Seven great out-of-the-way places to eat in Ireland

From The Irish Times’s Delicious List 2019: All are worth going off the beaten track for

Inis Meáin Restaurant & Suites, on the Aran Islands, off Co Galway

Inis Meáin Restaurant & Suites, on the Aran Islands, off Co Galway

 

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

Inis Meáin Restaurant & Suites NEW
Inis Meáin, Aran Islands, Co Galway

It’s one thing growing your own vegetables. It’s another thing bringing the soil to grow them over to the island by boat and mulching it with seaweed in winter to keep your patch of precious fertility flourishing on a windswept rock. Inis Meáin is a magical island, and this is a restaurant that does it enormous justice, serving food grown just outside the window or fished from a spot you can see on the extraordinary vista of ocean as you dine. Catherine Cleary

Mews Restaurant
Baltimore, Co Cork 028-20572
Right from its opening summer Mews has been a joyous place: three friends having the best of times sourcing food for their restaurant project by chatting with men in pubs. The original trio has changed, and Ahmet Dede came down from the big smoke to cook when Luke Matthews moved up. He has been rewarded with a well-deserved Michelin star. Book now before the migrating hordes of barristers do. CC

Little Fox, in Ennistymon: Niamh Fox and her team love showcasing local ingredients. Photograph: Alison Derham
Little Fox, in Ennistymon: Niamh Fox and her team love showcasing local ingredients. Photograph: Alison Derham

Little Fox NEW
Main Street, Ennistymon, Co Clare; 065-7072311

The food world took notice when Niamh Fox (formerly of Ard Bia, Paradiso and Kai) moved with her partner, the furniture designer and knifemaker Sam Gleeson, to Ennistymon to open her first solo venture. The chef and her team alter the menu every day, but you can expect variations on a potato and Gubbeen chorizo hash with fried egg, campfire beans with sausage, or the Foxy salad bowl. They love showcasing local ingredients, such as Hugo’s Deli sourdough from Lahinch, Inagh free-range farm pork, and greens from Moy Hill Community Farm. Coffee is made with Galway’s Calendar Coffee, and they serve bottles of Kombucha Full of Love, brewed in nearby Killaloe. Aoife McElwain

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Shells Seaside Bakery & Cafe
Strandhill, Co Sligo; 071-9122938
Perched on Strandhill’s stunning coastline, Shells Seaside Bakery & Cafe specialises in comfort food flavoured with a breath of fresh sea air. Don’t leave without trying a baked good – they have three bakers working with them to create daily delicacies of brown bread, croissants, scones and hot cross buns. AMcE

Teach an Tea
Inis Oírr, Aran Islands, Co Galway; 099-75092
Alissa and Michael Donoghue serve home-made and home-grown food from tea rooms on the ground floor of the Donoghue family home, originally built in the 1800s. Expect fresh fish and greens, tarts featuring Aran Island goat’s cheese and top-class baked goods. AMcE

Pilgrim’s, on South Square in Rosscarbery, Co Cork
Pilgrim’s, on South Square in Rosscarbery, Co Cork

Pilgrim’s NEW
6 South Square, Townlands, Rosscarbery, Co Cork; 023-8831796

“Did you have the spuds?” Regulars at Pilgrim’s are evangelical about Mark Jennings’s oak-smoked potatoes, with good reason. These bad boys are smoked and roasted, crushed open and then finished in a deep-fryer before being tossed in a balsamic glaze. Jennings and his partner, Sarah-Jane Pearce, opened their relaxed dining room in 2015 with a focus on the foraged, local and seasonal. The list of local suppliers displayed on the back of the menu is actually longer than the short but perfectly formed list of dishes, which changes constantly. Make the pilgrimage to Rosscarbery to experience this cooking in this space. It’ll be good for your soul. AMcE

Firehouse Bakery
Delgany, Co Wicklow; 01- 2876822
If you love Patrick Ryan and Laura Moore’s bakery and cafe in Delgany, Co Wicklow, you should head to Heir Island, in west Co Cork, for a class at their renowned bakery school. If you don’t fancy taking a boat to your sourdough (although it’s less than five minutes by sea to Heir Island from the mainland), the east-coast home of Firehouse Bakery serves up stunning sourdough, wood-fired-oven pizza, and divine cookies, cakes and pastries. AMcE

Our top seven off-the-beaten-track restaurants and cafes feature in our list of 100 of the best places to eat 2019

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