14 Best Quirky and Unusual Restaurants in Dublin

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Any chance you want to play arcades and feed on vegan fares? Sit in a Hong Kong subway and have a ‘Peking Duck’? Or dive in an opulent art-deco bistro and taste award-winning cocktails? More than a typical dining experience, “Over in Ireland” takes you on an unconventional foodie’s venture. 

Based in Dublin, these kooky beaneries offer a getaway to another world. Both carbon and drug-free escape that delivers a genuine sense of timelessness and unlimited liberty.

Not only have they stood out by their unique concepts, but also through the quality of their menu. Two essentials that make them both intriguing and exciting.

Top Unusual and Funky Eateries in Dublin

Beyond the eccentric mise-en-scène, our outlandish directory will also take you on a cosmopolitan culinary tour. From Georgia to Tokyo, this list of “14 Best Quirky and Unusual Restaurants in Dublin” will spice up your meals and broaden your horizons.

#1  The Church

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What is it? After a 7-year restoration and a 2nd ownership, the 18th-century gallery church turned into an unbelievable hospitality business. The modernistic glass-tower, which lights up at night, intensely contrasts with the attached classical institution. This place of History had the beer genius, Arthur Guinness officiating his wedding, as well as ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ author Jonathan Swift attending mass. Today, the revamped religious site features a café, four bars (beer garden included), a restaurant and a nightclub.

If you want to grab lunch or a casual dinner, head to the ‘Main bar’ (only), and choose either a light bite (salad, sandwich or appetizers) or a main course such as “Baby Back Pork Ribs” or “Slow Roasted Stuffed Bell Pepper.”

A fine-dining alternative takes place in the high ceiling ‘Gallery’ (open from 5:00 PM daily), next to the gargantuan Renatus Harris Organ (on which Georg Friedrich Handel practised ‘Messiah’!).  Order from the eponymous 3-course set menu or à la carte, and savour the ‘Basil and Ricotta ravioli’ or the ‘Grilled Corn-fed Chicken Supreme’ in the most quirky décor of the capital.

Why people love it: Cuisine, staff, and ambiance provide a perfect combo. Vegetarians, vegans, carnivores and flexitarians will find at least one dish to satisfy their appetite.

Price: Lunch/Dinner at the Bar: Average to Pricey

Gallery Restaurant: Expensive to Super Expensive (Early Bird Menu From 5:00 PM to 6:00 PM)

Address: Junction of Mary St. and, Jervis St, Dublin 1

Note:

  • “Self Guided Tour” available in The Church, every day, from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM
  • Bar lunch: 10+ people, add 10% service charge
  • €30 Movie deal from Sunday to Thursday: one main, one drink, one movie at Cineworld Dublin (nearby)
  • Roast on Sundays
  • Sunday to Thursday, free Irish dance and music live show in the ‘Main Bar.’

#2   The Big Blue Bus at The Bernard Shaw

image of unusual and quirky restaurant in dublin

What is it? The Bus at “The Bernard Shaw” is our 2nd most popular quirky venue. The pizzeria, located in a 1979 double-decker will entertain your evening like never before. Not only, it is eccentric, but also it is super cheap! Your belly will be full of a delicious stone-baked, handmade and organic pizza, for less than a tenner. Top it up with a pint, and make the most of the ‘Big Blue Bargain” for a total of €10.

The laid-back venue also suggests shishas, Moroccan mint tea and bruschetta. Eat inside the coach (it fills up quickly) or out where a gaudy bohemian vibe emerges. Surrounded by jugglers (at times) and colourful designs, early birds will relax listening to indie tracks such as ‘Hunting Hall.’ Latecomers, seeking for a night bliss, will step into a different ambience with ‘Yaeji’ or ‘Bloody Mary.’

If you want to be the music, you can always escape to the ‘Karaoke Caravan’ for €10 an hour.

Why people love it: This uncommon gem is a “must-see” if visiting, living or passing by Dublin. It stands out for making some of the best pizzas in the metropolis and arising an exclusive feel.

