Almost exactly on the corner of Parnell Street and Cavendish Row, you'll see Pho Viet as soon as you hit the top of O'Connell Street. It's a really handy spot for a pre-theatre or cinema bite to eat, and as a Northsider I find myself around here quite a bit.
I'd never had proper Vietnamese before Pho Viet, and now, I'm constantly looking out for it! I've had the pho (tasty, hearty noodle broth with a meat of your choice, served in a bucket-sized bowl) more times than I can count and totally recommend it, especially on colder days. I know that a lot of people love Pho Viet's curries, too, though on my last visit I opted to try something different, one of their Bun dishes - grilled prawns and pork served with light rice noodles and a fresh salad. This is brilliant value - the portion was generous and the meat and prawns were fresh and beautifully cooked. A really nice, light main that won't leave you feeling like you could have picked something 'better'! What a lot of the mains here have in common is that they're fresh, zesty and rely mostly on herbs and chilli to lend a natural flavour to the dish - not a whiff of MSG.
I totally forgot to mention starters. I think that Pho Viet do some of the best spring rolls in Dublin - and I do take my spring rolls quite seriously! I love their 'ordinary' cooked spring rolls, they're crispy, light and just the right size - but I've also become equally fond of the cold kind, or Goi Cuon. They're gorgeous, translucent little parcels made up of cooked prawns, vegetables and vermicelli noodles, served with a peanut dipping sauce. Absolutely gorgeous and totally moreish.
For drinks, one draw for this place is that you can bring your own for a corkage fee of €5 per bottle. They also serve a few good wines for a decent price. What I love most about coming here, though, is the lack of guilt - it's inexpensive (literally the same price as an Eddie Rockets, and far, far better). The food is relatively clean and healthy, especially if you order carefully. I have never had a disappointing meal here - the staff are always lovely and it's as good for a night out as it is for a quick lunch.
I should also tell you that I ate here the other week after a really lovely tour of Glasnevin Cemetery, which had been specially curated by one of their amazing guides (Bridget Sheerin), for International Women's Day. Irish history, especially that of our lesser known women, is a total passion of mine and I only wish that I could devote more time to it. Bridget did an amazing job of balancing the tour with some famous and some unknowns. Hanna Sheehy-Skeffington will always be my personal hero, but I also loved hearing all about Maura Laverty, Margaret Skinnider and Anne Devlin. It was hard not to come away feeling inspired!
Whether you're well-versed or a total newbie to Irish history, I think that Glasnevin offers one of the best days out in Dublin. With over a million and a half people buried here, it's hard not to find something (or someone) of interest, and the museum is great, too. Don't forget to pop into the Gravediggers pub on Prospect Square after for a drink!