30 of the best restaurants for weddings
The traditional Irish wedding may have been given a modern makeover in recent years, but 'beef or salmon' is still to be found on the menu at many venues. So, if great food is a priority, having your wedding in a restaurant is worth considering. Here, in no particular order, Katy McGuinness lists some of the best spots across the country to enjoy a Big Day feast…
1 Windsor Terrace, Portobello, Dublin 8;
Lovely Locks, located right on the canal in Portobello, combines an idyllic city location with some of the best food in the capital, under the aegis of chef-owners, Connor O'Dowd and Paul McNamara, and head chef, Chris Maguire. The restaurant can host a civil ceremony, accommodate between 12 and 87 guests and allows couples to decorate the room as they wish. Presumably within reason.
2 OLD SPOT
14 Bath Avenue, Sandymount, Dublin 4; theoldspot.ie
The upmarket Old Spot gastro-pub has a lovely relaxed ambience thanks to the influence of general manager, Denise McBrien, and Fiachra Kenny's food is beautifully executed, managing to tread that tricky line between being interesting and crowd-pleasing with panache. The restaurant can accommodate up to 150 over two floors, and you can have the ceremony there too.
3 OLDE POST
Knockateery, Cloverhill, Co Cavan;
The combination of Gearoid Lynch's food and his wife Tara's warm yet professional service makes The Olde Post one of Ireland's true destination restaurants. The restaurant can accommodate a wedding reception of up to 120 guests, sitting down, and couples can choose to have their ceremony here too.
4 SUESEY STREET
26 Fitzwilliam Place, Dublin 2; sueseystreet.ie
Located in the heart of Georgian Dublin, Suesey Street's bar, restaurant and terrace can accommodate up to 100 guests seated, and 120 standing. Chef Richard Stearn's exemplary food is modern and seasonal. You can book next door, No25, for the ceremony, so there's no danger of losing guests to the pub on the way.
5 CLIFF TOWNHOUSE
22 St Stephen's Green, Dublin 2; clifftownhouse.ie
If there's a better location for a city wedding than Cliff Townhouse, overlooking St Stephen's Green, then it's hard to think of what that might be. The restaurant downstairs can accommodate up to 100 guests, with the Aviator bar upstairs a nice adjunct. There is private dining for smaller groups too, and seafood is a specialty.
6 MULBERRY GARDEN
Mulberry Lane, Donnybrook, Dublin 4; mulberrygarden.ie
Charming Mulberry Garden, tucked away down a little lane in Donnybrook, can be hired for weddings for up to 80 people. Everything about the restaurant is Irish - from the food to the cutlery to the water to the soap in the bathrooms - and it provides a delightfully intimate experience.
7 HARRY'S SHACK
116 Strand Road, Portstewart, Co Derry;
048 7083 1783
A couple with a taste for seafood, and a desire to have their wedding reception somewhere just a little bit different could do worse than consider Harry's located in a National Trust-owned shack on the sandy beach at Portstewart. Imagine the photographs…
8 RESTAURANT PATRICK GUILBAUD
21 Merrion Street Upper, Dublin 2; restaurantpatrickguilbaud.ie
Ireland's only two Michelin star restaurant is as sophisticated as it gets when it comes to wedding venues. Yes, it will cost an arm and a leg, but if money is no object then to hell with it - you are guaranteed that the food will be delicious, and that the pink-y hues of the dining room will flatter. The main dining room seats 80, while the private room to the front seats 30.
9 FALLON & BYRNE
11-18 Exchequer Street, Dublin 2; fallonandbyrne.com
The upstairs ballroom at Fallon & Byrne can be used for both ceremony and reception and accommodates 50 to 120 people for sit-down dinner and up to 150 for a stand-up event. F&B are old hands at the wedding lark and do it very well. And if the kitchen runs out of anything, it's handy that one of the best food emporiums in the city is downstairs.
