16 Best Restaurants in The Southeast, Ireland


$$$ Fodor's choice

When Garrett Byrne, the former head chef of Dublin's celebrated Chapter One, returns home and opens a restaurant, people take notice, and the awards---and diners from all of Ireland---start flooding in. The menu is a work of art, with common French themes toyed with and expanded. The ox tongue and cheek, in sauce gribiche with pickled salsify and horseradish cream, is just about the perfect starter. For a main, try the saddle of wild venison with bacon and chestnut dumpling, caramelized parsnip, and pepper jus. Byrne chose an industrial site beside the disused railway yard and transformed it into a stylish, uncluttered space with a beautiful green canopy for a sense of the French bistro. The oak flooring and curved banquettes contrast with the abstract splashes of bright colors on the walls. The wine list is long and luxurious.

Gashouse La., Kilkenny, Co Kilkenny, Ireland
Known For
  • modern French cuisine
  • destination dining
  • relaxed contemporary setting
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Mon. and Tues. No dinner Sun. No lunch Wed.--Sat., Reservations required

Chez Hans

$$$ Fodor's choice

It's rather fitting that this restaurant is in a converted church, as it's become something of a shrine for foodies. Jason Matthia's cuisine is classic French with contemporary Irish twists. The seafood cassoulet—half a dozen varieties of fish and shellfish with a delicate chive velouté—is legendary. Another specialty is venison, mushroom and cranberry pie with chestnuts and hazelnuts. The atmosphere is wonderful, too, with dark wood and tapestries providing an elegant background for the white linen. Matthia has opened a great café next door if you prefer something more informal.

Moore La., Cashel, Co. Tipperary, Ireland
Known For
  • warm welcome
  • hearty menu
  • stunning dining room
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Mon., and late Jan.–early Feb. No lunch Tues.–Sat., Reservations essential

Cistín Eile

$ Fodor's choice

Proud of its modern Irishness, Cistín Eile takes the produce of local farmers and applies a simple but stunning brand of culinary magic. The menu changes depending on what's good in the local market. Favorites include black-and-white pudding with cabbage salad, apple, and mustard, or the creamed white rabbit and herb spaghetti. "Hunger makes a great sauce," reads the Irish-language motto on the wall, so arrive with your appetite fully intact. Little time is wasted on the decor, though the space has a homey, warm feel. How they offer dishes of this quality at such affordable prices is a Wexford miracle. And the name? It's pronounced "kishteen ella" and means "another kitchen" in Irish.

80 S. Main St., Wexford, Ireland
Known For
  • inventive Irish cuisine
  • cozy atmosphere
  • seasonal menu
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Sun. No dinner Mon. and Tues.

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Dooks Fine Foods

$ Fodor's choice

Located about 20 minutes from Bansha in the unassuming market town of Fethard, this new deli restaurant has caused a stir with food lovers all over Ireland. Chef Richard Gleeson trained at Ballymaloe and with the revered Ottolenghi in London, and brings his precision and training to play at this bright and warm spot, with polished concrete floors, an open kitchen, and wood tables and chairs. Prices are surprisingly affordable for delights like pan-fried salmon with pickled shallots, rainbow chard, rooster potatoes, and horseradish cream. Sweet treats include the spiced carrot cake with candied pumpkin seeds. Best of all the deli means you can pick up some homemade goodness to go.

Harvest Room

$$$$ Fodor's choice

Gourmands come in droves to the ruby-red dining room at Dunbrody House, where celebrity-chef Kevin Dundon serves up foie gras with toasted brioche and balsamic-marinated strawberries, pan-seared Hook Head monkfish with garden courgettes and lemon butter sauce, and a chocolate "selection of indulgences." The weekend eight-course tasting menu is a parade of culinary delights. If you're a hands-on type, you can learn how to cook the Harvest Room's delights yourself; Dundon runs a cooking school on weekends. After a memorable dinner, sit back with a goblet of Irish Mist in hand and catch a dramatic sunset fading over the Hook Peninsula. Sunday lunch here is the stuff of legend.


$$ Fodor's choice

A landmark since the 1940s, Langton's is a labyrinth of interconnected bars and eateries. Up front is one of Ireland's most famous "eating pubs," often crammed to the rafters of its low ceiling with a lively crowd. For more tranquil environs, head out back, where you can enjoy a neo-Gothic garden framed by a stretch of the old city walls. Most of the seating areas, all with open fires, have different personalities—from the leather-upholstered gentlemen's club in the Langton Bar to an attempt at Art Deco in the spacious dining room. The main restaurant offers well-prepared traditional dishes, including (of course) Irish stew and a mean cod in beer batter. There are 34 Art Deco–style hotel rooms upstairs.

Munster Room

$$$$ Fodor's choice

Inside the Waterford Castle Hotel, the Munster Room's luxe decor—with oak paneling darkened with age and ancestral portraits in gilt frames—hints at one of the most sophisticated menus around. Options include a fixed-price, three-course menu featuring adventurous starters such as ballotine of quail with celeriac foam, winter slaw, and cinnamon and apple jelly. The dress code is smart (jackets for the men) and the surroundings suggest a big night out. Main-course winners include the best of Irish steaks or the roasted goose breast with potato-and-orange stuffing and burnt-orange sauce.

