Restaurants in Ireland
While the Irish have long been known for their fine liquors, it is seldom travelers seek out the emerald isle as a food destination, – which is a pity. Many of the best restaurants in Ireland now serve refined takes on traditional dishes, using the freshest local ingredients. Foodie hotspots include the big cities of Dublin, Galway and Cork where local purveyors, cheese mongers, bakers and organic farmers meet in markets to sell their wares. The towns of Killarney, Kilkenny, and Kinsale also have excellent cuisine.
A traditional Irish breakfast consisting of eggs, bacon, mushroom, potato bread, black pudding and baked beans is something to try when visiting restaurants in Ireland. Bewley's Café in Dublin and Kilkenny restaurant (numerous locations) are two places that serve a great "Full Irish" as it's called.
While not exactly Irish restaurants, the pub is another traditional institution to visit during your stay. Most towns and even the tiniest villages will have a pub, sometimes with a post office or shop attached. Johnny Fox's in Dublin, McHugh's in Belfast and Sean's Bar in Athlone (the oldest in Ireland) are some places to sample Guinness or "a pint of the black stuff."
These days, there are restaurants in Ireland to cater to every palette and a variety of international cuisines. Try to venture off the beaten track to avoid the tourist traps and don't be afraid to ask a local for a recommendation, they'll be delighted to help.
Down a few steps, into what was once Mitchell’s Wine Merchants, this underground cellar is now the location of the upscale Italian restaurant, Town Bar and Grill.
In just a decade, Ireland's booming economy has taken it from a rural backwater to a sophisticated country that has surpassed Scandinavia for highest cost of living in Europe.
In the back are stained-glass windows, designed by the early-20th-century craftsman Harry Clarke, glowing with parrots and feathery foliage.
Reservations aren’t accepted at this superb, if slightly self-conscious bistro, which is unmarked by signage of any sort (you’ll find the door beside Hogan’s Pub).
Simple, compelling preparations of fish and shellfish from local waters are owner Peter O'Brien's calling card. Book early as reservations go fast.
At Michelle Darmody's Cake Café, a restaurant in the Portobello neighborhood, the building was designed to be sustainable and with materials that were apparently "healthy and organic," as indeed is the food.
Just south of Galway, Ireland, on a weir beside a creek that runs into Galway Bay, this 18th-century tavern-all burnished wood and thatch-was immortalized in the Seamus Heaney poem "Oysters":
Our shells clacked on the plates
My tongue was a filling estuary
The Quartier Bloom is Dublin’s small, but busy Italian district. It is home to a handful of shops and restaurants, one of which is the wine-focused Enoteca delle Langhe.
Chef Aine Maguire is one of the rising stars of the Irish food scene (a fact that Michelin recognized by awarding The Winding Stair its Bib Gourmand in 2008).
Chef Robert Gleeson's cooking is refreshingly simple and seductive, you'll see on the menu that the smoked haddock comes from Sally Barnes, the duck in the terrine from Helena Hickey.