spot to get souvenirs in Dublin, IReland One last sweet gift or souvenir – these Irish laser cut bird prints from Snow. That robin with the turquoise background must be tweeting my name. If you’re looking to buy them online, you can find them here. Prints, books, pottery at the Irish Design Shop, Dublin, Ireland If you stop in to the Irish Design Shop, tell Clare and Laura I say hello! And to save me a few of those hooks, I’ll be back for them soon!

Irish Design Shop / 41 Drury Street / Dublin 2

How to Cope with Braces When You’re 30

May 11, 2015

I’ve been keeping a secret from you all for the last eleven months. Well, I think I have. Maybe you’ve noticed and you’ve been too polite to say anything. In June last year, at the age of 30, I got braces for the second time in my life. Just last week, I got them off and I’m so glad I sucked it up and got them. I thought I’d write about how to cope with having braces when you’re a little older than their typical target audience.

How to cope with braces when you're over thirty Here’s me with braces, just a few hours before I had them taken off. Read through for an after photo!

First, a quick little note. Having braces is a luxury, I know that. It was an expense my husband and I considered seriously and for quite a while before we made the decision together. I don’t want this post to sound flippant, I know not everyone can afford to have braces, even in their thirties. But the decision to get braces in my thirties was also difficult because I have a somewhat public persona. I knew the choice to get braces would impact on my daily life for quite a long time.

That said, let me give you some background. I had braces when I was twelve because my teeth were crooked and my bite was a little wonky. I had them for about two years and when I got them off, voila! Straight teeth. That lasted until my early twenties, when they started to shift and my bite began to bother me. As it turns out, my bottom jaw continued to grow after having the braces, which is pretty common for girls in their late teens.

When I was 21, I went to an orthodontist who recommended an oral surgeon who recommended jaw surgery to correct my underbite. The expense and recovery time (a chunk of my lower jaw removed and then wired shut for two months!) terrified me, so I decided to live with it. But my teeth really bothered me. When I bit down, they only met at my fron teeth, which was uncomfortable and not really great for my teeth in the long run. They were also starting to get more and more crooked, collapsing in places. Sometime in the last five years, I stopped smiling with my teeth quite so much, to the point that my sister-in-law (who has really only known me for the last five years) thought that’s how I always smiled.

Not the case. I was such a toothy smiler growing up that my mom used to suggest “Maybe a little less teeth?” when I smiled for photographs. Ha! But over time I had become embarrassed by my bite and the increasing crookedness, to the point that I used to try to press my bottom teeth back under my top teeth. That obviously didn’t work!

So last year I went to a few orthodontists to explore fixing my teeth again. I went to one orthodontist who said there was no way to fix my bite without surgery, another who said I could have teeth removed and then braces, and finally I went to get a third opinion to break the tie. I actually went to the orthodontist who used to be our landlord when we first moved to Dublin, when we lived in our little basement “Hobbit House” in Clontarf.

Dr. Shona Leydon of Clontarf Orthodontics broke the tie by recommending that I have two of my bottom molars removed, and then 18-24 months of braces. I hemmed and hawed and then hemmed and hawed some more. Then I had lunch with Julie while we were shooting the last of Delightful Dublin and she gave me some sage advice. She said that when she’s making big decisions like this, she tries to think about what her future self would like and appreciate. She said, “Think about Future Emily.” Future Emily was going to be really happy if I sucked it up and had braces for two years in my 30’s. Future Emily was really fed up with her uncomfortable bite and increasingly crooked teeth.

So I bit the bullet and the next week I had two bottom molars removed, which was miserable and made me realize there’s no way I would have been able to cope with surgery. Two teeth (and subsequent impacted gums) were more than enough. It felt like I couldn’t eat for a month because I had a hole on each side of my mouth. A week after having the teeth pulled, in June of last year, I had bottom braces put on. Then in September, I had the top ones put on. Last week, after eleven months (6 months earlier than Dr. Leydon’s minimum estimate), I had them taken off.

