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Six great Irish restaurants for winter 2021 for families

Our food experts Corinna Hardgrave, Lisa Cope and Ali Dunworth reveal their favourites

It is so wonderful to see restaurants back open – and, dare we say it, feel some normality returning, as we head out to meet friends and enjoy the conviviality of a good night out with great food. All the places to eat in this list come from our new guide to 100 great restaurants for winter 2021, which also includes new openings, great places to dine with friends and family, where to go for a special occasion, the places that are doing amazing vegetarian and vegan dishes, the places with clever wine lists, and where to eat outdoors as the days get cooler. Things will continue to change, so be sure to check details with the restaurant when booking. Corinna Hardgrave

Farmgate
Broderick Street, Midleton, Co Cork; 021- 463 2771, farmgate.ie
Farmgate in Midleton isn't trying to reinvent the wheel when it comes to food - it's doing the classics, and doing them very well. It's an ideal choice for family gatherings, groups and occasions when you need a menu that's going to appeal to the masses, but with plenty of well-sourced local produce, like the Castletownbere mussels in the moules marinere, and the Frank Murphy black pudding that's served with their seared scallops. Lisa Cope

Poacher    
4 Market Square, Ballina, Co Mayo
Daniel Mayr and Yvonne Kathrein's €29 three-course Sunday lunch and early bird menu at this upstairs restaurant is incredibly popular with families, which is unsurprising. The meat, from Heffernan's butcher shop below, is top quality, fish is from Garvin's fishmonger, and there is a separate vegetarian and vegan menu. Corinna Hardgrave

Saint Francis Provisions 
Short Quay, Kinsale, Co Cork; 083-0636879, instagram.com/stfranciskinsale
Lovingly created, locally sourced small plates, natural wines and atmospheric outdoor tables make St Francis Provisions one of the best places to eat in Kinsale. A regularly changing menu means there's always something bright and beautiful to feast your eyes on, and a lunch here will leave you feeling reinvigorated for the rest of the day (unless you overdo it on the lovely wines, which is also a nice way to spend a day). LC

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The Muddlers Club
1 Warehouse Lane, Belfast; 0044-2890313199, themuddlersclubbelfast.com
There aren't many Michelin-starred meals that diners would feel comfortable having a (well-behaved) child tag along for, but The Muddlers Club make it so much easier for parents to enjoy their six course, seasonal tasting menu by providing an option of steak or fish with vegetables for younger diners (for the bargain price of £5). Adults will enjoy dishes like trout, apple and chive; and beef, girolle and bone marrow, and if you don't give the smallies a taste you'll be doing them a disservice. LC

The Tannery
10 Quay Street, Dungarvan, Co Waterford; 058-45420, tannery.ie
Ireland is still not in tandem with many of our European neighbours when it comes to welcoming children into restaurants, so Máire and Paul Flynn's The Tannery will come as a happy discovery for food-loving parents and little ones alike. The room, food and service make every meal feel like an occasion, and while the adults can enjoy crab créme brulee, and roast pork with apples and cafe de Paris sauce, younger diners can enjoy ham and mushroom croquettes, followed by pumpkin and beef cheek spaghetti, with ice-cream and autumn berries for dessert. The children's menu here should be the model for every restaurant in the country. LC

Thyme
Custume Place, Athlone, Co Westmeath; 090-6478850, thymerestaurant.ie
Recommendations for this restaurant have come in from all directions, particularly for their Sunday lunch which is the perfect family day out. In autumn the focus moves to game, with partridge, grouse, venison, mallard and pheasant appearing on the menu. The supplier list is top notch and the cooking is skillful. CH

Jump to: 
Thirteen great places that are new and noteworthy
Seventeen great places to go with friends
Fourteen great places worth a special journey
Twelve great places with iconic dishes
Fifteen great places for special occasions
Ten great places for vegetarians
Six great places for all-weather outdoor dining
Seven great places with tempting wine lists