Ireland is known by chefs and foodies worldwide for the superior quality of its homegrown ingredients, from farmed produce such as grass-fed Irish beef and rich butter to fresh seafood landed along its rugged coastline. Below are a few of the finest restaurants in the country at which to try dishes made from predominantly Irish ingredients.
In early May 2017, Dublin’s Chapter One once again took the gong for Best Restaurant in Ireland at the industry’s most important awards ceremony, being named the finest in the country by The Restaurants Association of Ireland for the ninth time in its history. Michelin-star awarded since 2007, this elegant eatery has won an array of other prizes and been named 25th in Europe’s Top 100 Restaurants by The Daily Meal. Housed in the former home of whiskey maker George Jameson, the intimate space provides a backdrop for culinary greatness, with Chef Ross Lewis naming ‘the landscape, the seasons and most especially the new Irish artisans’ as his inspiration.
A customer favourite, Mulberry Garden was crowned Ireland’s best restaurant in the TripAdvisor Traveller’s Choice Awards for 2016. This hidden gem lies in Dublin’s Donnybrook area, on the grounds of a stone cottage built in 1911. Here, they offer a seasonal menu that changes weekly, with the producers of everything from the Dexter beef short rib to the organic Irish honey and the cheeses on the cheese board listed for your perusal.
Diners are drawn to The House Restaurant at the luxury 39-room Cliff House Hotel in County Waterford at least in part for the panoramic views of Ardmore Bay, but they stay for the food. Dutch chef Martijn Kajuiter’s vision has earned this ocean-side restaurant a Michelin star and a stellar reputation. Tasting menu and à la carte options are available, with the majority of ingredients sourced from within the country. If you can’t get to Waterford, try The Cliff Townhouse on Dublin’s St Stephen’s Green instead.
Although it deals in fine dining, the Yeats Room has a more relaxed, welcoming feel than many of its contemporaries, perhaps owing to the fact that it was originally part of a family home. Myrtle Allen and her husband opened Ballymaloe House as a restaurant during the 1960s, and it has since become synonymous with modern Irish cooking. With an emphasis on the freshest produce, they grow their own fruit, vegetables and herbs in their walled gardens and have a 100-acre organic farm nearby.
Often referred to as the gourmet capital of Ireland, the harbour town of Kinsale in County Cork has plenty of incredible places to eat, but when it comes to superb seafood, Fishy Fishy reigns supreme. Husband and wife Martin and Marie Shanahan’s inviting restaurant was named Best Seafood Experience in Ireland in 2013, and it has won both Best Restaurant of the Year and Best Seafood Restaurant of the Year at various points. It has also featured in the highly respected Bridgestone Guide’s Top 100 Restaurants in Ireland for the last eight years running.
Located on the County Kerry stretch of the Wild Atlantic Way, Idás states its food philosophy as being ‘to celebrate the Dingle Peninsula on a plate’. Featuring inventive combinations of seasonal ingredients sourced from the area, Chef Kevin Murphy’s West Kerry tasting menu champions the seafood Kerry is famous for, through dishes such as pickled mussels, Glenbeigh oysters, and a ‘foraged broth of land and sea’. If you’re not a fan of seafood, their meat is all Irish, and there’s also a vegetarian tasting menu available.
Another establishment firmly rooted in its surroundings, Aniar calls itself a terroir-based restaurant – meaning that its food ‘comes from the specific place that is Galway and the west of Ireland’. Owned and run by JP McMahon and Drigín Gaffey, Aniar opened in 2011 and has been Michelin-star awarded since 2013. Their tempting tasting menu changes daily but always consists of five, eight or 10 courses.
As well as taking the award for Best Restaurant in Connaught at the 2017 Irish Restaurant Awards, Galway’s Kai Café + Restaurant was recently listed among Ireland’s 101 best dining experiences by the Sunday Business Post newspaper. Chef Jessica Murphy and her husband David keep things refreshingly simple at Kai, using organic produce and plating up dishes that look almost as good as they taste.
Overlooking Belfast’s River Lagan, OX has one Michelin star, and it was named UK Restaurant of the Year 2016 by the editors of the Good Food Guide. Food menus are tailored to the best produce of the season, and their website provides a list of what’s in the larder each month – for May, this includes Jersey Royal new potatoes, sprouting broccoli and summer truffle. Wine is a big part of the offering at OX, with a well-stocked cave presided over by co-founder and sommelier Alain Kerloc’h.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.