Ireland, Ireland, Ireland... & Famous Restaurants (Part II)

So, if you've read my earlier blog or know me... you realize how long I have been planning to make a trip to Ireland. I realized it would be fitting to research some of Ireland's best restaurants and plan accordingly. Enjoy Part II of this series that covers Cork and Limerick. The food is the best part of ANY vacation in my opinion....
Let's start with Cork!!
Cork is the second largest city in Ireland and the third most populous. It is the principal city and administrative centre of County Cork and the largest city in the province of Munster. Cork has a reputation for rebelliousness dating back to the town's support of the English Pretender Perkin Warbeck in 1491 following the Wars of the Roses. As a result, County Cork has earned the nickname of "the Rebel County", while Corkonians often refer to the city as the "real capital of Ireland", and themselves as the "Rebels".
Cork has a large variety of different restaurants, but since I want to focus on the more traditional Irish foods, I am not going to list any who focus on international cuisine. Restaurants in Cork offer some of the finest places to eat in the country. Cork is often regarded as being the Gourmet Capital of Ireland and Europe's Gourmet Riviera. They offer the freshest of Atlantic fish, rivers full of Salmon & Trout, excellent quality beef, organic cheeses and vegetables, and homemade breads to name a few!!!

Greenes Restaurant
Located in the heart of the City, Greenes Restaurant is one of the top restaurants in Cork and is located in a unique setting, underneath a stone archway, overlooking a beautiful floodlit waterfall.

Using only the finest and freshest local produce, they serve up modern and tasty food that has earned excellent reviews from both customers and critics. Although totally dependant on the fickle Irish weather, customers have the option of dining al fresco beside the unique waterfall, which has, along with the food, become a signature of the restaurant.

Some of their entree options sound delish!!

Baked Cod with Parsley Crust served on Fresh Tagliatelle, Frank Hederman smoked Mussels, Cream & Lemon Sauce

Wild Mushroom & Shallot Risotto topped with Ricotto Salad, shaved Parmesan drizzled with Truffle Oil

Desserts are my favorite!!
Millefeuille of Filo Pastry, Lemon Curd, Strawberries topped
with Chantilly Cream, Watermelon Shake Shot Glass

Fresh Raspberry Crème Brulee with Vanilla Biscuits

La Chateau

Established in 1793 and a landmark in Cork city ever since, is the only bar on the main promenade. You can enjoy Irish Coffees as you watch the world of Cork parade by the from the terrazze area. Inside you can choose upstairs or down for comfort or seclusion.
Lunchtime specialties include Traditional Irish Stew & Seafood Chowder. Although they don't have a website, it's rated one of the best pubs in the area and is located at 93 St. Patrick Street! How fitting! =) 

Farmgate Cafe

 Farmgate was established when Maróg O'Brien opened her restaurant and country store in Midleton, County Cork in 1984. Ten years later, in 1994, Maróg's sister Kay joined her, and so the café in the English Market was established. Located in the heart of Ireland's oldest and most historic food market, with an industrious exciting view overlooking stalls and fellow traders, Farmgate Café embraces much of what is unique and traditional to Cork along with new influences in this dynamic multicultural food market and port city.

Centuries old traditional, seasonal, regional, even 'forgotten' foods are at the core of the Farmgate ethos, and also form a visible link between the menu and the wonderful array of produce downstairs. This allows Farmgate Café to provide a uniquely Irish eating experience both reflecting and playing a small role in a vibrant Irish food culture truly embracing how good indigenous ingredients and food products are.

In this way, Farmgate, which draws on the best food producers in the region - many of whom are Good Food Ireland members, along with the market and market traders, work together, collectively, locating Cork and the island of Ireland as a 'food capital' on the culinary map of Europe.

