100 great restaurants, cafes and places to eat in Ireland

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From fine dining to neighbourhood bistros, here are some of the most exciting places to eat in Ireland right now

It has been an exciting year for openings, with 17 new restaurants hitting our list of Great Places to Eat in Ireland, all very good and very different, ranging from fine dining and neighbourhood bistros to a top-end omakase Japanese restaurant.

We also went on the hunt for a great Sunday roast. Is there anything more glorious on a chilly day? And we list some super places to go for lunch, family-friendly venues, restaurants for special occasions, destination restaurants for a wonderful short break and where to go for a quick bite.

This time we have included a section for business lunches and dinners but we’re not talking hotel foyers and impersonal coffee shops – these are restaurants that are very good in their own right, with booths, quiet corners or private dining facilities. So they’re not just for doing business; they are places where we like to eat too.

As ever, it’s a list of 100, prioritising new restaurants, so it is not possible to include everyone. Do be sure to support all your favourites. Corinna Hardgrave



Afanti serves authentic Uyghur food that is very keenly priced. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill


3a Cavendish Row, Rotunda, Dublin 1; 01-8729379. afanti.ie

Dilana Halmurat arrives early each morning to make hand-pulled noodles in the restaurant run by her daughters, Elnur and Halnur, and serving food from the Uyghur province of China. Dumplings are made in-house, samsas are cooked in a clay-oven, lamb kebabs are encrusted with cumin and chewy flat belt noodles come in a gigantic steaming bowl. This is authentic cooking that is very keenly priced. CH

Bar Pez

Unit 3, College Court, Kevin Street Lower, Dublin 8. barpez.ie

The simple styling of Bar Pez, with its wood-panelled walls and terracotta-tiled floor brings old-fashioned Spanish bars to mind but it’s a deceptive simplicity as a lot of thought has gone into this wine-focused spot. Fans of sister locations Beach House in Tramore or Fish Shop will immediately feel right at home. There’s an extensive wine list, including glasses by Coravin, and the food ranges from crab toast to fried fish with aioli. Joanne Cronin

Bramley, Sam and Emily Moody’s new fine-dining restaurant in Abbeyleix, Co Laois


10 Main Street, Knocknamoe, Abbeyleix, Co Laois; 087-946 6824. bramleyabbeyleix.com

It’s all about seasonality and local produce in Sam and Emily Moody’s new fine-dining restaurant in Abbeyleix. Assured technique underpins Moody’s dishes, which is to be expected as he is the former executive chef of Ballyfin Demesne and, previous to that, landed a Michelin star at the Bath Priory restaurant in the UK. There’s an option of an a la carte or tasting menu, with Kilmore Quay fish, pork from Fiorbhia Farm and vegetables from The Red Shed all featuring. CH

Alan and Elaine Wang of Brighton Road, a pretty much perfect neighbourhood restaurant. Photograph: Alan Betson

Brighton Road

3 Brighton Road, Foxrock, Co Dublin; 01-2897711. brightonroad.ie

Foxrock locals are beyond thrilled to welcome this pretty much perfect neighbourhood restaurant, the latest iteration of their much-loved Bistro One. Sole on the bone, roast duck and beef are all cooked with precision, and there are plenty of good choices on the well-priced wine list. The €42 three-course Sunday lunch menu has plenty of options, including roast beef with Yorkshire pudding and roast potatoes for a €5 supplement. CH

Daróg Wine Bar

56 Dominick Street Lower, Galway; 091-565 813. darogwinebar.com

A wine bar to its core, where you can drop in for a quick glass and a chat, Daróg is also quite a serious restaurant. You will definitely need a booking for one of the few tables or window seats. It’s run by the husband-and-wife team of Zsolt Lukács, the former sommelier at Aiar, and Edel McMahon, while in the kitchen is Attila Galambos, formerly of Aniar and Lignum. Everything about this new wine bar – the food, the wine list and the team – is truly wonderful. CH


13 Parliament Street, Dublin 2; 01-5341595. daruma.ie

Daruma brings a true flavour of Osaka to the Dublin sushi scene. It’s cosy and casual, with an inventive sake-based, lower-alcohol cocktail menu. The kitchen team bring years of experience, turning out sushi and tasty dishes from their binchōtan charcoal grill. If you’re feeling flush, try the marbled wagu beef, seared on the grill, served simply with a pinch of salt. Place your trust in the chef with a 20-piece sashimi omakase or go for classic chicken karaage. JC

John Stone aged beef features on the Forbes Street menu at Anantara The Marker hotel in Dublin 2

Forbes Street at Anantara The Marker

Grand Canal Square, Dublin 4; 01-687 5104. The Marker, Dublin

Gareth Mullins is one of the country’s most competent chefs and at the newly updated restaurant in this landmark hotel, he has designed a menu that will work as an early-bird before a show in the Bord Gáis theatre nearby or a dinner to linger over for the evening. A seafood bar with Flaggy Shore oysters and a large fridge filled with John Stone aged beef highlight the quality produce that lands on this menu. CH

Hawksmoor has undoubtedly given Dublin a destination diningroom. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill


34 College Green, Dublin 2; 01-4854720. hawksmoor.ie

When news broke that UK-based steakhouse group Hawksmoor was coming to Dublin there was excitement but also some questions as to how they would fit in. Roll forward, and their stunning restoration of the former National Bank, with its gorgeous cast-iron dome, has undoubtedly given Dublin a destination diningroom. Spend big with a sharing steak for two, choose the well-priced express menu or indulge on Sundays with the roast beef. And don’t forget their excellent cocktails. JC

Homestead Cottage in Doolin, Co Clare – no surprise that it’s a Michelin Guide favourite

Homestead Cottage

Luogh North, Doolin, Co Clare; 087-9466824. homesteadcottagedoolin.com

In September, the Michelin Guide named Homestead Cottage as one of its favourites from recent visits, which should come as no surprise to anyone who has eaten in this 200-year-old restored cottage. The team is ex-Gregan’s Castle, with chef Robbie McCauley, his wife Sophie and Mallory Geffroy. Produce comes from McCauley’s organic vegetable garden, his ducks have recently landed on the menu and dishes are created with a sensitivity that reflects the seasons skilfully. The cooking here is top level, and the €75 seven-course tasting menu is well conceived and well paced. A delight. CH

Indian Tiffins

53 Rathgar Avenue, Dublin 6; 087-1208006. indiantiffinsrathgar.ie

The emergence of more casual Indian eateries has been gratefully received, especially by lovers of dosa (a south Indian pancake made from a fermented batter). Located right on the Harold’s Cross crossroads, Indian Tiffins serves up a tasty, well-priced mix of filled dosa, Mumbai street food and/or intriguing Indochinese dishes. Add in a glass of masala chai or some sweet gulab jamun for the full experience. JC

Kari in Inchicore is owned by Bala Nayak and Nidhi Joshi, the husband-and-wife team behind Konkan on Clanbrassil Street and in Dundrum


