Ireland may not have the foodie reputation of some of its European neighbours, but times are changing. With an emphasis on local produce and access to the some of the world’s best dairy and meat, Irish cuisine is enjoying a renaissance.
There are top-class examples of world cuisine here, but if you’re looking for something traditional, here’s a few of our favourite places to get some proper Irish food:
The Pepper Pot
Located on a busy balcony in the middle of a beautiful period building, the Pepper Pot has a quiet but well-placed confidence. It's the perfect spot for a post-shopping lunch, a pick-me-up Ariosa coffee and slice of light Victoria Sponge with homemade raspberry jam, or a decadent slab of chocolate cake served on kitsch crockery. The menu is small but everything is homemade with a lot of love. Try the crumbly Guinness and pumpkin seed bread topped with local cream cheese and Burren smoked salmon, a salad of goat’s cheese, Gubbeen chorizo and vine tomatoes so juicy they seem to burst out of their skins, or their signature sandwich – a delightful mix of salty bacon, sweet roast pear and sharp cheddar.
Temple Bar Market
Wander round the cobblestones of Temple Bar and you'll find, in a well-hidden plaza, the best one-stop shop for Irish produce. The Saturday Temple Bar Farmers Market is Dublin's mecca for foodies who gather to chat to growers and producers at their heaving stalls. You can pick up gourmet delights such as the award-winning Corleggy Cheese from County Cavan, David Llewellyn's zesty Irish-grown apple juice, sustainable veal or goat from Broughgammon Farm, or a fresh breakfast roll packed with eggs and local pork sausages from Paddy Jack Farmers. You’ll have to get there early to nab one of Gourmet Grub Bakery’s beef and Guinness pies.
One of the biggest draws in this atmospheric open-air market is the Oyster Bar. Here you can grab a table and order freshly-opened oysters, harvested the day before in the Atlantic, with a slice of homemade brown soda bread and a glass of chilled white wine. Finish off with a fresh smoothie or something more sinful from Piece of Cake. There’s also plenty of preserves to bring home as souvenirs, including Amberline’s rhubarb and pink champagne confiture and a range of chutney, jams and marmalades from McNally’s Family Farm.
It's hard to pass by Sheridans Cheesemongers, off Grafton St, without getting intoxicated by the heady smell of cheese in all its glorious varieties, stacked in large wheels inside the door. This little Dublin shop feels like a proper artisan institution, where knowledgeable staff offer slivers of cheese to taste, knowing resistance is futile. They now offer a range of European cheeses and olive oils but this is the place to taste the wonderful produce of Irish farmhouses – Durrus, Coolea, Gubbeen or Milleen's from Cork, St Tola's creamy goat's cheese from Clare or a crumbly Cashel Blue. Your gastronomic journey isn’t restricted to dairy either; you can create an entire picnic basket packed with chicken liver pate or country terrine from Cork producer On The Pig’s Back, local salami from the Wooded Pig, black pudding from Kanturk or Sheridan’s very own chutney and crackers. Finish off with some creamy Irish fudge that will melt in your mouth.
L Mulligan Grocer
You’d be forgiven for passing by the unassuming exterior of L Mulligan Grocer, in the Northside neighbourhood of Stoneybatter, without a second thought. That would be a crime against your palate: inside you’ll find a comfortable pub with seats aplenty and one of the best gastropub menus you’re likely to encounter. This is hearty Irish food with a gourmet twist: try the black pudding combined with sweet beetroot, local steak paired with strong whiskey sauce or the special Sunday roasts, which are such a joy we recommend wearing loose clothing to fit it all in.
Each item on the menu comes with a complimentary craft beer. In fact, the extensive beer and whiskey selection, coupled with the staff’s expert knowledge and recommendations, means this is a great spot to check out even if you don’t fancy eating.
Avoca, the flagship Suffolk Street shop of the Pratt-family handweavers, spans four floors and is a repository for all things crafty – but the food here is the real treasure. Pull up a chair at the airy top floor restaurant and enjoy Avoca staples like broccoli and cheddar soup with homemade bread, crab pot made from the finest Dingle seafood or sumptuous desserts which can and do sell out by late afternoon. All produce is sourced locally from trusted suppliers, so you're guaranteed top quality modern Irish fare. The basement food hall serves delicious food (potato cakes, soups, pies and salads) to go as well as gourmet Irish deli produce and jars of Avoca loveliness in the form of country relish, homemade vinaigrette and hedgerow jam.
Last updated in July 2017.