There’s not much on this street. It’s the back of most places, a way to somewhere else. But soon, a familiar aroma seeps from under heavy, blackened doors. The monogrammed handles suddenly appear, framed in the mighty doorway, adorned with plaques and stars.
We push through, and it’s not so secret any more. The bar area bustles, tables chatter, a bed of music rises and falls under the volume of the crowd inside. A family of tourists are being apologised to, as there won’t be a table “for about another 45 minutes”; we slip on through; it pays to call ahead.
We sit by the wall, glancing at the food menu out of habit and then taking a look around the room; realising we’ve lost count of how many time’s we been here. Himself smiles from across the table, “Our place…” he says.
Ask me my favourite restaurant in Dublin city, I’ll say Saba. Ask me for a fail-safe, guaranteed good night out; I’ll say Saba. Give me the choice of venue for a night out with friends, family, date night – I’ll say Saba.
Years ago, working in Rathmines; we were simultaneously working our way through all the takeaways available in the search for sustenance. Two things happened. Firstly we discovered Little Ass Burrito, and secondly we fell in love with Saga To Go. There has been, on occasion, when we purposefully stopped in Rathmines to get dinner, we found ourselves so torn we got both.
The takeaway alone is a triumph of flavour and unrivaled quality. Himself orders the BOOM!!! with chicken, which as you can probably guess is extremely spicey yet also, he assures me as I have no desire to risk it, very tasty.
Spoiled for choice, I regularly enjoy their widely adored Phad Thai (Jay, with tofu) with rice noodes and fresh lime or the wonderfully aromatic, gingery Phad Khing from the Wok.
Yes, the food is one thing, but the atmosphere and culture they’ve cultivated in their sit-down venue on Clarendon Street (behind Stephen’s Green and the back of the Westbury; where you’ve probably cut through to get to South William Street or Powerscourt) is something else. I’m so obsessed with this place I swoon over the colour of the walls (a sort of olive-grey) .There’s an undeniable asian influence, but worlds away from tacky.
Individually the bar and the kitchen have long held reputations of award-winning excellence and it doesn’t take long to see how. Cocktails skillfully crafted, unlike too many lazy restaurant bars who rest on tired classics – I recommend the Long Do.
From the kitchen emerges some of the best Thai and Vietnamese food you can eat in Dublin. Vegetables that still crunch like vegetables should, sauces that don’t smother, healthy helpings of meat within the dish.
Vegetarians are more than well catered for, with wok dishes very customisable, and the tofu very tasty. Meat eaters, similarly, are spoiled for choice – while still receiving some of their 5 a day. The health conscious too have guidance in the form of Saba-Light options that I can report are still just as delicious.
I can’t say enough great things about this place, and it’s takeaway counterpart. Together 4 years; Saba, Himself and myself make the most delicious love triangle.
Whatever the occasion, just eat here!