50 of the best world restaurants in Ireland
Expand your palette with Katy McGuinness' top global cuisine picks.
Are there any top picks near you?
Please note: restaurants are listed in no particular order.
DUNDRUM TOWN CENTRE, DUBLIN 14. (01) 296 0099, anandarestaurant.ie
For those with a preference for fine-dining, Ananda is the place to go. The glamorous space at Dundrum Town Centre attracts the great and the good, and wine pairings are innovative. This is Indian food and flavour using great Irish ingredients served in the French style, and very good it is too. Owned by the same people who are behind Jaipur in Dalkey and Malahide, and Chakra in Greystones.
MAIN STREET CARPARK, UNIT 4, DONEGAL TOWN. (074) 972 5452, chandpurdonegal.com
This multi-award-winning restaurant in Donegal Town is smart and stylish, with a reputation for friendly service and excellent food. The dishes using local fish come particularly recommended.
3 CINNAMON GARDEN
Frederick Street, Milltown, Ashbourne, Co Meath. (01) 835 2777, cinnamongarden.ie
This contemporary Indian restaurant - more rogan posh than rogan josh, said the late Paolo Tullio in his review - was the overall winner in the Irish Curry Awards last year. This is a class operation and you definitely need to book.
4 INDUS SPICE
2 Lower KILMACUD RoaD, STILLORGAN, CO. DUBLIN. (01) 210 8440, indusspice.com
Located over a row of shops, the menu at the award-winning Indus Spice covers all the familiar dishes, and some regional specialities, but the execution is a cut above standard curry house fare. Regulars are devoted to the King Prawn Achari in particular.
38 POPES QUAY, SHANDON, CORK. (087) 640 9079, facebook.com/iyers
Iyer's specialises in Southern Indian vegetarian food and has a special place in the hearts of Leeside foodies. Gautham Iyer cooks seasonally and healthily - beetroot and peanut tikka chat, anyone? - and is responsible for making all the samosas in his family-run restaurant by hand. A little gem.
6 KERALA KITCHEN
5 UPPER BAGGOT STREET, DUBLIN 4. (01) 668 7371, keralakitchen.ie
Kerala Kitchen started out as a food truck in Donegal, and is a familiar feature at lunchtime markets around Dublin and at festivals around the country. Now it has a bricks and mortar home on Baggot Street, where its casual ambience and super-fresh food is a winner with local office-workers at lunchtime, and just about everyone else in the evening.
318 CLONTARF ROAD, DUBLIN 3. (01) 833 6759, kinara.ie
Kinara's sister restaurants are Kajjal in Malahide and Kinara Kitchen in Ranelagh. They are festival favourites too, winning the Electric Picnic award three years in a row. Expect stylish interiors and a menu featuring a mix of Indian and Pakistani dishes, with seafood to the fore in dishes such as Kakeragh made with crab claws, and Tandoori Lobster Tail.
8 MONAGHAN SPICE
GROUND FLOOR, 9 THE DIAMOND, MONAGHAN TOWN. (047) 81646, monaghanspice.ie
This smart Monaghan Town Indian restaurant is very popular with the locals, and has a reputation for high quality food that's reasonably priced. Eastern Balti, on Market Street in the town, is also good.
9 MONTYS OF KATHMANDU
28 EUSTACE STREET, TEMPLE BAR, DUBLIN 2. (01) 670 4911, montys.ie
Monty's of Kathmandu, owned by Shiva and Lina Gautam, has been pulling them in on Eustace Street for 23 years now, and it's a favourite with celebrities so you never know who you'll spot in there, tucking into the barbecued venison tareko, gorkhali, chicken chilli nanglo and other Nepalese specialties. Monty's pulls off the feast of being stylish, relaxed and lots of fun.
43 CAMDEN STREET, DUBLIN 2. (01) 555 7755, picklerestaurant.com
Sunil Ghai's Camden Street restaurant is dedicated to the street food of Northern India, and all manner of deliciousness awaits. Everything is good, but the next time we go, we're going to pre-order the Slow Braised Shoulder of Lamb with Saffron Sauce, Black Lentils, Cumin Pulao, Mint Raita, Coriander Chutney & Butter Naan which serves two-to-three people and sounds amazing. Ghai was formerly the chef at Ananda in Dundrum.