205A Emmet Road, Inchicore, Dublin 8; 01-5499221. kari.ie

Vibrant flavours, individual saucing and dishes that you’re unlikely to see in other restaurants characterise the food in this Indian restaurant, which opened in March. Owned by Bala Nayak and Nidhi Joshi, the husband-and-wife team behind Konkan on Clanbrassil Street and in Dundrum, the lunch menu includes options of vegetable, vegan and meat thali (€16.50-€18.50), and a broader a la carte in the evening, featuring crisp duck samosas, kale and samphire pakoras, crab and prawn kebabs, Goan pork vindaloo and Kerala lamb and potato stew. CH

Soft egg, warm potato, chicken skin and black truffle, served with buttermilk brioche soldiers and roast chicken butter, at Keith Boyle at Bridge House. Photograph: Dylan Vaughan

Keith Boyle at Bridge House

Kilkenny River Court Hotel, John Street Upper, Kilkenny; 056-7813225. rivercourthotel.com

Keith Boyle is cooking at Michelin-star level at this formal new restaurant which he runs with his wife and sommelier, Carmel. Delicious snacks including three-year-old Parmesan cheese gougère feature on the €80 lunchtime menu and the slightly longer €120 dinner menu, and a Dooncastle oyster encased in a gelée made from its juices and topped with caviar is a highlight. In fact, you’ll find quite a bit of caviar and gold leaf adorning these very tasty dishes. Boyle’s sous chefs are ex-Aimsir and Aniar, so this really is a top team with huge ambitions. CH

Anchovies with Valedeon cheese butter at La Gordita

La Gordita

6 Montague Street, Dublin 2; 01-5313303. lagordita.ie

The former Gerry’s cafe has been transformed beyond recognition by Anna and Vanessa, the dynamic duo passionate about all things Spanish. While the restaurant is sleek and modern, they firmly encourage sharing and getting hands on while eating. Chef Maria Luisa Moraleda produces favourites such as bombitas de morcilla, chuletón (rib-eye on the bone) or tortilla vaga con gambas. The outside dog-friendly terrace is perfect for a glass and plate of anchovies with blue cheese. JC

Matsukawa offers omakase dining, where the chef selects what the customers eat. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill


8 Queen Street, Smithfield, Dublin 7. matsukawa.simplybook.it

Matsukawa is Dublin’s first omakase restaurant and the result of a fortuitous meeting between owner Yu Uchida and chef Takuma Tamaoki. Omakase is a form of Japanese dining where the chef selects what the customers eat. Eight high seats surround the kitchen where Tamaoki deftly prepares each course, particularly a delectable array of nigiri including fatty blue fin tuna. Uchida, a certified sommelier, is on hand to advise on choosing sakes and wines. JC

Deep fried sweet and sour sea bass at Nan, where the menu largely features Huaiyang cuisine. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw for The Irish Times


Unit 1, Drury Hall, Stephen Street Lower, Dublin 2; 01-5169887. nanchinese.ie

Nan joins the ranks of upscale Chinese restaurants with a menu largely featuring Huaiyang cuisine, one of the four great traditions in Chinese cooking. If you’re curious, the others are Cantonese, Shandong and Sichuan, some of which also feature on the menu in Nan. Slurp on their xiao long bao (soup dumplings), try the fragrant lions head soup with matsutake mushrooms and pork meatball, or their showpiece Irish blue lobster dishes. JC

Peperina’s parilla-cooked steaks are notably good and reasonably priced. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Peperina City Bistro

52 Richmond Street, Portobello, Dublin 2; 01-5983905. peperinabistros.com

The empanadas, alfajores and media lunas that feature on the menu at Peperina City Bistro, a sister restaurant to Peperina in Ranelagh, are made each day by 76-year-old Ida Landa. The menu is broad, ranging from chicken wings to Argentinian specialities, with parilla-cooked steaks that are notably good and reasonably priced. Ideal for family dining and groups. CH

Tãbú Tapas

Marsh’s Street, Thomastown, Co Kilkenny; 083-1641967. instagram.com/tabutapas/

Chilean-born Rodrigo Gonzales, formerly of the Cliff House in Ardmore and Kursaal in San Sebastián, has brought a zinging menu to this premises, previously home to Stephen McArdle and Morgan VanderKamer’s Barrow’s Keep. Brunch, lunch and tapas, and paella and pizza nights are just the thing for a neighbourhood restaurant. A private room is available for up to eight guests. CH


Assassination Custard owners Gwen McGrath and Ken Doherty. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Assassination Custard

19A Kevin Street Lower, Dublin 8; 087-9971513. facebook.com/assassinationcustard/

There is only one way to land a spot at Gwen McGrath and Ken Doherty’s 10-seater restaurant – get there before noon and maybe avoid Fridays. The menu is driven by what is available from McNally’s organic farm and dishes are composed intuitively in a simple yet exquisitely delicious way. CH


The Arches, 5 Gas House Lane, Kilkenny, Co Kilkenny; 056-7772858. campagne.ie

If you’re looking for a top-end bargain, the lunch and early-bird menu at Garrett Byrne and Bríd Hannon’s one-Michelin-star restaurant clocks in at a keenly priced €45 for three courses. With classic cooking, you’ll get dishes such as pig’s trotter with morteau sausage and blanquette of veal with girolles. CH

The elegant and calm diningrooms at Chapter One are a background for Mickael Viljanen’s exciting luxe cooking

Chapter One

18-19 Parnell Square, Dublin 1; 01-8732266. chapteronerestaurant.com

A Michelin two-star restaurant should be an experience that you will remember. And Chapter One by Mickael Viljanen certainly delivers. The elegant and calm diningrooms are a background for Viljanen’s form of exciting luxe cooking and plate-licking saucing. At €80 the three-course lunch menu represents superb value at this level and lists roast Anjou pigeon with winter flavours of juniper and celeriac. JC

Fish Shop

76 Benburb Street, Dublin 7; 01-5571473. fish-shop.ie

With just a handful of seats, getting a spot at Fish Shop is guaranteed to cause feelings of smugness. An eternal favourite with industry folk and wine lovers, this is a place everyone should try once. Get stuck into cockles cooked with chorizo and sherry, snack on toast topped with Russian salad and anchovies or go traditional with their excellent crispy fish and chips. With more than 200 bottles on the wine list, this is one to savour. JC

Kai in Galway is an an all-ages place


22 Sea Road, Galway; 091-526003. kairestaurant.ie

Kai is the only restaurant in Ireland with a Michelin green star and Jess and Dave Murphy are continuously looking for even more ways to connect with suppliers and build on their circular and sustainable approach. Casual by day, there is a more serious restaurant vibe in the evening, with dishes such as strip loin with cafe de Kai butter and boozy onions, and scallops with burnt butter cauliflower and aioli. An upstairs diningroom that seats 12-14 guests can be reserved for private dinners. CH


