13 BEST Restaurants in Cork City a Chefs Guide to Cork

Best restaurants in cork elbow lane

Best Restaurants in Cork City Center

Hi, my name is JJ and I have been a Chef for over 10 years in Cork. Over the years, I have been lucky enough to know and work with some of the best restaurants in Cork City. I have created a list of the top restaurants in Cork City to help you decide which restaurants in Cork to visit.

In this Guide to the best restaurants in Cork City, you will find all the restaurants Cork City I highly recommend, the cuisine they are best known for, and I will give you an indication of their price range.

For further information on individual Cork restaurants, scroll down or click on the name of the restaurants in Cork City in the list. I hope this list makes choosing where to eat in Cork City quick and simple; enjoy!

If you are looking for some entertainment after eating out, check out my list of best Pubs in Cork with Live Music.

The best restaurants in Cork City

Here, you will find a quick list of the Best Restaurants in Cork City at a glance, along with their price range. For further details on each restaurant, scroll down further.

  1. Ichigo Ichie – *Michelin Star Restaurant* Cuisine: Japanese Price: €75 – €145 per person
  2. Elbow Lane SmokehouseCuisine: European/bbq/brewhouse Price: €11 – €30
  3. Paradiso RestaurantCuisine: Vegetarian Price: €45 per person
  4. Greenes RestaurantCuisine: European/Modern Irish Price: €30 – €40
  5. The Glass CurtainCuisine: European/modern Irish Price: €24 – €34
  6. Jacobs on the MallCuisine: European/Modern Irish Price: €23 – €44
  7. Quinlans Seafood Bar & RestaurantCuisine: Traditional Seafood Price: €19 – €23
  8. Market LaneCuisine: European Price: €15 – €32
  9. SpitjackCuisine: European/Rotisserie Price: €19 – €23
  10. Nash 19Cuisine: European/traditional Irish Price: €5 – €20
  11. Jacques Restaurant CorkCuisine: Fusion European/Irish Price: €20 – €80
  12. Cornstore Restaurant CorkCuisine: European Price: €18 – €40
  13. Marina MarketCuisine: Multiple Price: €5 – €25
Best Cork Restaurants

Top Restaurants in Cork City

Cork is absolutely blessed to have so many top restaurants in Cork City to choose from. With this list of Restaurants in Cork City, you will see why Cork has become known as the food capital of Ireland.

Michelin Star Restaurant in Cork City

Ichigo Ichie by chef-owner Takashi Miyazaki.

Best Places to Eat in Cork City Center Ichigo Ichie
photo via Instagram

My choice for one of the top restaurants in Cork City is Ichigo Ichie, Cork’s very own Michelin Star restaurant. One of the best restaurants in Cork, Ichigo Ichie, has gained a huge reputation for delivering authentic Japanese Cuisine.

Ichigo Ichie, meaning ‘once in a lifetime,’ is, without doubt, a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Opened in 2018, Chef Takashi Miyazaki won his first Michelin Star Award in 2019. This five-seater counter restaurant offers a select few diners the experience of watching a master sushi chef prepare intricate and delicate dishes using time-honoured Japanese techniques. When you plan to visit Cork City, this authentic dining experience is unique. I would always suggest you book your seat in advance.

Please read my review of Ichigo Ichie for more information.

Chefs Personal Recommendations:

Chef Takashi offers a very seasonal menu, and this changes to ensure you always get the best dishes. Check their website before visiting, where the menu is constantly updated. Their “Kisetsu no osashimi” selection of sashimi demonstrates why this restaurant won its Michelin Star.

Best Restaurants in Cork

Elbow Lane Brew and Smokehouse

top restaurants cork city elbow lane
photos via Elbowlane

No list of Top restaurants in Cork City would be complete without Elbowlane. This restaurant is located along Oliver Plunket Street, a 5-minute walk from Cork City Bus Station and a 15-minute walk from the train station. Elbow Lane has become one of the best Cork restaurants for smoked food and is renowned for its nano-brewery beers, ales, and stouts. Elbow Lane has become one of Cork’s destination restaurants and is one of the must-visit restaurants in Cork City.

Elbow Lane Brew and Smokehouse have their nano-brewery onsite, brewing their unique Lagers, Stouts and Pale Ales. Combine this with some of the best-smoked BBQ baby back ribs in Cork City, and you can’t go wrong.

