2014 is nearly over, and as part of the mini-habit I've established on this blog, I've assembled a list of the most-read posts.It's an interesting list, offering an insight into what is popular right now. Interestingly, all the Top 10 posts come from Dublin and all feature recent, or relatively recent restaurants. There's a good mix of styles, ranging from fine dining (The Hot Stove), French-influence (Brioche) to burgers (Bunsen) and Asian (Opium). It clearly shows that Dublin diners are an eclectic lot but with a constant finger on the pulse. It's amusing to think that Bear, the restaurant from Joe Macken and Jamie Heaslip which is just under 3 years old, is now the grand-daddy of the group.
So what caught the interest of Stitch & Bear readers in 2014? Read on for the top 10 posts...
Brioche sits in a lovely red-brick building just off the main street of Ranelagh. Inside, Gavin McDonagh creates beautiful French-inspired tasting plates that showcase the best of Irish ingredients.
The front of house restaurant space in the Westbury has been remodeled into Balfes, featuring an attractive outside terrace and a Josper Grill in the kitchen. Perfect for people watching in the middle of the city.
Hot Stove Restaurant has been open on Parnell Square for nearly 2 years now, and has firmly established itself as a high quality and good value fine dining spot. It's a great option for pre-theatre dinner or a special occasion.
Super Miss Sue will shortly celebrate her first birthday, but even in that short time, SMS has become a fixture at the bottom of Drury Street. Fresh seafood, a top notch chipper and now a charcoal-grill "pop-down" in the basement.
I may not like the tunes at Opium, but there's no denying that the food and cocktails at this fashionable bar restaurant are damn tasty. Keep an eye on their Twitter account for special deals and offers.
Ever since it opened, Bunsen has been recognised as the spot for the best burgers in town. With a simple menu that literally fits onto the back of a business card, it's still the best spot for a beefy fix.
Salt Lick is the semi-permanent pop-up brainchild of Brian McCarthy and William Toft. Every Friday & Saturday, they take over the kitchen at Hobart's Cafe in Ranelagh. With a menu that changes on a monthly basis and house-made cocktails using BYO bottles, there's always something to enjoy.
I first visited Bear nearly three years ago, making it the longest established restaurant on this list. But clearly its popularity still hasn't waned one iota.
The cocktail scene is definitely exploding in Dublin right now, with many high quality venues. But it's definitely been a great year for Kevin Hurley and the team at the Liquor Rooms, achieving a first nomination for Ireland at the prestigious Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards and 4 awards at the inaugural Irish Craft Cocktail Awards.
Looking at the statistics from Google Analytics, there's no doubt that 2014 belonged to Pizza e Porchetta. I recently returned for a pre-theatre dinner and was once again impressed by the modern Italian food from Ronan Ryan and Pat Lalor, plus we all got to laugh at one of the funnier TripAdvisor reviews.