Proprietor John Farrell runs this trendy restaurant in one of Dublin’s trendiest villages, in the premises formerly known as Mint.
Zinc and wood topped tables, vintage bar stools, oversized pendant lights and feature walls of subway tiles, blackboard and warm grey create an industrial space that’s part New York, part London.
It’s a moody, cosy room that suits the buzzy crowd and laidback cooking on offer. The bare-topped tables sport big glasses, little green tea lights, and paper napkins - cosy but not on top of each, there’s a great buzz and, thankfully, decent acoustics.
Head Chef Ian Connolly is well known in Dublin as former owner-chef of the critically acclaimed Moe's in Baggot Street and head chef of several prominent restaurants including the House in Howth, Co Dublin, and the much-missed Mermaid Café on Dame Street. All of which makes him particularly well suited to continuing and developing the established house style at Dillinger's, where you’ll find plenty of US classics like Manhattan clam chowder, corndogs with sauerkraut, and char-grilled veal chop with macaroni cheese.
There’s plenty of seafood on the menu, including excellent chilli prawns, and the flavours are big and punchy, with portions exceptionally generous. American-influenced desserts, like key lime pie and chocolate brownie fudge cake, are especially tempting, while the sensational New York baked cheesecake has become a signature dish.
The wine list is short, well chosen and decently priced (most bottles are between €22 and €45), with 6 interesting house wines specially imported by the restaurant. There’s a choice of 4 cocktails on offer, each priced at a decent €8, with mimosa just €7 a glass.
Bloody Marys should prove popular with Dillinger’s Sunday brunch menu, which has been put together with great imagination. Offerings such as French toast, chilli beef nachos, Welsh rarebit and char-grilled New York strip-loin with poached eggs, home fries and hollandaise showcase gutsy flavours and no-nonsense food.
Reservations are only accepted for groups over 5, otherwise you simply arrive and may have to wait for a table. A little bar can seat 5, otherwise staff will take your number, advise you how long you may expect to wait, and call when they have room for you. And it’s worth the wait.
Ian Connolly's food is exciting, tasty and good value, and Dillinger’s staff are a breath of fresh air – charming, enthusiastic, knowledgeable and clearly interested in good food.
* See their sister restaurant across the road, The Butcher Grill