11 COPPER & SPICES
18 Ludlow Street, Dillonsland, Navan, Co Meath. (046) 906 0648, copperandspices.ie
Located in Navan, Copper & Spices is a modern Indian restaurant with a great wine list and a fine selection of Irish craft beers. The kitchen prides itself on its relationship with local farmers in the Boyne Valley, and uses a wide range of fresh seasonal ingredients including locally-sourced poultry, meat and fish. The locals are fiercely loyal and why wouldn't they be?
18/19 Glasthule Road, Glasthule, Co. Dublin. (01) 230 0600, rasam.ie
Rasam is almost a canteen for well-heeled South County Dublin types who have been flocking here for high quality regional Indian food since 2003. The team of chefs hails from different areas of the country and bring with them recipes from North to South. Owner Nisheeth Tak makes regular spice-buying trips to India and the kitchen grinds its spices fresh each day. Plenty of vegetarian options.
13 THREE LEAVES
19A MAIN STREET, BLACKROCK, CO. DUBLIN. (087) 769 1361, facebook.com/ 3leaves
Tucked away in Blackrock Market, Dublin, the next-door neighbours, Andrew Heron and Damien Grey of the Michelin-starred Heron & Grey, say that they eat at 3 Leaves every day. "The guy is thinking outside the box," says Grey, "there is pure integrity and honesty in his approach to modern day Asian flavours." A typical day's menu might include samosa chaat, balchaoo calamari, vegetable momos, lamb momos, and butter chicken masala. Which all sounds pretty fabulous.
120 CAPEL STREET, DUBLIN 1. (01) 515 8022, arisukoreanrestaurant.com
There are branches of Arisu on Capel Street and in Rathmines and the owners, Korean couple Yoon Hee Cho and Gantack Lee, have been in business since 2010. Arisu is known for its authentic Korean barbecue menu and also for sushi. Dishes include spicy zampong and bulgoggi, plus kimchi of course, lots of kimchi.
15 BONDA BISTRO
BUTTERMILK WALK, GALWAY CITY. (091) 375 572. Facebook.com/bondabistro
This little Malaysian restaurant has a reputation for great food at keen prices. Don't be put off by the few western dishes on the menu, the Malaysian food is authentic. Good roti canai, laksa and nasi lemak.
16 HANG DAI
20 Camden Street, Dublin 2. (01) 545 8888, hangdaichinese.com
Chef Karl Whelan is in the kitchen at funky Hang Dai, where killer cocktails are served in a restaurant styled like a subway carriage that plays its music loud and stays open late. The Beijing Duck is a specialty, be sure not to miss the soft-shell crab if it is on special and the prawn toasts with yuzu mayonnaise. The green bean and aubergine dishes are epic.
17 THE CHAMELEON
1 FOWNES STREET LOWER, TEMPLE BAR, DUBLIN 2. (01) 671 0362, chameleonrestaurant.com
Very few restaurants in Temple bar have lasted as long as Chameleon, which has been in business since 1994. The Indonesian food - including all pastes and sauces - is made from scratch in the tiny kitchen by chef Kevin O'Toole, and the opulent feel of the interiors is a great backdrop to his excellent food. There's a tapas menu in the downstairs Spice Bar, and the traditional rijst-tafel menus are great for a gang.
Unit 5, Knockmullen Retail Park, Knockmullen, Gorey, Co Wexford. (053) 948 1550, facebook.com/ipohgorey
This Gorey gem serves a pan-Asian range of cuisines, taking in Thai, Chinese, Taiwanese and Malaysian dishes. The locals love it.
19 CHINA SICHUAN
The Forum, Ballymoss Road, Sandyford, Dublin 18. (01) 293 5100, china-sichuan.ie
With a cohort of loyal customers who have been eating at the China Sichuan ever since it was located on the Lower Kilmacud Road, this smart restaurant continues to please with favourite dishes such as Waltip Dumplings and Shredded Pork in 'Fish Fragrance.' Lots of family groups on Sundays.
65 DAME STREET, DUBLIN 2. (01) 764 5722
The original branch of this Korean restaurant is on Capel Street. Go to either branch for the bibimbap and the dumplings, which Koreans say are the best in the city. Chef Kwanghi Chan of Chan Chan sauce and spice bag mix fame, who worked at The Cliff House and Soder & Ko before going out on his own, is a fan.
