Whether you are a seasoned foodie or your idea of a good meal is a portion of garlic chips from SuperMacs (no judgement here), the likelihood is that you have heard of the Michelin Guide. Although the guide’s origins are in France, nowadays Michelin has guides to restaurants across the globe, including Ireland. In fact, there are currently more than 20 restaurants on the island of Ireland that boast Michelin stars above their doors, while a number of other Irish restaurants hold the junior title of a Michelin Bib Gourmand. Before we dive into our guide to all of the Irish Michelin star restaurants though, it is first important to address a few questions - namely, why is a Michelin starred restaurant different to any other one and how do restaurants actually earn a star?
First launched more than a century ago in 1900, the Michelin guide initially was published in France as a guide for motorists to encourage more people to purchase cars. The original guides included road maps and listings for hotels and petrol garages, with restaurant recommendations not actually appearing in the guide until 1926. Today, all stars awarded to Irish restaurants are featured as part of the Michelin Guide to Great Britain and Ireland. Traditionally, Michelin solely awarded fine-dining establishments, but in recent years, some more casual dining rooms have earned a star. Nonetheless, every restaurant featured in the guide has to display a high standard of cooking, presentation and service.
A restaurant being awarded a Michelin star is often seen as a stamp of approval and allows diners to know that they will experience an often luxurious and always delicious meal. Ireland has been keeping Michelin’s team of inspectors busy in recent years, as the country currently boasts 21 starred restaurants. If you’re curious to try out a Michelin star restaurant in Ireland, read below to check out our guide to each and every one.
Three Michelin star restaurants in Ireland
Even the most casual of restaurant goers know that to be awarded a Michelin star is no easy feat. Michelin follows a different rating system to most restaurant guides, with three Michelin stars being the highest award the guide doles out. Currently, there are no three Michelin star restaurants in Ireland and there never have been since the guide was introduced in Ireland in 1974.
Two Michelin star restaurants in Ireland
While Ireland’s restaurants are yet to achieve the highly sought after three Michelin star rating, the country is home to some two Michelin star restaurants, which is still very impressive. As of the 2020 guide, there are only three Irish restaurants which boast this award, two of which are based in the capital city of Dublin and the other in county Kildare. Check out what you can expect to enjoy when visiting a two Michelin star restaurant in Ireland below.
Aimsir, Co Kildare
What: Found at the luxury Cliffs at Lyons hotel, Aimsir is a stellar success story which was remarkably awarded two Michelin stars just four months after opening. The fine-dining restaurant is headed up by husband and wife team Jordan and Majken Bailey, who serve an epic 18-course tasting menu, with as much of the produce as possible being sourced, foraged or harvested within Ireland itself.
Where: Lyons Road, Celbridge, W23 HXH3
The Greenhouse, Dublin
What: After several years of possessing one Michelin star, The Greenhouse has finally graduated to second star status, a move which many feel was long overdue. Just a few minutes away from the Irish Parliament, The Greenhouse is popular with gastronomic tourists and those celebrating special occasions, with the menu here being underpinned by Irish ingredients and served to the table with theatrical flourishes.
Where: 21 Dawson Street
Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud
What: Found in an elegant Georgian Townhouse, chef Patrick Guildbaud has run his eponymous restaurant for many years now and the quality of food and service has never waned. Fastidious sourcing is at the heart of Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud’s menu, which changes seasonally according to the best ingredients available. Choose between a four- or eight-course tasting menu, or stick to the a la carte where you’ll find the likes of caramelised veal sweetbread.
Where: 21 Merrion Street Upper
One Michelin star restaurants in Ireland
Ireland is home to an impressive number of restaurants with a singular Michelin star above their door. Ranging from grand dining rooms in country house hotels to a restaurant serving a minimalist omakase Japanese menu, there is a wealth of creativity and delicious food to be found at each and every one Michelin star restaurant in Ireland.
The Oak Room, Co Limerick
What: Hotel restaurants don’t have the best reputation, but The Oak Room puts paid to any preconceptions with its grand surrounds and disarmingly simple, yet effective dishes. Views across the manor’s formal gardens add charm to proceedings, while the pastoral setting is echoed in a menu which uses sustainably farmed meats, locally sourced vegetables and produce from the grounds of the hotel itself. Quite rightfully Limerick’s first and only Michelin star restaurant.
Where: Adare Manor, V94 W8WR
Campagne, Co Kilkenny
What: Head chef Garrett Byrne left a successful chef career in London to return to his homestead of Kilkenny in 2008 and open Campagne. The gamble paid off with Campagne being awarded a Michelin star in 2013, which it’s held on to ever since. Expect amiable service and contemporary takes on classic Gallic dishes. At €40 for three courses, the Early Bird menu is also something of a steal by Michelin standards.