Harbour House, Harbour Road, Howth, Dublin 13; 01-8397096. mamorestaurant.ie

Killian Durkin cooks with sharing and deliciousness in mind at Mamó, which is set just a little bit back from the water at Howth harbour. Along with partner Jess D’Arcy, they’ve rejigged the interior to give customers a better experience. The weekday set lunch menu is the smart money, while a la carte reigns in the evening. The strong wine list has a good mid-price selection and they’re open Mondays. JC

Mister S

32 Camden Street Lower, Dublin 2; 01-6835555. misters.ie

The smell of smoke and open-fire cooking permeates the dining space at Mister S, inducing immediate happiness. Personally, I’m still waiting for a fashion designer to cop on to the potential of Eau de Barbecue but in the meantime Mister S will do. In addition to the main menu, it has become very popular for Friday lunch, when a dry-aged picanha with smoked Béarnaise or grilled sea bass with tartare sauce, plus side dish, is exceptionally well-priced at €21. JC

Ox, Belfast, where the lunch menu with two/three courses for £40/£45 (€46/€52) is a real treat


1 Oxford Street, Belfast BT1 3LA; 0044 28-90314121. oxbelfast.com

On a recent visit to Ox, it felt like the food had moved up yet another notch, while the prices remain at a civilised level for a one-Michelin-star restaurant. The lunch menu with two/three courses for £40/£45 (€46/€52) is a real treat but if you’re tempted you can scale up to the £85 tasting menu at lunchtime too. Gougères, made from their own beer, stream with melted cheese, hand-chopped venison tartare comes with earthy beetroot, ox tongue with spelt and black trompette mushrooms is restrained and a delicately cooked John Dory is exquisite. Stephen Toman’s tasting menus are perfectly constructed, which is a skill that is all too rare. CH

Innovative touches are skilfully applied to classic dishes at Potager in Skerries


7 Church Street, Skerries, Co Dublin; 01-8029486. potager.ie

The €58 Sunday lunch tasting menu at Cathal Leonard and Sarah Ryan’s smart restaurant is well worth the trip to Skerries, where innovative touches are skilfully applied to classic dishes. Salt baked beetroot could come with beetroot sorbet and smoked Velvet Cloud yoghurt, torched mackerel gets a kick of acidity from greengage and buttermilk, and cod is served with sweetcorn, girolles and basil. A private room is available, seating a maximum of 12 people. CH

Rúibín looks out on to the port in Galway city. Photograph: Joe O’Shaughnessy


1-2 Dock Road, Galway; 091-563830. ruibin.ie

Lunch and dinner are equally wonderful in Alice Jary and Richard Kennan’s handsome restaurant, which looks out on to the port in Galway. Local ingredients underpin the menu which joyously reflects the couple’s global travels, so cheddar croquettes get a zing of sauerkraut and roast halibut comes with almond ajo blanco. Pro tip: if you don’t have a booking, you will generally get a seat at the bar downstairs where they serve great cocktails and snacks. CH


Custom Place, Athlone, Co Westmeath; 090-6478850. thymerestaurant.ie

When Mickael Viljanen rates a restaurant, you’d be absolutely bonkers not to pay attention. An industry stalwart, John Coffey’s food in this historic part of Athlone continues to go from strength to strength, beautifully plated and drawing upon ingredients from numerous local suppliers. It’s a family business, with Tara warmly leading front of house. Put it in your diary now for your next trip to or through Athlone. JC

The Zampas Butchers Block, a belly buster that features an asador-roasted chicken, sirloin steak, tonkatsu pork ribs and smoked lamb tomahawks plus sides and sauces


Hard Rock Hotel, 16-18 Lord Edward Street, Dublin 2; 01-4825017. zampas.ie

Nikkei cuisine is the style at Zampas, a form of Japanese-Peruvian fusion cuisine dating from the end of the 19th century. Enjoy ceviche flavoured with ponzu leche de tigre, corn tostadas or share the belly-busting Butcher’s Block, available for groups and featuring a whole asador-roasted Peruvian chicken, sirloin steak, tonkatsu pork ribs and smoked lamb tomahawks plus sides and sauces. At night, there’s live music in the bar. JC


Eleven restaurant at Whelehans Wines in Loughlinstown, Co Dublin

Ashdown Park Hotel

The Coach Road, Gorey, Co Wexford; 053-9480500. ashdownparkhotel.com

The Ashdown Park Hotel, along with sister hotel Amber Springs, operates a farm-to-fork policy, receiving daily deliveries of beef, salads and vegetables from the co-owned Redmond Family Farm. Steaks are dry-aged in-house – the rib-eye was recently awarded a silver medal at the World Steak Challenge. Sunday sees peak demand in the kitchen as the Ivy carvery serves up portion after portion of Redmond’s beef. JC

The Dunraven is wonderfully old school

The Dunraven

Main Street, Blackabbey, Adare, Co Limerick; 061-605 900. dunravenhotel.com

It is hard to imagine a more idyllic place for a Sunday roast than the wonderfully old-school Dunraven hotel; it is great to see that places like this still exist. It’s not just about the white linen-clad tables, the hospitality and outstanding service – food here is top tier and the beef trolley is legendary. On the €45, three-course menu, perfectly cooked dry-aged beef comes served with crispy Yorkshire puddings and all the trimmings. Who knew life could be this good? CH


Bray Road, Loughlinstown, Dublin 18; 01-2393471. elevendublin.ie

There’s a wood-burning grill and live music on weekend nights; on Sundays it’s a change of pace and it’s all about the roast. Roast chicken, strip loin of beef and rack of pork all feature, priced from €23 to €27, with fish and vegetarian offerings too. If you’re looking for a midweek bargain, corkage is €5 on Wednesdays. CH

FX Buckley

1a Lower Pembroke Street, Dublin 2; 01-6764606. pembroke@fxbuckley.ie

Ranked number six in the World’s Best Steakhouses for 2023, the beef at this long-established steakhouse is dry-aged for 28 days using Himalayan salt and cooked in a Josper charcoal oven. Sunday is the day for roast rib of beef, served medium, with Yorkshire pudding, duck fat roast potatoes, vegetables and gravy for €22.50. Upstairs, a private area that seats 35-50 people can be booked at no additional cost. CH

Jacks at Pilgrims Rest

6 South Square, Rosscarbery, Co Cork; 023-8831796. jacksatpilgrimsrest.com

Hailing from Cornwall and a family of fish merchants, chef Jack Bell fell in love with west Cork (a story as old as time) and took over the space left vacant by the closure of Pilgrim’s restaurant. Realising the wealth of food around him, he’s sourcing as much as possible from within a 10km radius. Sunday lunch of roast beef or classic turkey and ham with all the trimmings and rich gravy is already building a formidable local reputation. JC

Lunch with a view at Locks. Photograph: Alan Betson


1 Windsor Terrace, Dublin 8; 01-4163655. locksrestaurant.ie

For lunch with a view, looking out over the windblown Grand Canal is hard to beat. Afternoon sun floods into the Locks diningroom, which means there is nowhere for imperfections to hide. Not to worry, though, as James Agnew’s cooking here is as sharp as the bright sunshine. On Sundays look out for the sharing special, which can range from Ring’s Farm stuffed chicken to John Stone beef with all the trimmings. Plus, there’s a cheese trolley. JC


