The crème de la crème of the Irish food scene, these beautiful destination restaurants have enviable menus and personality in abundance.
Christmas in the courtyard, Kilmainham, Co Dublin
Housed in a beautiful heated glass mansion at Dublin’s Royal Kilmainham Hospital, Christmas in the Courtyard is a floor-to-ceiling glass wonderland under the stars. Set against the beautiful backdrop of the historic RKH Courtyard, the unique dining experience promises great food, unparalleled views and a thoroughly festive atmosphere. Lit from within and starred from above, guests inside will enjoy a six-course dining experience, designed by Michelin-starred chef Danni Barry, expert wine pairing with each course, iconic live bands, and plenty of festive surprises. Watch christmasenelpatio.es to buy tickets and for more information.
The cottageJamestown, County Leitrim
If you’re ever passing through Leitrim, be sure to add a stop at The Cottage to the agenda. One of the Midlands’ best kept secrets, you’ll find it nestled in a peaceful and picturesque location by the river and Weir. Led by chef Patron Shamzuri, it blends traditional Irish flavors with a subtle mix of Asian influences from his grandmother’s cooking; the result is an ever-changing menu that never fails to impress.
harry’s shackPortstewart, County Derry
Located right on the Portstewart coast, Harry’s Shack has access to some of the best views in all the land (even stretching as far as Inishowen). An hour’s drive north of Belfast, it’s worth the trip for the magnificent setting alone. Sourcing much of its fresh fruits and vegetables from a small, two-acre farm run by owner Donal Doherty and chef Derek Creagh, the menu is simple but very effective.
MacNean House and RestaurantBlacklion, County Cavan
Made famous by celebrity chef Neven Maguire, MacNean House is where he first developed his cooking graph. The head chef and owner there, is set against the backdrop of the picturesque Cuilcagh Mountains in Cavan, right near the MacNean Lakes for which the restaurant is named. A Michelin-listed venue, it is consistently rated for its food, wine offerings, service, and the overall dining experience it creates.
misunderstood heronLeenaun, County Galway
The gastronomic gem of the west, Misunderstood Heron’s reputation precedes it. A tiny food truck in Leenaun, the majestic Killary Fjord looms over it… but even that couldn’t outshine his impressive menu. Fresh, local, never conventional, it was opened by husband and wife duo Kim and Reinald in 2017. Expect homemade wholemeal bread, piping hot pies and slow-cooked Connemara lamb samosas. Although they are currently closed during the winter months, they will be back up very soon so please kFollow your social media for updates.
Clenaghans RestaurantCraigavon, County Down
Experts at blending the old with the new, Clenaghans offers its guests a warm welcome, excellent food and an unrivaled setting. Housed in a beautiful stone building dating back to the 18th century, step inside and you’ll be greeted by a roaring fire and romantic candlelight, all of which help set the mood. Full of charm and “with a lot of character” according to the Michelin Guide, the food ranges from reinvented pub classics to “more refined and sophisticated dishes”.
La Castaña RestaurantBallydehob, County Cork
A restaurant in the heart of West Cork, Chestnut operates under the careful supervision of Chef Rob Krawczyk. A local native, he returned home from traveling the world to transform the restaurant (along with his partner Elaine) from a dilapidated old pub in the center of town to the gastronomic excellence it is today.
wild honey innLisdoonvarna, County Clare
The country’s only Michelin star dining pub, the Wild Honey Inn is an ideal base to set up camp when exploring the surrounding Clare countryside. Using fresh, seasonal local produce from what is referred to as ‘Ireland’s natural larder’, the menu is inspired by the type of food its owners want to eat. As serious about wine as they are about their dining offerings, they have a nice mix of traditional favorites and New World varietals. However, Wild Honey Inn is a seasonal business and is now closed until March 2023…something to look forward to.
lignumBullaun, County Galway
Created with the aim of showcasing the quality and diversity of ingredients from “the wonderful people who raise, grow and produce them”, the entire restaurant is built around the kitchen’s wood-fired oven. There, they cook over raw flames, giving a nod to the area’s historic food cultures while lending their own flair to the dishes. In his own words, the atmosphere is refined yet relaxed, unpretentious and fun.
the port bar, Downings, County Donegal
Located in the Donegal Gaeltacht village of Downings, The Harbor Bar has refurbished the venue in recent weeks to ensure they are ready for a summer of entertainment. Adding a new outdoor bar at their beer garden, the view looks out over stunning Sheephaven Bay and is always a solid choice for a perfectly drafted pint of beer. Full of character, expect fun galore too.
bridge street 10Kilorglin, County Kerry
Formerly known as Sol y Sombra, lively 10 Bridge Street is a smart casual contemporary restaurant and bar in Killorglin and a wonderful alternative wedding venue. Located inside a cavernous 200-year-old converted church, eating here is a dining experience like no other – the interior still has its pew and stained glass windows for added effect.
