The charismatic Irish capital Dublin is a city that oozes personality on every corner, a place where it’s easy to find your feet, scale its compact centre and engage with its myriad cultural offerings. If you’re looking for a short yet vibrant city-break then look no further as Dublin has it all, and with flights to Dublin always very affordable it’s easy to get there too.

St Stephen’s Green

St Stephen’s Green

Although you won’t want to miss seeing sights such as Dublin Castle, the National Museum and St Stephen’s Green, one thing it’s wise to leave ample time for is indulging yourself in some of its restaurants and bars. Yes of course Guinness will be involved at some point but Dublin has grown a great deal in the last 15 years and now has a truly cosmopolitan strut and swagger meaning you’ll be spoilt for choice.

Here then are five great restaurants and five brilliant bars to help you make the most of your trip to Ireland.

If you’re hungry…

The freshest seafood in town at Aqua

Boasting stunning sea views of the Portanock and Malahide coastline, Aqua is one of the best places to eat the catch of the day in Dublin. The menu includes grilled Irish lobster, baked fillet of wild cod and deep fried prawn and crab cake – fish at its finest! Due to its hip status you might even find yourself rubbing shoulders with a celebrity guest in its casual, uncluttered dining room. On bright, sunny days, make sure you save time for a nice stroll around the harbour, the views are pretty special and it’s a great way to walk off a satisfying meal.

Hidden treasures at the Cake Café

This is a real hidden treasure that is gaining a loyal following from Dubliners and tourists alike. Despite being located in a busy area of the city, the Cake Café is always an oasis of calm thanks to its leafy courtyard and delightful menu. Whether you fancy spending a stolen afternoon there over a coffee and a slice of one their delicious cakes (orange chocolate loaf anyone?) or simply stopping by for a glass of prosecco on your way through the city you’ll always be made to feel at home. The Cake Café is also seriously committed to sourcing everything ethically and recycling all they can.

Stylish dining at Peploe’s

Put simply, Peploe’s is one of the capital’s most loved restaurants, thanks to its superb food and wine offerings and its relaxed, yet stylish atmosphere. The food on offer mirrors the décor of wood, murals and crisp table linen. Head chef Sebastian Scheer serves up classic dishes aplenty like confit duck leg, marrow crusted Irish fillet steak and smoked salmon with dill sauce. To accompany these classy dishes you’ll be spoilt for choice with over 200 fine wines on the list.

A Michelin star experience at Chapter One

Michelin star? Tick. Award winning? Tick. Affordable? Surprisingly yes. Chapter One is all about the fabulous food , it’s so good that you’ll not only want to go back as soon as you can but you’ll want to tell your friends about it as well.   Just some of the delights on the menu include halibut cooked in aromatic oil with Japanese spice, hand dived scallops with vermouth sauce and pear and calamansi jelly with nougat parfait. The menu speaks for itself.

Sink your teeth into a burger at Bobo’s

You would usually associate giant burgers with the Americans. But Bobo’s has gained quite a reputation for turning out some fine patties. This excellent little diner serves up peerless organic burgers, ‘proper chubby chips’ in old-fashioned buckets and delicious malts, shakes and juices. Make sure you try the chimicurri, a fiery blend of chimicurri sauce and chorizo topping one of their juicy burgers!

If you’re thirsty…

For a perfect pint – head to Kehoe’s

If you’re in Dublin for the old fashioned pubs then Kehoe’s is the place to make a beeline for. With its old school character and its friendly bar staff keeping the pints flowing you can’t fail to be charmed.  On a busy night, the crowds even huddle round the stairs in neighbourhood tavern style – a real throwback! The bathrooms are notoriously tiny so worth avoiding if you’re on the claustrophobic side.

Traditional Irish sounds at the Cobblestone

The Cobblestone is one of the finest pubs in Dublin, featuring traditional music, brilliant beer and stout and some very charming bar staff. There’s a musicians corner downstairs which attracts traditional players and a paying venue upstairs where there is always a lively band on to tap your toes to whilst you sup your pint. Cosy rather than fancy, the Cobblestone is the place to come if you fancy an old-fashioned pub atmosphere.

Experience the heart of the city at the Guinness Storehouse

If Dublin is the heart and soul of Ireland then Guinness is the blood that courses through its veins so any trip to the capital is not complete without a visit to the home of the black stuff.  The Guinness storehouse will tell you everything you need to know about the 250 year old history of this famous drink. Make sure you visit the Gravity bar, the highest bar in Dublin, which offers uninterrupted 360⁰ panoramic views across the city.

Brush up on your wine knowledge at Ely

In an imaginatively renovated Georgian townhouse just off St Stephen’s Green this wine bar café is committed to offering some of the greatest and most interesting wines from around the world. Ely wine bar is the perfect place to relax in one of its oversized armchairs and sample a wine list that is possibly the best in the country. If you want to brush up on your knowledge then keep an eye out for the wine tasting nights that they regularly host.

Check out the vibrant nightlife at Dakota

Trendy and stylish Dakota is one of the coolest bars in Dublin and a great place to hang out with friends, or make some new ones over a cocktail or two. Designed to incorporate a nice long bar, you’ll never have to wait too long for a drink even when it’s at its busiest.

If that’s whet your appetite and made you thirsty for a taste of Dublin then it’s time to look at the diary, pick a free weekend and get some flights booked. If you are short on time, London City Airport has created a handy guide showing how you can get the most out of Dublin in 24 hours.

One of the greatest things about this fine city is its inhabitants who are amiable and witty and some of the greatest hosts in the world. So, whenever you choose to visit you’ll be welcomed with open arms.