The Ring of Cork is known for its spectacular scenery, cultural experiences and adrenaline pumping adventures but one of the most impressive aspects of the Ring of Cork are the delicious tastes you will experience along the way.
First up, we have to mention the farmers markets that take place in Midleton, Mahon and Blackrock weekly and FEAST food festival that takes place in September in Midleton as they are the perfect place to get a taste of the amazing produce the Ring of Cork has to offer. In this article, we are going to take you on a food tour along the Ring of Cork and share with you 30 unbelievable foodie hotspots to check out this summer. Spend your summer eating your way around these gems along the Ring of Cork.
This food gem is located in the heart of the seaside town of Crosshaven. ‘Cronin’s Pub’ has an incredible history. Sean’s parents bought the former ‘Kennefick’s Hotel’ in 1970 and ran it as ‘Crosser by the Sea’. Sean married Thecla who brought her love for cooking to ‘Cronin’s Pub’ and made it a beautiful lunch venue with lots of fresh seafood. Their son Denis got his love of cooking from his Mom and opened the ‘Mad Fish Restaurant’ which has picked up lots of well-deserved food awards. All the produce is sourced locally, freshly prepared each day and delicious. The mussels are absolutely divine!
2. BITE SIZE
If you are looking for a real sweet treat, we would recommend popping into ‘Bite Size’ in either Ballincollig or Midleton. Trust us, you won’t be disappointed. They have the most delightful cakes, tarts and treats that are freshly baked every morning and waiting for you to enjoy. Nothing beats a heavenly coffee and treat to bring a smile to your face.
‘The Old Thatch’, located in the friendly town of Killeagh is a tasty experience so of course, it makes our top list. It is located near Glenbower Wood so a perfect place to go beforehand for a walk to get out in the fresh air. At ‘The Old Thatch’ you can experience something a little different by enjoying a meal in Ireland’s oldest thatched pub. The menu has something for everyone and the food is absolutely outstanding. A cosy, relaxed atmosphere mixed with their tasty dishes makes for the perfect food stop. If you are passing on the go, be sure to check out their new Deli which offers hot and cold food, sandwiches, rolls and much more. Perfect if you are heading to the nearby playground or beach for a picnic this summer.
‘Ballymaloe’ has a very impressive name as one of the finest food destinations in Ireland. Taste the local produce prepared by the award-winning chefs in ‘Ballymaloe’. A cuisine experience you will remember forever. If you are looking to enhance your cooking skills during your visit, be sure to book onto one of their unique courses at ‘Ballymaloe Cookery School’ and learn from the experts themselves. You can also pop into the Ballymaloe Café for something a little more relaxed so they have something to suit everybody.
Another delicious gem for our top list is located in the seaside town of Youghal. If you are looking for a date night, this is the place to go as it was voted ‘Ireland’s most Romantic Restaurant’ by the Bridgestone Guide. Indulge in the local produce at ‘Ahernes’ and taste the finest fish, freshly caught seafood, locally reared beef and lamb and much more. A dining experience to remember with a twist of romance.
If you love Italian food, this is the place to go. Enjoy creative Italian pizzas, traditional pasta dishes and luscious risotto dishes. This Italian gem is located in Castlemartyr Resort and you are met with a warm, relaxed atmosphere as you walk through the door. You can also indulge in their Lady Fitzgerald’s Afternoon tea if you are looking for something a little sweeter or enjoy their luxurious Bell Tower restaurant if you are looking for an exquisite fine dining experience. Whatever you decide, you won’t be disappointed.
This gem is located in the heart of Midleton and well deserves to make our top list. It first opened in 1996 and to this day provides delicious home style cooking, healthy salads, tasty sandwiches, delicious home baking and much more. The perfect spot for a bite of lunch and the ideal place to sit in or out to enjoy a coffee and cake with the paper or simply watch the world go by.
Another foodie gem to make the list is ‘Harty’s Restaurant & Bar’ which is located in Cloyne, just steps away from the Round Tower. This spot offers delicious food, along with a warm, friendly Irish welcome. You can indulge in the finest seafood or pick from the wide selection of food on the menu. Always remember that Friday night is Tapas night. There is something for everyone to enjoy in this foodie gem.
