In terms of Irish cities, Dublin is the obvious draw and although there is of course plenty of fun to be had there, it’s worth considering Cork too. Located in the south of Ireland, Cork is the country’s second largest city and is surrounded by beautiful countryside and stunning coastline. Whether you want to pop over for a quick weekend break or use Cork as a base for exploring the area, here’s the best places to eat and drink in the city


Ichigo Ichie Cork
Ichigo Ichie

This absolute gem of a Japanese restaurant has a Michelin star and offers Cork’s standout dining experience. Takashi Miyazaki opened this small, sleek restaurant after moving to Cork with his wife, and he takes full advantage of the area’s fresh seafood to create stunning set menus. The menu changes every month, with dishes including the likes of Bantry bay sea urchin, cod milt, wasabi and akazu rice, and Lough Neagh eel, maitake, taro potato and Leamlara Ivan’s mitsuba. This is well worth splashing out for but if you are on a tighter budget, you can also get fresh sushi from Takashi at his Miyazaki takeaway.

English Market Cork
Market Lane

The English Market is a must visit in Cork. Right in the centre of the city, this traditional covered market is full of fresh produce, fish, meats and groceries. After browsing the stalls, stop by the Market Lane restaurant for lunch. Located on the edge of the market, this is the place to come for hearty Irish classics, all made with produce taken from the market. We loved the slow cooked pork collar with mustard sauce and cabbage and the ham hock fritters with apple puree.

Elbow Lane Cork
Elbow Lane Brew and Smokehouse

This micro brewery and BBQ restaurant is a great place to start the night. They make a cracking range of beers on site and the food menu of smoked, grilled meats and more is bang on point too. Check out the smoked gochujang sausage with fermented cucumber, the slow smoked baby back ribs and the grilled monkfish with lamb bacon, parsnip crisp and horseradish salsa.

Spit Jack Cork
Spit Jack

If you come to Cork for a weekend, you’ll want to round off your trip with a Sunday roast. At Spit Jack, there’s slow roasted ham and beef sirloin alongside glorious spit roasted chicken, all served with seasonal veg and creamy mash.


Hi-B Cork
The Hi-B Bar

Hidden up a stair way this pub gets very lively and is always packed full of locals. It has a no phones rule and is a great place to come away from the tourists. 

Mutton Lane Inn

More touristy but worth a visit nonetheless, is the tiny but very atmospheric Mutton Lane Inn, one of Cork’s oldest pubs. A great spot to start your night with a pint of Guinness. 

Rising Sons Brewery

This huge venue has bags of space, screens showing sport and a great selection of their own in house brewed beers as well as the usual suspects. 


River Lee Hotel Cork
The River Lee Hotel 

One of Cork’s smartest hotels, The River Lee, is part of the Doyle Collection, which also has The Kensington, Marylebone, and Bloomsbury in London. With a nice quiet location just out of the centre of town, rooms are spacious, nicely decorated and have views out over the city. You can still easily walk everywhere from here but it’s nice to be able to come away from the hustle of the centre after a day and night exploring. There’s an excellent breakfast buffet in the morning too, with eggs, black pudding and bacon galore, as well as fruit fresh pastries, juices, and coffee.

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