Thursday 23 May 2019

Ireland’s 100 Best Restaurants – now with beach shack and food carts

Food, glorious food

Diana Dodog and Mike O'Donovan of The Food Depot in Cork. The restaurant is a new entry on McKenna's Guides 100 Best Restaurants in Ireland 2015.
Diana Dodog and Mike O'Donovan of The Food Depot in Cork. The restaurant is a new entry on McKenna's Guides 100 Best Restaurants in Ireland 2015.
McKennas' Guides apps - among the bestselling apps in Ireland this week.
Harry's Shack, Portstewart, Co. Derry. The shack features on the influential 100 Best Restaurants in Ireland list.
John & Sally McKenna.
Martina Cronin of Square Table in Cork. The restaurant features on John & Sally McKenna's 100 Best list for 2015.
Gregan's Castle's fine dining
Brothers David and Stephen Flynn of the Happy Pear cafe. Photo: Ronan Lang.
Ross and Karen Quinn of Vasco in Fanore, Co. Clare. The restaurant is one of Ireland's 100 best, according to John & Sally McKenna.
Pól Ó Conghaile

Pól Ó Conghaile

McKenna’s Guides has published its annual list of Ireland's 100 Best Restaurants, with a smorgasbord of entries ranging from fine dining to food shacks.

Galway is “the finest city to eat in Ireland” according to John and Sally McKenna's influential guide, published this week in app format for Apple and Android.

New entries on the 100 Best Restaurants list include The Happy Pear in Greystones, Co. Wicklow, Forest Avenue and The Fumbally in Dublin and Cork's "gourmet street kitchen", The Food Depot - run by Irish MasterChef winner, Diana Dodog (pictured above).

Also included is Harry’s Shack in Portstewart, Co. Derry (below) – a beach shack whose chef Derek Creagh has worked in Heston Blumenthal's Fat Duck and Riverside Brasserie.

Harry's Shack 2 (photo-Sally McKenna)(1).jpg
Harry's Shack, Portstewart, Co. Derry. The shack features on the influential 100 Best Restaurants in Ireland list.

Harry's Shack, Portstewart, Co. Derry

Mixing cafés, food carts and pizza joints - such as Skinflint in Dublin - in among the cream of the country's mid-range and Michelin Star restaurants signals just how far Ireland’s casual food scene has come in recent years.

"In addition to food carts from Derry and West Cork, there is also a food shack, there is a canteen that is housed in a market, there is a surfer's paradise in Co. Sligo, and there is a pizza place in Donegal run by an hotelier, a baker and a craft brewer,” John McKenna says.

The choices may look eccentric, but there are some serious CVs behind them.

The fact that chefs like Creagh and Dodog are cooking in shacks and trucks reflects a trend towards food experiences rather than stuffy service, McKenna adds.

Read more: Ireland’s 100 Best Places to Stay – and they're surprisingly affordable

“What unifies these places, is great cooking," he says.

"When you think of the traditional food cart in Ireland you think of a gruesome experience, a greasy chipper, only fit to eat from when you're drunk... but these are very, very different."

However, the 100 Best list is also notable for its exclusions.

Kilkenny scarcely features, for instance, with just one entry (Campagne). Mount Juliet’s Michelin Starred Lady Helen restaurant fails to make the cut.

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Mount Juliet, Kilkenny.

Mount Juliet - missed the cut

Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud, Ireland's only two Michelin Star restaurant, is perhaps the most surprising omission, with Oliver Dunne's Bon Appetit also absent.

"I would be no respecter of Michelin Stars," McKenna says. "It's not what I'm interested in, and it's not what the people who buy our books are interested in."

Bolstering its foodie reputation, Galway's new entries include Enda McEvoy's Loam, McCambridge’s of Shop Street and Upstairs @West, in Barna’s Twelve Hotel.

Dublin-based restaurants account for a quarter of the total list - with 25 total inclusions, while Kerry has just four of Ireland's Top 100 restaurants, three of which are in Dingle.

100 Best Restaurants in Ireland

Co. Carlow

Lennons @ Visual, VISUAL Centre, Carlow

Step House Hotel,  Borris

Co. Cavan

MacNean Restaurant, Blacklion

The Olde Post Inn, Cloverhill, Butler’s Bridge

Co. Clare

Gregan’s Castle, Ballyvaughan

The Long Dock, Carrigaholt

Vasco, Fanore [NEW]

Vaughan Lodge, Lahinch [NEW]

Wild Honey Inn, Lisdoonvarna

Co. Cork

Ballymaloe House, Shanagarry

The Black Pig, Kinsale [NEW]

