Traditional Irish Fare…
No trip to Ireland is complete without sampling some of our traditional Irish fare. I actually can’t think of a better way to get your day off to an excellent start other than with a mouth watering, filling Irish breakfast. This breakfast can contain almost anything once its fried but the most common ingredients include bacon, (or rashers as they’re fondly known in Ireland), sausages, egg’s that are fried or even boiled, black and white pudding and tomatoes. This meal will actually keep you going for the rest of the day!
Irish cuisine usually consists of simple meat dishes and boiled root vegetables such as potato, carrot, turnip, and parsnip. The meal may be accompanied by a sauce or gravy, but most of the time these are non-existent resulting in dishes that are really easy to make.
One of these dishes is the traditional Irish Stew – probably Ireland’s most renowned dish and when you eat this filling dish, it’s more than likely you’ll not have any room for dessert! It’s a really tasty and satisfying dish and is served in the majority of pubs and restaurants.
By tradition, it’s made from either meltingly tenderised meat like lamb or mutton but recently, beef has become a very popular ingredient too. There are a lot of variations when it comes to the ingredients but a majority of the time, plumb onions, parsley and sliced carrots are all used and mixed into the delicious tasty juices. It’s a perfect dish for that cold winter’s day – it’ll warm you up in no time at all!
Bacon and Cabbage, served together with simple boiled potatoes is another classic example of Irish traditional cooking. Head to the Merchant O’ Shea’s, Merchants Quay Dublin 8, where you’re sure to get a big portion of this meal! Many chefs like to dress this dish up but you can be assured of a truly traditional, almost home cooked one here!
Seafood is not as popular as one might expect, but smoked salmon, oysters, and mussels are all favorites. Smoked Salmon with brown bread is another popular dish that comes highly recommended – the quality of seafood in Ireland is outstanding!
Coddle is another popular dish that is only to be found in Dublin. Coddle is made from pork sausages, rashers, sliced onions and potatoes and it’s then cooked in a stock. It is normally consumed with a good pint of the black stuff! What more could you ask for!
Restaurants are expensive. Some say this is due to real estate prices so high in the city hence pricey restaurants prevail. Having said that though the dining scene in Dublin is booming! In fact some of the most atmospheric restaurants in the world are to be found in Dublin!
Like many large European cities, Dublin is packed full of delightful, buzzing restaurants! Each restaurant is unique in that it has its own specialties, some focus on giving traditional Irish food a twist while others take on international dishes! Whatever restaurant you head to though, you’re sure to find a few appetizing dishes that’ll suit everyone.
Dublin has expanded its range of restaurants recently so now you can choose to dine in Indian, Chinese, Italian, American, French and many more international restaurants that you’ll find scattered throughout the city.
If it’s a great fish dish your looking for, Dublin’s restaurants can boast the best catch! As Dublin located on the east coast, you also have an excellent unlimited choice of seafood dishes from lobsters, plaice, wild salmon, oysters and more. The Lobster Pot in Ballsbridge is a particular favorite of mine. It’s the perfect spot to get succulent food and great service and is just a 20-minute walk from Grafton Street.
I think its fair to say that the best selection and quantity of restaurants can be found in Dublin’s city centre. Areas like Temple Bar, O Connell Street, Grafton Street, and even Baggot Street are all full with wonderful restaurants and charming pubs that serve tasty meals.
These are some of our favourites and all can be found in Dublin city centre. Elephant and Castle Restaurant, Bruno’s (Eustace Street) The Quay’s Bar Restaurant, Luigi Malones (Cecilia Street), Mexico to Rome (East Essex Street), La Med (East Essex Street) and Eden Restaurant (Sycamore Street).
Nearly all of our Dublin Hotels have great restaurants serving varied menus, so maybe you’d like to stop in for the night. If not, the hotels concierge team will be only too glad to point you in the direction of nice restaurants nearby and if you’re lucky, they might even go and book a table for you!
Eating out and tasting the traditional dishes is all part of any holiday experience but beware, scrumptious food can come at a price with a three course meal costing anything from 50 euro a head and sometimes more in the popular tourist areas.
For those of you travelling Ireland on a shoestring budget, I’d advise you to go to a restaurant that has an early bird menu. This is usually served between 5pm – 7pm and is the same high quality food that you’d get from the normal menu just cheaper! With the early bird you can enjoy a fantastic meal for about 25 euro! This is also a good option if you intend on catching a show at the theatre or simply want an early night.
Most bed & breakfast’s, guest houses and hotels include breakfast in the rate but if you fancy having breakfast elsewhere the cost is generally about 10 to 15 euro- depending on what you have. A traditional breakfast is considerably more expensive than the continental option.
A lot of restaurants have lunch menus and most pubs serves generous lunch portions costing about 10 to 20 euro. Dublin also has loads of cafes, sandwich bars and delis so the choice of where to dine is up to you! In general, lunches tend to be cheaper than dinner but sometimes a lot more filling.
For even cheaper food again or food on the go, you can always opt for fast food, as Dublin is certainly not short of fast food joints like McDonalds and Burger King and Eddie Rockets, or our home-grown chain, SuperMacs. Many convenience stores sell baguettes, potato wedges and chicken wings etc so you’ll never be hungry when in Dublin!
Although tipping is not essential, it is common courtesy to leave a tip of about 10%. In some of the more expensive restaurants, a service charge maybe included – look out for the small print on menus.
Ireland is renowned throughout the world for its wide selection of alcoholic drinks – most obviously being Guinness – the black stuff! Why not pay a visit to the Guinness storehouse to see how it’s made! Other stouts you might like to sample include Murphy’s and Beamish, which are brewed in Cork and Kilkenny Irish Stout. And you really can’t forget about Irelands smooth whiskeys! Paddy, Jameson and Bushmills are all popular exports. Not a fan of whiskey? Baileys is a popular light and creamy liqueur that tastes even better when on the rocks!
No room for dessert after a great feed of Irish grub? Why not try our famed Irish Coffee! This is simply made by putting a shot of Irish whiskey into a glass, a spoon of instant coffee and a spoon and a half of sugar and then add hot boiling water. Stir this mixture up so that the sugar has completely dissolved. Then pour a finger-sized amount of fresh whipped cream on top! Delicious!
Bon Appetite – or as we say in Ireland ‘Slainte’…
So you’ve your itinerary made out – Trinity, the Book of Kells, the Spire – all you’ve to decide now is where to dine! Don’t be shy when it comes to ordering – its not everyday you get to taste Traditional Irish Stew or eat salted bacon with sweet cabbage so make the most of your time here and live like the Irish!
You’ll be overwhelmed by the hospitality and the service you’ll receive in the restaurants – if you’re disappointed though, please don’t be shy and ask to see the manager who’ll see that the rest of your night is trouble free! Now everyone raise your glasses and bon appetite – or as they say in Ireland, Slainte!
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