Ireland (Dublin and Connemara), mid-november
Greetings. My mother and I are going to Ireland from 16-26 November, and we'll be spending half the time in Dublin and half the time in the Connemara area, though we haven't booked our hotel there yet. I'm looking for any and all recommendations for restaus in Dublin and the west. I am a vegetarian, my mother is a pescetarian. We are looking not only for Irish food, but really anything delicious and note-worthy. I'd also love any microbrewery or other interesting food destination suggestions you might offer! For example in the Connemara area are there any farms, cheese makers, breweries, etc. to visit? We will be renting a car and are eager to do some exploring. Thank you!
If you hit limerick Freddies Bistro is very nice. Limerick city also has a farmers market on the Saturday. Gourmet Tart Co. in Salthill is supposed to be nice but I have not been. O'Grady's on the pier is really famous for its fish. I am not certain about vegetable only dishes but most here have at least one.
In Dublin, Cornucopia in Wicklow street is an informal vegetarian place. Thorntons is a high end Dublin restaurant that also offers separate vegetarian menus at lunch and dinner.
In Connemara, your fish eating mother will eat better than you will! There are some nice country houses / hotels serving good evening meals (including Ballynahinch Castle, Renvyle House, Cashel House). The bar in Ballynahinch is great for a lunchtime chowder and sandwich. In Roundstone try O'Dowd's bar.
Olivers bar in Cleggan serves fresh seafood straight from the pier (50 feet away). It's very basic but very enjoyable. Non-fish is a bit limited.
In Dublin, great for food, craft beers and great selection of whiskey try L Mulligan Grocer and WJ Kavanagh - previously old bars now revamped but still retaining a comfy dingy feel.
I'm really enjoying the new cafes selling coffee thats all about the bean, the roast and how its brewed - try Cup on Nassau St, Coffee Angel on south ann st and 3fe on grand canal st and The Humble Bean on Aungier St.
Some good restaurants eg The Pigs Ear, The Winding Stair, Pearl Brasserie(esp veggie menu). 'Bite' is mostly fish but have veggie options.
A food lover should definitely stay in Galway city for a visit to Aniar, just recently awarded a michelin star for their modern, simple, creative food with a serious determination to keep everything Irish and 'of the west'. I was there last week and was very impressed - no silly sauces, foams or embellishments and relaxed service. This is not your traditional stuffy Michelin establishment and is a great 'taster' and guide to new Irish cuisine.
And great value - dinner for two with bottle of wine 124euros. You'd be up near 200 at Thorntons which is now a waning star, I'm afraid.
Ard Bia and Kai Cafe are two more good spots in the city. Theres also a microbrewery whose name I forget.
Out in Connemara you're not going to hit the same highs - a nice trip would be to the Connemara Smokehouse in Ballyconeely, great beach!
The hotels mentioned previously are good too, esp Ballynahinch. Fireplace, pint of stout, chowder....
I'm just back from Dublin (short stay) and we really enjoyed a lunch at the Avoca restaurant. Despite being packed, we only waited two minutes for a table. One breakfast was at Bewley's famous spot on Grafton St. I thought their prices were unusually good, and I ate the most fantastic pancakes I've had in years. A friend of mine is very fond of Fallon & Bryne for dinner but we ate at Le Gueuleton, which sounds very French but there were a lot of Irish twists and the venison was excellent, according to my husband.