21 HAN SUNG
22 GREAT STRAND STREET, DUBLIN 1. (01) 8874 405, facebook.com/hansungrestaurant
Located at the back of the Han Sung Asian Supermarket just off Millennium Walk on Great Strand Street, the food at this authentic Korean restaurant is full of flavour and excellent value. Chef Kwanghi Chan recommends the braised belly beef chilli soup with udon noodles, the bulgogi also has plenty of fans.
22 KIN KHAO
1 ABBEY LANE, ATHLONE, CO WESTMEATH. (090) 649 8805, kinkhaothai.ie
Long-regarded as one of the best Thai restaurants in Ireland, chef Takashi Miyazaki of Miyazaki in Cork is just one of this unassuming Thai restaurant's many fans. The menus cover a wide range of dishes including street-food from the nightmarkets, others from the far north of Thailand, influenced by Lao and Burma, the fiery salads and curries of Isaan, and the creamy coconut curries of the south, influenced by Muslim and Indian traditions. Many of the dishes on the menu come from the hometowns and villages of the staff, and started off as simple staff meals before being introduced to the menu.
46 BAGGOT STREEt UPPER, DUBLIN 4. (01) 6682760, langkawi.ie
Langkawi has been going strong on Baggot Street for more years than anyone cares to remember and is as good as it ever was. Brothers Alexander and Nicholas Hosey from Seremban, in North Sembilan, Malaysia are the owners. They serve traditional Malaysian food from all over the country and specialities from their home region. The food reflects the cultures that have influenced the country, including Chinese, Malay, Portuguese and Indian. The ambience is nice and relaxed and there's a devoted regular clientele.
4 GRIANAN GAEL, NEWCASTLE ROAD, GALWAY CITY. (091) 528 844, jalanjalan.ie
The family that owns and runs this popular takeaway and casual restaurant near NUIG and University Hospital may be Chinese, but the menu specialises in Thai and Malaysian dishes, with a few Vietnamese favourites thrown in in for good measure. Try starters such as Poh Pia Rolls or Cumin Satay Kambing, and main courses including Thai Mango Chicken, Sambal Prawn or Vietnamese Galanga Curry. The spice bag is good, too.
25 LEE KEE
110a Parnell Street, Dublin 1. (083) 450 0922
Chef Gaz Smith of Michael's in Mount Merrion calls it "the Parnell Street lottery", because the chefs in Dublin's Chinatown seem to move around a lot from one establishment to another, so consistency can be an issue. Lee Kee is one that holds its own, though, with authentic food that's a cut above your average Chinese. Jane Kupen, of the celebrated Luna restaurant on Drury Street, recommends the sea whelks and cumin lamb in particular. She says that the pig's ear salad is "interesting".
26 LUCKY TORTOISE
Hill Pub, Ranelagh, Dublin 6. luckytortoise.co
The Lucky Tortoise serves a dim sum brunch at the Hill pub in Ranelagh each Sunday from (and also at Eatyard beside the Bernard Shaw pub in Dublin 2). The menu changes each week but expect plenty of dumpling and kimchi action and plenty more besides. The standard of the food is getting better all the time and attracts a trendy crowd.
27 M & L
13/14 Cathedral Street, Dublin 1. (01) 874 8038, mlchineserestaurant.com
A favourite with restaurant industry folk, and somewhere you're likely to run into chefs on their day off, M&L I regard as one of the most consistent and authentic Chinese restaurants in the country. Some brave souls recommend the cold tripe, while others opt for less-challenging beef and chilli, and deep-fried aubergine with soy sauce. The Gin&griddle blog recommends deep-fried corn in egg yolk and the green beans with pork.
120 RANELAGH, DUBLIN 6. (01) 538 5200, nightmarket.ie
Nightmarket has set the palates of D6 on fire with its vibrant, traditional and authentic Thai cuisine since it opened earlier this year. There's a focus on the rustic food of Chiang Mai, where the grandparents of chef Jutarat Suwankeeree, known as 'R', had a stall in the nightmarket, and the spicy seafood dishes of Hua Hin, a coastal city at the top of the southern Malay peninsula, where she grew up. R's partner, Conor Sexton, looks after front of house and there are Thai-spiced cocktails to accompany the food.
