Seven mighty Irish meat restaurants

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

Nowhere gets on this list of Ireland's best meat 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.

The Ramen Bar €
Time is something we're all short of when it comes to making food – but it's what they put loads of into the tonkotsu, or pork-bone broth, here. After a 14-hour simmer for the stock they add miso, which makes a liquid the colour of pale milky tea. With pork shoulder, seaweed, bamboo shoots and fried onion, it makes for a truly hearty soup. CC
The Ramen Bar, 51 South William Street, Dublin 2, 01-5470658,

Ely Wine Bar NEW
The message of less but better meat makes absolute sense the more you learn about intensively reared beef. Much of the beef and pork served at this wine bar and restaurant is farmed by the father of its owner Eric Robson, on the Burren, in Co Clare. Cattle there graze one of the most biodiverse diets on the planet – and in doing so over the winter help to maintain a magical landscape. An infinitely better burger. CC
Ely Wine Bar, 22 Ely Place, Dublin 2, 01-6768986,


Hey Donna € NEW
Most restaurants are either one or the other: meatheads or veggie fondlers. Joe Macken's newest outlet in the reinvented Jo'Burger in Rathmines is a mix of the two. The menu reads veg heavy at the start, then gets into more than well-executed carnivorousness. The short ribs with red-pepper sauce are a treat, and there aren't many casual restaurants brave enough to put seared lambs' liver on the menu. CC
Hey Donna, 137 Lower Rathmines Road, Rathmines, Dublin 6, 01-4913731,

Chameleon €
It amazes me when "passionate about food" operations slap battery chicken on their menus. Chameleon has been on a side street off the busy drag of Temple Bar for almost a quarter of a century. It uses free-range chicken thighs in its satay and coconut and lemon grass dishes, and the Javanese short-rib beef comes to the table after a 10-hour cook in a sticky star-anise marinade. CC
Chameleon, 1 Lower Fownes Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2, 01-6710362,

Oxmantown €
Jack McCarthy is one of the few butchers left in the country with his own abattoir, and his meat is a reminder of how things used to taste. Alongside the Luas track off Capel Street in Dublin, Oxmantown puts the Kanturk butcher's black pudding and sausages into its breakfast sandwiches. The ruby, made with McCarthy's pastrami, sauerkraut, pickles, Swiss cheese and horseradish on rye sourdough, is one of the city's best sandwiches. CC
Oxmantown, 16 Mary's Abbey, Dublin 7, 01-8047030,

Mr Fox
They do a mean tartare in this handsome basement restaurant on Parnell Square in Dublin. In game season it's venison dotted with redcurrants, all meaty softness finished with crunchy Jerusalem-artichoke crisps. At other times it's a beef tartare with salsify, quail egg and toast. Vegetarians are not forgotten, with a two-option vegetarian menu here too. CC
Mr Fox, 38 Parnell Square West, Dublin 1, 01-8747778,

Fowl Play € NEW
When it comes to cooking meat over heat, few in Ireland have mastered the art as well as Andy Noonan. You'll find his work at this no-frills barbecue joint at the back of the Square Ball sports bar. Its charcoal rotisserie and grill serves up Filipino pork-belly skewers and free-range chicken, while the wood-fired smoker produces cherrywood-smoked free-range chicken wings and turkey sausage. Noonan is also a founder of the Big Grill Festival, an annual celebration of barbecue, which returns to Herbert Park in Dublin from August 16th to19th. This is a guy you definitely want all up in your grill. AMcE
Fowl Play, 45 Hogan Place, Dublin 2, 01-5496055,