You don’t have to be a foodie to enjoy the fresh, innovative dishes coming out of Ireland these days. While best known for hearty stews and warm comfort dishes, what many people don’t know is that Irish fare has evolved into a stunning culinary mix of old and new.
Visitors to Ireland will no doubt be pleasantly surprised by the eclectic food scene, which boasts inventive, elevated new takes on local ingredients. Home to some of the freshest produce in the world, Ireland offers up straight-from-the-ocean seafood like freshly caught oysters, mussels and hand-dived scallops. (It goes without saying that the crisp waters surrounding Ireland makes for unbelievable seafood.)
Ireland’s weather, which contributes to its lush, green landscapes, is also the ideal environment for its world-renowned grass-fed, free-range beef, pork, and dairy products. In fact, the farm-to-fork movement is something we’re seeing play out across all of Ireland right now.
The city of Dublin, for example, is peppered with internationally recognized restaurants like The Woollen Mills Eating House. This iconic spot and local favorite operates out of an old woollen shop looking out on the River Liffey. Dishes like smoked mackerel and slow roasted pork belly represent Irish fare that’s been reimagined for modern times.
For a more upscale venue, Chapter One is one of Dublin’s several Michelin-starred restaurants. The culinary team wastes no time in putting creative new twists on fresh, native ingredients. Sure to please even the pickiest palate, dishes include items like mushroom consommé with smoked potato and buttermilk emulsion.
Head to Northern Ireland, and you’ll find Belfast’s food scene is thriving. If fresh fish is your thing, then Mourne Seafood Bar will certainly scratch the itch. The restaurant’s casual feel invites patrons to sit back and feast on some truly creative and inspired seafood dishes.
If you prefer white linens coupled with a chic atmosphere, James Street South is another Belfast treasure that serves up farm-fresh produce, organic meats and more—all prepared in forward-thinking new ways.
Restaurants aside, visitors looking to get a truly authentic feel for Irish fare would be wise to check out one of the country’s many local markets. Here, you can experience the charm and magic of Ireland’s food scene firsthand. In Dublin, the Temple Bar Food Market attracts food-lovers of all stripes. Nearby farmers and bakers alike congregate here to bring their specialty dishes to all.
Belfast is known for its award-winning St. George’s Market, which features hundreds of stalls. Packed with local vendors, visitors can expect to find everything from hand-picked fruits and vegetables to freshly caught seafood.
Don’t just take our word for it, click here to see 10 of the best restaurants across Ireland.