Conventionally, French cuisine has always been considered at the base of culinary culture in Western Europe, for as sophisticated and occasionally elaborate as it may be. With its spectacular and unexpected combination of ingredients, the great patissier and audacious chefs fight for the liberté, égalité et fraternité of their culinary traditions to be spread all over the world, persuading alway more audience into their remarkable culinary art. From the great boulangerie to the more infamous crepes, fighting side by side their fellows Champagnes and Rouges (Beaujolais, Bourgogne, Cote de Loire, and so on), they took over Ireland too.
Picturing yourself walking through the trés chic rues of Paris, or strolling around the verts countrysides of the rich region of Champagne (yes, the one where they produce the sparkling magic potion)? Open your eyes, you’re not in France but in Ireland, and here you can feel as you never left the country of Love.
Therefore keep your eyes shut but open your stomach, giving yourself a rest from all the (delicious) fish and chips, we prepared a list of 13 best French restaurants scattered around Ireland, that you may want to try while exploring this melting pot of a country:
Let’s start with something extremely French: Chez Max. Literally, At Max’s. This lovely small spot of Paris is located in the heart of Dublin, Temple Bar. With its round small tables and their coordinated white thatched chairs at the side of the road, it will welcome you to have a sit and try the very best French cuisine. A pleasant and informal atmosphere in a bistro, that will just teleport you in Montmartre with some french music on the background. Specialities of the chef will, of course, be Escargots de Bourgogne. But, hey, if you’re not a great fan of snails, you can not miss the Boeuf Bourguignon!
Where: 1 Palace Street, Dublin 2, County Dublin, Ireland
Readdressing our attention towards Cork city, here is possible to find a delicious French-inspired restaurant. Jacques Restaurant opened for more than 36 years, is a backbone for the spreading of French cuisine in Ireland. Exploiting only Irish good ingredients, they rearrange them in some french tasty dishes such as the generous dish of hake main served with cabbage, new potatoes and capers.
Where:23 Oliver Plunkett Street | 9 Phoenix Street, Cork T12 A5D7, Ireland
This small spot has been ranked as the fist and best bistro of Limerick. Set in the vibrant maze of the Milk Market, this family-run business has a charming variety of crepe fillings and a handy galettes takeaway options. If you maybe fancy something resembling more a main dish, you can’t not try the Coq au Vin, a chicken stew marinated in red French wine. Close your eyes, can you see now the Quai d’Orsay and its colourful street food stands, on a sunny spring morning? I thought so.
Where: Cornmarket Row | The Milk Market, Limerick, Ireland
Moving towards West, in the lively city of Galway, this colourful, funny and amazing place will welcome you, offering some great French options and a significant selection of fine French wines. Being a sea city, Galway can boast some very fresh fishes and that’s why at Le Petit Pois is possible to find the best and freshest squid ever. Relying on its Irish and French providers, this tiny piece of France in Ireland won’t disappoint you. Welcoming, charming and fresh.
Where: Victoria Place, Galway, Ireland
With its all-exposed bricks and dark wood decor radiating more than a touch of industrial chic, this is a very corner of France in Ireland. From brunches to generous dinners, this joint brings the finest French Bistro food and wine with a warm and relaxed atmosphere. Highlights: for the Lunch menu, the highest quality cutting board goat Fromage variety and the Croque Monsieurs! For the Dinner Menu, the Hake Bonne Femme is a must.
Where: Fade Street, Dublin, County Dublin, Ireland
The Bleu Bistro, placed in Cork, is a friendly and warm restaurant which serve flavoursome and mouthwatering dishes, using organic and authentic ingredients. Its menu has few choices of dishes, if you look for a delicious taste of French cuisine with a small twist, this place might help you. Eating an Omelette here is just like having the chance of taking a journey to Paris and stuff your mouth with the most delicious ones. The selection of wine is also neat!
Where: 5 Washington Stree, Cork
If you happen to be up in the north of this island and hang around Belfast, do try this French restaurant. A bit quirky but with traditional French cuisine on spot. This joint in vibrant Belfast boasts a wide variety of authentic dishes, from frog legs to duck breast and a wide range of fishes: try their Salmon in crust, magnifique! High-quality food at a reasonable price with not a hint of snobbery.
Where:407 Ormeau Road, Belfast BT7 3GP, Northern Ireland
This welcoming and comfortable spot in Galway is a creperie. Exactly, it just prepares crepes. For every tastes and preference. Both savoury (galettes) and sweet crepes, as well as scrumptious homemade desserts, pastries and salads: if you are looking for a quick lunch or flavoursome bite, Java’s is here for you. It’s delicious, it’s open late, it’s a little bit romantic…if this is not France, what it is?
Where: 17 Upper Abbeygate Street, Galway City
If you’re dreaming about the fancy stereotypical French night of your life, maybe a meal at the Oak Room is what you need. This restaurant, carved in the stunning scenario of the Adare Manor in Limerick county, obtained its first Michelin Star, but it didn’t need that award to spread its great level of fine French Cuisine.
Where: Adare Manor, Adare, Ireland
Speaking about elegant restaurants, this Brasserie in Dublin will surprise with its avantgarde plats presentations and astonishing implementation of fresh and authentic ingredients. With its focus on innovative and well-presented dishes of modern French cuisine, this joint boast a significant amount of french wines, finely aged, and many food options. In the middle of Georgian Dublin, try their excellent oysters and the pan-fried with the Foie Gras and last but not least the rhubarb and strawberry compote: heavenly.
Where: 20 Merrion Street Upper, Dublin 2, County Dublin, D02 XH98, Ireland
This multiple floor French-inspired café is a fantastic gem in the middle of Belfast. It sticks to its French roots, offering some traditional and delicious dishes. The creperie on the ground floor, the first-floor restaurant where you can enjoy not only their duck à l’Orange but also, later in the afternoon, a relaxing tea treating yourself with a fine piece of the best Frech patisserie. Don’t forget the last third floor, the Al Fresco panoramic dining room where to enjoy the magic view of Belfast, just like on the third level of the Tour Eiffel.
Price: €€- €€€
Where: Cleaver House, Donegall Square North, Belfast, BT1 5GA
This place’s fish dishes take inspiration from the far-away Brittany and Normandy culinary traditions. In the Oranmore village, in the suburb area of Galway Bay, Armorica, this peaceful and iconic joint wants to offer a piece of french tradition to its clients. Normandy chowder with mussels, poached hake in aubergine caviar, and scallops with chargrilled scallions and celeriac purée are just a few of the delicious options you’ll find. For a relaxed and succulent meal or a getaway weekend, head to Armorica, which happens to be a hotel too: as gloomy as beloved Normandy.
Where: Main Street, Oranmore, Galway
This place shouts “ France” from every side. Regardless of its name deriving from a potential Woody Allen’s movie set in France, this joint was the result of a romantic love story. Run by Oliver and Deirdre, who met each other around the world, it’s one of the most reviewed and appreciated restaurants, capable of bringing a little taste of authentic France in Ireland. The seafood and the goat cheese boards with one of the superb bottles of wine are exactly what you were looking for. The secret to the best restaurant: fresh ingredients and a great amount of love.
Where:1 Steamboat Quay, Limerick, V94 YF84