irish food equals greasy pub food… yeah right!

ireland food

after over 2 weeks in ireland, i can fully commit to saying that IRISH FOOD DOESN’T SUCK!  i just returned from a family trip to a good chunk of ireland and let me tell you, it is by far easier to count the few bad/below average meals we had while there than the great ones.  my parents, brother & sister in law & i are all foodies.  it is always a topic of discussion when we all spend time together.  whether it is what we have last created in the kitchen or what has blown our mind at a restaurant.  we went to ireland geared up with research, tips & help from yelp/trip advisor when needed to make sure we had some great meals.  well we were all shocked by the large amount options outside of “pub grub” we found all over the country.  we all had our fair share of fish & chips, cottage pie & seafood chowder, but fresh seafood was the main attraction most places we went. well, aside from our few nights of italian & asian… which were all GREAT.  so don’t sleep on ireland’s food.  i’m lucky we walked as much as we did to burn off the amount of butter, chips & booze i consumed.

**on a side note… ireland is extremely gluten free friendly.  more so than the us… it was quite surprising.

below is a rundown on the photo collage of a lot of the great food we had.  click of the collage to get a bigger version of it to google eye over.  and trust me, you will want to.

1. crackbird– this spot is located in dublin & is the perfect place to get your fried chicken fix.  this is no kfc, it is kicked up menu full of buttermilk half chickens, soy fried wings & “crunchies” with sauces ranging from whipped burnt lemon & feta to  thyme honey & llywellyn spritz ( yummy thyme flavored honey that comes with a mini spritz bottle with a vinegar mix).  the deviled egg dip is awesome, i think i ate a whole order myself.  they also sell the 8 degrees craft beer made in dublin.
2.  8 degrees beer– sold at crackbird, skinflint & im sure all other joburger restaurants.
3. grilled sea bream fillets w. mediterranean vegetables & tomato tarragon dressing- one of many dishes from 55 north that i have on this irish food collage.  so i will say a bit about the place itself.  it has been in business for over 8 years in portrush, northern ireland.   the place is packed year around thanks to the great menu, good prices, the waterfront view & the staff.  my mom got this dish because she has a love for tarragon & she wasn’t at all disappointed.
4. salmon & crab meat salad rolls– this dish is found at the charming green hen in dublin.  we were going on a bar crawl at 730 so we took advantage of the “early bird special”, which is very common in all of ireland.  this place has AMAZING cocktails, a great wine selection & delicious food.  this app was really tasty & looked like edible art with the beet dyed cucumber base.
5.  gallagher’s boxty house– we went here for dinner the night we returned from our 7 day tour of south west ireland & we were not disappointed.  their potato “pancakes” are a cross between crepes, pancakes & the ethiopian bread, injera.  they come filled with everything from filet with creamy mushrooms sauce to chicken & smokey bacon.  i went rouge and got smoked salmon with a whiskey dressing, a side salad that ended up being huge & fresh & a “side” of potato pancakes with cashel blue cheese sauce.  topping it off with jameson on the rocks… nom nom nom.
6.  beshoff’s seafood grill oysters- my brother ordered these for an app at the “grill” part of beshoff’s and all who sampled them were delighted.  beshoff’s is said to have the best fish & chips in all of ireland & they lived up to the many our family sampled during our travels.
7.  an early night in- as the tour was coming to a close in kenmare and after a great dinner at bella vita (sorry, no pics of my caprese salad topped with port vinegar & amazing risotto), the kids retired early while the adults pub hopped until 2am.  i happily did so with my book, irish potato chips & jameson.
8.  roasted chicken pringles– yes, they make them & they are delicious.
9.  neon- this AWESOME thai place located near whelan’s in dublin where we were seeing lord huron blew us away!  my sister in law asked one of the guys at whelan’s where to eat & he happily recommended this place.  an hour wait that was worthy for pay upfront take out style thai food complete with free self serve ice cream.   from the crispy duck pancakes to the curry to the thai chicken salad… some of the best thai food the three of us have had in a long time.  kim enjoyed it so much, she drank the curry sauce out of the container.
