Seven of Ireland’s best family-friendly 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 family-friendly 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.

Overends Kitchen at Airfield NEW
It’s taken a while, after a big investment in a new cafe building a few years back, but Airfield has managed to make a cafe on a farm taste as exciting as it sounds. Chef Luke Matthews brings a background in high-end restaurants and a proper feel for ingredients to this lovely place where hens cluck and cows moo. It’s farm to fork with cow bells on. CC
Overends Kitchen at Airfield, Airfield Estate, Overend Way, Dundrum, Dublin 14, 01-9696666, airfield.ie/overends-kitchen

The Ballymore Inn
We tucked into a great lunch here after an autumn walk through a nearby forest and loved every mouthful. A lot of the fruit and vegetables come from Barry and Georgina O’Sullivan’s vegetable garden, and they’ve added a vegan menu since we visited, so families with different diets can break (house-made) bread together under this cosy roof. CC
The Ballymore Inn, Main Street, Ballymore Eustace, Co Kildare, 045-864585, ballymoreinn.com

The Oarsman
It’s a happy marriage when a venerable old pub meets a commitment to putting the best local food on to plates. They’ve kept the best of what’s old in this place, such as the mahogany signage for “Tackle, Waders, Fishing Rods”. And they’ve added progressive ideas about the food, all in a relaxed friendly pub. CC
The Oarsman, Bridge Street, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim, 071-962 1733, theoarsman.com

Glebe Gardens NEW
A family runs Glebe Gardens in Baltimore, where the tea shop grew into a restaurant that became, as food writer Trish Deseine put it, a conversation between the garden, the kitchen, the team and the customers. Earlier this year they appointed the chef Bob Cairns to a second new branch of the gardens, in Skibbereen. The Glebe Cafe in Skib is in the former Good Things cafe run by the Irish Times food writer Carmel Somers. CC
Glebe Gardens, Baltimore, Co Cork, 028-20579, glebegardens.com

Wilde NEW
Hotels are perfect for family gatherings. But what you gain in space, facilities and all those long, Shining-esque corridors, to keep kids occupied, you can sacrifice to the beef-or-salmon school of hotel cooking. Wilde, at the Westbury in Dublin, is that rare creature: a hotel restaurant where food ambitions have not been lost to mass-catering culture. CC
Wilde, The Westbury, Harry Street, Dublin 2, 01-6463352, wilde.ie

Kai Cafe + Restaurant
Kai could fit in any of this list’s categories. But its cross-generational appeal struck us on a recent visit. The brunch queue and cake counter are such a phenomenon they could overshadow the cooking talent that chef Jess Murphy brings to her cafe on Sea Road. But don’t ignore Kai’s evening menu, where Murphy’s feel for flavour and food that’s rooted in place, friendships and fellow feeling come through in memorable style. CC
Kai Cafe + Restaurant, 22 Sea Road, Galway, 091-526003, kaicaferestaurant.com

Dough Bros €
In their own words, the Dough Bros went “from street stall to high street in one year”. The pizza lovers behind this former pizza truck put down roots in their casual restaurant on Middle Street in Galway in 2016. The pizzas are made in full view of the customers, giving kids plenty to drool over while you order the Neapolitans. AMcE
Dough Bros, 1 Cathedral Buildings, Middle Street, Galway, 091-395238, facebook.com/thedoughbros

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