Top 14 Best Places to Lunch in Cork City 2024

Hi, my name is JJ and I have been a chef in Cork for over ten years. This guide to the best places to lunch in Cork City was created to make looking for the best lunch spots a little bit easier. It was also created to give a broader list of more uncommon lunch spots in Cork City that offer outstanding-tasting food.

Looking for the best places to lunch in Cork City can be daunting. This vibrant Irish city, nestled along the southern coast, is a hub of culture, history, and gastronomic haven. From the bustling stalls of the iconic English Market to the cosy cafes and innovative restaurants tucked into its historic streets, Cork City offers a diverse range of places to lunch in Cork City.

Whether you are searching for traditional Irish flavours, international cuisine, or healthy plant-based options, Cork City’s lunchtime scene promises to delight your taste buds and leave you with lasting memories of flavorful discoveries.

Here, I will give you my top 13 Best Places to Lunch in Cork City. This list will give you a taste (no pun intended) of what the Cork Food Scene offers.

If you are interested in more restaurant locations in the City, read my article on the best restaurants in Cork City. Or read my article on the best cheap restaurants in Cork City.

Best Places to Lunch in Cork City

lunch in cork city

Lunch at the English Market

This historic market is a must-visit for food lovers looking for the best places to lunch in Cork City. You can find a range of stalls and restaurants serving fresh, local produce, sandwiches, seafood, and more. The Farmgate Café on the mezzanine level is trendy for its traditional Irish dishes. 

1. The Sandwich Stall

Sandwich stall cork
Photos via Sandwich Stall Cork

One of my favourite food stalls in the English Market is the Sandwich Stall which is the one place I always recommend when looking for the best places to lunch in Cork City. They have a fantastic Reuben sandwich I always treat myself to when visiting. Made with delicious slices of pastrami with pickles, mustard, sauerkraut, and cheese on sourdough bread.

2. O’Flynns Gourment Sausage Stall

Photo via O’Flynns

Another favourite is the O’Flynn’s Gourmet Sausage stall, where you can grab a fantastic sausage baguette on the go. It’s not something you would want to eat every day, but it’s always a real treat when you can grab one. O’Flynns Gourmet Sausage stall is easily the best places to lunch in Cork City for something quick and tasty.

Their menu boasts an enticing array of sausages, from classic favourites to inventive creations, all served with delicious toppings and sides. The focus here is on quality, with locally sourced ingredients and a commitment to culinary excellence. 

Whether you’re a sausage connoisseur or simply looking for a satisfying lunch, O’Flynn’s Gourmet Sausages delivers a savoury, mouthwatering experience in Cork City.

3. Maki Sushi Stall

Maki Sushi Roll Cork
Photos via Maki Sushi Rolls

Maki Sushi is always a treat if you fancy something completely different. Give their Tom Durcan spiced beef roll a try. The combination of spiced beef with a bit of mustard is next level. When looking for fresh sushi for lunch, Maki Sushi is one of the best places to lunch in Cork City.

Best Restaurants for Lunch

4. Market Lane Restaurant

  • Perfect for sit-down lunch
  • Local Irish Cuisine
  • Located on Oliver Plunkett Street
market lane restaurant cork city
Photos via Market Lane

Located in the heart of Cork City, Market Lane offers a diverse menu emphasising locally sourced ingredients. They serve dishes like salads, burgers, and seafood in a cosy atmosphere.

Market Lane is the perfect spot for a sit-down lunch. Their menu showcases a fusion of local and international flavours, featuring dishes crafted from the freshest seasonal ingredients. 

Guests can savour artisanal sandwiches, hearty salads, and flavorful seafood creations. Market Lane’s commitment to sustainability and sourcing from nearby producers is evident in every bite.

Market lane offers customers a location to sit and dine in comfort and is one of the best places to lunch in Cork City.

Visit Market Lane Lunch Menu.

5. The Castle Café

  • Sit in dining
  • It is a little bit outside the city centre but worth it
cork city lunch castle cafe
Photos via Castle Café

Located on the grounds of Blackrock Castle, this café offers picturesque views of the River Lee. They serve various dishes, including soups, sandwiches, and salads.