10.  skinflint– another joburger creation… and it was great!  HUGE salads and creative pizzas.  the jalapeno infused honey was the ultimate addition to the pizzas. we bought 4 jars of it to bring home.  not to mention the great waitress that wrote down the soundcloud dj that they use to fill  the walls with great tunes. listened to moshigogo the remainder of our trip.
11.  duck w. confit of duck leg, cabbage & peas, duck fat chips & port jus– this dish is from a cute restaurant & bar in dingle called ashes bar.  there will be other dishes from this place because this seaside spot delivered on freshness & flavor.
12.  sicilian pork stack-  another dish from 55 north.  grilled pieces of pork tenderloin stacked & wrapped in parma ham & parmesan cheese melted in the oven with roasted red pepper, pesto & balsamic glaze.  i asked the waiter what he was get between a few things and he picked this dish and i am happy i did.
13.  beshoff’s grill-  just the sign in this market/ grill/ raw bar/ seafood tapas heaven.  it was a great day in howth.
14.  turbot w. shrimp & garlic butter with herb mash-  my dish from ashes.  this massive portion was fantastic & just what i was craving after a day of traveling down the south western coast.
15.   pan fried sea bass fillets w. baby potatoes, chorizo, sundried tomatoes, spinach & garlic butter- my dad’s dish from 55 north.  chorizo showed up on seafood menus all over the place in ireland, surprising but a welcomed twist.
16.  mussels from beshoff’s grill- they were so good that my brother, sister in law & i drank the broth.  seriously amazing.
17.   “fancy fish special”–  this dish was found at the gougane barra hotel on our last night of the tour.  half of our tour got this dish.  i didnt get it or try it but it was one of my brother’s favorite meals of the whole trip.  i dont remember exactly what it was but it was herb crusted & served with risotto. the scenery of this hotel was breathtaking & had a great breakfast as well.
 18.  roast cod fillet w. garlic prawns, potatoes, buttered greens & hollandaise-  my brother’s dish from 55 north.  he questioned why he ordered it because of how simple it was.  but there is nothing better than fresh simple fish.
19.  baby guinness – found in most pubs, tia marie topped with baileys.  you gotta try it… when in ireland right?
20.   snicker’s cheesecake–  from 55 north.  i know…snicker’s cheesecake!?! nothing special… but it was until i tried #21
21.   lemon posset- THIS WAS INSANE!  i don’t even like lemons, but all i wanted to do was steal this dessert from my dad.  we all obsessed over this dessert so much, the pastry chef gave us his recipe.  MIND BLOWN!  in a good way.
22.  10oz filet steak w. button mushrooms, roasted tomato & peppercorn cream sauce- this was my sister in law’s dish from 55 north.  this was a massive filet with a great sauce & perfectly cooked.  more thumbs up to 55 north.
23.  scallops w. a mediterranean style salad & herb dressing- my mom’s dish from ashes.  light, flavorful & delicious… just want my mom wanted.
24.   guinness– is like liquid bread so it counts as a food right?  me, learning how to pour the perfect pint at the guinness factory.
25.   black pudding w. streaky bacon & apple sauce– my app at the gougane barra hotel.  this was delicious.  black pudding sounds gross? kinda but whatever… it’s great.  the likelihood of me ever ordering it again, not likely… unless i go back to ireland.
26.   “supreme” of chicken w.  basil mash, sauteed mushrooms & bacon topped with foie gras butter & goat cheese fritter- my main at the green hen.  i don’t think i’ve ever eaten chicken so fast.  this was an amazing well put together dish with flavors that perfectly balanced each other out.
27.   asian style hake with mussels- my brother’s dish from ashes.  this was a special & it was bright and not too in your face asian.  side note hake is a delicious fish that can be found in most restaurants on the coast of ireland.
28.   a perfect pint- my sister in law’s perfectly pour pint at the guinness factory.  we all “graduated” with certificates
29.   murphy’s ice cream- home of some of the only ice cream i love.  crunchy caramel & sea salt ice creams side by side equals heaven.  not to mention the peanut butter, brown bread & guinness flavors.
30.  dingle brewing company-  had to give this place a shout out.  this TINY brewery makes tom crean’s lager.  that and only that.  the staff is great & the beer can be found in most pubs in dingle & other random pubs all over ireland.
31. kim & derick’s ice cream cones from murphy’s– my parents & i felt bad because we had ice cream from lunch without my brother & sister in law while they biked the coast of dingle but little did we know they stopped to get their own fix on the way back from their ride.

photos by me & kim cissel

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