restaurant listings are divided up according to location. To see
what's available around the country, choose the region or town of
interest from the drop down menu below.
listings come with a map button to indicate location and a price
grading where available - the green euro symbols represent the price
range from inexpensive (one euro symbol - a main course for up to
£9, E11.5), moderate (main course £9-£15), expensive
(main course £15-£20) to very expensive (four euro symbols
- a main course over £20, E25).
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too for less formal dining. For Dublin, a comprehensive eating guide
is available at Softguide
Dublin, which can also be downloaded
onto PalmOS and Windows CE devices to accompany your journey. The
service is soon to extend throughout Ireland!
Irish people have not traditionally made a habit of eating out. Only
in the last decade or so has this become more commonplace, with the
pace of life increasing and the standard of living rising, but it
is still largely confined to the younger generation. Eating out in
Ireland is quite varied, but standards vary considerably around the
country. Dublin is not cheap, and with real estate in the city running
at close to the most expensive in Europe, city centre restaurants
need to make a good return on investment, resulting in very expensive
restaurants being the norm. Nevertheless, there has been an explosion
in the number of restaurants in Ireland in recent years and the industry
is in a boom with the affluent consumer reaping the rewards.
what constitutes traditional Irish cuisine is a subject of much
debate - with a colonial past and an impoverished population largely
confined to the land until the early part of this century, there
is no wealth of cuisine to draw on. But what is considered traditional
is steeped in pure natural flavors and simple preparation and, when
prepared properly, is a joy to consume. Simple meat dishes and boiled
root vegetables such as potato, carrot, turnip and parsnip form
the principle constitutents of traditional Irish cuisine. Shredded
bolied cabbage served with salted bacon (breast or collar joint)
boiled in the cabbage water, together with simple boiled potatoes
is an excellent example of Irish traditional cooking, pure and natural
and free from sauces or fussiness. Likewise, corned beef with cabbage
is well worth sampling. Sadly, the desire of many a chef to tamper
with tradition and add spices, herbs or sauces to these dishes makes
traditional fare difficult to track down unless prepared at home.
stewed with onion, potatoes and carrots in a light stock makes a
perfect Irish stew. Beef stewed similarly in a stock comprised of
stout is an Irish variation on east european goulash. Seafood is
not as prevalent in traditional dishes as one might expect, given
that Ireland is an island nation. But traditional smoked salmon
is a firm favorite, as are oysters and mussels.
meat and blood puddings and sausages are also popular traditional
dishes. Tripe in Cork is boiled in peppered milk until tender (a
LONG time) and served with a local pudding called 'drisheen'. Tripe
and drisheen is not everyone's cup of tea to say the least....
is also much to be sampled in baking with traditional Irish soda
breads and brown breads forming an excellent counterpoint to the
foods mentioned above. Griddle breads and pancakes, cooked over
an open fire, were a stable until recently.
late, a new movement in cuisine known as modern Irish has come to
dominate. Its influences are varied but can largely be considered
French coupled with the natural flavours and products of the Irish
countryside and coastal waters. Modern Irish cuisine is truly excellent
and much is available around Ireland for you to sample, particularly
in Dublin and places like Kinsale, known as the gourmet capital
of Ireland. It does far more justice to seafood than traditional
cooking, taking full advantage of the products of rich and varied
waters both coastal and inland.
Breakfast is widely available, but you may be frustrated to learn
that 8.00am is considered an early start for such activities. Getting
a breakfast at 6.30am or so is pretty much an impossibility. The
working day starts predominantly at 9.00am, often later for the
more flexible civil service. But on the other hand, breakfast is
usually available until noon, and all day in many places. A full
Irish breakfast, after which the English breakfast was more
recently modeled, consists of a fry (or grill for the more healthy
minded) of eggs, pork sausages, bacon (rashers), pudding (black
and white blood sausage), tomato, possibly potato cake of some description
(hash browns, potato waffles depending on where you're from) and
a substantial helping of toasted bread and lashings of hot coffee
or breakfast tea. Beans, mushrooms, fried onions, fried bread and
even liver can often be added. This is a serious meal, and may be
preceded by cereal and orange juice. Hotels, guest houses and most
cafes will offer a variation on this and it is usually quite good
value. Anything from £2 to £10 pounds depending on how
many elements are present, with £4 a good average.
is typically served between 12.00 and 2.00 and is a light meal.
More often than not people opt for rolls, sandwiches, salads and
the like these days with cafes again being the most popular destination.
Expect to pay anything from £2 to £5 for made to order
rolls or sandwiches. With Dublin city centre being so small, you
will find everywhere pretty packed at this time. Many restaurants
offer excellent lunch specials and are usually less crowded than
cafes. Expect to pay from £6 to £10 pounds for a lunch
special in a restaurant.
as the main meal of the day, is typically no later than 9.00pm.
Restaurants around Dublin would rarely accept a booking after 10.00pm,
since most close around 11.00pm. (Natives would eat dinner at home
pretty soon after the working day is over, about 6.00pm or so, and
unlike many of our continental neighbours, dinner is usually a rushed
affair, a pit-stop rather than a social occassion - socialising
in the evening is predominantly based on the bar and pub scene.)
The restaurant scene in Ireland is bustling at the moment, with
so many excellent restaurants doubling as the place to be seen.
While the quality is excellent and continues to climb, the cost
is high and if you are dining out often it pays to shop around.
In Dublin, early evening specials are a great way to sample the
restaurants, with early-bird or pre-theatre menus
offering substantial reductions on the prime time costs. Around
the country, Cork and Kinsale in particular offer fantastic choice
weekends, a sunday
is quite common, served in many pubs and cafes. This provides a
substantial meal based on the full Irish breakfast at the later
time of 12.00 to 2.00pm, allowing for a good sleep-in on sunday
morning after saturday night's socialising. It's good value, and
a very popular way to spend early sunday afternoon.