Once a branch of the famous Youkstetter’s pork butcher shops immortalisd by James Joyce in Ulysses, this handsome tiled shopfront with dark green paintwork, matching awning and outside seating, has been home to Aidan and Karen McNeice’s popular café/restaurant since 2007.
Formerly The Cheese Pantry, they sacrificed a temperature controlled cheese room in 2016 to provide extra seating, renamed the business Restaurant 104 and gave it a smart makeover - but thankfully nothing else has changed: same staff, same range of menus, and same great cooking.
Plenty of loyal customers would agree with 104's proud claim to be 'the best restaurant on the northside' and, while breakfast, lunch and dinner are all served here, Head Chef David Doyle (formerly of several distinguished restaurants, including Les Freres Jacques and La Mère Zou) ensures that every dish is special. Providing simple, good food at fair prices, his varied menus cater to all tastes and are cooked with flair - and, while there isn't a formal supplier list, it's obvious that everything, from the much loved farmhouse cheeses to the Ariosa coffee, is sourced with care.
At breakfast you’ll find the traditional Full Irish ('The Pantry' breakfast includes hand cut smoked bacon, O’Mahoneys gourmet sausage, and Clonakilty black pudding among other tasty things) alongside the likes of homemade granola, eggs Benedict or Florentine and Belgian waffles.
This Dublin restaurants lunch choices can range from classic Caesar salad or chili chicken pasta, to the house favourites of saffron scented seafood chowder and proper homemade fish pie.
The ante is upped at dinner time when the restaurant is transformed into a cosy bistro, heralding the appearance of many old favourites with a twist - rib-eye steak with grilled Cashel Blue or free range chicken fillet on black pudding mash perhaps – while fish, vegetarian dishes and game (in season) also feature.
There's a full bar, including draught beers (but no craft beer), and Steak Nights menus offer good value, at about €22-27 including a glass of wine or a pint of Guinness or Carlsberg.
Offering decently priced good food in stylishly casual surroundings, it’s no wonder this neighbourhood stalwart is such a hit with the lucky locals.