1 North Main Street, Naas, Co Kildare; 045-954466. neighbourhoodnaas.com

Gareth Naughton has been hitting all the right notes with dishes such as Dublin Bay prawns in foaming aioli and roast bone marrow with sourdough flatbread on his dinner menu. On Sunday the menu switches to roast sirloin and roast pork served with all the trimmings. Standard mains are also available – steak, hake, chicken and a veggie option – and a selection of desserts. CH

The Station House Hotel in Kilmessan, Co Meath, offers a three-course Sunday menu

Station House Hotel

Kilmessan, Co Meath; 046-9025239. stationhousehotel.ie

The family-owned Station House Hotel is a little oasis of calm and elegance in the village of Kilmessan. A well-known wedding venue, its Signal Restaurant has built a reputation for use of local Boyne Valley and Irish produce. On Sundays the Slattery family offer a range of classic roasts as part of a three-course menu that is guaranteed to induce Sunday afternoon snoozing. JC

The Old Spot

14 Bath Avenue, Sandymount, Dublin 4; 01-6605599. theoldspot.ie

Food at the cosy Old Spot, a proper gastropub, is crowd-pleasing in the best possible sense. Whether it’s the short weekday lunchtime menu or the a la carte evening menu, the food is fresh, seasonal and hearty. On Sundays it’s all about the roasts, featuring both Ring’s Farm free-range chicken with sausage and sage stuffing and Pat McLoughlin’s dry-aged roast beef with all the bits. JC

The Olde Post Inn

Knockateery, Cloverhill, Co Cavan; 047-55555. theoldepostinn.com

With a historic atmosphere that’s hard to beat, Gearoid and Tara Lynch’s beautifully restored Olde Post Inn is justifiably famous for hearty Sunday lunch. The three-course menu features all the classics, from roast beef with Yorkshire pudding to free-range chicken with Irish whiskey sauce. At this time of year the focus in the kitchen turns to game, with local hunters providing venison, mallard, pheasant and partridge. A roaring open fire makes it a place to settle in on a winter’s day. JC

Waterman, a dramatic, light-filled space on Hill Street in central Belfast


5-23 Hill Street, Belfast, Co Antrim; +44 28-90434310. waterman.restaurant

Roast beef, Yorkshire pudding and root vegetables for £21 (€24) is one of the options on the Sunday menu of this Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurant which is located in a dramatic, light-filled room. Or you could opt for the hangar steak on the very reasonably priced early-bird menu which runs from 1pm-8pm on Sundays, offering two/three courses for £18.50/£22.50. CH

Family friendly

Sometimes it is hard to believe that Goldie head chef Aishling Moore is in her 20s, given all that she has achieved to date. Photograph: Clare Keogh


128 Oliver Plunket Street, Cork; 021-2398720. goldie.ie

If Lir Seafood sits atop the north of the island, Cork’s little Goldie is the counterbalance. Sometimes it’s hard to believe that Aishling Moore is in her 20s, given all that she has achieved to date. Her style is driven by sustainability and an “all catch” approach that uses whatever fish is landed daily. And in an effort to encourage the younger generation to eat more fish, children get to eat fish free on the first Wednesday of every month. JC

La Fougère at Knockranny House Hotel – in winter the menu can include teal, mallard, partridge, pheasant, venison and hare

La Fougère at Knockranny House Hotel

Knockranny House Hotel, Knockranny, Westport, Co Mayo; 098-28600. knockrannyhousehotel.ie

Seamus Commons, who worked in L’Ecrivain for many years, cooks with precision and flair and has a particular love for fish and game. It’s worth heading here in winter when the menu could include teal, mallard, partridge, pheasant, venison and hare. A popular place for family gatherings, there is also a private dining area, which can accommodate parties of up to 50 people. CH

Lottie’s restaurant in Rathmines, Dublin 6. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw for The Irish Times


7-9 Rathgar Road, Dublin 6; 01-5585969. lotties.ie

Too often dinner with family or a group of friends results in a compromise, with the common denominator of crowd-pleasing dishes winning out. Lottie’s will tick these boxes but with the sort of dishes you want to eat, some of which are cooked over fire, including grilled octopus, bavette and Andarl Farm pork chops. CH


6 Market Square, Dundalk, Co Louth; 042-9337969. squarerestaurant.ie

Chef Conor Halpenny’s ethos is based on seasonal ingredients and creating menus that flow throughout the year. Snack on a warm Coolea biscuit before moving to potato velouté with pickled onion and smoked chicken or cod with Cafe de Paris hollandaise. The service is as friendly and warm-hearted as the food, making this a lovely spot for all the family. JC

The Olde Glen Bar and Restaurant

Glen Village, Carrigart, Co Donegal; 083-1585777. oldeglen.ie

This has been the local go-to place for families and special occasions since Ciarán Sweeney took over the kitchen in 2021. The €65, four-course menu still includes his signature dish of fermented potato bread with foaming bacon mousse and cabbage, as well as fish landed in Greencastle and locally sourced meat. CH

Dramatic dining location at The Sea Rooms, Kelly's Resort Hotel, Rosslare

The Sea Rooms

Kelly’s Resort Hotel, Rosslare, Co Wexford; 053-9173553. kellys.ie

With this surely being one of the most dramatic diningrooms in the country, if you bag the round table in the front corner here you have hit the jackpot. It’s a room for celebrating, for families getting together with the option of a €70 seven-course tasting menu or a €50 three-course menu which offers plenty of choice. Head chef Chris Fullam makes full use of local produce – fish from Duncannon and crab from Kilmore Quay, and vegetables from the kitchen garden. CH

The Tannery

10 Quay Street, Dungarvan, Co Waterford; 058-45420. tannery.ie

Paul Flynn is a legend of Irish cooking, having started his career in 1980s London with the legendary Nico Ladenis before returning home to La Stampa, then finally opening The Tannery with wife Máire in their hometown. Now, 25 years later, The Tannery is well-known for modern Irish cooking. Sunday lunch is hugely popular and there’s a town house and cookery school alongside. JC


1826 Adare has kerb appeal and the sort of food people love to eat

1826 Adare

Church View, Adare, Co Limerick; 061-396004. 1826adare.ie

It’s not just about the kerb appeal of this chocolate-box cottage with its densely thatched roof; 1826, owned by chef Wade Murphy and his wife Elaine, has the sort of food people love to eat. Local lamb, deliciously fresh sole on the bone and dishes that reflect the seasons are cooked with skill and just the right amount of embellishment. The €35.95 Sunday late lunch menu runs from 3pm to 5.30pm; it’s three courses, with no choice and includes a different pie main course each week. CH

Adrift at Dunmore House Hotel delivers west Cork on a plate with freshness and consideration

Adrift at Dunmore House Hotel

Dunmore, Clonakilty, Co Cork; 023-8833352. dunmorehousehotel.ie

Whether it’s bright or cloudy, the views from the Barrett family’s Dunmore House Hotel overlooking the sea never cease to delight. Adjacent to the hotel is the kitchen garden that supplies vegetables to Adrift, named as a seafood destination by Michelin. Whether it’s Galley Head lobster, whole John Dory or chilli-glazed west Cork tofu, Adrift delivers west Cork on a plate with freshness and consideration. JC

At Michelin-starred Aniar, all chef-patron JP McMahon’s dishes are presented dramatically. Photograph: Joe O'Shaughnessy.


