10 Great Irish Restaurants

Meet the new addition to the culinary cool list: Irish food. Expect the very finest ingredients, innovative techniques with old-school flavours. Here are 10 of the best places to taste it.

Culinary wizardry at 1826 Adare provided by 1826 Adare
Culinary wizardry at 1826 Adare provided by 1826 Adare

1. The Woollen Mills Eating House

Location is everything at this airy “Eating House” in a beautifully upgraded old Dublin woollen shop. Vast windows overlooking the River Liffey and a super-hip menu with traditional throwbacks such as Dublin coddle, are making it the hottest go-to spot in the city. Drop it any time of day for crispy line-caught local mackerel, Connemara cured ham or a just a simple slice of tea brack.

2. Kai Café + Restaurant, Galway

With St Tola cheese, fish from the Connemara Smokehouse, and pheasant from Dromoland Game, Kai’s focus is firmly on the quality of its suppliers. Jam jars hanging from the ceiling, chunky wooden benches and open stone walls make the perfect surrounds for a daily-changing menu of light, fresh dishes such as west coast crab and trout caviar.

3. Farmgate Café, Cork

In the heart of Cork’s foodie mecca, the English Market, the Farmgate Café focuses on big traditional flavours such as Irish stew; corned beef with mustard and parsley sauce; and tripe and onions with drisheen. The balcony location, perpetually bustling atmosphere and top class daily specials mean it’s one you won’t want to miss.

4. An Port Mór, County Mayo

Shaking up the foodie scene in the picturesque town of Westport in County Mayo, An Port Mór is blazing a trail with a solid commitment to local, seasonal produce with a light contemporary slant. Take a seat in the bright, elegant dining room and check out delights such as pot-roasted pig cheeks with black pudding.

5. 1826 Adare, County Limerick

The rustic, old world beauty of a traditional thatched cottage in the picture-perfect village of Adare makes an ideal location for one of Limerick’s most talked-about restaurants. Striking a delicate balance between solid Irish cooking and modern innovation, husband and wife team Wade and Elaine Murphy are hitting the spot with fresh, comforting dishes.

6. Gregan’s Castle, Ballyvaughan, County Clare

The lunar landscape of the Burren in County Clare harbours some real little gems – one of them is the dining room in Gregan’s Castle. Using the very best ingredients on his doorstep, head chef David Hurley turns out super-special plates of contemporary Irish food. Great location, great dining room, and a truly special experience.

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7. Mourne Seafood Bar, Belfast

The ethos of the Mourne Seafood Bar: serve the best local seafood in the most delicious way possible. And it works! Chalked-up blackboards, a laid-back atmosphere and super-fresh produce hauled in from local ports draw the crowds night after night for everything from “oysters au naturel” to aromatic post of fresh Mourne mussels. Simple and delicious.

8. Newforge Dining Room, County Armagh

Horseradish pannacotta with smoked salmon and eel at Newforge House

Local and seasonal produce, free-range egg and meats, and organic dairy fare – provenance and quality are key at the Newforge. This dining room within a beautiful Georgian county house has one table every night for non-guests. Snap it up and savour dishes such as horseradish panna cotta with smoked County Sligo venison and watercress salad.

9. The Brewer’s House, Dungannon, County Tyrone

Fish and Chips at The Brewer's House

Fancy some organic turf-smoked Donegal salmon with your pint? Get to this great gastro pub in the town of Dungannon. The quality of the cooking draws the crowds to what is one of the oldest public houses in Ulster, with a lineage dating back to the 18th century.

10. The Fumbally, Dublin

Think lunch rather than dinner at this much loved Dublin café. It’s one of a clutch of coffee shops in the city (3fE, Brother Hubbard) spearheading a new attitude to good, solid cooking. The focus is on great suppliers, served up without any attitude in great, super-cool surrounds. A city fave.

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