Elbow Lane is one of the best Restaurants Cork offers for fantastic food and unique beers.

For more information, please read my Elbow Lane Brew and Smokehouse article.

Main Course Price Range: Between €11.50 – €28.00 (Sides are extra €4.20 – €5.20)

Chefs Personal Recommendations:

If you are visiting Elbow Lane for the first time, I highly recommend trying their brisket roll as a starter. It’s tender, juicy and packed full of smokey goodness. As a main, it’s their rib-eye steak every time. You won’t find a better steak in Cork City topped with their smoked butter. If you are unsure of what beers to go for, grab their tasting tray of four beers. My personal favourite is their Jawbone Pale Ale, which has a mild hoppy aroma and flavour with fruity notes. This goes perfectly with the rich meat dishes.

Paradiso Restaurant Cork City

best restaurants cork city paradiso restaurant
photos via Paradiso

Another on my list of Top Restaurants in Cork City is this multi-award-winning restaurant, Paradiso Restaurant. It is one of the Best Vegetarian restaurants you will visit anywhere on the Island of Ireland. Winner of the Best Chef of the Year award from Food & Wine magazine to the best restaurant in Ireland. Paradiso Restaurant is unique and must be included in any list of best places to eat in Cork. Do yourself a favour and book a table and see for yourself.

Over the years, Paradiso Restaurant has become one of the Best Cork Restaurants for creating unique vegetarian dishes using the best of locally sourced ingredients. Paradiso Restaurant shows that vegetables can rival any meat dish from any Cork Restaurant.

Small Plates Menu Price: €45 per person

Visit their website at Cafe Paradiso.

Chefs Personal Recommendations:

Cafe Paradiso is a restaurant everyone can enjoy, even if you are not vegetarian. The level of the food is outstanding, and I would highly recommend visiting. Chef Cotter uses the best seasonal ingredients when creating his dishes, so the menu adapts to each season. Their wine list is outstanding, so ask your server for their recommendations to pair with your meal. Their roast carrot with burnt aubergine is heaven. Creamy, smokey flavours with a sweet roast flavour of carrot and a nice little punch of heat from their harissa, you will see why this place is so popular. Always try their local cheese dishes, too, to understand why Cork is considered the food capital of Ireland.

Greenes Restaurant Cork City

cork restaurants greenes
photos via Greenes Restaurant

Greenes Restaurant in Cork City is a charming dining establishment that embodies the essence of farm-to-table cuisine. Nestled in the city’s heart, this restaurant offers a unique culinary experience. The menu celebrates locally sourced ingredients, emphasising seasonal produce and flavours.

As you step inside Greenes, you’ll be welcomed by an inviting and cosy atmosphere, perfect for a romantic dinner or a special celebration. The menu showcases a creative fusion of traditional Irish dishes and contemporary twists, all prepared with precision and care, making it one of the best restaurants in Cork for local cuisine.

Whether you’re a seafood lover, a fan of hearty Irish stews, or prefer vegetarian options, you’ll find something to satisfy your palate. Greenes has become one of the Best Cork Restaurants for showcasing Cork’s best ingredients.

What truly sets Greenes apart is its commitment to sustainability and using foraged, organic, and locally grown ingredients. The restaurant’s dedication to supporting local farmers and producers shines through in each beautifully presented dish. The friendly and knowledgeable staff are always eager to recommend wine pairings to enhance your dining experience.

Whether you’re a visitor to Cork or a local looking for a memorable meal, Greenes Restaurant is a delightful destination where you can savour the best Irish cuisine in an inviting and eco-conscious setting. It’s a place where food, culture, and sustainability come together to create a truly exceptional dining experience.

Main Course Price Range: Between €30 – €40 (Sides are extra €4)

Chefs Personal Recommendations

Greenes is an exceptional restaurant and one of the best restaurants in Cork City for showcasing the best ingredients Cork has to offer. This restaurant is exceptional, and I would consider this to be one of the restaurants most Chefs would pick for an evening out. The level of detail the Chefs at Greene’s to preparation is phenomenal, and you know you are tasting the best seasonal locally sourced ingredients.

The Glass Curtain Cork City

restaurants cork Glass Curtain
photos via Glass Curtain Restaurant

Another entrant into the Michelin Guide, Glass Curtain, which opened in 2019, quickly went from strength to strength. Chef Brian Murray has had many setbacks since opening, mainly caused by the pandemic. Still, since opening again to the public, the restaurant has finally had its chance to shine. 

