It's official, Cork is on fire. On a recent trip there we didn't have enough hours or calories in the day to eat everywhere we wanted to, but we did our best and boy were we impressed. Looking for your next food-based weekend away? Look no further, and here are seven places not to miss when you get there...
Goldie, Oliver Plunkett Street
Goldie Head Chef Aishling Moore is 26. Just try to get your head around that after eating her perfect plates of local tomatoes and crispy sardines, hake with café de Paris butter and caramelised chicory (why isn't this more of a thing), and monkfish dahl (ditto). Michelin were on the money awarding them a Bib Gourmand, and this is a kitchen that could have a star if they wanted it. The wine list is small but perfectly serviceable, staff seem genuinely happy to be there, and children are welcomed with open arms. In our book it doesn't get much better.
51 Cornmarket, Cornmarket Street
You'll never want to make brunch again after eating at 51 Cornmarket - what's the point when everything that comes out of your own kitchen is so dull in comparison to theirs. A crab crumpet with brown crab mayo and a poached egg has hidden slivers of pickled daikon running through the middle, 'brunch chips' come with a poached egg, hollandaise sauce and a bacon crumb, and the French toast, which is like a soufflé in the middle yet perfectly crispy on the outside, topped with bacon, honeycomb butter and salty butterscotch sauce, is currently our frontrunner for 'best in Ireland'.
Cask, MacCurtain Street
Seasonal, 'nature-led' cocktail bar Cask uses ingredients like lemon rose geranium, nettle cordial, and ugly strawberries to make their award-winning, frequently changing cocktail list. It's not hard to see why they won 'Bar of the year' at the 2019 awards of the same name, as well as a litany of other awards, when sipping on a rhubarb and sorrel margarita, or a fig leaf / cleavers (a native Irish herb). For added impact there's a waterfall at the back of the outside area, and plenty to look at inside too.
You've probably heard of Miyazaki, Japanese chef Takashi Miyazaki's takeaway (with a few counter seats) in Cork city, but it's as good as it ever was, so make sure to earmark a visit on your next trip south. The specials are where the magic is at, with a salmon zuke don bowl so fresh and vibrant we felt like we'd just left a Japanese fish market. They don't have a website but you can find the menu as well as daily specials on their Facebook page.
Iyers, Pope's Quay
Iyers has always been known for their dosas, those crispy Indian pancakes made from fermented rice batter and served with chutneys and dips, and it's no exaggeration to say we think about them weekly, so were pretty devo on our last trip to find that they've been relegated to Sundays due to the amount of work involved. However, you can still immerse yourself in the best samosa chaat, pakoras, and a multitude of curries on the other days they're open (currently Friday - Sunday). Everything is vegetarian, with lots vegan too.
Good Day Deli, Nano Nagle Place
In the beautiful gardens of Nano Nagle Place, Good Day Deli serves up a feel-good, so fresh it's almost jumping off the plate menu of predominantly vegetarian food (but their Kai Moana fish tacos will likely never be allowed to leave the menu). There's a big focus on sustainable eating and living, and a nicely curated list of natural wine, organic tea and West Cork coffee, as well as unmissable homemade cakes.
About 45 minutes drive from Cork city, in the harbour town of Ballycotton, you'll find Cush, with its sea views, impressive list of local suppliers, and very obvious talent in the kitchen. Their three-course, €36 menu is incredible value for food of this calibre, with starters and mains particularly impressive. Don't miss their signature natural smoked haddock with pea velouté and a crispy hen's egg, and a side of Ballycotton queens, skins caramelised almost to toffee in seaweed butter.
Do you have a favourite place in Cork we should know about? Let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.