Tips for having braces at thirty

Ta-da! No more braces, and no more underbite! I searched and searched for a photo of my teeth before the braces went on, but I must have deleted the evidence. There was a lot of closed-mouth smiling!

And now I get to write about how it wasn’t really the most fun thing I’ve ever done, but it was well worth it. Here are a few ways to cope with braces in your 30’s (or later!) that worked for me.

1. Get the porcelain braces if you can afford it.

Invisalign wasn’t an option for me, so the next best thing was porcelain braces. They cost more than the metal kind, but they are very barely noticeable. In fact, you can’t see them in these photos or these photos, even though I’m smiling with my teeth!

2. Embrace your newfound cheekbones and plump lips.

I was actually asked at one point if I had had a lip job. A lip job! It was possibly the most fun question anyone has ever asked me. All that extra action in your mouth means you have prominent cheekbones and extra plump lips. Kind of a fun bonus!

3. Start noticing how many people your age have braces too!

Tons of older-than-teenage people (at least in Ireland) are getting braces now, so you’re not alone.

4. Stay away from curry and turmeric.

I was worried red wine would stain my braces, but it didn’t really. What did stain the little clear elastics around the porcelain braces? Curry and turmeric, and instantly.

5. Know that you have way less food stuck in your teeth than you think you do.

Braces make you self-conscious eating in public, but realistically you have so much less stuck in them than you think you do. I carried a toothbrush and toothpaste and brushed after every meal, but I was almost never embarrassed in public with spinach in my teeth.

6. Do everything your orthodontist tells you to.

I had to wear elastics for a few months that connected my top and bottom teeth to correct my bite, and it was by far the most noticeable phase of my braces. It made speaking a little lispy. When Dr. Leydon suggested I could wear double elastics for a few weeks to speed up the process, I don’t think she expected I was going to do that every minute of every day until my next appointment. I followed her every instruction, and my teeth moved seven months faster than her minimum estimate.

7. Own it. Remember Future Emily.

Time flies, people hardly notice until you point it out to them, and you know what? It’s brave. Wearing braces when you’re older than a teenager is a little hard to swallow, but it’s brave and your future self will thank you for it!

In the midst of my almost-year with braces, I decided the two things I missed most were eating burgers without cutting them into very small pieces and making out with my husband. Those were the two rewards I looked forward to for eleven months of braces! And they were well worth the wait.

If you’re thinking of getting braces, I’d be happy to chat with you about it! I’m a cheerleader for Future Emily’s all over!

Thank you to my mother-in-law, Lois, for the before photo, and to my friend Naomi for the after photo! 

Spruced-Up Friday!

May 8, 2015

Cherry blossoms in Dublin, Ireland

Hey, friends! How are you? It’s Friday again! Sometimes it’s a little shocking how quickly those weeks fly by. This week was much less wobbly than last week, thank goodness. The weather didn’t get the memo, but we managed some walks along the sea nonetheless.

First things first, I wanted to point out FCV’s new look! If you look at From China Village on a reader, like Bloglovin or Feedly, you might not have noticed, but FCV got an update! I’m still tweaking a few things and trying to make navigation to the most useful and popular posts easier, but it’s vastly improved. I had had the old look for over three years! It aged well, but Google was demanding some changes with its new responsiveness rules, so I finally made it happen. I’m pleased, and I hope you enjoy it too! If you see anything wonky, do let me know.

Now, on to the weekend! What do you have planned? Michael is coaching his dad’s team in a tournament and I’m going to use the peace and quiet in the house to take some photos of our living room to share with you and working on the invitations for my sister’s bridal shower this summer. Then on Sunday, I’m spending the afternoon with my friend Ruth exploring her neighborhood. I’ll have a whole bunch of One Day in Dublin posts for you coming up!

Ready for a few places around the internet to explore this weekend? Here goes!

I’ve watched more Foyle’s War this week than I care to admit. It’s so thoughtful and an interesting insight into how World War II affected all aspects of life, from a British point of view.