This delicious restaurant has been on the main street in Midleton for over 40 years and continues to impress every time we visit so it has made our top list. Pop in and try some of the local’s favourite dishes made with the freshest local produce. You know it is a popular restaurant when it’s as busy as ever after 40 years. The best spots are always the places the locals love and you can see that this gem is definitely one loved by the locals.
10. LA TRATTORIA
Another great family restaurant in Midleton has made it onto the list. ‘La Trattoria’ is a perfect family restaurant to pop into for breakfast, lunch, dinner or even a coffee and fresh cream bun as a treat with the kids. A mixture of local and European dishes to tickle your taste buds in this foodie gem.
11. FERRIT & LEE
‘Ferrit & Lee’ is another gem of a restaurant in Midleton. It is located just off the main street near the gates of the famous Jameson Distillery. This is a modern restaurant with impressive modern cuisine to indulge in. Enjoy the Thai Fish Cakes, Braised Lamb Shoulder, Tempura Fillets of Haddock and much more. There are lots of delicious choices to choose from on the menu.
12. Surf and Turf
If you are looking for tasty food in a relaxed environment with excellent service, ‘Surf and Turf’ in Midleton is for you. A great choice of cuisine on the menu with something for all taste buds. Enjoy the slow roast short ribs of beef bourguignon, seafood chowder or go all out and tickle your taste buds with the Surf & turf which includes Medallions of fillet 6oz, garlic crab claws and prawns. You can see why it made to our foodie hotspot list!
If you are looking for a great restaurant in Youghal for a bite to eat, then the ‘Red Store Restaurant’ is the perfect place. The original Grain Store dates back to the 1900’s and is now known as a great spot for food in the busy seaside town. Pop in for a carvery lunch or enjoy the delicious variety on their bar menu every day. A huge choice on the menu so something to tickle everyone’s taste buds.
‘Belini’s restaurant’ located in the picturesque Maryborough hotel makes it onto our top foodie list with its electric fusion of flavours found in their delicious dishes. The ingredients are all sourced locally from local farmers and butchers, to fisherman and artisanal producers. This is a foodie gem to check out this summer.
This sweet gem is located at Shanagarry design center. It is the perfect place to stop off for a treat if your exploring East Cork. We would recommend doing the Ballycotton Cliff walk and afterwards when you have built up an appetite, pop into the ‘Kilkenny Café. You can indulge in tasty Artisan Irish food for breakfast or lunch after your picturesque walk. If you are looking for something a little sweeter, you can enjoy some afternoon delight with their home baking and barista coffee.
Escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life as you enter the luxurious ‘Fota Island Resort’. There are lots to choose from to tickle your taste buds in the resort. Enjoy a casual lunch in the Amber Lounge, an exquisite fine dining experience in Fota restaurant or tickle those taste buds with their Thai style cuisine at Spike bar. An array of choice in a spectacular venue.
‘Maestros Restaurant’ is located in the Radisson Blue Hotel in Little Island and has made it onto our fabulous foodie list. If you are looking for modern restaurant with dishes to suit everyone’s taste buds, then this is for you. All the dishes are made fresh with local ingredients and also include great options if anybody has a gluten free or coeliac diet.
18. THE HUNTED HOG
This vibrant pub is located near to Castlemartyr village and offers a cosy, rustic pub feel with a taste of modern Irish food. Full of character, craic and great food. The pub’s chef uses local produce and has a creative flair for creating a wide variety of delicious dishes.
19. THE PEPPERSTACK
The Pepperstack was voted “Munsters Favourite Place to Eat” at the 2016 Keeling’s Gold Medal Awards and we can see why. It is located in the picturesque Aghada, just outside Midleton. What we love is that you can see the pride they take in every dish on the menu. Their ambition is to create one of the most innovative and honest food establishments Cork has ever seen. You know it’s a good pick when you leave planning when your next visit is going to be. And that is exactly why it is part of our top foodie list.
20. THE BISTRO
If you are looking for a contemporary Bistro Restaurant along the Ring of Cork, you will find it at the Carrigaline Court Hotel. ‘The Bistro’ is decorated magnificently and the menu is varied and extremely tempting for all taste buds to enjoy. Another tasty option at the Carrigaline Court Hotel is ‘Collins Bar’ for a bite to eat with friends.
