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Best destination restaurants worth travelling to in Ireland – The Irish Times


House Restaurant

Cliff House Hotel, Ardmore, Co Waterford; 024-87800,

With a background that includes working in Noma, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay and landing a Michelin star for The Tudor Room at Great Fosters Hotel in the UK, Tony Parkin has made his mark since he took over the kitchen of House Restaurant in 2022, maintaining its one-Michelin-star status. The tasting menu offers a choice between five or seven courses (€99/€150) and reflects the quality of local produce available, with strong French and Thai influences. CH


Slatefort House, Bullaun, Co Galway;

It is worth jumping in the car and doing a round trip to Lignum on a Sunday for the €55 four-course lunch, or you could book in locally and go for the rollercoaster ride that is the €135, 10-course tasting menu. Danny Africano is a talented chef, who cooks primarily over an Argentinian grill, imbuing his food with flavour and excitement. Perhaps next year they will finally land a well-deserved Michelin star. CH


64a Portstewart Road, Coleraine Marina, Coleraine, Co Derry;

The powerhouse duo of Stevie and Rebekah McCarry continue to drive forward with their vision for nose-to-tail seafood dining. They took the brave decision to close for two months earlier this year to properly prepare themselves to offer a tasting menu, designed to showcase the freshly caught and foraged ingredients. A fish-ageing and charcuterie programme is afoot (monkfish lomo, anyone?), and they’ve also installed a fishmonger counter. JC

MacNean House

Main Street, Blacklion, Co Cavan; 071-9853022,

Neven Maguire is an honest-to-God national treasure, a man for all the people, whether it’s heads of state or farmers at the Ploughing. The reservations book at his MacNean House consistently fills up months in advance, a recognition of the warm hospitality and superb experience offered by chef Carmel McGirr and all the Blacklion team. The modern Irish tasting menu costs €110 per head and the smart people fall into bed afterwards in one of the town house rooms. JC


The Blue Haven Hotel, 3-4 Pearse Street, Kinsale, Co Cork; 021-4772209,

Meeran Manzoor has steadily ramped up the creativity in his recently refurbished restaurant. He deftly takes immaculate French technique and hyperlocal ingredients, then weaves them all together using his native Chennai influences. The menu has featured venison kebab with Kinsale Mead, Garryhinch Mushrooms and kalpasi, and a courgette and onion salad with chilled courgette soup and artichoke poriyal. JC

Restaurant Chestnut

The Chestnut Tree, Staball Hill, Ballydehob, Co Cork; 028-25766,

With a distinctive, restrained style of cooking, Rob Krawczyk skilfully allows the produce to do the talking on his €145 tasting menu, using Lisheen Greens, Skeaghanore duck, Roaring Water Bay mussels, and Union Hall fish to create truly memorable dishes. A small plate, nibbles and snack menu upstairs has been launched for a limited time during the winter months, available Wednesday and Thursday nights. Booking online is essential. CH

Sheen Falls

Sheen Falls Lodge, Kenmare, Co Kerry; 064-6641600,

Sheer joy is the feeling you get the minute you walk through the door of Sheen Falls and there is also some seriously good food coming out of the kitchen from Mark Treacy. It’s formal without being too fussy and you’ll find dishes like Castletownbere scallops, lobster stuffed courgette flower, Coolea cheese ravioli, Atlantic halibut and passion fruit soufflé on the €90, three-course menu. There are also a number of private dining options, including the stunning wine cellar. CH


Castmartyr Resort, Castlemartyr, Co Cork; 021-4219053,

With staging worthy of a film set, chef Vincent Crepel stands at the spotlit pass, overseeing each dish as it leaves Terre’s open kitchen. Guests at this newly anointed Michelin-star venue can expect to be taken on a journey, both through the spacious period rooms and through Crepel’s unique take on Asian-influenced classic cooking. This writer still dreams of cod served in an utterly gorgeous vermouth beurre blanc. JC

The Bishop’s Buttery

Cashel Palace Hotel, Cashel, Co Tipperary; 062-62002,

I was somewhat disappointed to learn that a buttery was a room where wine was stored, rather than a room dedicated to the glory of my one true love, butter. But the Bishop’s Buttery at the Cashel Palace most certainly does not disappoint. Despite being downstairs, the room is light and airy, and the cooking from culinary director Stephen Hayes and head chef Stefan McEnteer is an excellent match. The wine is varied, ranging from good value through to some wallet-busters. JC

The Lady Helen

The Lady Helen, Manor House, Mount Juliet Estate, Thomastown, Co Kilkenny; 056-7773000,

If the sound of Tipperary organic veal with morels and vin jaune sauce appeals to you, you’re going to love John Kelly’s tasting menu in the formal but comfortable surroundings of this one-Michelin star restaurant. The tasting menu is well constructed with a €140 seven-course option, or slightly longer nine-course menu for €160. Both come with an option of wine pairings. CH

The Oak Room, Adare Manor

Adare Manor, Adare, Co Limerick; 061-605200,

The good news is that there is now a limited number of tables available for non-residents, but if you’re weighing up the options of jetting off for a celebratory dinner or staying at home, going for the all-in experience may be the indulgence you want to consider. It’s luxe all the way on Mike Tweedie’s €160, six-course tasting menu with truffles, girolles, caviar and gold leaf gilding the intricately prepared dishes, finishing with a phenomenal cheese trolley. Private dining can be booked in advance, in the library for 16 people and wine cellar for 12. CH

The Owenmore Restaurant at Ballynahinch Castle

Recess, Connemara, Co Galway; 095-31006,

There’s magic in the air at Ballynahinch Castle, especially as the nights draw in. Enclosed by trees and water, and set against the backdrop of the Twelve Bens, it’s a beautiful spot for some fishing or walking before finishing the day with dinner in the elegant Owenmore restaurant. Chef Danni Barry describes her food as “progressive and honest”, resulting in dishes such as barbecued quail with spiced carrots or a delectable tart of vegetables from the walled garden. JC

West at The Twelve Hotel

Barna, Co Galway; 091-597000,

Things are very much alive and kicking out on the rocky, salty western seaboard, where chef Nathan Hindmarch has taken over in West, bringing a contemporary style of cooking based on local produce and picture-perfect presentation. A newly launched evening menu offers five courses for an extremely well-priced €59. Wine continues to be a key feature and, if you’re lucky, you might even get to see some sabrage in action. JC

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