The Glass Curtain is been gaining a reputation of one of the best restaurants Cork has to offer in recent years. This is one of the Cork City Restaurants you must visit on your culinary journey.

Winner of Best Emerging Cuisine at the 2022 Irish Restaurant Awards, The Glass Curtain will surely become one of the top restaurants in Cork City.

Main Course Price Range: Between €24.00 – €34.00 (Sides extra €3.00 – €5.00) Tasting Menu €65 + extra for wine pairing

Visit their website at The Glass Curtain.

Chefs Personal Recommendations

This is the perfect spot for 2 or more diners. If you have a gathering of friends, I highly recommend their tasting menu to get the most of what the Glass Curtain and Cork offer. The Glass Curtain restaurant is big on flavour, and they honestly love to show off their food, and rightly so. Go for their tasting menu and opt for the extra wine pairing. Trust me; they will spoil you with their seasonal food and wine.

Jacobs on the Mall Cork City

best restaurants cork - Jacobs on the mall
photo via Jacobs on the Mall

Jacobs on the Mall is one of Cork City Restaurants that has served the people of Cork for many years. It opened in 1999 and is renowned as one of Cork’s best restaurants, delivering its food with pride and passion. The head Chef, Ricky Nolan, has been leading the way in creating exceptional dishes using the best of locally sourced ingredients.

The menu has many European dishes with a little mix of Asian to mix things up. Their Lime and Coconut Prawns are packed full of flavour.

Jacobs on the Mall is a real treat, and I would highly recommend booking ahead of time as this stylish restaurant is often bustling due to being one of the Best Cork Restaurants for service and cuisine.

Main Course Price Range: Between €23.95 – €44.00 (sided extra: €5.00)

Visit their website on Jacobs on the Mall.

Chefs Personal Recommendations

Jacobs on the mall has always been a restaurant which knows how to make each core ingredient on the plate shine. Their dishes are elegant but not too over the top, perfection on a plate. I highly recommend trying their locally sourced black pudding from Jack McCarthy as a starter. The pudding is rich and delish, almost crumbly and paired with the sweetness of a rhubarb and fennel salad, it is the perfect way to start a meal. For main my personal choice is to go with their specials which changes regularly. If that doesn’t tickle your tastebuds, then their confit duck with their bean and sausage cassoulet really packs a punch of flavour. Rich and tender with smoked paprika flavours from their chorizo sausage and balanced with juicy tomato and basil sausage, it sets your mouth watering just thinking about it.

Quinlan’s Seafood Bar & Restaurant Cork City

seafood cork city quinlans restaurant
photo via Quinlans Restaurant

If fresh seafood is what you fancy while visiting Cork City, then I would highly recommend Quinlans Seafood bar as the restaurant that is hard to beat.

Sourcing fresh seafood from their fishing boats guarantees you will get the best at Quinlans. Their restaurant is stylish and relaxed, and the menu has everything a seafood lover would want. When I visit, I always have to go with the Award Winning Smoked Salmon Salad and follow that up with the best Fish & Chips in the city.

Main Course Price Range: Between €18.95 – €22.95 (sides included)

Visit their website at Quinlans Seafood.

Chefs Personal Recommendations

If you are a seafood lover, then Quinlans are the experts. As stated above, my go-to favourite is the Smoked Salmon Salad, followed by the best fish and chips in Cork City. They also do fantastic fried calamari. Basically, this place is seafood heaven, and they are proud of it, stating a tidetotable philosophy. But seriously, get their fish and chips and be blown away.

Market Lane Cork City

market lane restaurant cork city
photo via Market Lane

Market Lane Restaurant is one of the best local family restaurants in Cork City. They are located on Oliver Plunkett street, next door to their sister restaurant, Elbow Lane Brew and Smokehouse.

Market Lane has been around since 2007 and has been one of the top restaurants along Oliver Plunket street that have survived and thrived.

Their menu takes inspiration each week from the local ingredients on sale in the nearby English Market. They serve fresh, tasty food, and the restaurant is bright and stylish. A fantastic restaurant that you have to try.

Main Course Price Range: Between €15.00 – €31.50 (Sides included)

Visit their website at Market Lane.

