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Ireland’s best restaurants: 10 great places to eat — and stay over afterwards

Part of the Irish Times guide to 100 of the best places to eat in Ireland 2022

Aimsir

Cliff at Lyons, Celbridge, Co Kildare; 01-630500, aimsir.ie

Prepare to have your mind blown with every glorious dish on Aimsir’s €210 immersive tasting menu, starting with a crisp Violetta potato that oozes Boyne Valley Bán cheese. A hyperlocal focus that includes produce grown in the kitchen garden feeds into Jordan Bailey’s precise, incredibly beautiful cooking. The organic three-grain porridge in smoked bacon and grain dashi was a standout at a recent dinner. Corinna Hardgrave

Enniscoe House

Castlehill, Ballina, Co Mayo; 096-31112, enniscoe.com

One of the most charming meals I’ve had in the past few years has been in this handsome country house, where dinner starts with drinks in the drawingroom before moving into the diningroom for food that is magically simple, using produce from their organic garden. Dinner, bed and breakfast packages range from €150 per person to €190; a limited number of non-resident bookings are available for dinner. CH

Gregans Castle

Ballyvaughan, Co Clare; 065-7077005, gregans.ie

The diningroom at Gregans Castle, overlooking the beautiful gardens, has a particularly lovely way of capturing the evening sunshine, which turns to gentle lamplight as the night wears on. The seafood cooking of head chef Robbie McCauley is particularly deft whether it’s scallop ceviche or a whole wild seabass, but other dishes, such as little tartlets of Hegarty’s cheddar or Ballyvaughan apple tarte Tatin, are equally good. Choose from a well-priced and varied wine list. Joanne Cronin

House Restaurant

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

You don’t get to the top without a serious amount of experience, and Róisín O’Connor, the new head chef at this one-Michelin-star restaurant has worked at Aimsir, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay and MacNean House. It is all about local produce here, fish is always a feature, and the dishes on the seven-course, €130 tasting menu have a logical flow. The €85 wine pairings from Alexandra Raitaneva’s carefully chosen low-intervention list are definitely worth considering. CH

MacNean House & Restaurant

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

Big names dazzle, making it hard to shift the focus beyond the star attraction, but Neven Maguire, who is known as one of the best mentors in the industry, consistently reminds everyone that Carmel McGirr is the head chef at MacNean House, and he couldn’t be prouder. It was McGirr who was his commis chef at the Bocuse d’Or competition in Paris in 2001, and now she oversees the €110, nine-course tasting menu. If you have failed to get a booking, it’s worth getting your name on the waiting list. CH

The Falls Restaurant

Sheen Falls Lodge, Kenmare, Co Kerry, V93 HR27; 064-6641600, sheenfallslodge.ie

There’s a reason people fall in love with Sheen Falls, and it’s not just the stunning location and babbling waterfall: there’s also a gentleness to an escape here. Mark Treacy has taken over as executive head chef, and if his CV is anything to go by – Dromoland Castle, L’Ecrivain, Thornton’s, the Greenhouse and Wild Honey Inn – the food, which always has its basis in local produce, will be going up a further notch. CH

The Lamplight

Market Street, Clifden, Co Galway, H71 P789; 095-30863, thelamplight.ie

Balázs Rakamazi, the Hungarian chef at this charming wine bar and restaurant, started out cooking in the Eiffel Tower. Now he buys whole Mangalica pigs from a local breeder, Alder Hill, and features a different cut on his menu each week, from collar steaks to trotters. A pintxo bar in the cosy wine bar to the front is open on Saturday and Sunday, with top wines by the glass selected by Anke Hartman. CH

The Oak Room, Adare Manor

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

Adare Manor is all-out luxury, and the Oak Room has the sort of grandeur you’d expect. But it’s not just about caviar, foie gras and the world’s most expensive ingredients – the chef here, Mike Tweedie, pays as much attention to the sourcing of every tweezered microleaf as he does to the big-ticket items. The cooking is precise and delicious, with a choice between a €140 signature or market tasting menu. CH

The Olde Glen Bar

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

Ciarán Sweeney left Dublin for Donegal, and we all followed him for his incredibly original take on Irish food. His fermented potato bread, served with a copper pot of foaming bacon mousse, is a thing of legend, but you’ll also get some cracking fish and meat dishes. There is a magical outdoor area here, and diners in the know make sure they book one of the five rooms and make a night of it. CH

The Tannery

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

The Tannery remains at the forefront of Irish cooking for the simple reason that it’s damn good. Paul and Máire Flynn—Paul is an Irish Times food columnist—bring the fun to Fungarvan through warm hospitality and superb cooking. Paul’s legendary crab creme brulee with pickled cucumber still reigns supreme, while quail schnitzel with wild-garlic butter showcases the modern. Damien Derwin relocated to Dungarvan to become head chef. Stay overnight in their beautiful rooms and take in a cookery class with the man himself. JC

Follow a link below to read the other sections of this guide

Corinna Hardgrave’s introduction
Fourteen new places to eat great food
Thirteen top tables by the sea
Seven top outdoor dining spots
Eighteen top places to eat on a special occasion
Twenty places dishing up great local produce
Eight great places for vegetarian and vegan food
Ten places with wonderful wine lists