Price: Bargain

Address: 11-12 Richmond St South, Saint Kevin’s, Dublin 2

Note:

  • Open Monday to Thursday from 5:00PM to 11:30PM, Friday from 5:00 PM to 12:30 AM, Saturday and Sunday from 2:00PM to 12:30 AM
  • Those seeking Gluten-free recipes should check out the adjacent Eastyard, where vegan and fish substitutes are available

#3  Token

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What is it? ‘Token’ is a restaurant/bar where customers can play 29 arcade games and 10 pinball machines. A selection of classics such as ‘Tetris’, ‘Street Fighter 2’, ‘Pac Man’ or ‘The Simpsons’ will entertain your evening. A timeless atmosphere that plunges anyone back into the golden age of coin-operated recreation. Most of the weeks, the eatery organizes events such as quizzes, BYO D&D, board games and charity nights.

From ‘Big Dogs’ to ‘Packed Balls,’ all recipes are cooked to order, are made with 100% Irish meat and a majority of local produce. Non-meat-eaters will find, at least, a vegan alternative in each section of the feast list. The whole menu is served in biodegradable, plant-based or recyclable materials. ‘Token’ is proud to be 95% plastic-free but still aims 100%.

Why people love it:  The excellent vegan preparations and delicious meat-based food matches with the prime beer selection (22 taps). This location is ideal fun for friends, couples, family (adults) and perfect for a memorable first date.

Price: Bargain to Average (most of the menu is under €10)

Address: 72-74 Queen Street, Smithfield, Dublin 7

Note:

  • 18+ only from 4:00 PM
  • Booking advised
  • Lockers for €5
  • Monday to Wednesday from 4:00 PM to 11:00 PM, Thursday to Saturday from NOON to MIDNIGHT, Sunday from 12:00 PM to 11:00 PM

#4  Yamamori Izakaya Sake Bar

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What is it? Izakayas are in Japan what pubs are in Ireland. The perfect mellow after-work spot to grab a pint and some snacks. Unlike most Japanese eateries, Yamamori pushed its national theme to the next level while keeping its Irish roots. From outside, the windows spotlights an exciting adornment that takes you instantly to Tokyo’s streets. 

Vintage Kirin ads alongside black-and-white photos portraying the island life, and old movie posters decorate the walls. Bamboo steamers lightening hang off the ceiling. Traditional Japanese pottery, stained glass, traditional carving and long wooden tables complete the décor. A single meat dish, ‘Beef Tataki Roll,’ hides in this fish and vegetable menu. Nigiri, Norimaki, sushi and sashimi are the kings of the night with three yummy desserts such as the Macha cheesecake. The bar, on its side, features a vast collection of teas, whiskeys, and sake that will gracefully escort your food order.

If you are seeking for a late-night, the basement has a bar and host events and Dj’s every week!

Why people love it: The staff is great and the atmosphere is both chill and eclectic. YISB is assuredly ‘THE’ place to take delight in sushis.

Price: Pricey to Expensive

Address: 12/13 South Great George’s Street, Dublin 2

Note:

  • The restaurant opens from Sunday to Wednesday from 5:30 PM to 10:30 PM, Thursday until 11:00 PM, Friday and Saturday until 11:30 PM
  • The bar is up from Monday to Sunday from 5:30 PM to 3:00 AM
  • The restaurant has two other restaurants and a club (slightly less quirky for some and great reviews for all!)
  • Zakura Izakaya is another excellent Nihon Bistro

#5  The Vintage Cocktail Club

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What is it? This 1920’s speakeasy-style club offers an exceptional dining and cocktail experience in a candlelit setting. Hidden in Temple Bar, the three floors (including a rooftop) display vintage furniture, antique knick-knack and frames, wallpaper from another era and purple velvet curtains. The only contemporary item is probably the TV hung above the fireplace. Acclaimed for mastering their drinks, they also serve mouth-watering food that won’t leave you indifferent.