Chefs Personal Recommendations

Market Lane seems to be a restaurant that has been around forever. They have always maintained the same standards of top-quality local food. Great for casual dining in a relaxing and stylish restaurant. I would recommend trying out their Slow cooked Rosscarbery pork cheek in XO sauce. Tender, juicy sweet pork with a nice touch of heat for their XO sauce topped with a creamy smoked celeriac puree and crispy scallion. That’s just the starter. I personally love their fish curry when they have it on the menu. With the flavours of Thailand, this curry is amazingly well-balanced and allows each flavour to dance on the tongue.

The Spitjack Cork City

spitjack restaurant cork city
photo via Spitjack

Owned by husband and wife Richard and Laura, the Spitjack food concept is based around locally sourced meats cooked via Rotisserie.

If you love meat, Spitjack is the one place in Cork City where you will never be disappointed. Their locally sourced meats are cooked over an open flame in their French Rotisserie oven. Combining styles of Rotisserie cooking from all over Europe, you will be spoiled for choice when you visit.

Their Rotisserie Pork Belly, or Porchetta as known in Italy, has to be tried if you can get it. This beauty always sells out fast, so book a seat early, and you won’t be disappointed. Seasoned for 48hrs then slow roasted, the fats and juices of this Porchetta are made come alive with their Rotisserie oven. I can’t sing high praises enough for this amazing dish.

Main Course Price Range: Between €18.90 – €22.92 (Sides €4.50)

Visit their website at The Spitjack.

Chefs Personal Recommendations

Let us not beat about the bush. Book early, arrive, and get their Porchetta!

You won’t find anything like it in Cork City. It’s authentic, and you will feel like you are dining in Italy or heaven, you decide. Paired with a glass or three of Bernardeschi, Merlot from Italy, you will not regret being the first to dinner.

Nash 19 Cork City

Nash 19 restaurant cork city
photos via Nash 19

Nash 19 is a charming restaurant in Cork City, Ireland. This hidden gem is renowned for its delectable Irish cuisine with a modern twist, making it a favourite among locals and visitors alike.

The menu at Nash 19 showcases the best of Ireland’s culinary traditions, emphasizing locally sourced and seasonal ingredients. From mouthwatering seafood dishes to hearty Irish stews, their menu offers a delightful array of options to satisfy every palate. Whether you’re a fan of traditional Irish fare or prefer more contemporary dishes, Nash 19 has something for everyone.

As for the location, Nash 19 is conveniently situated on South Main Street in Cork City’s bustling centre. Its central location makes it easily accessible for locals and tourists, increasing its popularity as a dining destination.

Price Range: Breakfast €5 – €12 – Lunch €6 – €20

Jacques Restaurant Cork

jacques restaurant cork city
photos via Jacques

Jacques Restaurant in Cork City, Ireland, is a delight, just a stone’s throw away from the General Post Office. It’s a place where culinary excellence meets a warm and welcoming atmosphere, making it a popular choice for locals and visitors.

The cuisine at Jacques Restaurant is a fusion of traditional Irish flavours and contemporary European influences, resulting in a diverse and exciting menu. Jacques has something to please every palate, whether you’re in the mood for fresh seafood, succulent steaks, or vegetarian options. Their commitment to using locally sourced ingredients ensures that each dish celebrates Cork’s bountiful produce.

While Jacques offers a fine dining experience, it’s important to note that prices reflect the quality of the food and service. It’s an ideal spot for a special occasion or a memorable evening out when you’re looking to indulge in gourmet delights.

Jacques is conveniently located in the heart of Cork City, making it easily accessible for diners exploring the city’s vibrant streets. Its cosy and intimate ambience adds to the overall dining experience, making it an excellent choice for a romantic dinner or a gathering with friends.

Main Course Price Range: Between €20 – €80

Cornstore Restuarant Cork City

Cornstore restaurant cork city
photo via Cornstore

The Cornstore Restaurant in Cork City is a culinary haven that beckons with a tempting array of flavours and a commitment to sourcing the finest local ingredients.

For seafood lovers, the Cornstore is a dream come true. Start your culinary adventure with their exquisite seafood starters, featuring oysters in a delicate vinaigrette that dances on your palate and wasabi caviar that adds a sublime kick to each bite. But the real star of the sea is their baked crab mornay, a decadent indulgence that’s rich and brimming with coastal charm.

If you’re in the mood for a sizzling steak, you’re in for a treat. The Cornstore takes its aged steaks seriously, rubbing them with its own steak rub for an unparalleled flavour. And the choices don’t stop there – pair your perfectly cooked steak with a selection of sauces like bone marrow jus, a luscious elixir, or chimichurri sauce, a zesty Argentine delight.