53 Dominick Street, Galway; 091-535947. aniarrestaurant.ie

Dive into JP McMahon’s €145, 23-course menu for a Michelin-starred taste of the country’s terroir. Some courses are small bites, a cornet of lobster and trout roe, an oyster topped with a dillisk crumb, and a mushroom and sea truffle chawanmushi in an egg shell, with larger dishes such as venison coming later in the menu. All are presented dramatically and can be matched with an €80 wine pairing. Martin Fernard, the new sommelier, hails from Jura, which is among the finest wine credentials you could ask for. CH

Bastible, on Dublin’s South Circular Road, is a one-Michelin-star restaurant that’s tasting menu only. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw for The Irish Times


111 South Circular Road, Dublin 8, 01-4737409. bastible.com

Killian Walsh, who previously worked in Clanbrassil House and a number of top UK restaurants, took over as head chef in this one-Michelin-star restaurant earlier this year. It’s tasting menu only at €90 per person. Newer dishes include seaweed custard with Oscietra caviar, potato and brown butter, and, as ever, this is a particularly good spot if you’re looking for a vegetarian or vegan menu as dietary requirements are well catered for. CH

Ahmet Dede and Maria Archer, co-owners of Dede restaurant in Baltimore, Co Cork. Photograph: Andy Gibson

Dede at the Customs House

Baltimore, Co Cork; 028-48248. customshousebaltimore.com

West Cork is a true melting pot, best personified by the exquisite Turkish fusion cooking of Ahmet Dede in the beautiful seaside village of Baltimore. With a second Michelin star secured, business partners Dede and Maria Archer continue to innovate, commissioning a stunning copper octopus plate to watch over the restaurant, while new sommelier Jacques is overseeing a range of pairings, including non-alcoholic, cocktails and fine wines to complement the sublimely spiced dishes. JC

New York chef James Moore has a style that perfectly mirrors the sleekness of D’Olier Street’s diningroom. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

D’Olier Street

D’Olier Chambers, D’Olier Street, Dublin 2; 01-9020720. dolierstreetrestaurant.com

There’s more than just a touch of New York sleekness in the beautiful, slightly austere diningroom on D’Olier Street, where contemporary design meets historic Dublin. Head chef James Moore came here from NYC, bringing a sleek style that perfectly mirrors the space. Nab a seat at the low-set counter to watch the calm kitchen team produce Andarl Farm pork with charred cabbage or Jerusalem artichoke custard. JC

Everett’s clean, modern Irish cuisine champions local Déise producers and consistently offers excellent value for money


22 High Street, Waterford; 051-325174. everetts.ie

In the historic heart of Waterford, and boasting a diningroom in a 15th-century wine cellar, Everett’s consistently offers excellent value for money. A three-course meal costs €35 at lunchtime, increasing to €49.50 at night. Peter Everett’s clean, modern Irish cuisine champions local Déise producers ranging from Comeragh mountain lamb to Liam McDonnell’s award-winning legacy cider and Knockalara cheese. JC

Ichigo Ichie

5 Sheares Street, Cork; 021-4279997. ichigoichie.ie

Owner and chef Takashi Miyazaki describes his restaurant as kappou style, meaning a high-end experience where the diners watch as the chef prepares the meal. In Ichigo Ichie the seats with the best view are at the kitchen counter, although all guests can get a view of the traditionally-clad Miyazaki crafting his fusion of Japan and Ireland. Look out for family-produced Rossmore oysters with crunchy puffed rice. JC

Damien Grey, master storyteller, chef and owner of Liath at Blackrock Market. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw for The Irish Times


Blackrock Market, Blackrock, Co Dublin; 01-2123676. liathrestaurant.com

Storytelling is an art and Damien Grey is a master storyteller who fully immerses his customers in the experience. It’s a case of “tell them what you’re going to do, do it, then tell them again what you did”. Of course it’s far more subtle than that, with the tasting menu starting with a showpiece branch-shaped sculpture on which various bites are artfully strewn, and finishing with stunning petits fours that recap the meal. JC

Library St

101 Setanta Place, Dublin 2; 01-6170999. librarystreet.ie

There’s nowhere quite like Kevin Burke’s buzzy restaurant, which remains one of the most difficult bookings to land. The food is gloriously good, no doubt reflecting his time spent in the Ninth in London as well as the early days of Allta. Work your way through the small plates, the legendary crispy chicken wing and marinated peppers, and move on to the larger dishes, which include marinated halibut collar with miso. The downstairs private diningroom for six to 10 people can be booked in advance, with a minimum requirement of €100 spend per head. CH

At Mae, in Ballsbridge, everything on head chef and owner Grainne O’Keefe’s menu is driven by taste. Photograph: Alan Betson


53 Shelbourne Road, Dublin 4, 01-2313903. maerestaurant.ie

Everything on Grainne O’Keefe’s €70 tasting menu is driven by taste, starting with snacks, progressing to Gubbeen and beetroot ravioli, followed with a meat or fish course, and finishing with a magnificent tarte Tatin that is unlikely to ever come off the menu. Pair with something delicious from the French Paradox wine list. CH

Denis Cotter, owner and executive chef of Paradiso in Cork. Photograph: Ruth Calder-Potts


16 Lancaster Quay, Cork; 021-4277939. paradiso.restaurant

When I was a student in UCC in the 1990s Paradiso was “that fancy vegetarian place”, and I’m glad to say it still is. The longevity of Denis Cotter’s cuisine is simply amazing, still blazing a trail for plant-based food after 30 years. With a beautiful new cookbook reaching the next generation, head chef Miguel Frutos leading an energetic team and an all-natural wine list, Paradiso is more relevant than ever. JC

Sash is Limerick’s go-to restaurant for a special occasion


No. 1 Pery Square, Georgian Quarter, Limerick; 061-402402. oneperysquare.com

As this is Limerick’s go-to restaurant for a special occasion, the evening should always start with a cocktail in the bar of this very stylish hotel, before heading upstairs for dinner in the atmospheric room which looks out on to the Georgian quarter. Crab, sole, local beef and duck all feature on a menu that is a showcase for local produce, with some cheffy flourishes on the dishes. CH

Union Wine Bar

11 The Mall, Waterford; 051-574519. unionbar.ie

When a restaurant’s co-owner is Morgan VanderKamer, president of the Irish Guild of Sommeliers, there are expectations to be met. However, the cooking of highly experienced Armagh native Stephen McArdle is not outshone by the excellence of the wine list. All fish used is wild, never farmed, and the dishes range from light Kilmore Quay crab to winter-warming venison. Look out for the new small plates with matching wines every second Wednesday. JC