While the bartender gives it all he has, the kitchen prepares a selection of light bites and mains. The meals include shared antipasti platters or crispy wontons, alongside pork chop and miniature veggie pies. 

Why people love it: With no sign and only ‘VCC’ written on the door, the hidden entrance will transport you to prohibition times. A passionate and skilled staff offers essential help. The reasonable price (for the city centre) is another argument for a visit.

Price: Expensive

Address: 15 Crown Alley, Temple Bar, Dublin 2

Note:

  • Strictly above 23-year-old
  • Monday to Friday From 5:00 PM till late, Saturday & Sunday From 12:30 PM till late
  • You can also book a cocktail masterclass
  • 10% service bill for 6 or more
  • Bill cannot be split but multiple payments possible

#6 The Camden Exchange

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What is it? Thousands of colourful flowers wrap the frontage top of ‘The Camden Exchange.’ Once you step in, uncover the unexpected beautiful mix of industrial, vintage and street vibe design.  

Railings, in which lines up an extensive selection of spirits and wines, surround the gorgeous L-shape wooden bar. Graffiti artworks on apparent bricks and framing of multi-coloured composition embellish the walls. The ceiling displays copper pipes, joists, sheets of corrugated iron and lamps hanging through window frames.

Choose to sit by the thick security door adjoined to prison-like bars, by the Citroën Type H van or in the covered patio. Long latte-hue leather and purple-blue velvet couches will bring you all the comfort you deserve. Food-wise, a selection of street fares as skewers, ‘Fish and Chips’ and ‘Korean Chicken bap’ are à la carte.

Why people love it: The peculiar arrangement and the heated outdoor space are enjoyable. The tap beer choice and the creamiest Guinness are to die for.

Price: Average

Address: 72-73 Camden Street Lower, Saint Kevin’s, Dublin 2

Note: Open from Monday to Thursday from 3:30 PM to 10:00 PM and, Friday and Weekend:  from 12:00 PM to 10:00 PM

#7  Peruke and Periwig

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What is it? An atypical Victorian-style dining experience in a Georgian building in the heart of the capital. The rich ornamentation will undoubtedly captivate your eyes. This trinket paradise exhibits antique oil portraits enclosed in gold vintage framework, a collection of peruke and a giant stool with the “1761 Five Orders on Periwigs.”

Sit on the ground floor’s deep buttoned-back couches to savour a drink, or head to the upstairs’ salon for a meal. The top floor’s elegant room features fringes hanging off the tables, the lamps, the cushions and the thick curtains. Relax on a magenta or an olive armchair; admire the marble tables, the integrated wooden bookshelf and the bronze chandeliers.

The trendy staff will, then, bring you the appealing modern Irish menu. Start with a ‘Crispy Brie,’ a ‘Pan Seared Scallops’ or combine various small plates. The mains include meat lover dishes as the ‘Braised Lambs Shanks,’ or vegan-friendly alternative as the ‘Beetroot Wellington.’

Why people love it: A quirky vibe in an 18th-century architecture, with a romantic atmosphere and food as delicate as the cocktails.

Price: Pricey to Expensive

Address: 31 Dawson St, Dublin 2

Note:

  • Open Sunday to Thursday from Noon to Midnight. Friday, Saturday until 2:30 AM
  • Booking essential

#8 Admiral Restaurant

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What is it? In this nautical-themed restaurant, your taste buds will travel all the way to Eastern Europe and Russia. Before stepping in, you already started the experience as a lighthouse stands above the frontage.  

The sailor-dressed staff, as well as the captain, will welcome you on board their sumptuous establishment. Thick off-white rope delicately dresses the table leg when they don’t alternate with the multiple portholes on the wall. From dishes to décor (including the bathrooms), everything was created with strong attention to detail. Mesh, buoy, starfish, wooden miniature boat; name it, you’ll find it. But the best creation they came up with is, undoubtedly, the giant aquarium embedded in their bar!