But the Cornstore’s culinary prowess extends far beyond seafood and steak. Dive into main courses like the herb-crusted rump of lamb, where delicious lamb meets skilled preparation, resulting in a delicate and character dish. And for those craving the classics, the Cornstore burger is a juicy masterpiece that satisfies even the heartiest appetite.

Cornstore is dedicated to sourcing ingredients locally, ensuring every dish bursts with freshness and a sense of place. As you savour each bite, you support Cork’s vibrant food community.

Explore their extensive cocktail and wine list to complement your meal, curated to elevate your dining experience. Whether you’re a wine connoisseur or a cocktail enthusiast, you’ll find the perfect pairing to enhance your culinary adventure.

Main Course Price Range: Between €18 – €40

Marina Market Cork City

Best places to eat in cork city Marina Market
Best Places to eat Marina market cork city

The Marina Market in Cork City is an exciting and diverse marketplace and has become the city’s culinary heart. It’s not a restaurant like the rest on this list above but it is one of the best places in Cork City for the selection of food on offer.

Marina Markets Cork is a lively spot where you can find a little of everything. When you visit, you’ll be greeted by a fantastic mix of food stalls, each offering delicious cuisine from different corners of the world. Whatever food you are craving, Marina Market will have it. If you have a sweet tooth, there’s something here for everyone, especially with a tempting selection from Leahy’s Open Farm Ice Cream or Midletons Messy Buns.

But it’s not just about food; the Marina Market also features stalls selling clothing, adding a touch of fashion to the mix. It’s a place where locals and tourists alike come together, enjoying great food, indulging in sweet treats, and exploring unique clothing finds.

This market is not just about shopping or eating; it’s a cultural and social hub, making it a must-visit if you want to experience the flavours and atmosphere of Cork City. So, whether you’re looking for a tasty meal, a delightful dessert, or unique clothing or jewellery, the Marina Market has it all, making it a vibrant and diverse addition to Cork’s culinary and shopping scene.

Chefs Recommendations:

Where do I even start with Marina Market Cork? They have Korean street food, traditional Irish Stew, Sushi, BBQ, all-day breakfasts and the best ice cream in Cork. Marina has become one of the best food destinations in Cork City, with an exciting collection of some of the best food outlets in Cork. I saved Marina Market to last because it’s one of my secret culinary destinations—a must-visit for anyone looking for fantastic food.

If you want to get a taste of food culture, read my article on the English Market Cork City for inspiration on your next food outing.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best restaurants in Cork City?

For casual Market Lane, beer lovers Elbow Lane, vegetarian Cafe Paradiso, Meat Lovers The Spitjack, Fish Lover Quinlans, groups The Glass Curtain, couples Jacobs on the mall, exceptional occasion Ichigo Ichie.

Does Cork City Have Food?

Cork City has a range of restaurants creating the best food in Cork using locally sourced ingredients. Cork is considered the food capital of Ireland, and Cork City shows you why.

What is the best vegan restaurant in Cork City?

The best vegan restaurant would have to be Cafe Paradiso. If you want something a little more casual, try the Franciscan Well. They have a fantastic Range of Vegan Pizzas.

What Food Is Cork Famous For?

Historically, Cork was world famous for cured salted meats and fish. The English Market in Cork City is pride of place and was one of the first Markets to sell such meats and has grown to a culinary destination in Cork.

Is Cork Expensive to Eat?

Cork has an extensive range of eating establishments where a person could spend between 5 and 15 euros on delicious food. Marina Market in Cork city you could spend around 20 euros and get the best food in Cork. In restaurants, you could, on average, 30 euros.

J.J. Sheridan

My Name is JJ Sheridan, born in Cork Ireland but spent most of my childhood in County Tipperary. I've been a Chef for a large number of years and have worked in a number of award winning restaurants. I love using local ingredients whenever possible in my food so that I can showcase the best of Irish. My passion is to share with you the best restaurants across Ireland from a Chefs perspective. For many years restaurants have been at the hands of the "food critic". Most of the time these critics will visit the same old restaurants and heap praise on them. Often forgetting about the smaller restaurants who are paving the way for Irish Cuisine. My Goal is to higlight all restaurants, especially the ones the so called food experts never visit and give you a complete list of the best Irish Restaurants to visit.

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