food-irish

Good Day Deli

Despite opening in 2017, the Good Day Deli’s sustainable food and airy setting still has people queuing outside. Finding the restaurant means making your way through the renovated Nano Nagle Place, a collection of buildings and gardens celebrating the life and work of the eponymous Cork nun. It’s here, deep within the gardens – in what can only be described as a light-filled box – that local, seasonal and organic produce steal the show. The menu is largely vegetarian or vegan; halloumi stacks drizzled with pesto or French toast with warm chocolate sauce make breakfast hard to resist. Sustainably sourced fish features occasionally in the form of the kaimoana fish tacos inspired by the co-owner’s Kiwi roots.

  • +353 214 322 107
  • Go to Website
  • Nano Nagle Place
    Douglas Street
    T12 PXV1

Café Paradiso

It’s ironic that in a country famous for hearty, meat-heavy meals a vegetarian restaurant is one of Cork’s most celebrated spots. Opened in 1993 by Denis Cotter and Ger O’Toole, it championed vegetables long before it was cool to do so. Cotter has written a number of acclaimed cookbooks and remains a prominent advocate for the city’s food scene. Against London standards, the fare is relatively cheap – €33 for two courses and €40 for three – considering the quality and ingenuity of the cooking. Expect risotto made with local cheeses as well as better-than-ever tofu (don’t miss the chilli-glazed offering that has been on the menu since it opened). The dining room itself is a tranquil slate colour palette, where dark walls are decked out with beautiful artwork. Paradiso also has two spacious rooms, available only to those booking the restaurant.

Greenes Restaurant

Greenes has romance written all over it. Diners walk down a cobbled stone archway and are faced with a shallow pond and natural waterfall in the steep hillside. By day, the dining room looks out over the foliage-decked courtyard which, by night, is floodlit for an added je ne sais quoi. The food does not disappoint either, with local sourcing a priority for award-winning young chef Bryan McCarthy. Think prawns from Dublin Bay, foraged seaweeds from West Cork and Connemara and blue cheese from buffalos in nearby Macroom. Presentation is everything, and plates are decorated with sprigs, petals and drizzles, all thoughtfully included.

EAST by The Rocket Man

The Rocket Man, aka Jack Crotty, hit Cork farmers’ markets with a bang in 2012 and has been championing imaginative, seasonal salads ever since. Trained at the famous Ballymaloe Cookery School, his venture, EAST, doesn’t disappoint either. There are queues around the corner for its made-to-order falafel wraps which come overflowing with punchy pickles, zesty homemade dressings and creamy, nutty hummus.

  • +353 214 278 550
  • Go to Website
  • Winthrop Arcade
    38 Princes Street
    T12 V594

Ali's Kitchen

Styled as a bakehouse, Ali’s charming, understated vibes mean it’s almost always busy. Brunch means black-pudding florentines with spinach, poached eggs and hollandaise or hearty sandwiches in which everything from the bread to the mayo are made on the premises. Don’t leave without trying the doughnuts – flavours such as caramel custard and praline make them a serious treat. Gluten-free options are available.

  • +353 212 390 630
  • Go to Website
  • Rory Gallagher Place
    Paul Street
    Cork City

Farmgate Café

Rick Stein called The English Market the “best covered market in the UK and Ireland” and anyone who’s set foot in here, even as a thoroughfare, would likely agree. The Farmgate is the market’s crowning glory. This family-run café and restaurant overlooks bountiful stalls, picking and choosing from their fare on a daily basis to serve traditional Irish food with a twist. Sandwiches, soup and oysters are on offer on the self-service balcony area, while the covered restaurant area’s menu changes daily. Meat is cooked slowly, fish in a flash and all with aplomb and accompanied great wines. Try drisheen, tripe or lamb’s liver here for a truly Irish affair.

  • +353 214 278 134
  • Go to Website
  • English Market
    Princes Street
    T12 NC8Y

ORSO Kitchen & Bar

If the window display of bread doesn’t tempt you in, the menu should. This small but robust kitchen is as enticing for a quick lunch as it is an intimate dinner, with a menu that would turn the head of Ottolenghi obsessives everywhere. During the day, choose focaccia stuffed with spiced meats, chunky hummus and Lebanese-inspired relish from the counters. By night, settle in for sharing dishes including baked halloumi with pickled red cabbage and slow-cooked beef-bazella pie with almonds, cashew nuts and carrot. Look out for Chef Sessions, which the owners and their network of chefs run every few months to try out new techniques and flavours.

Miyazaki

You might wonder what made Takeshi Miyazaki set up shop in a former Chinese takeaway in Cork. But this Japanese teppanyaki chef – who’s cooked for the likes of Rod Stewart as well as Jacques Chirac and his Irish wife – loved the city’s “fantastic food culture”. Miyazaki has taken Cork by storm; queues line the street when the takeaway restaurant opens for lunch to dole out noodles bathing in the chef’s renowned dashi broth. Sushi rolls, donburi (rice bowls) and curry dishes all pack a punch, but it’s the soups and ramen that reel in the crowds. There are a few stools and benches, but most customers get their food to go.

Iyer’s Cafe

Gautham Iyer – this café’s eponymous proprietor and a former aeronautical engineer – can often be seen sitting quietly in the corner of this riverside gem, eating his traditional Indian food the traditional Indian way – with his hands. Iyer and his vegetarian food have made an indelible mark on Cork city, with crowds flocking across the river to Pope’s Quay to see what’s on the chalkboard that day. The fact that the bulk of the food is vegan takes nothing away from the taste; diners can expect dishes such as samosa chaat, sambar, chickpea chole and a beetroot masala. Overdo it on the chilli? Order a cooling mango kulfi to counteract.

Good Day Deli

Café Paradiso

Greenes Restaurant

EAST by The Rocket Man

Ali's Kitchen

Farmgate Café

ORSO Kitchen & Bar

Miyazaki

Iyer's Cafe

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