The House Restaurant

$$$$ Fodor's choice

The compact, award-winning dining room of the Cliff House looks out over the crashing sea, and the dramatic location clearly inspires the menu. The food is locally sourced---including foraging raids on nearby woods and beaches---but prepared with dashes of modern and experimental cuisine. Dinner is a fixed-price, eight-course affair including such delights as the Bantry Bay salmon with cured cucumber, beetroot, and horseradish or Ardmore lobster with carrot and oyster sauce served with a milk bun. And you can't go wrong with the butter-poached turbot, Ardmore potatoes, and duck egg sauce. Go in summer, when you can dine on the expansive terrace, which winds its way down toward the sea. The staff will even match the perfect glass of wine to each delicious course.

The Tannery

$$$$ Fodor's choice

Local culinary wizard Paul Flynn whets quite an appetite in the flocks of Dubliners who besiege every weekend what is commonly regarded as one of Ireland's leading restaurants. The menu is rustic but whimsical and always seasonal. Check out the crab crème brûlée with pickled cucumber or the quail and foie gras pie, with cabbage and quince jelly. Fanatical foodies who want to stay as close to the culinary action as possible can now overnight in the adjoining guesthouse.

10 Quay St., Dungarvan, Ireland
Known For
  • celebrity chef
  • award-winning cuisine
  • culinary school attached
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Mon. No dinner Sun. Sept.–May. No lunch Tues.–Thurs. and Sat., Reservations required

Bodega Restaurant & Wine Bar


A casual, modern Irish eatery, Bodega Restaurant is known as the fun place to eat in town. Everything is prepared with locally sourced ingredients, with the Kilmore Quay haddock bake a hearty favorite, along with celeriac and baby carrot risotto with sherry vinegar caramel, crispy potato rosti, mascarpone, and Parmesan. Bright colors and comfortable couches give it a festive feel, while the extensive wine menu gets everyone warmed up. Bodega also hosts intimate gigs by some of Ireland's top folk singers.

D'Lush Cafe


Locals swear this cute little joint at the back of the Arts Centre is the home of Wexford's best coffee. The interior is simple but cozy with creative touches like local artwork visible throughout. The creative touch extends to the menu where you will find options like the spiced chorizo and squash soup and smoked loin of bacon, Brie, and pear chutney sandwich. The chocolate, date, cranberry, and nut slice is a cake to die for.

Reeds Restaurant


Fresh-off-the-boat fish is the big draw at this restaurant at the family-friendly Ferrycarrig Hotel. Seafood from Kilmore Quay is a favorite, but the Killurin lamb is just as local and tasty, as is the wild Wicklow venison loin with red cabbage tatin, parsnip puree, red wine jus, and game chips (potatoes, flour-dusted then thinly sliced and fried). Check out the wine list, one of the better ones in the Southeast. While the tables are formally appointed with crisp white linens, the light-filled dining room has a friendly, relaxed vibe. 

Ristorante Rinuccini


A warm glow emanates from this Georgian town-house restaurant, where owner-chef Antonio Cavaliere is intensely involved in preparing such luscious Italian dishes as rigatoni all' arrabbiata (tubes of homemade egg pasta in a fresh tomato sauce with chili and garlic). Other specialties, such as medallions of fresh Kilmore Quay monkfish with roasted cherry tomatoes, garlic, white wine, and a touch of fresh chili, go particularly well with Antonio's garlic roasted potatoes—highly recommended as a side dish. A splendid all-Italian wine list complements the menu, and there's a host of delicious homemade desserts. This is one of the best Italian options in town. The restaurant accommodates overnight guests in the town house above.

1 The Parade, Kilkenny, Ireland
Known For
  • best Italian in town
  • excellent Italian wine list
  • Kilmore Quay monkfish
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Reservations essential

The Beach House


Situated on the ground floor of a Victorian house with a wonderful vegetable garden out back, the Beach House has rapidly become one of the hottest seafood restaurants in the country. Their shellfish bisque is a gorgeous starter, and while mains change with the daily catch, the brill with mussels and Muscadet and the black sole are two of the more popular. There are excellent meat and vegetarian options and the almond tart is a standout dessert. 

Turkey Road, Tramore, Co. Waterford, Ireland
Known For
  • award-winning chef
  • family owned
  • ever-changing menu
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Jan.--Mar.

The Old Bank


Set in a magnificent and grand Palladian-style bank in the center of Dungarvan, the Old Bank restaurant is the place to withdraw some delicious food and cocktails. The Italian bistro menu has plenty of local twists. Open with Harty's oysters on ice with beetroot, cacao nib, and shallot dressing. For a main try the rare tuna in sesame, with tataki of red onion and garlic crisps. The real treat is an after-dinner original Abbeyside Martini in the stylish cocktail bar.

The Silver Fox Seafood Restaurant


Given its quayside location, seafood is the specialty at this busy family-run seafood restaurant. Fisherman's pie is a real favorite—scrumptious freshly caught prawns, monkfish, salmon, and cod in a dill and Pernod cream sauce topped with a mashed-potato crust. Non-seafood options include chicken Angelica stuffed with potatoes and leeks and wrapped in bacon with mushroom sauce. Simplicity and freshness define the food here.

Kilmore Quay, Ireland
Known For
  • delicious crab cakers
  • good-value lobster
  • waterside location
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Dec.--Easter closed Mon.--Thurs. and no lunch Fri., Reservations essential