Where: 5 The Arches, Gashouse Lane
Lady Helen, Co Kilkenny
What: Named after a former owner of the Mount Juliet Estate where the restaurant is found, the Lady Helen is a grand restaurant that boasts enchanting views of the River Nore. We would recommend opting for the tasting menu if you want the full experience, in which you will witness expertly prepared and beautifully presented dishes which make use of locally sourced ingredients (some of which are grown on the estate itself).
Where: Mount Juliet Estate, Thomastown
Variety Jones, Dublin
What: Certainly one of the most modern propositions on the list of Michelin adorned Irish restaurants is Variety Jones. The intimate space here is characterised by an open kitchen and colourful murals of cityscapes splashed across the walls, while head chef and owner Keelan Higgs turns out unpretentious dishes that are often cooked over fire and always full of flavour.
Where: 78 Thomas Street
Bastion, Co Cork
What: Although menus at this wine-bar-cum-bistro change according to the season, locally sourced seafood is an all-year-round favourite. Bastion is ran by young couple Helen and Paul, and diners looking to go the whole hog can enjoy an eight-course tasting menu. Refreshingly, a vegetarian tasting menu is also available, filled with stripped-back but dynamic dishes such as salt baked beetroot topped with ricotta and a hazelnut dressing.
Where: Market Street, Kinsale
The Muddlers Club, Belfast
What: More rock ‘n’ roll than many of its Michelin bedfellows, The Muddlers Club is named after a 200 year old secret society and boasts an industrial-chic aesthetic complete with tatted-up chefs whipping up dishes in a partially open kitchen. While the atmosphere may be fun, the kitchen takes its menu very seriously, so expect a daily changing menu which is in tune with the finest Irish ingredients available. Great wine list, too.
Where: 1 Warehouse Lane
What: Moody and mysterious, Liath (which translates from Irish as ‘grey’) is an intriguing restaurant found in the bohemian Blackrock Market, which barely gives anything away on its website. Diners here can choose between a traditional three-course menu, or a multi-course tasting menu experience that lasts around three hours. At lunchtime, there is an excellent prix fixe menu in which each course is related to one of the five senses.
Where: 19a Main Street, Blackrock
What: A long-standing and well thought of restaurant in Dublin, L’Ecrivain is deserving of its Michelin star status. The refined menu here mainly deals in classic ingredients and dishes, but isn’t afraid to show touches of modernity where necessary. Besides the food, a pretty terrace, glamorous bar and a private dining room offering a view of the kitchen all add to L’Ecrivain’s appeal.
Where: 109a Lower Baggot Street
Chapter One, Dublin
What: Found in a subterranean space beneath The Writers Museum, Chapter One is a perennially popular restaurant which combines contemporary Irish cooking with traditional Irish hospitality. Locally sourced produce is transformed into a parade of bold and powerful flavours, matched only by the eye-catching bespoke artwork which hangs on the walls of the dining room.
Where: 18-19 Parnell Square
House at Cliff House, Co Waterford
What: The manor house restaurant makes the most of its coastal setting, thanks to a dining room complete with floor-to-ceiling windows which gives every table a charming view. On the plate meanwhile, things are just as visually appealing - expect complex dishes that each use a whole host of locally sourced ingredients, but which come together to result in a neat and delicious package.
Where: Middle Road, Ardmore
Ichigo Ichie, Co Cork
What: An authentic Japanese restaurant, the impressive Ichigo Ichie is characterised by minimalist decor and an omakase menu which changes every few weeks. The kitchen here combines long-standing Japanese technique with local Irish ingredients, while the best seats in the house are undoubtedly at the chef’s counter, where you can watch sushi master chef Miyazaki work his magic.
Where: 5 Fenns Quay, Sheares Street
Restaurant Chestnut, Co Cork
What: Found in a former pub, locally born chef Rob and his partner Elaine have created a relaxed and intimate space in Restaurant Chestnut. Diners can enjoy the signature eight-course tasting menu which evolves with the seasons, but will often include regionally sourced produce and a sophisticated use of textures. Wine pairings are also available, while those looking to recreate what’s on their plate can sign up for one of Chestnut’s cooking classes.
Where: Staball Hill, Ballydehob
Mews, Co Cork
What: Many of Ireland’s Michelin starred restaurants make use of the country’s famously fresh produce on their menus, but Mews is perhaps more committed to this than most. All fish on the menu here is sourced from the adjacent harbour, while local farmers supply the meat. The result is a well-balanced menu that feels contemporary, but also undoubtedly Irish, thanks to its championing of Cork’s top-quality ingredients.