The popularity of Uno Mas and its Spanish-influenced cuisine means you’ll have to book early. Photograph: Aidan Crawley/The Irish times

Uno Mas

6 Aungier Street, Dublin 2; 01-4758538. nomas.ie

This much-loved restaurant has practically reached meme status as chefs, restaurateurs and food lovers around Dublin have declared it to be their favourite restaurant, along with Bambino for pizza and The Gravediggers for pints. Run by owners Paul McNamara, Simon Barrett and Liz Matthews, the Spanish-influenced menu includes Cantabrian anchovies, Ibérico pork presa, brill à la plancha and flan de queso. Prices on the 300-strong wine list range from €29.50 to €775, with 25 wines by the glass. CH

Variety Jones

78 Thomas Street, Dublin 8; 01-5517845. varietyjones.ie

There was a setback earlier this year when fire broke out in Variety Jones’s new dining space, forcing a temporary return to the old premises. Resilience, however, is the name of the game and owners Keelan and Aaron Higgs reacted by opening on occasional Sundays for a convivial, sharing-style Sunday lunch featuring some of Keelan’s signatures such as potato waffles topped with Goatsbridge trout, and a perfect giant raviolo. Look out for the new diningroom once ready. JC


Simay Kurnali of Fayrouz, a Mediterranean and Lebanese restaurant that’s a cut above. Photograph: Tom Honan for The Irish Times

A Fianco

Unit 6, Norseman Court, Manor Street, Stoneybatter, Dublin 7; 01-4452691. afianco.ie

A beautiful marble countertop brings a real touch of Italian chic to Stoneybatter’s own “vineria”. Owner Robert Mungo hails from Calabria, a sun-soaked region right at Italy’s southern tip, and A Fianco is a glorious representation. Try the sardella di Crucoli (aka caviar of the poor) or rabbit stuffed with Calabrian sausage. The wine list is entirely Italian and if you describe what you want they’ll have something to suit. JC


16 Aungier Street, Dublin 2; 01-5388886. bigfan.ie

Chef and co-owner Alex Zhang draws on his education in classic Chinese cooking to craft the fun and creative menu at Bigfan. Along with co-owner Robert Hayes and a team powered, it seems, solely by positivity, this ever-popular spot is open seven days a week and is famous for snowflake jiaozi, stuffed bao buns and grilled corn ribs. Look out for the updated bar area and drinks menu. JC

Blackrock Cottage in Salthill – expect to queue for breakfast and lunch. Photograph: Julia Dunin

Blackrock Cottage

Blackrock House, Salthill Promenade, Galway; 085-7826323. blackrockcottage.ie

Expect to queue when it comes to breakfast and lunch in this popular casual restaurant on the promenade in Salthill but, if you prefer, you can book in advance for dinner. Martin O’Donnell uses top-quality local producers for a menu that has broad appeal, ranging from chowder and excellent burgers to roast lamb rump and Korean poke bowls. CH

Da Mirco

4 Bridge Street, Cork; 021-2419480. damirco.ie

Owner Mirco Fondrini brings a taste of his native Lombardy to his cosy osteria, where all the pastas and sauces are made in-house. This is warming Italian food, guaranteed to stick to your ribs, ranging from braised beef cheek slow-cooked with Nebbiolo to risotto cooked in prawn bisque, dressed with prawn tartare and creamy stracciatella (Who said seafood and cheese don’t mix?). Ingredients are sourced from Valtellina in Italy and Ireland. JC


Druid Lane, Galway; 091-374154. eangalway.com

Jorge Ballester, formerly sous chef at Loam, is now heading up the kitchen at Éan, continuing with the smart menu that extends from pastries and Turkish eggs at breakfast to sharing plates in the evening, with cod’s roe on milk bread, oysters, squid toast and larger dishes such as cod pil pil and grilled bavette with seaweed relish. Prices on the wine list range from €32 to €75, with 10 options by the glass. CH


117 Cork Street, Dublin 8; 01-5560404. fayrouzrestaurant.com

The incredibly creamy hummus, brightly jewelled fattoush salad and perfect halloumi fries at Fayrouz are indicators that this little Mediterranean and Lebanese restaurant is a cut above. Customer favourites such as the mixed grill or vegetarian meze are all cooked over charcoal and there are plans to expand the menu with new items. Fayrouz offers a range of non-alcoholic drinks and invites customers to BYOB, free of charge. JC

Frae, where Shaun Tinman’s cooking has helped make Holywood a food destination


93 High Street, Holywood, Co Down; OO44 28-95788143. fraedining.com

Shaun Tinman’s sharp cooking has contributed to making Holywood a food destination in its own right. Whether you’re sitting in the sleek downstairs or warm upstairs diningroom, this seasonal and creative food delivers. The Coolea and ham hock jambons are a chef’s twist on the petrol-station favourite, while the fried potatoes with caramelised garlic will cause fights. There’s an excellent, short wine list, leaning very much to natural wines. JC


7a Poolbeg Street, Dublin 2. gursha.ie

At Gursha, which was set up as a supper club, you book and pay in advance for the €28.50 tasting menu cooked by Ethiopian native Yagerenesh Tadesse, who everyone calls Mamay. Slow-cooked dishes flavoured with onions, chillies and berbere spice are mostly vegetarian, and are served family style on a large platter with injera, the delicious fermented bread made from teff. CH

Sineád and Maeve Moclair at their restaurant, Nóinín, in Kilkenny


3 John’s Bridge, Kilkenny; 087-4025353. noininkilkenny.ie

This smart little restaurant is walk-in by day but at the weekends, when a short dinner menu features, it is possible to book – which you should do, as we saw countless people being turned away when we visited recently. It’s a two-course menu, featuring four mains and three desserts. As you would expect from Sinéad Moclair, who is an ex-Fumbally cafe chef, the dishes such as pollock tempura and lamb moussaka are wholesome and filled with flavour. CH

The menu at Note changes weekly but expect dishes such as smoked eel with coco bean and horseradish, and rolled chicken with girolles and tarragon. Photograph: John Ohle for The Irish Times


26 Fenian Street, Dublin 2; 01-2447344. notedublin.com

Recently Note has collaborated with overseas restaurants to host takeover nights. This innovation, along with Essa Fakhry’s cooking, keeps Note at the forefront of restaurants to watch. The menu changes weekly but expect dishes such as smoked eel with coco bean and horseradish, rolled chicken with girolles and tarragon or crispy pig’s head with pickles and anchovy. The last Sunday of each month sees a fixed-price lunch menu. JC


43 Camden Street Lower, Dublin 2; 01-5557755. picklerestaurant.com

Pickle can be a dangerous place for those of us who are gluttons at heart, seduced by the wonderful spicing of chef Sunil Ghai. Try dishes such as the incredibly creamy dal Bukhara (36 hours slow-cooked black lentils), or the minced goat curry served with fluffy Goan pao bread. Restaurant manager Benny Jacob oversees all with charm. JC

