Da Mimmo

148 North Strand Road
Dublin 3
Phone: 01 856 1714

This modishly grey-painted trattoria in one of the inner city’s less fashionable spots got lots of attention because of where it is. In fact it does decent pasta and better pizza but nothing absolutely outstanding. Having said that, it has a great buzz, the wines are reasonably priced and the staff are friendly.

 

The Legal Eagle

1 – 2 Chancery Place
Dublin 7
Phone: 01 555 2971

This is the new, indeed revolutionary gastropub from Elaine Murphy (of The Winding Stair, The Woollen Mills and other great places). The aim is not subtlety but for the satiation of appetite or the appeasement of greed. Portions are generous, flavours are bold, you will never see quinoa or anything that the Hemsley sisters or the Happy Pear twins have ever even contemplated. Pies, pork scratchings (with smoked oyster mayo), pickled eggs, platters of very special meats. You get the picture.

 

Lavanda

61 North Brunswick Street
Dublin 7
Phone: 01 671 9420

A small, very informal restaurant of great charm doing its best to keep as many people happy as possible. Comforting, sometimes quirky cooking from Kitty Zhao and some Croatian wines. A risotto I had there lingers in memory – for all the right reasons.

 

Nightmarket

120 Ranelagh
Dublin 6
Phone: 01 538 5200

Conor Sexton, formerly of KOH, has joined forces with his chef partner 'R' (Jutarat Suwankeeree) who is from Thailand, and an all Thai kitchen, to bring the flavours of her native Chang Mai and Hua Hin to Dublin 6. Very authentic cooking, large but engaging menu and serious cocktails (I’m told).

 

Ember

Milltown Shopping Centre
Milltown Road
Dublin 6
Phone: 01 444 3783

Ember is a neighbourhood restaurant serving the needs of those who love in this part of Dublin 6 but it’s rather more than that. There’s Chapter One, L’Ecrivain and Pichet – to mention just a few names to conjure with – in the kitchen’s DNA and it shows.

 

Pilgrim's

6 South Square
Rosscarbery
Co. Cork
Phone: 023 883 1796

A temple to the most local of local produce, a delightful dining room in the remains of an old shop, lovely staff, a retiring chef who used to be at the Ethicurean in Bristol. Some serious cooking and a cracking wine list that changes frequently.

 

Kernel

15 – 16 Vicar Street
Kilkenny
Co. Kilkenny
Phone: 056 776 6326

Maria Rafferty, late of Zuni, has struck out on her own in the slightly unlikely surrounds of a modest hotel in the shadow of Kilkenny cathedral. Excellent cooking, as you would expect, a modest selection of wines, somewhat bizarre décor and a sense of being looked after. Watch out for the riff on Scotch eggs.

Kernel - Facebook.jpg
 

The Green Barn

Burtown House
Athy
Co. Kildare
Phone: 059 862 3865

A beautiful, airy dining room set beside the luxuriant gardens of the Fennell family’s Georgian house, serving lots of garden produce and carefully sourced meats. There’s even a clever short wine list, botanical prints, books for sale and sense of well-being. Worth a big detour.

 

Han Yang Asian Market Restaurant

22 Great Strand Street
Dublin 1
Phone: 01 887 4405

Self-service and extremely basic restaurant at the back of an Asian supermarket. Serves enormous portions of mainly Korean food for tiny prices. A bit lacking in finesse, maybe, but what a feed!

 

Sheen Falls Lodge

Kenmare
Co. Kerry
Phone: 064 41600

Sheen Falls is an exceptionally luxurious hotel with an international following. The falls are right outside (and sometimes guests who are not used to being so close to nature, have been known to ask for them to be “turned off” at night) and the environs are glorious. La Cascade restaurant has seen Michelin stars come and go (I don’t care) but the cooking, internationally informed but very local in terms of produce, is consistently good.

 

Packie’s

Henry Street
Kenmare
Co. Kerry
Phone: 064 41508

For almost thirty years they have been showcasing the wonders of the locally landed seafood using both local and international culinary approaches. Straightforward, wholesome, very friendly.

 

Out of the Blue

Waterside
Dingle
Co. Kerry
Phone: 066 915 0811

“Meat eaters need not apply” is the motto in this small, rambling restaurant where seafood is given free rein and not messed about. It’s about the freshness and the quality and the ever changing menu. Plus an exciting wine selection. The owners brother is Ben Mason of Wine Masons.

 

Park Hotel

Kenmare
Co. Kerry

This is one of my favourite places on earth and it has a glorious Victorian dining room (with a view), thanks to its origins as one of the great railway hotels. Great attention to detail, considerable luxury and food that is rooted in the classical tradition but championing local produce. A real treat.

 

The Chart House

The Mall
Dingle
Co. Kerry
Phone: 066 915 2255

Jim McCarthy is one of the country’s best hosts (he worked originally at The Park Hotel, Kenmare) and his Dingle restaurant is a delight. The menu is eclectic without being silly, there’s lots of local produce and there’s a complete absence of pretension. The Annascaul black pudding starter has evolved over the years and is a must. Sound value in a town where indifferent food is often charged at Michelin prices.

 

The Point Bar

Reenard Point
Cahersiveen
Co. Kerry
Phone: 066 947 2165

Last time I lunched here, rather out of season, the only other customers were Spanish trawlerman. In fact, the local barman seemed to speak fluent Spanish. And so it seemed very natural to have hake cooked in olive oil with garlic – with a bottle of Guinness. Not fancy, family-friendly, and good simple seafood.

 

QC’s Seafood Bar & Restaurant

3 Main Street
Cahersiveen
Co. Kerry
Phone: 066 947 2244

This little place is a gem. Don’t expect elaborate cooking, just incredibly fresh seafood treated with considerable respect. When I last ate there I had manzanilla sherry by the glass and a darn good time. They do bed and breakfast too, and their smoked salmon is sublime.

 

Sichuan Chilli King

100 Parnell Street
Dublin 1
Phone: 01 878 3400

Not much to look at and a restaurant that has pictures of the food (like we have always been warned against) but one of my regular pit stops for Sichuanese simmered beef with chilli oil and pepper which they always remind me is “very hot”. I’m often the only European in the place.