DILLINGER'S

47 Ranelagh
Dublin 6
Phone: 01 497 8010

Dillingers.ie

Dillinger’s is unique and therefore hard to define. It has a broad American accent, yet it showcases great Irish raw materials. It could be a neighbourhood restaurant, being in Dublin 6, but its draw goes way beyond that. It’s busy, generous and needs to be experienced first hand.

Dillinger’s has been part of Dublin long enough to be described as an institution. But there’s more to a restaurant gaining that status than mere longevity. We all know places that seem to have been there forever (which turn out to be ten years old or less, of course) that are simply tolerated rather than loved.

Dillinger’s is loved. It has a rock steady core of regulars, not all of them from the leafy purlieus of this part of Dublin 6. It’s more than a neighbourhood restaurant in that it does something unique in Dublin. Sure, it draws from John Farrell’s other restaurants: the outstanding cocktails and their centrality to the place owes much to 777 on George’s Street; the revelling in the carnivorous is probably not unrelated to nearby The Butcher Grill; the Italian-but-definitely-not-in-a-trattoria-way flourishes, to coin a clumsy phrase, owe something to the louchely luxurious Luna.

Dillinger’s is, in essence, an American restaurant but in a good way. For a start, the raw materials are all excellent (the menu namechecks the likes of Toonsbridge buffalo mozzarella, Gubbeen, Kenmare crab and the like but it’s a great place for nachos, margaritas, baby back ribs and what have you. The “wangs” (chicken wings in chilli/salt/caramel coating are every bit as good as they sound. Perhaps even better, if you can imagine such a thing. Portions, across the board, are big. Dillinger’s is nothing if not generous.

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I love the gustatory zaniness of the place. Imagine somewhere you can get one of the best hamburgers in town, mac and cheese done like it is in New York, definitively the best nachos in Dublin without exception, a proper brunch fry at the weekends and outbreaks of lardo di Colonnata, wisely employed gremolata (why do we not see more of this elsewhere) and a short but elegantly balanced wine selection and Sierra Nevada beers.

Yes, it’s a diverse kind of menu but what holds it all together is the man who owns the place, John Farrell. Dillinger’s reflects his enthusiasms, his food and drink loves, his modus vivendi. This restaurant has not been created to catch the zeitgeist. That’s not how John works. But it just happens to be in the right place at the right time and that’s why it’s one of the busiest places in town.

I didn’t mention the margaritas. All I’ll say is they are superb. So be careful.