29 OLD TOWN
123 CAPEL STREET, DUBLIN 1. (01) 873 3570, facebook.com/oldtownchineserestaurant
Popular with Chinese families, who tend to eat early, this is a convivial spot serving authentic Sichuan and Cantonese food. Try the whelks with ginger and scallions, the steamed dumplings, and Sichuan beef with wood ear mushrooms and plenty of chillies.
30 PAPA RICH STREEtFOOD KITCHEN
3 DALY'S PLACE, GALWAY. (091) 450 147
Prices are low and the quality high at this upstairs Galway restaurant, which serves a range of dishes across the Asian spectrum from Phuket Fish Cakes to Korean Fried Chicken, Indonesian Rendang and Yakisoba noodles.
31 PHO VIET
162 PARNELL STREET, DUBLIN 1. (01) 878 3165, phoviet.ie
Regarded as one of the most authentic Vietnamese restaurants in the capital, fans go for the Ban Xeo - crisp, flaky pancakes filled with pork, prawns, beansprouts and onions - and for the pho, Asian meat and noodle soup served with sides of beansprouts, mint, lemon and birds-eye chilli.
32 POW BAO
Eatyard, 9-10 South Richmond Street, Dublin 2. powbao.ie
Pow Bao started in Bray and now serves its Taiwanese fluffy steamed soft buns filled with all manner of Asian deliciousness at Eatyard, beside the Bernard Shaw pub on South Richmond Street. Some of the fillings are properly authentic, others - such as the Baozi Bao with pancetta, guacamole, fried egg and Clonakilty black pudding mayo - take a few more liberties with the form, but all taste pretty fine.
28 Clarendon Street, Dublin 2. (01) 679 2000, sabadublin.com
One of the best known of Dublin's Asian restaurants, with a second branch on Baggot Street and now a takeaway operation also. Saba is primarily known for Thai food but also serves a range of Vietnamese dishes. Chef Taweesak Trakoolwattana cooks inventive food that's big on flavour and authenticity, and keeps up with food trends with plenty of dishes ticking the paleo and gluten-free boxes. Saba is a stylish spot, and its cocktails are legendary. Try the panang nua beef red curry, and massaman chicken, says one regular.
4 GEORGE'S QUAY, LIMERICK. (061) 419 605, kyotosushi.ie
Serving good sushi and a range of traditional Japanese dishes including noodles and ramen, Kyoto is popular with Limerick foodie-types. The bamboo beer garden comes into its own on balmy summer nights.
Calry Court, Stephen Street, Abbeyquarter North, Co Sligo. (071) 919 4986, facebook.com/misosligo
This friendly restaurant in Sligo serves both Japanese and Korean food - go for great sushi made with local fish sourced from Killbegs, kimchi pancakes and bibimbap. The head chef and owner is Nae Young Jung, who hails from Suanbo in South Korea.
15 CAPEL STREET, DUBLIN 1. (01) 532 8068, musashidublin.com
There are branches of Musashi at Capel Street, Hogan Place, the IFSC and Sandyford, with another coming soon to Parnell Sreet. The prices haven't changed much since the early days of the original, smaller Musashi on Capel Street, and the food is consistently good, with properly fresh fish for the sushi and friendly staff.
71 NORTH STRAND RD, DUBLIN 3. (01) 8194741, okayu.ie
Ballybough locals flock to the Okayu takeaway for good quality sushi and sashimi, freshly made to order, and a menu that features traditional Japanese favourites such as Donburi and rice bowls. The tasty Okonomiyaki savoury pancake includes bacon, vegetables and dried bonito.
1A EVERGREEN STREET, CORK CITY. (021) 431 2716, facebook.com/miyazaki
Takashi Miyazaki's tiny little restaurant - you can't miss the geisha mural on the wall outside - serves the best Japanese food in the country, and that's undisputed, just ask any Michelin-starred chef that you happen to meet. For the time being there are only a few seats up at the window, but there are rumours of a proper restaurant in the pipeline. Until then, watch out for any Miyazaki pop-ups, join the queue, or buy and take away if there are no free seats.
39 THE RAMEN BAR
51 SOUTH WILLIAM STREET, DUBLIN 2. (01) 547 0658, kokorosushibento.com
Tucked away at the back of Kokoro - where you'll find good sushi and bento boxes - is Dublin's best ramen bar, full of happy punters slurping away on bowls of noodles that are hand-made in-house in spicy or not so spicy umami-rich broth, topped with an optional egg. Prepare to get your shirt dirty.
