Thursday 14 December 2017

Is this Ireland's tastiest food experience? Our readers say yes!

Reader Travel Awards 2017

MacNean House and Restaurant, Blacklion, Co.Cavan. Photo: Paul Sherwood
MacNean House and Restaurant, Blacklion, Co.Cavan. Photo: Paul Sherwood
Neven Maguire
Pól Ó Conghaile

Pól Ó Conghaile

Ireland’s food is tastier than ever. But what’s your favourite homegrown food experience?

Winner: MacNean House & Restaurant, Co Cavan

You might struggle to locate Neven Maguire’s MacNean House & Restaurant on a map, but for our readers, it’s the centre of Ireland’s foodie-verse.

“I thought I’d eaten in some excellent places before, but my dining experience here blew them all out of the water,” one said. “Amazing food, every plate looked like a work of art, and the taste matched too,” said another.

That’s just the beginning. MacNean’s offers “phenomenal” food, you said. You enjoyed “the most beautiful tasting menu and wine pairing”, “a real foodies’ treat” and “a must-return” trip with a head chef as beloved as he is talented — “Neven Maguire has to be the best chef in the world.”

Neven Maguire
Neven Maguire

Maguire himself is modest, and might suggest one or two others to vie with him for that particular crown, but he, his family and a devoted team have built a restaurant with rooms par excellence in the most unlikely of locations.

It may not have a Michelin Star, but MacNean’s books out months in advance, and can take its place alongside Ballymaloe and Chapter One as one of the motherships of the modern Irish foodie revolution.

“I visited MacNean’s for a special occasion and it was possibly one of the greatest nights of my life," you said. "The food was exquisite in every way.”

Details: 071 985-3022; nevenmaguire.com; €85 (prestige menu).

Your foodie picks for 2017!

mustard_seed_limerick.jpg
The Mustard Seed, Ballingarry, Co. Limerick. Picture: Alan Place.

YOU SAY: Fab Food Trails in Dublin and Cork of course, the first and best food walks! Led by a local guide, each tasting is carefully chosen and is seriously good. Meeting the producers and purveyors, all so friendly, informative and fun, adds so much to the experience too.”

YOU SAY: The Milk Market in Limerick is packed with gorgeous food! Jody’s macaroons have a special place in my heart, I just can't walk past the stand without buying some!”

YOU SAY: “The Mustard Seed restaurant, Ballingarry (above). I've seen the menu change & modernise over the last five years. It has always been delicious & I've never had a meal that I haven't enjoyed there. Our wedding reception was there five years ago and people are still talking about the food.”

YOU SAY:Ballymaloe House, Co. Cork - Maybe the obvious choice, but it doesn't have all those accolades for no reason. All home or locally grown ingredients, and they even hand roast their own coffee beans. How could anyone possibly beat that?”

YOU SAY: “Oh this is easy- Neven Maguire’s in Blacklion, County Cavan. I visited here for a special occasion and it was possibly one of the greatest nights of my life. The food was exquisite in every way. My partner did not eat fish at the time, and Neven converted him. Every bite was scrumptious and mouth-watering. I think it should be up there on 'things to do before you die'.”

YOU SAY:Zucchini's restaurant in Navan is simply the best. As my father would tell the waitress after a meal, ‘The plates speak for themselves!’"

YOU SAY:Tea by the Sea at Downpatrick Head is the coolest food experience in Mayo. No five-star dining here, but probably the best views in the country and a warming cup of tea or a juicy hot dog just when you need it the most. Patsy and Wanda park up each day during summer, lays out his tables and chairs, hoists the Mayo flag (even though he's a Tipp man!) and fires up the electricity. By the time you've come back down from the headland, they’ll have the tea brewed and a delicious burger or breakfast roll ready, served with a side of ‘Mr. Tipp's Special Chips’!”

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