The Courtyard, 8 Main Street, Midleton, Co Cork; sagerestaurant.ie
Kevin Aherne's lovely modern restaurant is known for sourcing all the ingredients for the kitchen from within a 12-mile radius of the restaurant - and what magnificent ingredients they are. Sage can cater for up to 55 guests for a sit-down meal.
Kilcullen, Co Kildare; fallons.ie
Fallon's Restaurant, right in the middle of horse country, is a Kildare institution and has a reputation for great food using the best of local produce. Its adjacent Grain Store accommodates up to 100 people in a high-ceilinged, barn-style room linked to an outdoor space, with a conservatory also available. It is an approved venue for civil ceremonies for up to 70 people seated.
12 BEAUFIELD MEWS
Woodlands Avenue, Stillorgan, Co Dublin;
The oldest restaurant in Dublin, with one of the loveliest gardens imaginable, is a hugely popular wedding venue for good reason. There is something very relaxed and hospitable about Beaufield Mews, where the choice of menus ranges from the traditional to the alternative. You can opt for either a seated meal or a free-flowing event with a barbecue and finger food and have the ceremony either inside or out.
13 JACK'S COASTGUARD RESTAURANT
Cromane, Killorglin, Co Kerry; jackscromane.com
Located right on Rossbeigh beach and with views of the sea and the Inch peninsula, Jack's attracts couples from all over the country, many of whom used to holiday in the area as children. Seafood is a focus, and the hospitality is mighty. Approved as a venue for civil ceremonies.
14 ONE PICO
Molesworth Court, Schoolhouse Lane, Dublin 2; onepico.com
One Pico is a classy restaurant, right in the city centre, with excellent food coming from the kitchen of head chef, Ciaran McGill. The One Polo private dining room upstairs is available for intimate wedding receptions for between 12 and 45 people. The restaurant itself can accommodate up to 76 guests.
15 GLEBE GARDENS
Ballylinchy, Baltimore, Co Cork; glebegardens.com
Beguiling Glebe Gardens, run by the four Perry sisters, hosts weddings for up to 100 people between the indoor restaurant and covered courtyard, and more intimate indoor weddings for 40. You can have your ceremony here, in an amphitheatre in the garden that looks out towards the sea, have your tables decorated with the flowers from the garden and eat simple, beautiful locally sourced food.
16 CRAWFORD GALLERY
Emmett Place, Cork City; crawfordartgallery.ie
Couples can have their ceremonies in the Long Room, champagne and canapes in the Gibson or Sculpture Galleries, and then supper for up to 70 guests in the café downstairs, where the food is really quite special. You get the gallery all to yourselves and it's all rather lovely.
17 CIAN'S ON BRIDGE STREET
1 Bridge Street, Westport, Co Mayo;
Local chef Cian Hayes' lovely restaurant in Mayo has quickly racked up a host of awards since opening in 2016. For a small sophisticated wedding, right in the centre of town, the restaurant's flavoursome, seasonal food is just perfect.
The Pier, Ballyvaughan, Co Clare; monks.ie
The trend is away from very formal weddings and hotel food that doesn't take into the account the individual preferences of the couples getting married. For lovers of super-fresh seafood (think Kelly's oysters and local crab, prawns and lobster), Monks would be a great choice - in an absolutely magical location - for a small and relaxed wedding for up to 30 people.
19 THE COTTAGE RESTAURANT
Jamestown, Carrick on Shannon, Co Leitrim;
Sham Hanifa's food at The Cottage combines Asian influences with the very best of modern Irish ingredients, and the result is joyous and delicious. The restaurant has a lovely, warm ambience conducive to good times, and caters for small weddings for up to 60 people.
