My brother and a group of his friends travel to Ireland every year for a little golf. And a lot of carousing. They’re pretty high maintenance guys so I asked how they deal with 10 days worth of pub food. I was surprised to hear that over the years, they’ve found some higher end gastropubs and fine dining spots that have elevated their menus to appeal to golf tourists.
So I sent my brother and his friends on some ‘19th hole’ excursions in search of Ireland’s great food.
Fallon and Byrne, Dublin
This contemporary restaurant that’s popular with the theatre crowd, offers a 3-course pre fixe menu. My golfers said, “the food was only exceeded by the service.” They enjoyed the smoked duck appetizer, ribeyes and courgettes and ricotta ravioli. The restaurant is situated above an open air market added to its casual ambience. A hint: most places will provide roasted potatoes in lieu of “chips”. The wine list was well stocked with mainstream brands, as well as a few nice surprises.
Out of the Blue, Dingle
Located right on the docks of Waterside, this restaurant serves nothing but seafood, more specifically, the catch of the day. The scene is rather casual where the menu changes daily based on what comes in on the docks. My golfers enjoyed the bone in black sole saying it “was the best I’ve ever had” along with monkfish skewers with scallops. Their seafood is sourced from all over Ireland – not just their backyard. The kitchen is the size of a walk-in closet, but they turn out 100+ dinners a night there.
Lord Kenmare’s, Killarney
Lord Kenmare’s is a cozy, New York-style restaurant, with a touch of elegance. The wine list offers a range of excellent seelctions. The food beef and lamb were fresh and fab. Like a high end US steakhouse with your family serving you.
Jim Edwards, Kinsale
My golf crew arrived late (I don’t even ask why any more) but found the staff at Jim Edwards more than accommodating as they kept the kitchen open later than usual. Located in the town centre, the food is hearty and tasty like comfort food in a pub, but with more flair. The staff was well organized and good natured even though they had to work late. My golfers recommend the pasta and stuffed mussels.
Started by two brothers, Bricín is a shop and restaurant that showcases Irish culture, cuisine and design. My golfers loved the homeyness of the place, capped off with a very cheerful staff eager to please. In fact, they said, “The menu is very homey – stuff your Irish mom would make.” They dined on stone crabclaws, curried lamb boxty and potato pancakes over a stew of lamb and veggies in curry.
Fishy Fishy, Kinsale
This award-winning restaurant is run by husband and wife team Martin & Marie Shanahan who personally greeted my crew. He was once a fishmonger so he serves on the freshest catch and local fare including beef and lamb. My group opted for crab claws, monkfish, cod, and hake in different preparations, but all were outstanding. They said it felt more “like a Soho bistro than an Irish pub.” Their advice: “It’s the busiest place in town – reserve early or you won’t get in.”