For a culinary delight, be sure to book into ‘The Maltings Restaurant’ for a fantastic meal. They launched their new summer dinner menu to tickle your taste buds. They are also launched their delicious summer lunch menu at ‘The Park Bar’. Both of these gems are located in the Midleton Park Hotel and waiting for you to enjoy them this summer.
22. CAFÉ CHICO
This is a unique gem located in the carpark of the Ballincollig Regional park. Enjoy a walk in the park and treat yourself afterwards to some gorgeous homemade treats and a coffee at Margaret’s little piece of heaven ‘Café Chico’.
This unique find is located in Castlemartyr and is the perfect place to stop to grab a sandwich and coffee. They have a seating area upstairs where you can enjoy your food as you watch the world go by. This gem actually supplies many of the Ring of Cork restaurants previously mentioned so their produce is top class. If you are going for a cycle over the summer, this is the perfect spot to stop for lunch as they have a bicycle service station around the back too.
24. PIER 26
This gem is located in the heart of Ballycotton on the pier. You get a mix of old and new as you walk in the door as they have a welcoming traditional pub packed with character, along with an award-winning restaurant which features fresh fish straight out of the sea. They offer brunch, lunch and both an early bird menu and a la carte menu. There is lots of choice from their famous Seafood Chowder and Confit free range duck leg to slow roast pork belly and Ballycotton hake. Something to tickle everybody’s taste buds.
You have two food gems in the Oriel House hotel, the ‘Oriel Bar & Bistro’ and the ‘Oriel Restaurant’. They both offer a wide choice of delicious dishes on the menu and something to suit everybody’s taste. They are most popular for their famous brunch and carvery lunches so be sure to check it out. A local favourite so you know it must be good.
If you are looking for dinner with a view, this gem is for you. The ‘Panorama Bistro & Terrace’ is located in the Montenotte Hotel and allows you to have uninterrupted views over the beautiful River Lee and Cork city. A unique dining experience with an impressive menu and breathtaking view. Enjoy a craft beer, local tapas or indulge in their lunch or dinner menu. Our favourite is to enjoy a cocktail and some tapas on the terrace while watching the sunset over the city. A little piece of heaven.
Did you know The Malt House restaurant is located at the Jameson Experience? Perfect for a cup of coffee, homemade scones or a tasty lunch with friends. Their goal is to offer a true Irish experience with locally sourced produce. Our favourite dishes include the mouthwatering Ballycotton Seafood Chowder and Smoked Irish Salmon with brown bread. Another gem which definitely deserved to be on this tasty list.
If you are looking to enjoy some of the best food in a beautiful contemporary setting, look no further than the Elm Tree which is located in Glounthaune. Enjoy their Bluebell Falls Goats Cheese Salad at lunch time, their slow cooked lamb shank or madras chicken curry on the a la carte menu, a sizzling summer BBQ or pop in on a Sunday for their famous carvery Sunday lunch.
Located in the heart of Ballincollig on the main street is ‘Tradehouse Central’. Their delicious evening menu consists of tacos, beef burgers, pasta, Thai curry, steak and much more. Something on the menu to tickle everybody’s taste buds. It is also the perfect place to go for breakfast or lunch after a nice walk in the Ballincollig regional park.
The Quality Hotel in Youghal offers a range of food options. Their ‘Capel Island Restaurant’ will give you a tasty selection of locally sourced produce. Ardsallagh goats cheese roulade or poached monkfish medallions & tiger prawns are just some of their tasty dishes on the menu. Another option is the delicious Lannigan’s restaurant which overlooks Youghal Bay. Plenty of choice to tickle your taste buds! The ‘Coast Bar’ is the perfect place to pop into for a drink and a casual meal. Be sure to check out their authentic Napoli Pizza Oven. You can either enjoy it in the bar, dine al fresco just a few metres from the beach or take it away to enjoy on the beach on a sunny, summers afternoon.
Ring Of Cork teamed up with Stephanie Lynch from OnTheQT.ie to create this blog post.
To find more delicious restaurants, cafés and bars in the Ring Of Cork, visit our Eat section.