There are so many good restaurants throughout Ireland that I am hearing good things about that I failed to visit in 2013. I also read many interesting accounts of trips to food festivals that I didn’t get to last year. It’s not possible to get to all the places I would like to – real life gets in the way! But, here is a list of 10 places I would like to get to in 2014.
1. MacNean House & Restaurant, Blacklion, Co. Cavan
Neven Maguire’s restaurant and cooking is legendary. This may take some planning and some luck in securing a reservation but I definitely need to visit after hearing so many good things both online and from friends. I am told that if you stay overnight at MacNean House that the breakfast is also an experience in itself.
2. The Greenhouse, Dawson Street, Dublin 2.
It is a mystery to many how The Greenhouse failed to win a Michelin star last time out. Reviews of Chef Mickael Viljanen’s food have been outstanding and anyone I know that has been there has enthused about the experience and vowed to go back.
3. The Fatted Calf Bar & Restaurant, Glasson, Athlone, Co. Westmeath.
The Fatted Calf is an award winning “Gastro-Pub” situated in the picturesque village of Glasson, close to Athlone. Said to be casual dining at its very best, the Fatted Calf is known for bringing quality produce to the table at value for money prices.
4. West Waterford Festival of Food.
2014 will mark the 7th running of the West Waterford Festival of Food, which is centered in Dungarvan. For the last 2 years, I have thought about going and ended up regretting that I didn’t. This year, I am determined to make it. If the previous years’ line ups were anything to go by, this will be a mecca for food lovers and fun seekers alike.
5. Las Tapas de Lola, 12 Wexford Street, Dublin 2.
I just love the Spanish Tapas way of eating, much preferring nibbling and sampling a larger variety of dishes than sitting down to a traditional 3-course meal. Always on the lookout for new and recommended Tapas restaurants, this is one that I have seen reviewed and recommended on many occasions throughout 2013 as an excellent authentic Spanish tapas restaurant.
6. 1826 Adare, Main St, Adare, Co. Limerick.
Wade Murphy’s cooking has been on my radar for some time and in 2013 he opened his new restaurant in the village of Adare, Co. Limerick. In the short time since opening, the restaurant and Wade himself have both won many awards, and critics, such as Tom Doorley, have reviewed their experiences there in glowing terms. This is another restaurant I will need to book in advance!
7. Wild Honey Inn, Kincora Road, Lisdoonvarna, Co. Clare.
Aidan McGrath’s Wild Honey Inn is a multi-award winning eatery – including a Bib Gourmand award from The Michelin Guide (Good food at moderate prices). The emphasis here is on wild, seasonal, local and free range produce served in a characterful Inn setting.
8. White Horses, Ardmore, Co. Waterford.
I have been in Ardmore a few times now and each time I have passed the White Horses and wished I was going in. So many people have recommended this restaurant to me at this stage that I am determined to eat there the next time I visit Ardmore. This restaurant consistently gets excellent reviews with repeated praise for the quality of produce, the simplicity of its cooking and its warm and cosy atmosphere.
9. La Cucina, 5 University Court, Castletroy, Co. Limerick.
At this stage, I have lost track of the number of awards Lorraine Fanneran and Bruno Coppola have won for La Cucina, their authentic Italian restaurant in Castletroy. I hear it’s always packed, is loved by locals and visitors alike and that Bruno makes the best Carbonara ever. I can’t wait to visit these ItalianFoodies soon.
10. Chapter One, 19 Parnell Square North, Dublin 1.
Chapter One, Ross Lewis’ award winning Michelin Star restaurant, is of course on this list. Another visit that is going to take some planning (and saving for) but I know this will be an experience very much worth having. The success of this restaurant appears to be a combination of the genius of Ross Lewis, the quality of the ingredients and the passion of the staff, all of which ensure a wonderful dining experience. The restaurant attained its Michelin Star in 2007 and has also been the recipient of many RAI and Food & Wine awards over the years.