A Foodie’s Guide to Killarney’s 10 Best Restaurants and Bistros

From casual pubs to fine-dining gems, you’ll find it all in Killarney
From casual pubs to fine-dining gems, you’ll find it all in Killarney | © Ognyan Trifonov / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Deirdre Mulrooney
27 August 2020

With top chefs and great fish and chips, there are many culinary delights on offer in “the Kingdom” – as scenic County Kerry is known to locals. This haven for artisan producers, with fish freshly caught from the Atlantic Ocean and tasty twists on traditional fare, is sure to tickle your taste buds. Culture Trip rounds up Killarney’s top 10 local restaurants.

Bricín Restaurant

Restaurant, Irish, European, Seafood, Vegetarian, $$$
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Bricín means “small trout” in Gaelic and is the name of a charming stone bridge on Dinis Peninsula in Killarney National Park. Bricín, owned by brothers Johnny and Paddy McGuire, is also a tastefully restored restaurant on Killarney’s High Street, with natural stone walls, antique timber and stained glass. Signature dishes in this renowned “Celtic Deco” hangout include the Killarney boxty, a twist on the traditional Irish potato pancake with a choice of chicken, lamb or ratatouille fillings, and fish dishes.

Quinlan’s Seafood Bar

Restaurant, Irish, $$$
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© Kevin George / Alamy Stock Photo
If you want to get down with discerning residents of the area, here is an insider tip for your Killarney sojourn: try the fish and chips at Quinlan’s Seafood Bar on High Street. At Quinlan’s, you can have your super-fresh fish pan-fried in olive oil, and salad is at the ready instead of chips should you so desire. The world is your oyster, or maybe your lobster here, where you’ll also find scallops, haddock, wild mussels and much more.

Treyvaud’s

Restaurant, Irish, $$$
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The friendly, family-run Treyvaud’s specialises in international cuisine. Brothers Paul and Mark were trained by their world-class chef father, Michel, when they were children, and today, Paul is fast becoming Ireland’s answer to Jamie Oliver, with several TV series and a book under his belt. Using only the finest and freshest ingredients, Treyvaud’s offers a cornucopia of dishes, such as pan-fried medallions of venison, succulent Kenmare bay scallops, organic Kerry beef and other reliable classics.

Gaby’s Seafood Restaurant

Restaurant, Seafood
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Lobster Gaby anyone? That’s lobster meat simmered in a cream-and-cognac sauce and served back in its shell, a specially delicious invention by Gaby’s Belgian owner-chef. Naturally, food like this doesn’t come cheap. Take your pick from the seafood platter (seven or eight kinds of fish in a cream-and-wine sauce), fish dishes, a selection of fillet and sirloin steaks or the herb-scented rack of lamb. Gaby’s rustic decor is charming, with a little bar beside an open fire and ornate wooden stick-back chairs to match a huge wooden dresser. Outside, there’s a small garden for lounging and enjoying your aperitif in the summertime.

Cill Rialaig Arts Centre

Art Gallery
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© Loop Images Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo
Cill Rialaig Arts Centre may be “the best-kept secret in the arts world”, but it also hides another best-kept secret, the Skelligs Art Café. Here, beautiful artworks created by artists from the centre’s residency programme adorn the dining room, where you can savour delicious dishes, including wood-fired pizza, made with organic and locally sourced produce. The menu changes regularly to reflect the freshest ingredients available.

The Lake Room

Bar, Restaurant, Irish
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If unadulterated luxury is what you’re going for and money is no object, why not dine in the Lake Room at Killarney’s sumptuous five-star hotel, Aghadoe Heights? The views, overlooking the Lakes of Killarney, are spectacular, and the award-winning food is delicious. Also, the service is delightful; you will be treated like Kingdom royalty. Afterwards, you can adjourn for a drink in the View Bar & Terrace or check out Aghadoe’s popular spa.

Heather Restaurant

Restaurant, Irish, $$$
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Should you take a short excursion from Killarney metropolis to the breathtaking Gap of Dunloe (and you should), pop in to see Denis Pio and Ailish Moriarty in their family-run Heather Restaurant, where a gastronomic feast awaits you. Fish comes from suppliers a 20-minute drive away, while local purveyors in West Cork and County Kerry supply cheeses and other artisan foods.

Beaufort Bar and Restaurant

Restaurant, Family style, Irish, $$$
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© Kevin George / Alamy Stock Photo

Follow your nose to Beaufort Bar and Restaurant and settle in for a warming bowl of seafood chowder – one of the area’s most popular dishes – washed down with a perfectly poured pint of Guinness. While a short drive outside Killarney, it’s worth the journey. The O’Sullivan family has been running the business since it opened in 1841 – and stepping inside, you’ll see the space hasn’t changed much. Escape here to hide away from the rest of the world for a few hours, and be sure to try a drop (and no more if you’re driving) of one of 200 whiskeys lining the back bar before heading back to town.

Khao Asian Street Food

Restaurant, Vietnamese
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If you need a break from Irish stews or fish and chips, and you’re in the mood for something with a little bit of zing, try Khao Asian Street Food. The vast menu covers a range of Vietnamese and Thai classics, such as pho bo (Vietnamese beef noodle soup) and Thai green vegetable curry, but you may also spot one or two unfamiliar offerings. There’s plenty of space for dining inside, but you can also grab your favourite dish to go if you’re after a cosy night in.

Celtic Whiskey Bar and Larder

Bar, Restaurant, Irish, $$$
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Not just a spot to whet the whistle – although dabbling in the extensive whiskey list is encouraged – Celtic Whiskey Bar and Larder serves up some of the best gourmet pub grub in town. From classics, such as haddock and prawn chowder and steak and chips, to more inventive dishes, including steamed mussels with nduja and roast bone marrow, your meal of choice will likely be a memorable one. Things get livelier as the night wears on, so once you’ve cleaned your plate, order a cocktail from the extensive menu and settle in for some hearty Irish pub vibes.

Molly Codye contributed additional reporting to this article.

These recommendations were updated on August 27, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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