It is time to choose your palate destination. From ‘Lithuanian Fried Dumplings,’ to Moldavian Mamalyga, discover the authentic tastes of the East.

Why people love it: The live music, the extensive wine selection and the peculiar choice of heavenly recipes alongside the friendly staff make it a must-go. 

Price: Average to Very Expensive (If you go Lobster)

Address: 1 Q-Park, Marlborough Street, North City, Dublin 1

Note:

  • Happy Hour prices
  • Open from Sunday to Thursday 12:00 PM to 11:00 PM, otherwise closes at 12:00 AM
  • Karaoke night Wednesday and Thursday
  • Great deals on their website, with specials such as ‘€18 for a meter of beer’.

#9  “777”

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What is it? From tostadas to ‘Pollo Barbacoa’ (chargrilled chicken), passing by ‘Fidelos’ (gambas), it is all about Mexican food with a cosmopolitan touch. 777 is a trendy and quirky spot, serving 100% blue agave tequila. It is a colourful American diner style decorated with hundreds of homemade spirits, and various Calaveras (decorative Mexican skulls). Tile mosaic with a vintage car, a tower of melted candle wax and religious signs embellish the eatery. To spice up the place, a couple enjoying foreplay is drawn on the laminated brick white wall.

Why people love it:

They serve what seems to be ‘the best margarita in Ireland’ in Funky and festive atmosphere. From the drinks to the floor, creativity is at every corner. Plus, every seventh day (Sunday) they have a special with the entire menu at €7.77.

Price: Average to Pricey

Address: Unit 7 Castle House South Great George’s St Dublin 2 Ireland

Note:

  • Great specials, more info on their website
  • Monday to Wednesday from 5:30 PM to 10:00 PM, Thursday to 11PM, Friday & Saturday: 5:00 PM to 12:00AM, Sunday from 2:00 PM to 10:00PM

#10 Hang Dai

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What is it? Cantonese cuisine served in a Hong Kong Subway style eatery. Hang Dai cranked the concept up a notch. Once you enter this eccentric gem, you will step in a different dimension. On one side of the room, you’ll find a long bar enclosed by stools with tile patterns that match the ceiling. The other side reveals a series of metro-like tables and chairs, above which are placed various illuminated Asian ads. At the far end, a DJ Booth, where artists, such as Bonnefooi with Bubblegum’ or ‘Groovement Soul,’ perform their bits every weekend.

Upstairs, the quiet ‘Gold bar’ transports you to another side of Hong Kong. The mood swaps from offbeat to modern-classic. Golden walls and orange banquettes ornament the contemporary Chinese style room.  

From the ‘Double Fried Aubergine with Timur Pepper Sauce’ or the iconic ‘Peking Duck,’ you can enjoy your dinner in any of the two floors.

Why people love it: It is closest to you can get from teleportation. The concept exports you from one world to another in a blink of an eye. Innovative recipes that bring another perspective on the Middle Kingdom’s cuisine.

Price: Average (vegetarian) to expensive (full duck €80)

Address: 20 Camden Street Lower, Saint Kevin’s, Dublin

Note: Closed on Monday.

Tuesday to Thursday from 5:00 PM to 10:30 PM. Friday & Saturday until 1:30 AM. Sunday until 9:30 PM

#11 The Blind Pig Speakeasy

image of the blind pig bar

What is it? This speakeasy restaurant/cocktail bar is located in a stoned underground. A unique setting that makes you travel through a time warp, as you find yourself in 1920s Prohibition. Dine underneath the earth in a luxurious and sleek environment. The low lightening and the ceiling merging through the walls create a warm and intimate feeling.

Before going through the menu, peruse the house rules carefully. You want to make sure that you did “not bring anyone here that you wouldn’t leave alone in your own home.”

You can also enjoy your meal by the bar area where stylish bartenders are ready to create award-winning concoctions. The Chef, on his side, proposes an Italian menu with antipasti, a dozen small to bigger mains, and over 20 pizza recipes!

