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West Cork, Ireland

luisa dos Jun 6, 2008 07:50 AM

My best friend is travelling to Ireland and is looking for some restaurant recommendations in West Cork - the town she is staying in is Kinsella....not sure if that is correct spelling.
Can anyone help?


  1. s
    SiobhanP Jun 12, 2008 02:06 AM

    Ignore the bad reviews there is some great food in west Cork and artisan producers. Fishy Fish does not take bookings but many order a nice chilled bottle of while while waiting and the seafood is meant to be fantastic. Not a posh atmosphere but nice and NOT like a chipper. I was there 2 years back and we went to a lovely wine bar beside the Blue Haven, which was nice to start before dinner. Also just drive out as mentioned as well to places like Clonakilty. Inchydoney is meant to have great food and a great spa.

    As for Chicken in Chips...that is gross pub grub NOT fine dining so I expect it would be horrible. Don't let that sway tyou. Its a lovely spot for a visit and very scenic.

    1. n
      New Yorker in London Jun 6, 2008 11:45 AM

      Just got back from a trip to western Ireland. We had one night in Kinsale and unfortunately missed the Fishy Fishy Cafe, which gets rave reviews everywhere. We ate at Blue Haven (where we also stayed). Great place to stay but the restaurant was mediocre, at best. (We did hear some good Irish music in the hotel bar.)

      6 Replies
      1. re: New Yorker in London
        Harters Jun 6, 2008 11:55 AM

        Ah. Your post might be the herald of a disappointing week's eating. Kinsale describes itself as the "gourmet capital of Ireland" but having looked through the various menus, it isnt my definition of gourmet. Looked more like good produce cooked simply (which is always my preferred eating)

        The most disappointing aspect of your post is Blue Haven looked best of the bunch. If it barely mediocre, then it doesnt say much for the other three we've booked (or the prospects for the 3 nights we've not booked anything). Still, in the days before we had little money, holidays used to be at Spanish tourist 2 star hotels - so I'm used to eating crap for a couple of weeks at a time.

        1. re: Harters
          PhilD Jun 6, 2008 01:31 PM

          John, tis a pity you are on the wagon, as I am certain the Guiness, Murphy's or Beamish would balance the meal.

          I will read your report with interest as my partner is keen to go.

          1. re: PhilD
            Harters Jun 6, 2008 02:19 PM

            There are many occasions when I am more than happy to just have steak & chips, rather than something more intricate The better places also seem to have a "fruits de mer" (hot or cold) on offer - which will have to be tried.

            The "on the wagon" thing is something you get used to, albeit with great reluctance :-)

            1. re: Harters
              Simon Majumdar Jun 6, 2008 02:35 PM

              I went to that part of Ireland last year for the trip, to visit some cheesemakers and I have to say the food on offer was ordinary to beyond vile.

              In one particular place, I ordered a plate of chicken and chips which seemed liked the option they could least screw up.

              It was advertised as coming with the "vegetable of the day and garnish" which turned out to be two huge mounds of grey mashed potato and a whole banana breaded and deep fried until black.

              I still tremble when I think of it.

              mind you, the Murphys ( always Murphys in that part of Ireland, if I remember correctly) was lovely and did help to numb the pain

              It seems to be a similar scenario to parts of Scotland where they may produce some amazing things ( like the cheese) but make more money selling it to the UK than locally

              1. re: Simon Majumdar
                Harters Jun 6, 2008 03:59 PM


                Herself is going to kill me. It wuz me wot insisted we go to Kinsale cos of the "gourmet" reputation. I argued against a week in Northumbria cos we didnt eat too well there.

                Speaking of banana & vile, I had the misfortune to order arroz a la cubana in Mallorca some years back. Rice, unpleasant cold tomato sauce, undercooked fried egg and whole deep fried banana. The memory haunts me still.

                1. re: Harters
                  irishgirl Jun 11, 2008 07:48 PM

                  Hmmm, I wouldn't say you can expect the food to be that bad in general in Kinsale. I don't eat fish, but from what I've heard Fishy Fishy is not like a chippy at all. My parents go to eat in Man Fridays in Kinsale (from Cork) a couple of times a year and really enjoy it. Of the places you've booked, I've only eaten in the Jim Edwards once and it was only alright, but the no fish/seafood thing did limit my choices. The cafe attached to the Blue Haven is very nice for breakfast and lunch, never ate in the restaurant,

                  If you are there for a week I'd recommend you go up to Cork (about 30-40 minute drive) for dinner a couple of times, or over to Clonakilty. Richie's and An Sugan in Clonakilty are worth the trip, as are Cafe Paradiso (vegetarian, but beautiful food), Farmgate Cafe and the Ivory Tower. Herself might be placated by a trip to the Inchydoney Lodge & Spa in Clonakilty as well!

      2. n
        niamheen Jun 6, 2008 09:46 AM

        It's got to be Kinsale! It's a renowned gourment hotspot but I haven't bene there for years. I lived in Cork for years so can try and dig out some recs for you.

        1. h
          Harters Jun 6, 2008 08:41 AM

          Could it be Kinsale?

          If so, I'd also been after reccs from Chowhound without any real success. So, I've done as much research as I can - these sites may help your friend. The first is the Kinsale Restaurant Association; the second a nationwide review site (and which will be of help if it isnt Kinsale the friend is visiting)



          For information, I've made four reservations (we're there for 7 nights) as follows:

          Jim Edwards
          Blue Haven
          Captain's Table

          The only place that seems to get a regular tip is the lunchtime only Fishy Fishy - which does, erm, fish. I assume it's some form of upmarket chippy - perhaps like Whitby's Magpie Cafe.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Harters
            mickmac Oct 23, 2008 07:59 AM

            Better late than never but maybe this will help someone else that stumbles across it. It is a list of places in kinsale recommended by the Rick Steves Guide and also another one by a local potter.



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