Have you seen these sad animal facts? They’re a hoot!

Wet dog, dry dog is also equally a endearing and entertaining.

Life with eight rescue dogs and Bikini the pig. Yes, a pig named Bikini. It doesn’t get better.

Michael and I reference this talk show appearance by Taylor Swift at least once a day. #RIPme

Happy weekend, friends! See you Monday!

Styled in Ireland / What to Wear in the Spring

May 6, 2015

What to Wear in Ireland in the Springtime Welcome to another Styled in Ireland post, where I talk about what to wear in this wacky climate and where you can explore once you’re dressed for the elements! Spring is an especially tricky season in Ireland. A few weeks ago, we had a heat wave (an Irish heat wave is mid or high 60’s, even in the dead of summer)! Meanwhile, today it’s so chilly and windy that I have the heat on in the house as I write this. In May! Springtime in Dublin usually means a whole range of temperatures and precipitation. And it’s always chillier than you think it should be.

After six years of springtime in Dublin, I think I finally have it figured out. I decided to test that theory on a visit to Phoenix Park, where we wandered the walled garden and had lunch in the cafe at Farmleigh. Here’s what works for me in the Dublin spring!  What to pack for spring in Dublin It really boils down to three tricks for springtime in Dublin. First, bare ankles. It’s trendy and it makes me less depressed than wearing boots until June. Second, cheery colors. By April, I’ve had it up to here with dark colors and I’m ready for white and bright! Finally, layers and a light scarf. I have a running combination of a tee, a light button-up sweater, and a blazer. Lately, it’s been the perfect number of layers. Just so long as it doesn’t rain! But we all know I’ve got an umbrella hidden in that tote – this isn’t my first rodeo!  Farmleigh in Phoenix Park, Dublin, Ireland Farmleigh Courtyard  in Phoenix Park, Dublin, Ireland Let’s talk for a minute about Dublin’s Phoenix Park. It’s absolutely giant. So big that it’s one of the largest European city parks! It even has its own herd of wild deer! My friend Naomi and I decided to spend the morning in just a sliver of Phoenix Park, at Farmleigh, with her daughter Elsie and my niece Éabha.

Farmleigh is a big 18th-century estate within the park that used to be own by the Guinness Family. Now it’s Ireland’s official state guest house, but the grounds are open to the public. In fact, you can take free tours of the house itself, but we had two small people with us who were in a much more outdoor mood that day. Farmleigh’s grounds consist of 72 acres of farmland, giant trees, a walled garden that’s also free and open to the public (sometimes you have to pay admission for walled gardens), a boating pond, rare Kerry cattle, a handful of horses and donkeys, and a cafe.

Parking is ample and free, and there are farmer’s markets held throughout the spring and summer on Sundays. You can take tours of the big house (which I will be back for soon!) every hour from 10:15 am to 4:15pm, but they’re limited to 25 people each on a first come first served basis.

There’s so much to do and explore!

Wear layers in Dublin in spring Wisteria at Farmleigh, Phoenix Park, Dublin We started in the courtyard, which is my favorite little area at Farmleigh. The wisteria was just starting to bloom and there were big pots of narcissus giving off a divine scent.  What to wear in the spring, Dublin Brogues for walking in Dublin I love these brogues for light walking – they have a little heel but they’re still really comfortable on cobblestones. I found them at Gap in Maine last summer on clearance for $4! I suppose neon yellow brogues aren’t everyone’s cup of tea! I try to pair them with white which seems to tone them down just a little.  What to wear in Dublin in spring Emily Westbrooks, Farmleigh, Dublin, Ireland

