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Ireland Food Guide: More Than Meat and Potatoes

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The Emerald Isle has never topped the list of foodie destinations, but this breathtaking country is now offering far more than beautiful scenery and friendly faces. Cities such as Kinsale, Galway and Dublin boast some of the best restaurants in Europe. Sifting through the hundreds of options is the real challenge, so let's look at some of the greatest stars on Ireland's food scene.

Kinsale 

This historic port town located in County Cork is known as the "Gourmet Capital of Ireland." The picturesque views will only add to the wonderful dining experiences you are sure to have there. In order to make the most of your visit, stay in a beautiful bed and breakfast or hotel within the harbor so you can rest up before your foodie tour of Kinsale.

One of the best restaurants in Kinsale is a seafood restaurant creatively named Fishy Fishy. As this restaurant is located on the harbor, the views it offers are sure to take your breath away. The menu here is always changing, depending on the catches of the day, and all fish are caught off Ireland's southern coast daily.

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If you're more of a carnivore, Finn's Table will be right up your alley. The chefs of this Irish- and French-inspired restaurant use only locally sourced fresh ingredients to create their dishes. Owner John Finn's parents supply the restaurant with lamb, beef and pork from their own butchery. If you are lucky enough to make your way to this fabulous restaurant, you cannot go wrong with any of the succulent meat dishes.

Some other good restaurants in Kinsale are The Black Pig Winebar, Bastion and The Steakhouse.

Galway

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Sitting on Galway Bay, this harbor city was originally surrounded by walls. Their remains add to the beauty and mystique of Galway's winding roads lined with shops, pubs and restaurants. Galway has had the reputation of being wild and lively at night, thanks to its great bar and pub scene. Now, it is matching that reputation but with its up-and-coming restaurant scene.

Cava Bodega is a fantastic tapas and wine bar. The phenomenon of tapas is no longer exclusive to Spain, and many places in Ireland have capitalized on this innovative way to eat. Cava has managed to accomplish this through a diverse and delicious menu that remains authentic to the Spanish cuisine.

Artisan offers a seasonal dining experience, meaning that the chef will only use ingredients that are currently in season and at their freshest. This encourages great creativity and innovation within the menu, and also means that the offerings are constantly changing. Artisan specializes in Irish cuisine with Parisian influence. You'll enjoy delicious food in a romantic environment: Just look out the window at the medieval streets of Galway and feel like you are dining in another time.

While staying in Galway, you can find a number of hotels located on the bay. The town center is only minutes away, so putting your feet up and looking out on the calm waters is a must!

Some other restaurants to try in Galway are Eat, Ard Bia and Oscar's.

Dublin

Last but not least, the capital city of Dublin offers an extensive list of fabulous restaurants. Being such an international city, Dublin has created a community of restaurants whose chefs have taken inspiration from all over the globe.

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The Italian cuisine at Etto in Merrion Row is exceptional. One item on the menu is better than the next, and this praise is not without proof. This restaurant was awarded a Michelin Guide Bib Gourmand designation in 2014 and 2015, and was the winner of the Best Casual Dining Experience in Dublin at the 2015 Irish Restaurant Awards. The dining area itself is very small, but this makes for a much more intimate and pleasant atmosphere. It is located right near St. Stephen's Green, so go for a walk in the park after dinner to burn off some calories.

The area of Merrion Row and St. Stephens Green is also the most desirable when looking for accommodations in Dublin. In the city center, surrounded by beautiful Georgian-style homes, you are sure to experience all Dublin has to offer while staying in one of the area's many hotels.

This list would not be complete without telling you where to get the best pub food in all of Ireland, and the answer is simple: L. Mulligan Grocer. Here you will be able to get delectable, inspired and authentic Irish pub food along with a choice of beverages from an extensive list of local and global craft beer.

Other notable restaurants in Dublin include The Port House, Fallon & Byrne and Fade Street Social.

During your trip to Ireland, you'll discover that this country is about much more than its food. The people, history and landscapes make it a unique destination. The fact that the food is just as wonderful doesn't hurt.

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Nov 16, 2016