5 Delicious Reasons Why Cork Is The Food Capital In Ireland

Delicious food

Ireland might not be the first European country you’d think of when it comes to remarkable gastronomic experiences. People go to the Emerald Isle to feast their eyes on breathtaking natural views and historic medieval castles, learn more about the Vikings and visit a vibrant pub for a pint of Guinness. If you’re looking for world-class dining experiences, you’d probably head to Italy, France, Spain, Greece, Belgium, and Germany.

However, don’t let this put you off! If you want to taste the best of Ireland, Cork is the place to be. The county has spearheaded the Irish food scene with its wide array of great restaurants, artisan cheese houses, craft-beer pubs and distilleries, and lush farmlands and coasts, offering top-quality produce.

Cork has a well established culinary pedigree. From its quality produce to its network of world-class restaurants, here are 5 reasons why Cork deserves to be hailed as the Food Capital of Ireland.

1. Cork has an astounding array of high-quality produce

Unless you visit a traditional Irish restaurant, you may find that menus that are uniquely Irish are quite limited. Most meals have culinary influences from the UK, and other neighboring countries. What makes them stand out though is the quality of their ingredients.

A healthy, free-range cow raised in a lush green pasture makes the best milk, which makes the best cheese, which makes the best pizza. It all starts with a great produce. 

Cork has high standards when it comes to food. Food producers know how to source well, and they’ve got pure waters and green pastures to harvest quality food from. They pick fresh, wild fish. They have whole, organic vegetables to distribute. Meats, eggs, and dairy products are sourced from free-range farm animals. 

2. Cork has a plethora of well-established food manufacturers

Of course, a glass of milk won’t turn into cheese or butter by itself — it takes a great manufacturer to transform this quality produce into an artisan food product. Cork is home to a plethora of top-tier food manufacturers

Cork has amazing farmhouse cheese producers, like Gubbeen, Durrus, and Milleens. As for smoked meats and deli products, the city has Woodcock Smokery, Frank Krawczwyk, and the Ummera Smokehouse. Cork is also home to O’Conaill’s chocolates, which are said to be world-class. 

And forget Dublin’s Guinness —Cork favors their own brew. Cork has Murphy’s and Beamish, two tasty Irish stouts that have been around for over 150 years. Breweries including The Franciscan Well Brewery, Eight Degrees Brewing Company, Elbow Lane, and Rising Sons, are also some of the best places to sample Cork brews.

3. It's the home of The English Market

Cork takes pride in its top-notch produce and craft food products. The good news is you can find them under one roof when you visit the English Market.

The English Market in the center of Cork city has been serving locals since 1788. It’s regarded as one of the best food markets in Europe, epitomizing the essence of Cork’s thriving culinary scene. 

You can find artisan cheeses, delicious cakes and pastries, chocolates, fresh fish, free-range meats, smoked food products, tasty sandwiches, and organic fruits and vegetables. Walk around and visit each stall, chat with the traders, and sample the flavours that define the food capital of Ireland. 

4. There's a wide range of top-notch restaurants

You don’t have to spend hours walking around Cork to find an amazing restaurant. The list of great restaurants in Cork city is boundless.

If you’re a vegetarian, the city has one of the best vegetarian restaurants in Europe, starting with Café Paradiso, which sources their produce from their farm. 

If you’re looking to taste centuries-old, even “forgotten” traditional Irish foods, like Irish lamb stew and Tripe and Drisheen, Farmgate Café situated just above the English Market is a great bet. Another classic is Fenn’s Quay, which offers traditional steak and mash. 

On the other hand, if you’re looking for an innovative and modern take on Cork’s fresh, seasonal and regional ingredients while staying true to its quality, you may visit Greenes Restaurant, located at Cork’s historic Victorian Quarter. 

Looking for hearty, comfort foods to get you through the day? Try having brunch at crowd favorites like Liberty Grill (for pancakes and eggs benedict), Tony’s Bistro (for their “fry up” a.k.a Full Irish Breakfast), Hillbilly (for their “breast in a bun”). 

Well, we can’t list down all of the great restaurants in Cork city in one article, so why don’t you pay a visit to try them yourself?

5. Tons of food experiences await outside of Cork city

Food experiences don’t stop as you step outside of the city. Head to Midleton and you can find Jameson Whiskey Experience and the famous Midleton Farmers' Market. If you’re in Cobh, you’ll find Frank Hederman’s smokery. 

Go south and you’ll find yourself in Kinsale, the home of the Fishy Fishy Café and the Kinsale Gourmet Festival in October.

Head west and you’ll discover a wide array of little delis, cafés, food market, seafood restaurants, and pubs. 

Go north to Kanturk and have yourself a sample of an award-winning version of the traditional Irish staple: black pudding. 

While Cork City is Ireland’s food capital, you can find a wonderful array of gastronomic experiences when you step outside of the city and explore the county, Wherever you are in the county, you can find a place worth visiting. 

Author Bio: Carmina Natividad is a self-proclaimed foodie who enjoys discovering hidden gems and writing engaging articles about food, travel, and lifestyle. And yes, she loves cocktails and happy hours too! To know more about yummy food and driks, you may visit Greenes Restaurant Cork