5 Places To Eat Really Good Irish Food - The Gloss Magazine

5 Places To Eat Really Good Irish Food

If there was ever a time to look for really good Irish food, St Patrick’s Day weekend certainly fits the bill. Ciara McQuillan sources cosy spots for tucking in…

Bacon and cabbage is all well and good, and I adore colcannon and brown bread as much as the next person, but there is more to Irish food than these traditional household staples. On an island lucky enough to produce excellent beef, lamb and pork, outstanding dairy and an abundance of fruits and vegetables, we can easily take these things for granted. Combine Irish produce with some creativity and skill and you are likely to be rewarded with an excellent meal, on St Patrick’s Day or any day of the year. Here’s where to go …

Farmgate Café, Cork

In the culinary mecca that is Cork’s English Market, Farmgate Café has been forging a path and showcasing proper Irish food (mostly from the market itself) for over 25 years. Holding court in the market gallery, Farmgate is one of the few remaining places you can feast on tripe and drisheen, and while the food created here is rooted in tradition, the produce is so good that a simple egg and chive sandwich is enough to make you plan a return visit. Market traders are food-centric people so the simple fact that Farmgate has survived this long is a testament to the excellent food and the talented team at the heart of the café. We should also mention, the Ladysbridge potatoes are in a floury league of their own. www.farmgatecork.ie

Aniar, Galway

No conversation about Irish food would be well rounded without mentioning JP McMahon’s Michelin-starred restaurant Aniar in Galway. A long-time advocate of Irish food and produce, McMahon literally wrote the book on Irish food so suffice to say he knows what he is doing. Aniar 2.0 consists of 24 servings of dishes that “draw on the terroir of the west coast of Ireland” and the menu changes daily, depending on the produce available. This is one occasion where 24 servings would be a thoroughly enjoyable walk in the park. www.aniarrestaurant.ie

The Pig’s Ear, Dublin 2 and Spitalfields, Dublin 8

On Dublin’s Nassau Street, The Pig’s Ear has been championing Irish food since it first opened its doors in 2008. With three beautiful rooms that overlook Trinity College, Stephen McAllister and Andrea Hussey’s restaurant has been Michelin recommended consistently since 2009 and the slow-cooked Achill lamb shepherd’s pie has been on the menu since day dot which is a testament to just how good it is. Stephen and Andrea opened Spitalfields in 2019 which, while officially a pub, would be sinful to visit without at least sampling the devilled eggs, the Cais na Tire fondue or the cock-a-leekie pie. www.thepigsear.ie  / www.spitalfields.ie

The Winding Stair, Dublin 1

Apart from offering some of the best views over the River Liffey, The Winding Stair also happens to have a menu that envelops your senses like a mothers’ hug. I could quite happily live on a steaming plate of hand-smoked haddock, poached in milk with onions and served with white cheddar mash with a side of Scotch egg or ham hock and Hegartys cheddar croquetas. A bread and butter pudding with Whiskey sauce would finish me off nicely. Just up the road, The Legal Eagle will also challenge your decision-making abilities with homemade crisps, wood-fired mussels and a daily changing hotpot. www.winding-stair.com

Woodruff, Stepaside

Andarl Farm pork, Goatsbridge trout, Young Buck cheese and Beechlawn farm spuds are just some of the standout Irish ingredients you will see on the menu at Woodruff, whether you happen to visit for lunch or for dinner. A proper neighbourhood bistro, Woodruff is the type of place that makes me envious of those that live in proximity to visit regularly with local, seasonal, wild food at the core. The wine list features plenty of organic, low intervention and natural wines and with over 100 wines on the menu, you will be spoiled for choice. www.woodruff.ie

Other great Irish food purveyors include The Gravediggers @gravediggers2; West Restaurant at The Twelve hotel, www.westrestaurant.ie; and L Mulligan Grocer, www.lmulligangrocer.com; and of course, any FXB outpost, www.thebuckleycollection.ie.


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