Their menu varies from day to day according to what is available at market. They list a sample menu on their website that includes:


scrambled eggs with Old Mill House smoked organic salmon
omelet with mushrooms
granola with yogurt and honey, or granola with fruit compôte, honey and yogurt
porridge with West Cork honey and cream
fruit compôte with yogurt
toast with butter and marmalade
freshly baked scones


soup of the day (vegetarian)
Irish catch of the day
Farmgate fish chowder
rock oysters, freshly shucked from the Fish Hall downstairs
Old Mill House smoked organic salmon, boxty & beetroot pickle
Irish lamb stew and seasonal jacket potatoes
lamb's liver and bacon, champ 7 fresh vegetables
tripe & onions, with drisheen
market butcher's sausages, champ, onion gravy and bacon
lemon & thyme chicken, potatoes and fresh vegetables
corned beef with mustard and parsley sauce, green cabbage and seasonal potatoes
shepherd's pie
savory tart of the day served with organic green leaves (vegetarian)
grilled St. Tola's organic goat's cheese salad with honey & walnuts (vegetarian)
Farmgate winter salad (vegetarian)
grilled chicken salad
macaroni cheese, with bacon

All butchers are in the market.
In winter our daily special alternates include:
corned beef, or poached leg of mutton with caper sauce, loin of smoked bacon, and market mixed grill


freshly baked scones and cakes from the trestle table
apple and berry crumble
bread and butter pudding
lemon tart
chocolate biscuit cake
coffee and walnut cake
tea brack

Gluten Free Sweets
bakewell tart
crème caramel
natural yogurt with honey & toasted nuts

Farmgate Café embraces a simple, strongly regional and uncomplicated menu, ensuring fresh ingredients. They still serve "boiled leg of lamb, carrots and turnips, dishes of tripe boiled in fresh milk" and other traditional fare, albeit sometimes with it a more modern twist perhaps!

So, using good quality flour, bread soda, water and a pinch of salt, they bake traditional Irish soda bread each morning, as Irish households would have done for many years. At lunch freshly baked savoury tarts and classic dishes such as Shepherd's Pie, Irish Lamb Stew and Fish Pie are served alongside more traditional dishes such as Tripe and Drisheen and Corned Mutton. They serve boiled jacket potatoes everyday (local of course), and sometimes they roast them, or mash them, adding cabbage for Colcannon, and scallions for Champ.

They serve their fish very simply with a slice of lemon; Tripe is cooked in milk with onions, adding Drisheen on request. The traditional Corned Beef is cured over a number of days in brine, then boiled and served with parsley and mustard sauce. Poached leg of Mutton and caper sauce also makes a regular appearance on the menu.

Against the backdrop of a bustling market, freshly shucked oysters are brought straight to the dinning room table from the fish stall downstairs (it is worth the wait!). Cork cheese-makers deliver directly to the Market and the Café. Their meat, locally reared, comes from trusted Market butchers.

They also offer many vegetarian options, and accommodate dietary needs where possible (such as providing gluten free options). Children are always welcome at Farmgate, and they are offered smaller dishes (and smaller prices) off the main menu.

Farmgate Café is exactly as described - a busy café in a historical, vibrant working market in Cork city centre, providing simple unfussy food which perhaps blurs the line between traditional home cooking and eating out.

They also offer many opportunities to hear live music and an amazing view of the market below!!

The Elm Tree Bar & Restaurant

The Elm Tree  is a family business, run by proprietors Derek & Lorraine Walshe. They serve morning coffee, lunch and dinner. They offer various different atmospheres to dine in at their restaurant such as the courtyard and beer garden and the bank lounge. They make reservations for private and corporate functions!

The Bank Lounge

Some of their menu options include

Battered Fish & Chips
Golden fried fish in a beer batter with hand cut fries and a pea puree

Goujons of Plaice
With a tartar sauce served with a choice of salad & fries or vegetables and potatoes

Salmon & Crab Cakes
Asian style salmon and crab cakes served on seasonal leaves with sweet chili dip

Grilled Goats Cheese
Warm goats cheese on rustic bread served with a green salad and a mango & ginger chutney

As for desserts...

Banoffi Pie

Warm Homemade Irish Apple Pie
served with sauce anglaise

Now off to Limerick!!

Limerick is the third largest city in Ireland and is the principal city in County Limerick. Population wise, it is the fourth largest city in the country. The city is situated on several curves and islands of the River Shannon and is home of many attractions such as King John's Castle, St. Mary's Cathedral and the University of Limerick. Now off to discover some of Limerick's most popular restaurants and pubs!

