You'll always find somewhere great to eat in any town in Ireland, but one place is ruling the roost thanks to their organic focus and incredible local producers.
Kinsale in West Cork, take a bow.
Whether you're heading to the beaut harbour town for a weekend of peace or debauchery (the craic in local pubs is 90), you can't head down here without eating in at least one of the following spots.
Now, we're just saying that if we were you, we'd hit up all of these. As many times as possible. 'Cos once you leave Kinsale you'll be dreaming of when you can return to this foodie heaven again and again and again.
Here's how to spend the perfect day in Kinsale, eating and drinking your way to bliss:
Start your day with brekkie in the colourful OHK Cafe...
Not only is O'Herlihy's the cutest cafe in Cork, we’re going all out here and saying it’s the cutest cafe in the country. Genuinely, I’m upset that I live so far away from this place because it is SO incredible. They serve colourful salads using fresh, local ingredients as well as coffee to go from their little hatch.
Brunch is zesty Acai bowls served in a coconut bowl, steaming pots of tea poured into 1970’s cups, Eggs Shakuka with crunchy sourdough bread for dipping and all the eggs and avo smash you could ever dream of.
Lunch is fish and chips at the harbour - can't beat it
Look, if it’s a nice day then nothing can beat a piping hot piece of battered fish and chips doused in salt and vinegar. Our top spot in Kinsale is Dino’s fish and chip store, located right on the harbour.
It’s all a bit manic inside as you join the queue of locals and tourists but everything is made fresh and wrapped up in brown paper to be eaten as soon as you step outside. They also have a quirky nautical themed family restaurant beside the takeaway shop if the weather doesn’t allow for fish al fresco.
Make some room for a Kinsale walking food tour...
If you fancy learning all about the food scene in Kinsale while eating your way around its winding streets than the only thing to do is join a walking food tour.
Tours last 2 - 2.5 hours and happen hail, rain or shine. The tour brings you on a gentle stroll through the village and you’ll stop at various eateries in Kinsale and meet some of the local characters and producers.
Learn about their stories of what they produce and more of the history of this unique part of Ireland.
Before stopping off for some local mead
Nope, this isn’t some mad sort of Game of Thrones buzz. Mead (made from honey) is back baby, and Kinsale Mead Co. is the place to taste it. The tour starts with an overview of Mead's long and ancient global history.
You’ll then see the production area where they store the honey and where their mead is fermented, matured and bottled.
You'll be able to taste four of their meads in the tasting room including some only on offer in the meadery, understanding each mead’s flavour profiles and how best to serve and pair with different foods. Sounds heavenly.
A quick glass of vino in The Black Pig's wine garden
Hidden in the backstreets of Kinsale is this fab wine bar that has 200 wines by the bottle and 100 by the glass, with a focus on organic, biodynamic and natural wines.
A small courtyard out back is a mini jungle of greenery, cosy cushions and blankets and twinkling fairylights.
Let yourself be tempted with a plate of their charcuterie as a nibble to soak up the vino or go all out with a full spread of Ballyhoura mushrooms on toast, Gubbeen chorizo or Pan Fried West Cork prawns.
Have dinner in the only Michelin Bib Gourmande restaurant in Kinsale, Bastion
A sleek dark grey restaurant whose dishes the Michelin Guide describe as “tasty, carefully prepared and often have an innovative, playful element”, Bastion is a cosmopolitan eatery using neighbourhood food.
Plates are artful and pretty and the menu has that annoyingly nice problem of being too hard to choose from - you’ll want it all.
A rabbit lasagne comes with a warning that it ‘may still contain shot’, fresh treacle butter is made inhouse to go with the bread and a Toonsbridge smoked ricotta agnolotti is still on my fave dinner list.
— Sarah Clayton-Lea (@SazzyClay) May 12, 2018
And finish with a creamy pint of Guinness by the fire in Dalton's, a local favourite
Our friendly waitress in Bastion recommended Dalton’s for a quiet drink and it’s a top notch spot. Having change from a twenty note for a fancy G&T and a pint of Guinness was a pleasant surprise, too.
Traditional music plays during the summer on week nights and everyone (everyone brave enough, that is) is encouraged to get up and join in the sing-song. There’s a cosy open fire inside and a cute little patio area out back if the sun decides to peep through.