The cinematic scenery isn’t the only reason to travel the Wild Atlantic Way tourist trail. Stretching along Ireland’s entire west coast, it also takes in prime foodie locations from Cork all the way up to Donegal. These spectacular restaurants along the route are the perfect places at which to refuel, relax and enjoy meals made by some of the country’s best chefs.
Idás restaurant in County Kerry is run by Chef Kevin Murphy, who enjoyed his youthful summers spent with family in the town of Dingle so much that he set up shop there permanently. He describes his food philosophy as aiming ‘to celebrate the Dingle Peninsula on a plate’, using lots of local and seasonal ingredients. The tasting menu here features dishes like a ‘foraged broth of land and sea’ with Glenbeigh oysters, and lamb with fermented root vegetables and wild garlic. Murphy’s hard work seems to have paid off – Idás was recently named the number two fine dining restaurant in Ireland in TripAdvisor’s Travellers’ Choice Awards.
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The old port and fishing town of Kinsale on the coast of Cork is home to several stellar restaurants, including the Michelin Bib Gourmand awarded Bastion. This laid-back yet delicious eatery does things their own unique way, from their moreish ‘Bastion bites’ – think mac ’n’ cheese croquettes and ibérico cured ham – to the so-called ‘leg, egg and the wing’ starter, consisting of a stock poached chicken wing, rolled leg, boudin mousse, truffled aioli and a parmesan biscuit. Their twisted banoffee dessert of roasted bananas with caramel gel and Breton shortbread is another sure-fire crowd pleaser.
Owned and operated by husband and wife team JP McMahon and Drigín Gaffey, the Michelin-starred Aniar in Galway showcases the best of that county and the wider West of Ireland in their menu. McMahon is the brains behind the annual Food on the Edge symposium, which saw world-renowned chefs like Massimo Bottura gather in Galway, most recently in October 2016. Aniar’s authentic farm-to-table ethos is sensitive to the changing seasons, with a tasting menu that changes daily and details an extensive list of local suppliers.
Michelin-Starred, Gourmet, Fine Dining, Romantic, Business
Ard Bia, Galway
Ard Bia at Nimmos is one of the most popular restaurants in the whole of Ireland, not just the West. Known for its quality gourmet food, warm and welcoming atmosphere and being one of few spots in County Galway that serve 3fE coffee, this place is something of a hidden gem – locals like to keep it to themselves, and for good reason. Reservations are pretty much essential if you want to get a table here and enjoy their flavourful dishes. Highlights include the pea, broad bean and wild garlic risotto, but they also do a mean brunch.
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Harvey’s Point Donegal
Named Ireland’s Hotel of the Year 2017 by the Georgina Campbell Ireland Guide and rated the number one Irish hotel on TripAdvisor, Harvey’s Point on Lough Eske, just outside Donegal Town, has a sterling reputation. Their restaurant overlooking the lake is equally well respected – it has earned accolades like the title of Best Hotel Restaurant in Ulster from the Irish Restaurant Association. With a mouthwatering four-course Table d’Hôte dinner menu that includes sesame crusted scallops, spit roasted Hereford sirloin of beef and malt biscuit parfait, this is a stop definitely worth making.