20 THE GREEN BARN AT BURTOWN HOUSE
Burtown Little, Athy, Co Kildare; burtownhouse.ie
There are numerous indoor and outdoor options for a civil ceremony in Burtown's 12 acres of beautiful gardens, and the Green Barn restaurant can host a reception for up to 120 guests. It's all about rustic elegance here, and the menu features home-grown, organic seasonal produce and couples can use flowers from the garden, have their cake baked on site, and their photographs taken by international photographer, James Fennell, who lives at Burtown.
21 WEST RESTAURANT
Cost Road, Barna, Co Galway; westrestaurant.ie
Located in the Twelve Hotel in Barna, West certainly doesn't feel like a hotel restaurant. There's seating for up to 100 guests, and chef Martin O'Donnell's food is a testament to the beautiful produce to be found in the region. The wine list is spectacular.
22 AIRFIELD ESTATE
Overend Way, Dundrum, Dublin 14; airfield.ie
For an urban wedding with a country house feel, Airfield offers a true farm-to-fork food experience, with many of the ingredients grown on the estate. Airfield caters for numbers from 30 to 120 in various different locations around the estate, including Luke Matthews' Overends restaurant. A good choice for anyone looking for an informal venue with bags of charm and great photo opportunities, Airfield can host the ceremony too.
23 MARCO PIERRE WHITE COURTYARD BAR & GRILL
1 Belmont Ave, Donnybrook, Dublin 4;
Proper restaurant quality food in a banqueting setting is not easy to achieve, but they do it very well at the Courtyard in Donnybrook, which caters for weddings for between 30 and 180 guests. A glamorous choice close to the city centre.
24 LA BOHEME
2 George's St, Waterford;
With two alternative venues - the main dining room seats 70 and the Crystal Room seats 22 for more intimate celebrations - La Boheme does weddings and does them very well. It's also an approved venue for civil ceremonies. Chef Eric Theze brings more than a touch of France to the food at La Boheme, sourcing quality seasonal ingredients from the surrounding area.
25 OLD STREET
Old Street, Malahide,
Co Dublin; oldstreet.ie
Mark and Adriana Fitzpatrick's Old Street is a restaurant with a sophisticated modern look and food to match. It can cater for weddings for between 20 and 30 guests and is approved as a venue for civil ceremonies. The ambience is relaxed, the food is great and there's a very cool cocktail bar.
26 SLIEVE AUGHTY CENTRE
Loughrea, Co Galway;
For couples in search of an eco-wedding, with top-notch organic food and wines, the Three Towers restaurant at the Slieve Aughty Centre comes highly recommended. The centre is an approved venue for civil ceremonies too.
27 SASH RESTAURANT
No 1 Pery Square, Limerick; oneperysquare.com
Australian chef Tim Harris comes to Limerick with a serious CV having been head chef at Petersham Nurseries in London before arriving in Ireland. The food at Sash, located in the lovely One Pery Square boutique hotel, is modern bistro style and a draw in and of itself. Combined with a relaxed atmosphere and great wine choices, it makes Sash unbeatable in Limerick as a smart city wedding venue.
28 O'MAHONYS OF WATERGRASSHILL
Main Street, Watergrasshill, Co Cork;
Modern rustic is the vibe at O'Mahonys of Watergrasshill, which can cater for weddings of up to 250 people, but also hosts smaller, more intimate celebrations. The food is fresh, local and seasonal, with suppliers that include Ballyhoura and Gubbeen, and each wedding is a one-off, individual rather than formulaic.
29 GHAN HOUSE
Carlingford, Co Louth; ghanhouse.com
Located in one of the prettiest villages in Ireland, Ghan House is old school and caters for weddings with between eight and 100 guests. There are log fires and a ballroom for dancing, and the venue is approved for civil ceremonies.
9-12 Haddington Terrace, Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin; haddingtonhouse.ie
Oliveto has developed into a fine Italian restaurant and its location at Haddington House, right by the sea, makes it a fine choice for a wedding on the south side with accommodation on hand. Exclusive hire of the venue is a good choice for larger weddings, but there are plenty of options for smaller celebrations too.