Brennan Room Restaurant

The Brennan Room is located inside of Fitzgeralds Woodlands House Hotel & Spa. The philosophy at this restaurant is to work with seasonal ingredients respecting their natural flavours and using fresh herbs from the Fitzgerald Family Herb Garden in Adare. The Woodlands House also has a very wide variety of fine wines from all around the world, including organic, fair trade and carbon neutral wines to compliment each dish. Dress code for dining in the Brennan Room Restaurant at this three star hotel is smart-casual!

Some delicious items from their dinner menu...

Chicken & Mushroom Boucheé
Tender pieces of chicken & mushrooms served in a pastry case with
a creamy white sauce.

Corn- Fed Irish Chicken
Irish Chicken on the bone served on grilled aubergine and croguette
& roasted garlic, drizzled with a natural jus.

Spinach & Ricotta Cheese Ravioli 
Fresh ravioli with a delicious combination of spinach &
ricotta topped with shavings of parmesan, toasted garlic bread with a pepper & basil Sauce.

The Poacher's Restaurant

Poacher's Restaurant, in the Bulgaden Castle, is an ideal venue for family gatherings and business luncheons. The menu features an array of Italian and Irish preparations. Originally an 18th century tavern owned by the Hassett Family, Bulgaden Castle is located two two miles east of the historic monastic town of Kilmallock and enjoys sweeping views of the Ballyhoura Hills and the Golden Vale. In 1887 it was rebuilt in its’ present form by the Meade family. Bulgaden Castle is now a family run business owned by Conal & Mary Kelly, who acquired the property in 1972. Under the Kelly family, the venue was converted into a delightful Country Inn and Restaurant will full cabaret and function facilities. In 2005, it was further extended to incorporate a stunning function room together with a Wedding Garden for outside wedding parties.

Dinner at Poachers is an unforgettable experience—the restaurant's special a la carte menu comprises a wide range of items made from fresh local produce. Sleek wooden furnishings, wall paintings and fine bone china arranged symmetrically on each table, lend a casual yet no nonsense look to the place.

A quick bar snack, business lunch, meal with friends or large event wedding receptions are prepared to the highest standards by their Chef. A large Early Bird Menu is offered daily and an extensive a-la-carte menu is available in late evening that offers a large variety of fresh fish, game, meat and local produce. Sunday lunch is a specialty at Bulgaden Castle!

Dick Darby's Pub

This is a traditional Irish pub located on Church street, where you can sit and enjoy a very good pint of Guinness. However, the black stuff might not be everyones favorite tipple, so relax, have what you fancy and listen to some good traditional Irish music. There are nightly music sessions. Run by the same family for some time now, Dick Darby's offers comfort and a warm welcome.

Locke Bar & Restaurant

The Locke Bar & Restaurant is one of Limerick's GastroPub. The term was first coined in England in 1991 and is derived from the word gastronomy (meaning food related) and is generally recognised as a pub which specializes in high quality food served in the relaxed atmosphere of the pub. In its simplest form, a GastroPub is "a place with a warm, inviting pub atmosphere that serves sophisticated, yet unpretentious food" and that's just what you will get at The Locke Bar.

The Locke and Oyster House is renowned for its quality seafood, although they don't stop there. They have a wide range of exceptional quality dishes to suit all tastes. From traditional Irish favourites to tastes from the Mediterranean and beyond, there is truly something for everyone. They offer a dining experience of a friendly atmosphere and relaxed ambiance.

They offer a vast amount on menu, here are just a few

Warm Cajun Chicken Bap
Served with a sweet roasted red pepper mayonnaise

Warm Cajun Chicken Bap
Slow Roasted BBQ Pork Belly Bap
Served with savoury stuffing and red onion marmalade

Homemade Beef & Guinness Stew
Tender Irish beef with vegetables and potatoes

Simply Fish & Chips
Served with a homemade tartar sauce, mushy peas and salad

Barney's Seafood Pie
Cream fish pie made with a selection of fresh fish

Tagliatelle Regiano
Tossed with wild mushrooms, cream and parmesan

Tagliatelle Regiano

Deep Filled Apple Pie

Warm Berry & Apple Crumble

One of the neatest things I found out is that they have "Pour Your Own Pint" Tables!! A great way to gather with friends and drink some good beer!!

Pour Your Own Pint Table

Stay tuned for the next part in this blogging series...
I will try to uncover a few famous gems in County Kerry and County Meath!