Why people love it: You can taste the passion in the Cocktail making.

Price: Pricey to Expensive

Address: Try your luck with Google’s 18 Suffolk St, Dublin 2 or contact +35315654700 to have the exact location

Note:

12.5%  service charge for 6 or more

Booking highly advised

#12 Farrier & Draper

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What is it? If you like art-deco, lavishness and authenticity; then you’ll love Farrier & Draper! The establishment proposes various ambiences spread over three floors.

The first bar area displays two walls of lighted spirits that beams as centrepieces.

The Georgian room splashes vibrant hues in a more polished surrounding. At night, the sound is up, and the vibe is celebratory.

The Gallery, where various paintings cover the walls, welcomes its guest for late afternoon teas and relaxing after-work cocktail.

La Cucina, your dining stop, is located in the vaulted basement, where the Powerscourt kitchen use to operate. Discover a sleek décor with rustic stone walls, copper lamps and a wooden bar. Italian “Al Forno” (traditional oven) recipes presented in a contemporary visual. Antipasti, pasta and of course, “dolci” (deserts) are all part of the menu. The only missing classic is the pizza (with #2 and #12 you’re all sorted!).

Why people love it: All boxes are checked: an attentive staff, divine food, exquisite cocktails, and a timeless environment.

Price: Expensive to very expensive

Address: Powerscourt Townhouse Centre, 59 William St S, Dublin 2

Note: Expect crowds on the weekend and a longer wait.

Ask around for direction as Google Maps does not seem reliable.

#13 The Vintage Kitchen

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What is it? “The Vintage Kitchen” is an intimate vintage venue with Pop Art pieces wrapping the walls. A 1970’s vinyl player generate the tracks, and you are welcome to bring your own music record. The open kitchen, located within the dining room, serves a menu that varies according to season. Seafood chowder, premium Irish tender beef, Vegetarian risotto; every dish tastes as good as it looks!

Why people love it: As soon as you step in the restaurant, a homey feeling will strike you. The portions are the kinds a grandma would serve: generous, tasty and full of passion. 

Price: Average for lunch. Expensive to Very Expensive for Diner (Set Menus only)

Address: 7 Poolbeg St, Dublin 2

Note:

  • If booking cancelled, full payment is due
  • Victim of its success, booking in advance (sometimes weeks) is required
  • Closed on both Sunday and Monday
  • Lunch Tuesday -Saturday 12 – 2.30 pm. Dinner Tuesday- Saturday 5.30 – 10 pm
  • If you are on tight budget €4 corkage per wine bottle for lunch and €5 for dinner (inclusive of the VAT 23%)
  • Vintage crafts can be bought at a fair price, and you’ll be the one making an offer.

#14  Quay 16 MV Cill Airne

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What is it? The Quay 16 MV Cill Airne proposes an offbeat dining experience in a sleek décor on the River Liffey. Having a culinary experience in the last riveted boat built in Europe is not something that occurs every day.

Red couches and chairs, shiny parquet floor and white table setting, celebrate the old-time naval chic and elegance. You can either eat in or head to the laidback upper deck for an outdoor feast.

The floating restaurant kitchen prepares bistro-style dishes such as burgers, rib-eye steak or nachos for lunch and adds more fineness in its evening à la carte alternatives.

Why people love it: The staff is fantastic and extremely friendly. Their ‘fish and chips’ is Dublin’s best. Perfect pre-show location before a concert at the nearby 3 Arena. 

Price: Average for lunch; Pricey to Expensive for dinner

Address: Quay 16, N Wall Quay, North Dock, Dublin 1

Note:

  • 18+ for safety reasons
  • 12.5% charges for 6 people or more
  • Group menus for 20 or more

Unusual and Quirky Restaurants in Dublin Conclusion

Hope you enjoyed our list of unusual restaurants in Dublin! But did we leave out anything?

Please let us know in the comment section below!

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