Family Trip to Ireland
Our family is traveling to Ireland for eight nights. We will be in Kinsale for two nights, Kenmare for two nights, Galway for two nights and Dublin for two nights. We are adventuresome in our eating choices but don't plan to have expensive quiet dinners as we are traveling with our two teenaged boys. Any suggestions?
Absolutely loads - I frequently take US people around Ireland to eat. If you can give me an idea of your tastes and budget range for each meal, I can give you more of a head's up. Kinsale has some great seafood places,and caters to locals as much as tourists. "Fishy Fishy" is one of the best seafood restaurants in the country, and whilst not budget busting, if you visit at weekends they have a take away outlet too that do the best fish and chips- great option for the teenagers.
Kenmare can be disappointing at the budget level- lots of places with tourist menus and after 4 days there i still came away disappointed.
Galway is not my stomping ground...but Dublin, well sky's the limit...all depends the info you share...
I don't have a price point in mind but would guess less than $100 without drinks? We don't want "fine dining" as one of my children is younger and won't appreciate it but I also don't want overly hearty food as it won't appeal to me! Maybe a mix of casual and more upscale? The place in Dublin I know we plan to try is the Winding Stair?
We spent a week in Kinsale back in 2008, so any comments I make may be very out of date. The town's tourist marketing has it as the "gourmet capital of Ireland" - which may be one of the most outrageous bits of puffery I can recall. Gourmet it certainly isn't - at least not how we'd generally think of "gourmet" in modern day Europe.
That is not to say that there isnt decent enough food there. Try to avoid the places that are more overtly catering to the mainly American tourist market. There were several meals that were disappointing. The following were decent enough:
Fishy Fishy - OK. Not as good as its reputation in the guidebooks suggests.
Man Friday - good quality food, if significantly relying on 1980s style dishes and cooking
Max's - Excellent. I wish they'd move countries so I could go regularly.
I loved our breakfast at Bewley's Cafe in Dublin. Your kids will enjoy it, too, and the same goes for lunch at the Avoca restaurant. Both are right in the middle of town and not too expensive.
If you search on the boards for Kinsale, you'll find quite a few reports and recommendations, including mine from nearly four years ago. I'm not sure how useful my stuff will be now, but there are a couple of places in the town which have been around so long that they are almost institutions, so they are probably little changed.
By the way, it would be more useful to tell us what your budget is in Euro or sterling rather than dollars.
In Kenmare, Jam is great for breakfast/brunch. I'm not sure what they serve in the afternoon/evening however.
Dublin is where I've been born and raised so, for places that are both teen and adult-friendly I recommend:
Bunsen - absolute best burger in Dublin. Don't bother with any other burger places, Bunsen is the one.
Rustic Stone - run by Dylan McGrath, this place strikes a happy balance between upmarket and relaxed in that the food is top notch but, the atmosphere is relaxed; perfect for an evening meal with family. Even though their "On the Stone" menu is the foundation of the restaurant, I would recommend the pasta dishes and the famous burger with a side of parmeasan garlic fries.
Bison - a BBQ joint just outside Temple Bar on the quays. It was the first place in Ireland to bring in a proper smoker and the meat; brisket, pulled pork, ribs, chicken and sausage is to die for. Some people might recommend Pitt Bros as it's newer but, Bison was the original and best and Pitt Bros doesn't hold a candle to it.
Luigi Malones - perfect for families and situated right in the heart of Temple Bar. It would never be my first choice of restaurant but, everyone from out-of-town who I bring here loves it as it has a proper pizza oven as well as offering pasta, steak etc. Always busy.
Pho Viet - hugely popular Vietnamese in Dublin's ever-growing Chinatown. A bowl of pho will cost about €6 and keep you going all day!
Leo Burdocks - for fish and chips (or 'chipper' as it's called here) as BoneAppetite mentioned.
However, the best restaurant in Dublin City Centre, as far as I am concerned, is an authentic Chinese called M&L. This is where all the Chinese go to eat and, as with most Chinese eateries, it's focus is around family and you will frequently see huge family gatherings here so, perfect for you.
The food is fresh and cheap and inimitable in Dublin. What we like to do is say to our waiter "We would like whatever you recommend for €10/€15 per person" and they will come back with the most amazing array of food that will leave you stuffed. My recommendations would be the stir fried green beans with chilli - I would eat pots of this stuff - and the Harbour Prawns (off the shell - you have to ask for this one as it's only in the Chinese menu but, it is spectacular).