40 WA CAFÉ
13 NEW DOCK STREET, GALWAY. (091) 895850, wacafe.net
Yoshimi Hayakawa has been making sushi in Galway since 2002 and her little café is one of the city's delights, serving a range of Japanese dishes, ramen, and karaage (fried) chicken. The fish comes from Gannet, Stephane Greisbach's exceptional fishmongers, and is the freshest there is. Don't miss the Japanese Snickers Bar dessert.
41 THE CEDAR TREE
11 ST ANDREW'S STREET, DUBLIN 2. (01) 677 2121, facebook.com/cedartreerestaurant
This Lebanese restaurant in the south city centre has been quietly going about its business for decades, serving up delicious mezze, Lebanese wine (including the famous Chateau Musar) and occasional belly-dancing, It's a favourite spot of John and Sandy Wyer of Forest Avenue.
42 MORO KITCHEN
21 CAMDEN STREET LOWER, DUBLIN 2. (01) 4758816, morokitchen.ie
A sister establishment to Dada on South William Street, Moro focuses on the street food of North Africa and the Levant. Expect spicy harissa falafel wraps, Moroccan style eggs, kofta meatballs, merguez, and fresh mint tea. Moro is a relaxed, stylish spot and attracts a young and trendy crowd.
43 BONDIOLA ARGENTINA
53 HADDINTON ROAD, DUBLIN 4. (01) 667 5692, bondiolaargentina.com
Argentinians in Dublin come here for the Quilmes beers and empanadas, and steak from home. Gets busy on match days.
44 ANU SPECIAL KITCHEN
Glen Abbey Complex, Belgard Road, Tallaght, Dublin 24. (087) 673 0637, anuspecialkitchen.com
Anu runs a popular catering company and a multicultural buffet restaurant that serves a full range of traditional African dishes.
45 HIS FOOD
MOORE STREET MALL, 58-66 PARNELL STREET, DUBLIN 1. facebook.com/hisfoodcharcoalgrill
Specialising in the food of the Balkans, owner Hamo Muhadzic has been serving lunches to workers from Bosnia, Montenegro, Romania and Croatia since 2009. The portions are huge and meat-centric - expect cevap (10 sausages served in a pita with a feta, tomato and cucumber salad), burek (filled pastry pie) and chorba stew. The charcoal grill is key.
46 UMI FALAFEL
11/12 ACADEMY STREET, CORK CITY. (021) 427 4466, umifalafel.ie
Umi Falafel has two Dublin branches - on Dame Street in the city centre and also in Rathmines - and one in Cork. The offering is limited but very fresh and tasty, simple and authentic. Great falafel cooked to order, vibrant salads, and pickles and sauces made to a family recipe. Prices are low, and quality is high.
CASTLE HOUSE, SOUTH GREAT GEORGE'S ST, DUBLIN 2. (01) 425 4052, 777.ie
John Farrell's 777 (do say 'triple seven' rather than 'seven, seven, seven' if you want to get it right) serves great Mexican food and dangerous cocktails in this super-trendy establishment on Dublin's George's Street. Regular Margarita Mondays and Taco Tuesdays are popular with those on a budget, and Sunday brunch is legendary.
48 K CHIDO MEXICO
11 CHANCERY STREET, INNS QUAY, DUBLIN 7. (085) 823 0348, kchidomexico.com
Authentic Mexican street food served from a funky vintage Citroen HY parked at the entrance of Fegan's Foodservice warehouse. You sit on surprisingly comfortable furniture made of pallets and scoff tacos, nachos, quesadillas and burritos accompanied by owner Gustavo's home-made salsas and sauces. Cheap and cheerful.
Gate 10 CAMDEN STreet UPPER, DUBLIN 2. (01) 475 2000, damascusgate.ie
Lebanese and Syrian food, a shisha pipe smoking room and a feeling that you really might be eating somewhere other than Dublin. Have arak to drink and the experience will be complete. The food is authentic and delicious.
50 PICADO MEXICAN
44A SOUTH RICHMOND STREET, DUBLIN 2. (01) 479 2004, picadomexican.com
Lily Ramirez-Forman's Picado Mexican is a grocer's and cookery school rather than a restaurant, but once a month or thereabouts she and her husband, Alan, host a Mexican supper club. The three-course menu follows a particular theme and it's BYOB. The food is fabulous.