Springtime layers for a trip to Dublin Then we ventured over to the walled garden on the other side of the big estate house. I love the intricate wrought iron gates.  Walled garden at Farmleigh, Phoenix Park, Dublin Spring at Farmleigh, Phoenix Park, Dublin, Ireland The tulips were absolutely enormous and all in full bloom. They matched my pink button-down sweater perfectly. I almost always loop a light scarf through the handles of my tote bag, just in case the breeze picks up and I need a little extra warmth. This watercolor scarf was a gift from my sister when we went to Italy a few years ago and it’s the epitome of spring.  What to Wear, Springtime, Dublin, Ireland Farmleigh, Walled Garden, Dublin, Ireland Wrought iron gates, Farmleigh, Dublin, Ireland Farmleigh This cutie made an appearance every once in a while! Ha!  Eabha photobomb The walled garden was the perfect spot for our little buddies to run wild. It’s contained and there are very few steps, so the little ones could run free while my friend Naomi snapped a few photos (thanks, Nomes!). I’m so glad she captured a few Éabha photobombs, too!

farmleigh-cafe-phoenix-park Photos taken, we stopped for lunch at the Farmleigh cafe (I think they call it the Boathouse Restaurant) just on the edge of the boating pond. If it had been a tad warmer, we would have sat outside on the deck overlooking the water. We had two slightly rambunctious and loud 1.5 year olds with us, but the staff couldn’t have been more accommodating and genuinely welcoming. We ordered baked potatoes with carmelized onions and goat cheese. Delish! farmleigh-dublin-ireland spring-dublin-farmleigh After lunch, we strolled past the horses and headed home. It was one of the nicest mornings!

Farmleigh / Castleknock, Dublin 15, Ireland

See lots more past Styled in Ireland posts here!

Brogues: Gap (similar) / Jeans: Loft (similar) / Tank: Zara / Sweater: Loft / Blazer: Zara / Necklace: Banana Republic / Glasses: Specsavers / Scarf: Gift from my sister (Thanks, Cal!) / Photography: Naomi Phillips

Trinity College in the Springtime

May 5, 2015


Two weeks ago, back when it was gloriously sunny and before the monsoon spring rains came, I strolled through Trinity College on my way to meet friends at St. Stephen’s Green. The walk from the Science Gallery entrance through the 42-acre campus and out the main wooden doors of the college is one of my favorite walks. At this time of year, it starts to get crazy busy with tourists, but it’s still a nice mix of students and visitors. I prefer when the students are still in term because it’s fun to remember what it was like to be that age on a college campus.  Trinity College blossoms in spring trinity-college-architecture-big

There are some really striking buildings on campus, some older than others and some more ornate than others.  cherry-blossoms-trinity-college-dublin

cherry-blossoms-trinity-college trinity-college-bicycles-dublin And lots and lots of bicycles locked to every stationary surface possible. Spring is such a special time in the city and while I’m ready for the temperature to climb just a tad, I’m just a little sad to see the newness of spring pass.

Where to Eat Ethnic Food in Dublin

May 4, 2015

Where to find ethnic food in Dublin

There was a time when ethnic food was foreign (pardon the pun!) to Dublin. Even when I arrived almost seven years ago, it was pretty hard to find a good burrito. Now, of course, burritos abound, and we’re getting even more adventurous with Vietnamese pho and Japanese tapas and apparently some of the best margaritas in the world. Thank goodness, says my belly! Sometimes a good burrito is about the only thing that will hit the spot.

So now, without further ado or grumbling bellies, let’s talk about the best spots for ethnic food in the city.


When it comes to burritos, I am a die-hard Chipotle burrito bowl fan. We don’t have Chipotle in Dublin, but we have Pablo and I’m equally enamored. Pablo Picante has three locations around the city centre and they’re not quite the same as Chipotle but by far the yummiest in the city. There are other burrito spots in Dublin, and everyone is entitled to their favorite, but Pablo wins for me. And guacamole doesn’t even cost extra!

For a sit-down Mexican meal, 777 has a beautiful interior and award-winning margaritas. They also have great happy-hour-esque deals (did you know happy hour is illegal in Dublin?) like two-for-one margaritas on Mondays.


