Let it be said that contrary to popular belief, Ireland is NOT home to boring, tasteless food. It’s not all potatoes and corn beef. In fact, some of the best food I have ever eaten has been in Ireland. So naturally it boasts a brilliant, booming food capital.
County Cork is home to Cork City, the food capital of Ireland, and Kinsale, the gourmet food capital of Ireland. Kinsale is a coastal town, and one with much more to offer than pub food. That’s why the second my feet touched down on Ireland soil I was inevitably headed to there.
If breakfast really is the most important meal of the day, it’s a good thing Kinsale does not disappoint.
While there are many places to enjoy a good breakfast in Kinsale, I decided to hit up a colorful little cafe with outdoor seating on a cobblestone pathway. The Milk Market Cafe has a great selection of egg dishes as well as a variety of crepes. Settling on eggs benedict (hollandaise on the side) and grilled fresh tomatoes was the perfect amount of food, a simple but delicious start the day.
The Old Bank Townhouse Cafe has to be my favorite. When you first walk in, there is a huge display of pastries and cakes. From lemon drizzle and rocky road cakes to fresh fruit pastries and muffins, they truly have it all.
After being overwhelmed—in the best way—by the mountain of mouth-watering pastries, one can have a seat in the cafe to the side. Old Bank has a nice buffet with fresh bread, fruit, scones and juices. Top this off with their delicious banana pancakes and you have a breakfast for the books.
I thank the Kinsale Gods for providing incredible, satisfying lunches after long, exhaustive mornings of exploring the beautiful coastal town.
With absolutely adorable outdoor seating and a spacious inside, Hamlet’s is the perfect place to grab a solid meal accompanied by a refreshing cider (Orchard Thieves to be exact). One cannot go wrong with the chargrilled pesto chicken focaccia. It is as fresh as it is fabulous.
However, if you’re more of the seafood type and want to enjoy food that lives than a mile from your plate, the mussels are for you. Be prepared to enjoy the greatest mussels you will ever eat in your life. Coated with a garlic white wine cream sauce and accompanied with a sour dough garlic tostini, it can never be a bad choice.
Ah, the main act. The beginning to a night full of great food and even greater beer.
The Spaniard is one of the oldest bars in Kinsale and is built on the ruins of a castle. You can prepare for your delicious meal in one of their two bars with a few beers and then make way into their dining room. If you want to eat the best brie cheese of your life, this is where you will find it. It is wrapped in flakey dough and sits atop delicious jam. You will be amazed.
It seems ironic that an American would travel all the way to Ireland and get a burger, but I have no regrets. The burgers at Blue Haven are made with local beef, topped with cheddar and accompanied by thick salty french fries. It’s easily one of the best burgers I’ve ever had in my life. Go Ireland.
#SpoonTip: Don’t be confused when all of the menus say Sea Salt Chips. Those are just the delicious things we like to call fries.
Last but definitely not least—and my favorite meal of the day—there are amazing treats in Kinsdale that await you.
After three full days in Kinsale, I found my way straggling into Blue Haven and am so glad I did. Almost every dessert on the menu is as extravagant and delicious as this one. After a lot of back and forth between the chocolate ice cream sundae and this fine looking creation, I chose the warm caramel apple sundae.
To finish off a wonderful day of food, you must drink an authentic Irish coffee. Whether it be throwing some whiskey into your homemade coffee or indulging in one like the one I got at Blue Haven, it’s an experience you don’t want to miss out on.
If I could spend the rest of my life trying the foods in this beautiful town I would. Everywhere you turn there is a new quaint restaurant waiting to be enjoyed. If Ireland’s beautiful scenery, history and landscape don’t make you want to hop on a plane their food sure will.