Where: Baltimore Village Co. Cork, P81 TC64
Wild Honey Inn, Co Clare
What: This rustic pub with rooms has plenty of character built into its bare brick walls and the kitchen turns out a menu that is just as charmingly cosy as the surroundings. Two weekly-changing prix fixe menus are the stars of the show at Wild Honey Inn, making good use of the county’s produce to rustle up the likes of seasonal game and fresh fish brought in from dayboats. After dinner, retire to one of Wild Honey Inn’s intimate bedrooms.
Where: Kincora Road, Lisdoonvarna
Aniar, Co Galway
What: There is an element of surprise to proceedings at Aniar, with the dishes featured on the multi-course set menus not confirmed until the ingredients have arrived on the day of. That’s because owners JP McMahon and Drigín Gaffey rely solely on produce sourced in the West of Ireland (‘Aniar’ translates as ‘from the west’). Despite the reliance on Irish produce, you can actually expect to try dishes that are closer in style to Scandinavian cuisine and which expertly play with contrasting textures.
Where: 53 Lower Dominick Street
What: Occupying a large, industrial-style basement space, Loam is a restaurant and wine bar found just off Galway’s Eyre Square. Menus are seasonally driven, with diners able to choose between a two to three-course midweek menu or a more extravagant seven to nine-course tasting menu. There is an impressive wine list too ranging from affordable to blow-the-budget, while those with a savoury tooth can delight in the restaurant’s selection of cheeses.
Where: Geata na Cathrach, Fairgreen Road
What: High-quality seasonal produce is the name of the game at Belfast’s Ox, which is inspired by the style and creativity of Scandi cuisine. The constantly evolving menu is presented as either a four- or six-course experience, with dishes you might come across including celeriac veloute with chestnut, truffle and thyme. Arrive early if you want to enjoy a tipple in the neighbouring Ox Wine Cave before your dinner.
Where: 1 Oxford Street
What: Surprisingly affordable for a restaurant of its calibre, Eipic initially draws you in with its chic Champagne bar and glass-fronted wine room. You’ll stay for the modern and innovative seasonally led dishes though, which arrive at the table as part of multi-course tasting menus. The Friday lunch is a particular steal at three courses for £29, while those without budget restraints can make the most of optional cheese boards and wine pairings.
Where: 28-40 Howard Street
Bib Gourmand restaurants in Ireland
The Michelin guide initially introduced its Bib Gourmand list in 1997 and this award is used to highlight those restaurants which serve high-quality food, but are also affordable. Often, the experience of dining at a Michelin starred restaurant can come with a hefty bill, so the Bib Gourmand restaurants in Ireland offer a way in to a Michelin dining experience for those who might be on a budget or who aren’t fans of the typical formal environment in Michelin awarded restaurants. Check out all of the Bib Gourmand restaurants in Ireland below.
- Circa 90 Terenure Rd, D6
- Balloo House 1 Comber Rd, Killinchy, Newtownards, Co Down
- Land To Sea Main St, Dingle, Co Kerry
- Thyme Custume Pl, Athlone, Co Westmeath
- 1826 Main St, Adare, Co Limerick
- Aldridge Lodge Duncannon, New Ross, Co Wexford
- Bastion Market St, Kinsale, Co Cork
- Browne’s Market Sq, Tuam, Co Galway
- Uno Mas 6 Aungier Street, D2
- Clanbrassil House 6 Clanbrassil St, D8
- Clenaghan’s 48 Soldierstown Rd, Craigavon, Co Armagh
- Courthouse 1 Monaghan St, Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan
- Deane’s at Queens 1 College Gardens, Belfast
- Dillon’s Mill St, Timoleague, Co Cork
The dining room at Kai restaurant in Galway
- Giovannelli Lwr Bridge St, Killorglin, Co Kerry
- Home 22 Wellington Pl, Belfast
- Kai 22 Sea Road, Galway
- Morrissey’s Main St, Doonbeg, Co Clare
- Noble 27A Church Rd, Holywood, Co Down
- Pichet 14-15 Trinity St, D2
- Pigeon House 11B Vernon Ave, Clontarf, D3
- Richmond 43 Richmond St Sth, D2
- Sha-Roe Bistro Main St, Clonegall, Co Carlow
- Tartare 56 Dominick St Lr, Galway
- The Chart House The Mall, Dingle, Co Kerry
- Two Cooks 5 Canal View, Sallins, Co Kildare
- Wine & Brine 59 Main St, Moira, Craigavon, Co Armagh
Looking to go somewhere a little more casual? Check out our pick of the best bottomless brunches in Dublin.