In our heritage port city, you’ll find a place that’s compact, very walkable and full of inviting and innovative cafes, restaurants, pubs and markets.
Cork is a city that rewards explorers, a vibrant, welcoming place where you can always take time to talk to the locals who are passionate about great food and passionate about sharing what makes us famous.
You may only be in town for a couple of days and have a date with Ed “down the Pairc” – but you will find something to delight on every street and find yourself quickly plugged into the best of Cork’s Food Culture.
So follow our two-day food & drinks trail – enjoy the music, revel in one of Europe’s most characterful and quirky cities and discover the very heart and soul of Ireland’s Food Capital.
Welcome to Cork – Now Dive Right In!
Arrive Early And Have Breakfast (or Brunch) At;
The Farmgate Café, English Market – From 9am. Dive straight into the famous English Market – our pride and joy - with breakfast from the counter and a seat on the long balcony. Coffee and croissants or tea, porridge, hearty breakfast baps and fresh-baked scones, enjoyed while sitting high up above the morning market, watching as the traders set out their produce for the day. It is, as we say, Pure Cork!
Or For A More Refined Setting
The Crawford Art Gallery Cafe – this charming, bright and airy café is at the heart of the city’s main visual arts museum, close by the river on Emmet Place. The café has been serving up breakfast, lunch and afternoon teas for over 30 years and has been named amongst the 100 Best Restaurants in Ireland by the respected McKenna’s Guides. It’s a gorgeous space - warm, welcoming and visually intriguing.
Or A Light Brunch
At Ali's Kitchen – close by the Crawford on Rory Gallagher Place, Ali’s Kitchen & Bakehouse has a very warm, bright, contemporary atmosphere and dishes that take in classic influences from all over Europe. Chef/owner Ali Honour travelled far and wide before settling in Cork, her brunch menu is filled with classics with a contemporary twist and she says her aim is to “make people smile with my food”.
For Ireland’s Best Asian Take Away
From the English Market on the Grand Parade, cross over the pedestrian bridge to Sullivan’s Quay, turn right and then walk 300 yards up the hill to find Miyazaki Japanese Kitchen – a little Tokyo-style take-out on one of the oldest streets in Cork, right at the bottom of Barrack Street. Chef Takeshi Miyazaki is a relatively recent arrival to Cork but has built a big reputation thanks to his classic Japanese street-food. It’s small and can get very busy, lunchtime is great to find one of the stools at the counter, arrive early and enjoy some amazing Japanese food. It’s recently been voted Ireland’s Best Asian Take Out.
Burgers & Bites
Try Son Of A Bun on MacCurtain Street – a great space with quality burgers, wings, salads and Mac N’Cheese.
There are also excellent burgers, wings and more at the very lively Coqbull on French Church Street, a great street with lots of eating options, just off Patrick Street.
And for a quality, quick in-and-out burger & fries- The West Cork Burger Company on Washington Street.
Nash 19 – Just a stone’s throw from the English Market, on Princes Street, you will find this very popular café & restaurant. Nash 19 is a Cork institution, for breakfasts, lunches and everything in between, consistent quality in a bright, welcoming space.
For Wine & Tapas - L’Atitude 51 - Cork lies on the 51st line of Latitude, hence the name for this charming Cafe & Winebar on Union Quay by the river. Serving quality light(ish) bites from breakfast to dinner, with Tapas and an adventurous wine list.
Or – The Parlour Cafe on Cornmarket Street – throughout the day, for breakfast, brunch, lunch and also great for evening Tapas. Family run and with most of the ingredients direct from their own farm outside the city. From early in the day, they have big, bacon & eggy brekkies that will set you up or set you right. But it’s compact - so get there early (or late!).
Later In The Evening
For vegetarians – the acclaimed, multi-award winning Cafe Pardiso on Lancaster Quay. Paradiso takes the best of local ingredients and produce and creates gourmet vegetarian dishes. Passionate about vegetarian food, passionate about local produce- a Cork institution since the early ‘90s. For more casual veggie dining throughout the day, try the charming & much loved Quay Co-Op Resturant on Sullivan’s Quay (until 9pm).
Elbow Lane Brew & Smokehouse – a recent arrival, but the Elbow Lane Smokehouse is already building a big reputation for BBQ ribs, stunning steaks and grilled fish – big, meaty, satisfying and using only the best from local fields and seas. They also have great craft beers, cocktails and small-batch Irish whiskeys & gins. A place for indulgence (but they don’t take reservations so get there early, get your name on the list and have a quick drink nearby until your table is ready).
And there’s also Holy Smoke Pit Smoked Bar-B-Q on Sheares Street, close by the city centre, an authentic Bar-B-Q experience with award winning food in a lively setting.
Cocktails in the very lively Cask on busy McCurtain Street (they also do bar food and have their sister restaurant Greene’s next door). Or for something more traditional, visit one of Cork’s many fine Heritage Pubs, most within easy walking distance our main thoroughfare, Patrick Street. Have a whiskey, a pint of local beer or a small-batch gin to finish off your evening. If you are looking for some live, traditional Irish music to end your night, check out the homepage for local trad collective, The Lee Sessions
If you want to take a short trip out of the city for a very quirky breakfast or brunch experience, visit The Workshop. Tucked in behind Cork Airport, you will find this former country carpentry workshop, now converted into a charming café, tearooms and antique store. It’s an easy 15 minute drive from the city centre, a real hidden gem and much-loved by locals who appreciate a great brunch in charming surroundings with the chance to pick up some vintage souvenirs.
For a real Clear-The-Head experience – early risers looking for a little road-trip should visit Diva's Boutique Bakery & Cafe in the tiny village of Ballinspittle about five miles from Kinsale (and a 45 minute drive through gorgeous countryside from the city). Enjoy brunch here and continue on to the famous surfing beach at Garretstown for a stroll or even a swim. You could continue on to the nearby historic harbour (and foodie) town of Kinsale.
Or In The City
Cafe Velo – right on the river at George’s Quay, a short stroll from Patrick Street, this is a bright, airy space with a great breakfast and brunch menu.
And The Liberty Grill – on Washington Street, an extensive brunch menu with many ingredients straight from the best stalls in the English Market.
For Salads, Baked Treats & Falafel
The Rocket Man – a Cork favourite at two locations off Oliver Plunkett Street – Princes Street & The Winthrop Arcade.
For Anytime Coffee & Cake
We are a city of amazing, independent coffee shops and you will find a great brew on most streets in the city centre – try Soma Coffee Company on Tuckey Street, Filter on George’s Quay or Cork Coffee Roasters on Bridge Street.
And Finally - try one of the following for some casual late-evening dining
The Iberian Way on Douglas Street – For something very different, an unassuming Tapas bar run by two young Spanish chefs on Douglas Street, a short stroll across the bridge from the South Mall, by day, the Iberian way is a shop and deli, in the evenings, it serves up fab tapas in very modest but pleasant surroundings – a real hidden jewel, for the adventurous - but very busy so call ahead!
Arthur Mayne’s Pharmacy on Pembroke Street – From the street, this looks like an old-fashioned chemist (or drugstore) – but push through the door and you are in Maynes Pharmacy – a late night tapas and wine bar which serves food into the wee small hours. Lively, very busy at the weekends, a good option for night owls who are feeling a little peckish.
So there you have it – enjoy Ed Sheeran – and make the most of a fabulous city for food & drinks!