Commissioned by the Irish Times
Saint Franics Provisions in Kinsale continues to wow guests. Photograph: Andy Gibson

Saint Francis Provisions

Short Quay, Kinsale, Co Cork; 083-0168652. saintfrancisprovisions.squarespace.com

It may be small but Saint Francis Provisions continues to wow guests with its unique style of Mediterranean-influenced seasonal dishes. The use of many local suppliers means a meal here is a trip around Cork county, with a twist. Think fried aubergines with award-winning Macroom buffalo ricotta and honey, or sharing bavette with charred green leek sauce. The recent awarding of a Michelin Bib Gourmand was simply the cherry on top for owner Rebecca Nealon. JC


40 Lower Drumcondra Road, Dublin 9; 01-5322114. shouk.ie

When a restaurant offers multiple types of hummus you can be confident you’re in a spot that knows its Middle Eastern food. Whether it’s topped with mushrooms or spiced shawarma, each is delicious, as are the schnitzel or cauliflower pittas. Cabbage comes baked from the wood-fired oven, topped with tahini, medjool dates, cashews and jewel-bright pomegranate seeds. In short, it’s a riotous celebration of flavours and vegetables. JC


House restaurant at the Cliff House Hotel

House Restaurant

Cliff House Hotel, Ardmore, Co Waterford; 024-87800. cliffhousehotel.ie

With a background that includes working in Noma, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay and landing a Michelin star for The Tudor Room at Great Fosters Hotel in the UK, Tony Parkin has made his mark since he took over the kitchen of House Restaurant in 2022, maintaining its one-Michelin-star status. The tasting menu offers a choice between five or seven courses (€99/€150) and reflects the quality of local produce available, with strong French and Thai influences. CH

Danny Africano, head chef and owner at Lignum restaurant in Co Galway. Photograph: Tristan Hutchinson


Slatefort House, Bullaun, Co Galway. lignum.ie

It is worth jumping in the car and doing a round trip to Lignum on a Sunday for the €55 four-course lunch, or you could book in locally and go for the rollercoaster ride that is the €135, 10-course tasting menu. Danny Africano is a talented chef, who cooks primarily over an Argentinian grill, imbuing his food with flavour and excitement. Perhaps next year they will finally land a well-deserved Michelin star. CH


64a Portstewart Road, Coleraine Marina, Coleraine, Co Derry. nativeseafood.co.uk

The powerhouse duo of Stevie and Rebekah McCarry continue to drive forward with their vision for nose-to-tail seafood dining. They took the brave decision to close for two months earlier this year to properly prepare themselves to offer a tasting menu, designed to showcase the freshly caught and foraged ingredients. A fish-ageing and charcuterie programme is afoot (monkfish lomo, anyone?), and they’ve also installed a fishmonger counter. JC

MacNean House

Main Street, Blacklion, Co Cavan; 071-9853022. nevenmaguire.com

Neven Maguire is an honest-to-God national treasure, a man for all the people, whether it’s heads of state or farmers at the Ploughing. The reservations book at his MacNean House consistently fills up months in advance, a recognition of the warm hospitality and superb experience offered by chef Carmel McGirr and all the Blacklion team. The modern Irish tasting menu costs €110 per head and the smart people fall into bed afterwards in one of the town-house rooms. JC

Chennai chef Meeran Manzoor has ramped up the creativity in his revamped Rare restaurant in Kinsale


The Blue Haven Hotel, 3-4 Pearse Street, Kinsale, Co Cork; 021-4772209. rare1784.ie

Meeran Manzoor has steadily ramped up the creativity in his recently refurbished restaurant. He deftly takes immaculate French technique and hyperlocal ingredients, then weaves them all together using his native Chennai influences. The menu has featured venison kebab with Kinsale Mead, Garryhinch mushrooms and kalpasi, and a courgette and onion salad with chilled courgette soup and artichoke poriyal. JC

Restaurant Chestnut in Ballydehob, Co Cork, offers a distinctive, restrained style of cooking

Restaurant Chestnut

The Chestnut Tree, Staball Hill, Ballydehob, Co Cork; 028-25766. restaurantchestnutwestcork.ie

With a distinctive, restrained style of cooking, Rob Krawczyk skilfully allows the produce to do the talking on his €145 tasting menu, using Lisheen Greens, Skeaghanore duck, Roaring Water Bay mussels, and Union Hall fish to create truly memorable dishes. A small plate, nibbles and snack menu upstairs has been launched for a limited time during the winter months, available Wednesday and Thursday nights. Booking online is essential. CH

The Falls restaurant at Sheen Falls Lodge in Co Kerry – formal without being too fussy

Sheen Falls

Sheen Falls Lodge, Kenmare, Co Kerry; 064-6641600. sheenfallslodge.ie

Sheer joy is the feeling you get the minute you walk through the door of Sheen Falls and there is also some seriously good food coming out of the kitchen from Mark Treacy. It’s formal without being too fussy and you’ll find dishes such as Castletownbere scallops, lobster-stuffed courgette flower, Coolea cheese ravioli, Atlantic halibut and passion fruit soufflé on the €90, three-course menu. There are also a number of private dining options, including the stunning wine cellar. CH

Terre restaurant in Castlemartyr – chef Vincent Crepel’s staging is worthy of a film set


Castmartyr Resort, Castlemartyr, Co Cork; 021-4219053. terre.ie

With staging worthy of a film set, chef Vincent Crepel stands at the spotlit pass, overseeing each dish as it leaves Terre’s open kitchen. Guests at this newly anointed Michelin-star venue can expect to be taken on a journey, both through the spacious period rooms and through Crepel’s unique take on Asian-influenced classic cooking. This writer still dreams of cod served in an utterly gorgeous vermouth beurre blanc. JC

The Bishop’s Buttery

Cashel Palace Hotel, Cashel, Co Tipperary; 062-62002. cashelpalacehotel.ie

I was somewhat disappointed to learn that a buttery was a room where wine was stored, rather than a room dedicated to the glory of my one true love, butter. But the Bishop’s Buttery at the Cashel Palace most certainly does not disappoint. Despite being downstairs, the room is light and airy, and the cooking from culinary director Stephen Hayes and head chef Stefan McEnteer is an excellent match. The wine is varied, ranging from good value through to some wallet-busters. JC

The Lady Helen restaurant at Mount Juliet Estate in Thomastown, Co Kilkenny

The Lady Helen

The Lady Helen, Mount Juliet Estate, Thomastown, Co Kilkenny; 056-7773000. Mountjuliet.ie

If the sound of Tipperary organic veal with morels and vin jaune sauce appeals to you, you’re going to love John Kelly’s tasting menu in the formal but comfortable surroundings of this one-Michelin star restaurant. The tasting menu is well constructed with a €140 seven-course option, or slightly longer nine-course menu for €160. Both come with an option of wine pairings. CH

