The Midlands Restaurants

The Midlands town of Birr may be known as the "belly button of Ireland" because of its central location, not because this region is regarded as one of the cuisine centers of Ireland. No matter that Ireland's best restaurant (according to some)—Neven Maguire's MacNean's, near Cavan town—is in the Midlands, nor the fact that the region is also home to Wineport Lodge, Ireland's first "wine hotel," you'll find that most restaurants here are simple eateries, ranging in price from inexpensive to moderate.

Nevertheless, there are those restaurants that will entice you right in off the street, especially those offering beef—Mullingar, in the center of the Midlands, is the beef capital of Ireland—and fish specialties, as the many lakes and rivers of the region provide an abundance of fresh salmon and trout (in fact, since no place is more than an hour and a half from the sea, expect to find lots of fresh ocean fish).

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  • 1. MacNean's House & Restaurant

    $$$$ | Irish

    Run by Neven Maguire, one of Ireland's top chefs, MacNean's is one of the best restaurants in the country; in fact, there's a waiting list of...Read More

  • 2. The Left Bank Bistro

    $$ | Asian

    One of Athlone's culinary highlights, this bistro is noted for its early-bird menu, which runs through the evening (except Saturday, when it...Read More

  • 3. The Olde Post Inn

    $$$$ | Irish

    A restored, stone former post office in an elegantly landscaped garden, the Olde Post Inn has won a clutch of awards and, as a result, is often...Read More

  • 4. The Purple Onion

    $$ | Irish

    Originally a standard public house with low ceilings, this Shannon-side resting place on the main street of a tiny village to the west of Longford...Read More

  • 5. Emma's Café and Deli

    $ | Irish

    A tempting array of both savory and sweet delights are on display at this central daytime café and deli counter. Nourishing soups at lunchtime...Read More

  • 6. Flynn's Bar & Lounge

    $ | Irish

    In the center of town, Flynn's is worth visiting to appreciate its light and spacious Victorian-style design. The lunch menu includes sandwiches...Read More

  • 7. Kelly's Steakhouse

    $$$ | Steakhouse

    Just across the road from the Midlands Park Hotel, Kelly's Steakhouse expertly prepares cuts of Irish beef in all shapes and sizes, from a 20...Read More

  • 8. Kin Khao Thai Restaurant

    $ | Thai

    Many regard this as the leading Thai restaurant in the Midlands, if not all of Ireland. Adam Lyons runs a slick first-floor operation in a 650...Read More

  • 9. The Fatted Calf

    $$ | Irish

    One of the Midlands food heroes, chef-owner Feargal O'Donnell uses fresh, locally sourced ingredients at his popular, contemporary Irish restaurant...Read More

  • 10. The Thatch Bar

    $ | Irish

    Imaginative food and a warm welcome await at this 300-year-old bar and restaurant, its thatched roof (completely redone in 2017), exposed wooden...Read More

  • 11. Relish

    $ | European

    Portlaoise's secret is now unleashed: Monday is half-price night at Relish and if you can plan your visit for that day be advised to make an...Read More

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