Morrissey’sDoonbeg, County Clare
Michel Bib Gourmand Award-winning Morrissey’s has plenty of tasty things worth trying, though it’s their Doonbeg Wild Crab Claws, Prawns with Homemade Tartar Sauce and White Chocolate, and Cheesecake with Seasonal Berries that deserve a special mention. You can also dine al fresco at the 4th generation family restaurant thanks to its terrace overlooking the Doonbeg River and the castle.
pudding row, Easyy, County Sligo
Think bread, pastries, local vegetables, Irish cheese, cold meats, coffee, cakes – basically, Pudding Row has all the good things in life. A neighborhood grocer in the Sligo seaside town of Easkey, is technically No A restaurant but worth a visit nonetheless. Also fully stocked with their famous Pudding Row picnic baskets, they are the perfect addition to any outdoor feast you may have in store this summer.
Brown Bear, Two Mile House, Co Kildare
An award-winning location not far from Naas, Kilcullen and Newbridge in Kildare, Brown Bear was named after an old coach house in the area. The restaurant’s namesake is no longer there, but the current restaurant continues its legacy with tan leather booths, candlelit tables, and ambitious dishes. A good option for vegetarians and coeliacs as there are plenty of options to cater for both dietary requirements.
pilgrimRosscarbery, County Cork
A small venue located in the West Cork seaside town of Rosscarbery, Pilgrim’s is all about using only the best local, seasonal and foraged ingredients from the area. Formerly a guest house and the village bookstore, here the portions are generous and the dishes are inspired by Asian cuisine.
dovecoteDelgany, County Wicklow
The proud owners of two separate branches, one in Clontarf and the other in Delgany, the Pigeon House does everything from breakfast to dinner. Stylishly renovated, Wicklow’s cafe can be found above a bakery and deli in a building that was once a pub in a previous life. Joining forces with Firehouse Bakery, The Delgany Grocery and Little Pigeon, they are all housed in one building and together form The Delgany Inn.
DedeBaltimore, County Cork
There was only one Irish newcomer to the Michelin Guide last year, Dede in Baltimore. Renowned for the exceptional dining experience it offers its customers, everything is under the careful supervision of Turkish-born chef Ahmet Dede. Praised for his “refined, elegant and beautifully composed” dishes, his menus are “loads of character” so prepare to be utterly impressed…if you manage to make a reservation.
AimsirCelbridge, County Kildare
Inspired by the changing Irish climate and how it directly affects what grows and is harvested, Aimsir’s menu is a celebration of all that can be grown, harvested, fished and gathered on our beautiful Emerald Isle. In the very capable hands of Cornish-born chef Jordan Bailey and Danish reception manager Majken Bech Christensen, the two Michelin stars come highly commendable.
The words “cool” and “funky” come to mind when I think of the Ox in Belfast. Established by two old friends, each passionate about his trade, the restaurant opened in March 2013 and has been bringing top-quality food to locals ever since. Committed to developing close relationships with local vendors, menus are crafted based on what’s in season at the time.
ichigo ichieCork City
A Michelin starred restaurant specializing in Japanese food, this Cork city gem is unlike many of the other food offerings out there. Led by chef and owner Takashi Miyazaki, the menu changes every six weeks and blends Japanese traditions with more modern twists.
paradise coffeeCork City
Seasoned gourmets will already be familiar with Café Paradiso. Not a new addition to the Cork food scene, it has “simply the best vegetarian food I’ve ever eaten” according to our IMAGE Editor-in-Chief Lizzie Gore Grimes. High praise and a must for those looking to incorporate more plant-based options into their diets. With almost 30 years in business, Café Paradiso has established itself as an institution in Ciudad Rebelde.