11 great world food restaurants around Ireland

From The Irish Times’s 2018 guide to the 100 best foodie destinations across Ireland


Nowhere gets on this list of Ireland’s best world food restaurants – part of our 100 best restaurants, cafes and places to eat in Ireland 2018 – through anything other than a commitment to great food. These are the places we have loved, that made us swoon, grin, relax, and feel hopeful, awed and, above all else, happy.

We’ve marked this year’s newcomers and used a to flag every place that serves a main course for less than €15.

Ichigo Ichie NEW
There isn’t another restaurant like it on the island. Takashi Miyazaki’s exquisite take on ingredients is an amazing eating experience. The name means Once in a Lifetime, and that’s what it feels like as you sit in a room more like a black-box theatre than a restaurant and enjoy the performance. This is not look-at-me cheffing, but look at the food with fresh eyes and then taste what a truly creative chef can do with it. CC
Ichigo Ichie, 5 Fenns Quay, Sheares Street, Cork, 021-4279997, ichigoichie.ie

Nightmarket NEW
It started with one floor and quickly expanded to two. Nightmarket is Thai street food in a friendly neighbourhood restaurant. Chef Jutarat Suwankeeree brings the childhood experience of helping her grandmother to cook for her market stall in Chiang Mai to the streets of Ranelagh. Lightly fried soft-shell crab and duck skin crisped to a form of scratchings were memorable moments in a great meal full of fire and freshness. CC
Nightmarket, 120 Ranelagh, Dublin 6, 01-5385200, nightmarket.ie

Kopitiam € NEW
Authentic is an overused word. Kopitiam is a Capel Street restaurant serving Malaysian food as it is served in Malaysia, such as squid with sambal or chilli paste with peanuts and tender greens and rice cooked in coconut milk. Don’t miss out on the roti canai, some of the best buttery flatbread I’ve had. Desserts are a very typical mix of sweet things with vegetables and beans that you’ll find deeply weird or deeply comforting, depending on where your food heart and history lie. CC
Kopitiam, 53 Capel Street, Dublin, 01-8734659, kopitiam.ie

Restaurants that start out great and get better are worth shouting about. Sunil Ghai’s food is all about the flavours of northern India, cooked with the kind of finesse that typically comes in a much more formal package. The Khatti fish curry is a phenomenal dish, and don’t miss the Dingle-crab-dumpling starter. To kick it all off, start with the lentil-and-rice crisps with shrimp pickle and gooseberry chutney. CC
Pickle, 43 Camden Street, Dublin 2, 01-5557755, picklerestaurant.com

Nisheeth Tak was the first restaurateur to wean the Irish eating public off generic brown curries and introduce us to the spectrum of Indian flavours, textures and nuances. At Rasam he continues to feed fanatically loyal customers. The children of his regulars are now becoming regulars in their own right, along with any lucky folk who discover it for the first time. CC
Rasam, 18-19 Glasthule Road, Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin, 01-2300600, rasam.ie

Hang Dai
The duck is still there, but the rest of the menu has been reinvented to keep up the pioneering standard of this restaurant’s mission. Hang Dai puts the diversity and deliciousness of Chinese food as you would eat it in China on to plates in Dublin, taking us away from the takeaway staples into much more delicious territory. CC
Hang Dai, 20 Lower Camden Street, Dublin 2, 01-5458888, hangdaichinese.com

3 Leaves € NEW
Surroundings are frill-free, but the food in this small Indian restaurant that grew from a market stall makes up for it. We ate Santosh Thomas’s dishes in the teeth of winter and came away properly warmed up. The name comes from the three leaves used in Indian cooking: mint, coriander and curry. The menu changes with the weather outside and the ingredients that those seasons bring to the kitchen. Take Milie’s advice and smell your food before you dive in. CC
3 Leaves, 30 Blackrock Market, 19a Main Street, Blackrock, Co Dublin, 087-7691361, 3leaves.ie

M&L Chinese Restaurant €
The service at M&L can be charmingly curt, but the traditional Sichuan food here is so good that it doesn’t even register. It’s all about the green beans fried in mountains of garlic and Sichuan chillies, or the moment when the lid of a bamboo steamer is lifted to reveal squidgy dumplings. If you let owner Angie Wang order for you, you’re in good hands. AMcE
M&L Chinese Restaurant, 13-14 Cathedral Street, Dublin 1, 01-8748038, mlchineserestaurant.com

Wa Cafe €
This simple noodle bar is home to chef and owner Yoshimi Hayakawa. She takes full advantage of the marvellous produce from Gannet’s Fishmonger in her carefully prepared sushi, and her Toyota City ramen tastes of Hayakawa’s hometown. AMcE
Wa Cafe, 13 New Dock Street, Galway, 091-895850, wacafe.net

Sometimes I dream of Miyazaki’s ramen; I’ve even considered the logistics of getting ramen on the train from Cork to Dublin. But Miyazaki’s food is best enjoyed in situ, on one of the six seats in his unassuming takeaway, while watching his team of chefs quietly working away through the kitchen pass. Whether you go harmoniously formal at Ichigo Ichie, Miyazaki’s new fine-dining venture (which is an entry in this list’s World Food section), or stick with simple splendour at the original Miyazaki, this man’s food is the stuff of dreams. AMcE
Miyazaki, 1a Evergreen Street, Cork, 021-4312716, facebook.com/miyazakicork

Kimchi Hophouse €
Kimchi Hophouse – it’s part of Hop-House bar, in Dublin’s old Shakespeare pub – has been the place for bulgogi, bibimbap, doenang zigae and gochujung since 2006. Its owner, Kyoung Hee Lee, and her team are still serving the best Korean food in Ireland. AMcE
Kimchi Hophouse, 160 Parnell Street, Dublin 1, 01-8728318, hophouse.ie

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