Throughout 2018 we saw the culinary scene in Ireland go through many phases. There were exciting new openings, new Michelin stars and bibs, a shocking increase in restaurant “no shows”, and closures of some of the countries best-loved venues.
Looking towards the year ahead we want to support our amazing local businesses, eat fantastic food and sip fabulous wine while we’re doing it! So, to give you some dining inspiration we’ve named a few restaurants that you definitely need to add to your culinary bucket list.
For more information, please visit www.grano.ie
A new venture from chef Keelan Higgs that just opened before Christmas. Nestled on Thomas Street in Dublin, Variety Jones is a small but intimate restaurant that specialises in family style dishes, perfect for sharing. Sommelier Vanda Ivančić regularly changes the wine list, which showcases natural and organic wines from small producers.
With a large portion of the food at Variety Jones prepared by cooking open hearth, you will get delicious hums of smokey flavour, as well as perfectly cooked meats.
For more information, please visit www.varietyjones.ie
A new fishy endeavour for Dublin by Niall Sabongi & Sustainable Seafood Ireland. Sabongi already has two established restaurants under his belt, The Seafood Café and Klaw. Urban Monger will be the first retail venture for the chef and aims to be a space where guests can take fish cookery courses, buy incredible fresh fish as well as enjoy seafood delights cooked to order all in one space.
Keep your eyes peeled for this exciting new space, which we are sure will be an instant hit!
For more information, please visit www.twitter.com/urbanmonger
Head chef Ahmet Dede spent two years working in The Greenhouse in Dublin and brings that Michelin star level of cooking to this intimate Baltimore restaurant.
Mews serve a tasting menu that reflects the seasons and allows guests to explore the flavours of West Cork. The wine list features natural, organic and biodynamic wines, with a full wine pairing available with the tasting menu.
For more information, please visit www.mewsrestaurant.ie
Restaurant Lady Anne
Boyle, formerly of the Bay Tree Bistro in Waterford City has a wealth of experience under his belt, as does Carmel, and the pair are excited to bring their culinary ethos and knowledge to Castlecomer.
For more information, please visit www.twitter.com/restladyanne
You can also attend cooking classes at the restaurant, ideal for those wishing to pick up some cooking tips from this talented chef. Visit the village of Timoleague and take in the picturesque coastal views before sitting down for a memorable meal in Dillon’s.
For more information, please visit www.dillionsrestaurant.ie
This Galway city café and wine bar is one of three Galway restaurants owned by husband and wife team, JP McMahon and Drigin Gaffey. In the mornings you can nibble on freshly baked pastries and artisan coffee, for lunch enjoy freshly baked sourdough bread sandwiches and brunch every Sunday.
Tartare is also home to bottles of natural and organic wine that are perfect with the restaurant’s Irish cheese and charcuterie boards, as well as nibbles and snacks. Committed to using local organic produce as well as supporting small ethical suppliers, Tartare also received a well deserved Michelin Bib for 2019.
For more information, please visit www.tartaregalway.ie
Nick’s grandmother greatly influenced his cooking and he previously lived in Argentina, where he fell in love with the local cuisine and also brings these South American flavours to his kitchen. If you haven’t tried Nick’s cooking this spot should be high on your culinary bucket list. You’ll find Lil Portie every Friday and Saturday in TwoFifty Square Coffee in Rathmines, Dublin.
For more information, please visit www.lilportie.com
Grálinn started its life as a food truck and also doing pop up catering events. You would regularly see the truck feeding hungry festival goers at Electric Picnic and Another Love Story. The pair behind Grálinn are Matteo and Dee, having met working in some of the best cafés in Dublin. You’ll catch Grálinn every Thursday to Saturday at MVP on Upper Clanbrassil Street in Dublin.
The pair are now hosting communal supper clubs in Elmhurst Cottage Farm, where their test kitchen is based. The menus are served family style and highlight the journey of food from farm to fork. Keep an eye on their social media for the next event.
For more information please visit www.instagram.com/_gralinn_/
Located in Aghalee, Northern Ireland, Clenaghan’s was one of the new restaurants awarded a prestigious Michelin Bib in 2018. Chef Leigh Ferguson is passionate about using the best quality local ingredients, and you can enjoy his culinary creations in the cosy atmosphere of this candlelit restaurant, complete with roaring fires.
The traditional stone building dates back to the 18th century and perfectly marries the old world and the new world. The current menu features snacks like “Wee Scotch Eggs”, Crispy Whitebait and larger dishes of Salt Aged Steak Tartare and Mourne Lamb Rump.
For more information, please visit www.clenaghansrestaurant.com
Brought to you from Liz Matthews and Simon Barrett, Uno Mas was one of the most hotly awaited openings of 2018, and coming from the people behind Dublin’s favourite, Etto, expectations where high. Not only is the restaurant a cosy and inviting space, but the food is also simply superb. Head chef Paul McNamara has created a menu that has Spanish influences that pair well with the eclectic wine list.
Fans of Etto will notice the nod to the sister establishment in the Miljohas dessert, a syrupy layer of Etto’s red wine prunes beautifully coat thin puff pastry. This is a dessert not to be missed.
Read our review here.
Husband and wife duo Stevie and Amanda Lane moved back to their hometown of Tuam, Galway and opened up Brownes, the pair breathing new life into this former pub they both worked in 15 years previously. Chef patron Stevie has a background working in fine dining restaurants and brings that elegant flair to this relaxed and informal Galway venue.
Another one of Ireland’s newest Michelin bib awarded restaurants, Brownes is a cosy little spot where you’ll find high-quality food and a wide selection of craft beers and wine. In the cosy “Grocery Bar” you can enjoy a quiet pint and tempting bar snacks of Castlemine Farm Pork Croquettes, Homemade Crisps and Irish Cheeseboards.
For more information, please visit www.brownestuam.ie
Clanbrassil House, Dublin
Mains are cooked over a charcoal grill giving them that gorgeous smoked exterior, in particular, the Black Angus Cote de Boeuf is incredible. Did we mention the hash brown chips? They’re to die for.
For more information, please visit www.clanbrassilhouse.com
Sinéad is a Culinary Arts graduate from DIT. She is a passionate cook with a love of fine dining and modern Irish cuisine. A gin lover, Sinéad loves seeking out cosy new pubs and sampling a variety of craft beers.
If she’s not dining out, Sinéad loves travelling the world exploring new cultures and cuisines. Working with TheTaste allows Sinéad to fully immerse herself in the Irish food industry.