It’s luxe all the way with Mike Tweedie, head chef at The Oak Room, Adare Manor

The Oak Room, Adare Manor

Adare Manor, Adare, Co Limerick; 061-605200. adaremanor.com

The good news is that there is now a limited number of tables available for non-residents, but if you’re weighing up the options of jetting off for a celebratory dinner or staying at home, going for the all-in experience may be the indulgence you want to consider. It’s luxe all the way on Mike Tweedie’s €160, six-course tasting menu with truffles, girolles, caviar and gold leaf gilding the intricately prepared dishes, finishing with a phenomenal cheese trolley. Private dining can be booked in advance, in the library for 16 people and wine cellar for 12. CH

The Owenmore Restaurant, Ballynahinch Castle, Co Galway

The Owenmore Restaurant

Ballynahinch Castle, Recess, Connemara, Co Galway; 095-31006. ballynahinchcastle.com

There’s magic in the air at Ballynahinch Castle, especially as the nights draw in. Enclosed by trees and water, and set against the backdrop of the Twelve Bens, it’s a beautiful spot for some fishing or walking before finishing the day with dinner in the elegant Owenmore restaurant. Chef Danni Barry describes her food as “progressive and honest”, resulting in dishes such as barbecued quail with spiced carrots or a delectable tart of vegetables from the walled garden. JC

West at The Twelve Hotel

Barna, Co Galway; 091-597000. thetwelvehotel.ie

Things are very much alive and kicking out on the rocky, salty western seaboard, where chef Nathan Hindmarch has taken over in West, bringing a contemporary style of cooking based on local produce and picture-perfect presentation. A newly launched evening menu offers five courses for an extremely well-priced €59. Wine continues to be a key feature and, if you’re lucky, you might even get to see some sabrage in action. JC


Delahunt offers glorious food, booths for privacy and a courtyard that’s available for private hire. Photograph: Alan Betson

Al Boschetto

2 Merrion Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4; 01-6673784. alboschetto.ie

The business people of Ballsbridge can often be found packing out this deceptively spacious Italian spot that has been at the heart of the village for nearly 30 years. Owners Jimmy and Loreta oversee a menu of pizzas, pastas and mains with warm hospitality that genuinely keeps people coming back for more. On a sunny day the outdoor terrace alongside the Dodder is a pleasure. JC


23 Pembroke Street Upper, Dublin 2; 01-6761494. dax.ie

This is one of the loveliest places to dine in Dublin. The €52 lunch menu is as enjoyable for an indulgent daytime treat as it is for the many business lunches that happen here, in quiet corners and semi-private areas. Graham Neville’s cooking is classic, with his signature stuffed courgette flower, delicately cooked fish and delicious meat dishes. Olivier Meisonnave’s very fine wine list and impeccable service complete the experience. CH


39 Camden Street Lower, Dublin 2; 01-5984880. delahunt.ie

An €80 multi-course tasting menu was a recent discovery at Delahunt. Snacks were followed by ceviche, scallops, grilled lamb and cheese, finishing with a peach and milk sorbet. It was a glorious flow of dishes, undisturbed by back stories. There are booths here that offer a good level of privacy and the courtyard, seating up to 16 guests, is available for private hire. CH

Ely Wine Bar

22 Ely Place, Dublin 2; 01-676 8986. elywinebar.ie

It is hard to believe that next year Ely will have been open for 25 years. Downstairs in the cellar, food by chef Luca Rocco brings a northern Italian influence to the best of Irish produce; and the 350-strong wine list ranges from €28 to €1,000, with 40 wines available by the glass. The handsome room upstairs is available for private hire and is perfect for a lunch or dinner meeting, with capacity for 22 guests. CH

Flavours of France on the terrace at La Maison, Castle Market, Dublin. Photograph: Tom Honan for The Irish Times

La Maison

15 Castle Market, Dublin 2; 01-672 7258. lamaisondublin.com

The pre-theatre menu here, with two/three courses for €32.50/€39, is quite the bargain as it is likely to feature their wonderful French onion soup, confit duck and crème brûlée. Dining on the heated terrace can certainly conjure up all of those French feels in the depths of winter. It’s a popular spot for lunch too, with plenty of business being discussed over sole meunière and a glass or two of wine. CH

Osteria Lucio, popular for lunch, dinner, pre-theatre dining and tech talk

Osteria Lucio

Clanwilliam Terrace, Dublin 4; 01-6624198. osterialucio.com

You are likely to hear tech-bro chatter at the large communal table opposite the pizza oven in this atmospheric restaurant, as the Google offices are just across the street. Popular for lunch, pre-theatre dining and dinner, Italian food is taken seriously by former Michelin-star chef Ross Lewis. The suckling pork shoulder cooked in the wood-burning oven is a must-order item. CH

Pearl Brasserie

20 Merrion Street Upper, Dublin 2; 01-6613572. pearl-brasserie.com

Hovering a bit below the radar, Pearl Brasserie has continued to be a discreet lunch or dinner spot that is as suitable for a quiet business chat as it is for a very fine meal with friends. Asian influences are threaded through classic French dishes on the a la carte and €99 tasting menu. There are private booths that seat up to four guests and semi-private areas for 10-30 guests. CH

Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud

21 Upper Merrion Street, Dublin 2, 01-6764192. restaurantpatrickguilbaud.ie

The lunch menu, currently priced at €95, has long been a favourite for business lunches and prices escalate to €245 for the a la carte eight-course tasting menu. A deep wine list will make a further dent in that expense account. If you’re hosting a larger gathering, the very handsome Roderic O’Connor room seats up to 25 people. With two Michelin stars, it’s very much fine dining food, but it’s never too out there and is always extremely good. CH

The Club at Goffs, in Co Kildare, where the menu is based on the classics

The Club at Goffs

Kill, Co Kildare; 1800-600300. clubhotel.ie

Somebody got the bright idea to pull a dream team together – Derry and Sallyanne Clarke and James Sheridan – and it works admirably. The menu is based on the classics; scallops are served with French asparagus in a bisque dotted with morels, rump of lamb is blushing pink and sweetbreads are pitch perfect, all rounded out with delicious desserts. The prices are punchy but it’s still relatively good value. CH

The Saddle Room

The Shelbourne Hotel, St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2; 01-6634500. theshelbourne.com

As suitable for quiet dinners with friends as it is for business dining, the comfortable booths here offer a good level of privacy. The food is classic, with a seafood bar highlighting the oysters and crustaceans on the menu. Dover sole is a speciality, as is roasted Curragh lamb and Chateaubriand for two. Two private rooms are available for hire for 16-20 people. CH


119 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2; 01-4070939. shanahans.ie

In a food scene that is constantly changing, Shanahan’s remains ever popular, be it with families, couples or business groups. Owner John Shanahan has relocated full time to Dublin, where he is regularly found greeting each table in person. It may cost a few bob but the generous home-made bread, perfectly grilled steaks and excellent French fries served in linen napkins are surely worth it. Look out for the new cocktail and bar-food menu in the downstairs Oval Office bar. JC

Corinna Hardgrave

Corinna Hardgrave

Corinna Hardgrave, a contributor to The Irish Times, writes a weekly restaurant column