The Best Seat in the House – 8 Chef’s Tables in Ireland You Need to Experience
It is well documented that Ireland’s restaurant scene is flourishing. In line with this growth, more so than ever the stories of each restaurant and the chefs behind them are being shared, giving us a taste of their unique ethos and style of cooking.
However, no matter how many articles you read, or indeed how many times you take a seat in the dining room, there is still an air of mystery about what goes on beyond the pass, and it’s not often you get to see the cogs turning behind the scenes.
Chef’s tables grant a rare opportunity to get up-close-and-personal with the kitchen, to see the chefs at work and watch as your dinner gets plated up before your very eyes, granting an insight into how the chef’s mind ticks – much like the Netflix series of the same name.
Want the best seat in the house? You can’t get much better than these chef’s tables in Ireland.
The drama of dining at the chef’s table at Dublin Michelin starred Chapter One begins with its design. The work of chef patron Ross Lewis and interior architect Maria MacVeigh, enclosed within a square glass box, just metres away from the kitchen, sits an edged glazed volcanic rock table with a large striking bog oak bowl at its centre, mirroring the emphasis on design and Irish craftsmanship throughout the restaurant. From there a maximum of six guests can settle into the brown leather banquette and observe every aspect of their 7 course tasting menu being prepared by head chef Matthew Fuller and his team.
Around the corner from Paul Flynn’s Dungarvan restaurant, The Tannery Cookery School is home to a dining room where groups can settle in for an evening of chef’s table menus served up by a dedicated personal chef. The restaurant itself has two private dining rooms where you might not get a personal chef but you’ll be equally spoiled with the Tannery’s signature stle of cooking and and service.
Since opening in July 1989 Michelin starred l’Ecrivain by Derry and Sallyanne Clarke has undergone several transformations, but has always maintained superb standard of cooking and a reputation for flawless service. You can experience this at another level at The Kitchen at l’Ecrivain, a private dining room with a ‘live’ kitchen. Here up to 24 guest can look and learn while enjoying their food, as a senior chef cooks and prepares it in front of them. The action is also displayed on two large screens within the room so you don’t miss out on the smallest of details.
Opening their doors between March and September only, a reservation at Mews in Baltimore, West Cork is worth its weight in gastronomic gold. Securing a seat at the Chef’s Bar then is all the more covetable. The five seater bar, usually exclusively reserved for regulars, is served by the chefs themselves. This one is worth the forward planning, and the eight hour round trip from Dublin and back.
Situated on the third floor of the hotel, with its dramatic floor-to-ceiling glass walls that allow you to take in the magestic Sugar Loaf Mountains, dining at Sika Restaurant is always a jaw-dropping experience, even before the food is served. Elevate the drama by taking a seat at the Chef’s Table, an exclusive opportunity to dine within the kitchen and observe the chefs prepare local, seasonal ingredients with a distinctively modern twist.
The waiting list for a reservation at Neven Maguire’s MacNean House & Restaurant is a notoriously lengthy thing, as people queue up to celebrate special occasions and the spectacular cooking of Neven and his team. Make the occasion all the more special by booking the chef’s table, where you and up to 20 guests will have full view of the chefs cooking and serving your meal in a private and homely surrounding.
Following a €1.3m fit-out, Dubliner Andy McFadden has launched his takeover of the The Fitzwilliam Hotel’s 70-seater fine dining restaurant, Glovers Alley, formerly Restaurant Kevin Thornton. While plump pink velvet sofas are aplenty throughout the Art Deco influenced restaurant, nearer to the kitchen is a 12-seater chef’s table to host larger parties. If snagging a reservation at talk-of-the-town Glovers Alley is a must for any food lover then these primly positioned seats are surely the hottest in the city.
Forest and Marcy may not have a dedicated ‘chef’s table’ but so intimate is this little neighborhood wine room and restaurant on Dublin’s Leeson Street that the majority of seating is along a marble dining counter. From there you can become immersed in the intricacies of each dish as you watch chef Ciaran Sweeney and his team at work, as they invite you to interact and ask as many questions as you like.
Erica grew up with a baker and confectioner for a father and a mother with an instinct and love for good food. It is little wonder then that, after completing a law degree, she went on to do a Masters in Food Business at UCC. With a consuming passion for all things food, nutrition and wellness, working with TheTaste is a perfect fit for Erica; allowing her to learn and experience every aspect of the food world meeting its characters and influencers along the way.