Every so often, Michael and I head out for a date night without a real idea of where we want to go, but with two hungry bellies. My favorite place for atmosphere and food that arrives fast is tapas at Bar Pinxto or the Port House. The two spots are owned by the same people and the menu is identical. They’re just about a ten minute walk from each other, with the Port House on South William Street and Bar Pinxto on the corner of Meetinghouse Square. Here’s the best local tip. On weekend evenings it’s really hard to get a table at the Port House, but Bar Pinxto almost always has tables free.

Salamanca is another Spanish tapas spot, but I prefer the ambiance at Bar Pinxto and the Port House. They have exposed stone walls and are lit almost entirely by candles. They’re great for a date night, but I’ve also been there with my mom and girlfriends before, so they works for all occasions.

Middle Eastern

I have a funny story about Middle Eastern food in Dublin. When I visited Michael here for the first time, before we were engaged and just around our first year anniversary of dating, Michael and I decided to celebrate said anniversary by going out to dinner. Michael chose Kinara, a Pakistani place on the coast in Clontarf. Unfortunately, we kind of ended the dinner in an argument about who knows what, something about our future and what we were going to do with our lives. In retrospect, it was so silly (and we were so young!), but at the time it meant so much and I was really upset. I can’t remember much other than we finished the dinner in silence. I can’t even remember how we got home.

All that to say, I haven’t had Middle Eastern food in Dublin since. Ha! But, I have recommendations for you nonetheless. First, for a romantic dinner (that hopefully doens’t end in an argument), try Chameleon, it’s the most recommended by all my friends for the best cosy, special feel. You can also try Kinara, in Clontarf, Malahide or Ranelagh. Since our visit they’ve added an extensive cocktail menu in partnership with the Blind Pig Speakeasy founder, Paul. For takeaway, we have friends who adore Bombay Pantry. It would be perfect for a picnic! And I’ve been told the chai at Delhi O’Deli is the best going. I have that one on my list to try out very soon.


Japanese food has become so popular that both Musashi and Yamamori, probably the two most popular Japanese restaurants in the city, have both expanded from their original locations. Yamamori has three locations around the city – one for noodles, one for Japanese tapas, and another for sushi.

Musashi has two northside locations, one on Capel Street that offers BYOB for a small corkage fee on wine, and another down at the IFSC toward the ferry terminals. If you’re staying at the Spencer Hotel, the IFSC Musashi is a great option in the neighborhood.


So far as I know, we don’t have tons of Vietnamese food in Dublin, but we do have Pho Viet, which is a local favorite for pho. It’s very convenient if you’re exploring the north side of the city, just off O’Connell Street a few blocks up Parnell Street. Perfect for lunch if you’re at the Writers Museum or up at the Garden of Remembrance.


Dublin actually has a little Italian Quarter that crosses the River Liffey down past the Hapenny Bridge, north to south, with a collection of Italian restaurants. Two of the best are also two of the more authentic and rustic – Ciao Bella Roma and Terra Madre. Ciao Bella Roma does a great little €10 lunch special that includes a glass of wine. Terra Madre is a teeny basement restaurant with about five tables. The buratta appetizer is beyond creamy and the main dishes are warm and filling.


Barbecue isn’t quite ethnic food, but hey, I’m sneaking it into the end of my list. Pitt Brothers does pretty authentic (I’m not much of an authority coming from Maine, but our Texan and Alabaman friends concur) southern American barbecue. Plus, you get free ice cream after your meal! And while we’re on the topic of American-style meat, Crackbird does delicious fried chicken (order the half chicken and you can easily split it between two people).


Every once in a while, I start a post hoping to whizz through to the end so I can click publish – just so I can get your recommendations. I know I’m giving you some great tips for finding ethnic food in Dublin in this post, but I know there are so many more that I might not even know about yet. And I can’t wait for my local Dublin residents to give us even more tips for ethnic food in the city!

So, if you’re reading this on the day it’s published, check back tomorrow or the next day. I’m confident the comments will be helpful for us all!

Bon apetit!

Are you planning a visit to Dublin? If you’re looking for a place to stay, try Expedia to book your next visit.