Café Paradiso, Lancaster Quay, Cork

Deasy’s Harbour Bar, Clonakilty

The Farm Gate Café, English Market, Cork

Fenn’s Quay, Cork

Fishy Fishy Café,  Kinsale

The Food Depot, Courtmacsherry [NEW]

Glebe Gardens, Baltimore

Good Things Café, Durrus

Iyer’s,  Cork

Lettercollum Kitchen Project, Clonakilty [NEW]

Manning’s Emporium, Ballylickey [NEW]

Monks Lane, Timoleague [NEW]

Sage Restaurant, Midleton

The Square Table, Blarney [NEW]

Co. Donegal

Harrys Bar & Restaurant, Bridgend

The Mill Restaurant, Dunfanaghy

The Tap Room, Rathmullan House [NEW]

Co. Dublin

Ananda, Dundrum Town Centre

Brioche, Ranelagh [NEW]

Brother Hubbard & Sister Sadie, Capel Street

The Cake Cafe, Pleasants Place [NEW]

The Canteen at the Market, Blackrock Market [NEW]

Chameleon Restaurant, Temple Bar

Chapter One, Parnell Square

China Sichuan, Sandyford

The Chop House, Shelbourne Road

Dunne & Crescenzi, South Frederick Street

Ely Winebar, Ely Place

Etto, Merrion Row [NEW]

L’Ecrivain, Lower Baggot Street

Forest Avenue, Sussex Terrace [NEW]

The Fumbally, Fumbally Lane [NEW]

The Greenhouse, Dawson Street

L. Mulligan Grocers, Stoneybatter

Mourne Seafood Bar, Grand Canal Dock [NEW]

O’Connell’s, Donnybrook

Pearl Brasserie, Merrion Street Upper

Pichet, Trinity Street, Dublin

Restaurant Forty One, St Stephen’s Green

Skinflint, Crane Lane

Thornton’s Restaurant, St. Stephen’s Green

Winding Stair, Lower Ormond Quay

The Woollen Mills, Ormond Quay Lower, [NEW]

Co. Galway

Aniar, Lower Dominick Street

Ard Bia at Nimmo’s, Spanish Arch

Cava Bodega, Middle Street

Inis Meáin Restaurant & Suites, Inis Meain

Kai Cafe + Restaurant, Sea Road

Loam, Geatta Na Cathrach, Fairgreen [NEW]

McCambridges, Shop Street [NEW]

Upstairs @ West, Barna [NEW]

Co. Kerry

Idás, Dingle [NEW]

Global Village, Dingle [NEW]

Out Of The Blue, Dingle

Packies, Kenmare

Co. Kildare

The Ballymore Inn, Ballymore Eustace

Harte’s of Kildare, Kildare Town

Co. Kilkenny

Campagne, 5 The Arches, Gashouse Lane

Co. Leitrim

The Cottage Restaurant, Jamestown

The Courthouse, Kinlough

Luna Restaurant, Dromahair [NEW]

The Oarsman, Carrick-on-Shannon

Co. Limerick

Canteen, Mallow Street

La Cucina, Castletroy

Restaurant 1826, Adare

Co. Longford

Viewmount House, Longford

Co. Louth

Eastern Seaboard, Drogheda

Co. Mayo

Knockranny House, Westport

An Port Mor, Westport

Rua & Café Rua, Castlebar

Sage,  Westport

Co. Sligo

Shell’s Café, Strandhill [NEW]

Co. Tipperary

Chez Hans & Cafe Hans, Cashel

The Old Convent, Clogheen

Co. Waterford

Cliff House Hotel, Ardmore

The Tannery Restaurant, Dungarvan

Co. Westmeath

The Fatted Calf, Glasson

Co. Wicklow

The Happy Pear, Greystones [NEW]

The Strawberry Tree at Brook Lodge, Aughrim

Northern Ireland

Upstairs at Balloo, Killinchy

Browns & Browns in Town, Derry, 

Harry’s Shack, Portstewart [NEW]

James Street South, Belfast

Howard Street, Belfast [NEW]

Lost and Found, Coleraine [NEW]

The Old Schoolhouse Inn, Castle Espie

OX, 1 Oxford Street, Belfast

Pyke’n’Pommes, Queen’s Quay, Derry

Shu, 253 Lisburn Road, Belfast

Gregan's Castle's fine dining

Gregan's Castle - one of Ireland's 100 Best

McKenna’s Guides are compiled and published in app format for both Apple and Android by influential food writers John and Sally McKenna. They also launched an updated version of their ‘Where To Eat & Stay on the Wild Atlantic Way’ guide this week.

The apps are produced together with DCU’s School of Communications via the Enterprise Ireland knowledge partnership scheme, and include GPS and links to social media and websites for the establishments listed.

They are available on iTunes and Google Play at €2.99 each.

Read more:

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