The menu here is a delightful fusion of fresh, locally sourced ingredients and culinary creativity. Each dish is a work of art, from sumptuous soups to gourmet sandwiches and salads. 

The ambience is equally captivating, with a warm and welcoming interior that complements the historic charm of the castle. For a leisurely lunch in a truly unique setting, The Castle Café is a must-visit in Cork City.

Visit Castle Café Lunch Menu.

6. Isaac’s Restaurant

  • Sit in Dinning
  • Located on McCurtain Street
  • Fine Dining – Bookings Advised
best place for lunch Isaacs restaurant
photos via Isaacs Restaurant

Isaac’s is known for its creative and flavorful dishes. They offer a set lunch menu with various options, including vegetarian and vegan choices.

Their lunch menu showcases creative dishes crafted from locally sourced ingredients, offering a fusion of traditional and contemporary flavours. Isaac’s restaurants excel in culinary artistry, from exquisite salads to delectable sandwiches and daily specials.

The restaurant’s commitment to quality extends to an impressive wine list and impeccable service. Isaac’s is a top choice for a memorable lunch experience in Cork City that blends Irish hospitality with gastronomic excellence.

Visit Isaac’s Restaurant Lunch Menu.

7. The Quay Co-Op Cork City

  • Dine in lunch
  • Located Sullivans Quay
lunch cork the quay co-op
photos via the Quay Co-Op

Lunch at The Quay Co-op in Cork City is a wholesome and sustainable culinary experience that celebrates local, organic, and vegetarian cuisine. Located in a vibrant and eco-conscious setting, this co-operative cafe embraces a farm-to-table ethos, sourcing fresh produce from nearby suppliers.

The menu showcases diverse dishes, from hearty soups and salads to flavorful hot entrees and vegan desserts. Whether you’re a committed vegetarian or simply curious about plant-based dining, The Quay Co-op offers a welcoming atmosphere with an array of options to please every palate.

It’s a gathering place where good food and sustainability go hand in hand in Cork City. If looking for wholesome and sustainable food then the Quay Co-op is one of the best places to lunch in Cork City.

Visit the Quay Co-op Website.

8. The Long Valley Bar

  • Perfect Irish Bar Food
  • Located on Winthrop Street
bar food cork city - Long Valley Bar

Lunch at The Long Valley Bar in Cork City is a quintessentially Irish experience steeped in history and comfort. Housed in a historic building with its old-world charm, this traditional pub offers a warm and inviting atmosphere.

The menu features hearty Irish dishes like stew, pies, and sandwiches, all served with genuine Irish hospitality. Guests can savour their meal while enjoying a fine selection of local beers and ales.

Whether you’re seeking a taste of authentic Irish cuisine or simply a cosy place to unwind, The Long Valley Bar provides a cosy and satisfying lunch in the heart of Cork City.

Visit the Long Valley Bar Menu.

Best Grab and Go Lunch

9. Frankie’s Slice Shop

  • Perfect for a Grab and Go Lunch
  • Limited Seating Available
  • Located on South Mall
best places to luch cork city - Frankie's Slice Shop
Photos via Frankies Slice

Lunch at Frankie’s Slice Shop in Cork City is a slice of pizza paradise. Nestled in the heart of the city, this no-frills eatery is a haven for pizza lovers. The menu boasts an array of mouthwatering, generously sized pizza slices, each with a perfect blend of fresh ingredients and delectable toppings.

Whether you’re craving a classic Margherita, a bold meat lover’s slice, or a veggie delight, Frankie’s offers a variety to please every palate.

With quick service and a casual atmosphere, it’s the ideal spot to grab a satisfying and delicious lunch or savour a slice or two with friends. For a quick slice of pizza, Frankie’s is one of the best places to lunch in Cork City.

Visit Frankie’s Slice Shop Website.

10. Sonny’s Deli

  • Grab and Go or Prepared to Order
  • It is a little out of the way but worth it
  • Located Marina Villas (halfway from the City Aldi to Marina Market)
  • Get there early; their sandwiches sell fast
  • Sandwiches are big, packed full of flavour and filled with premium ingredients
lunch in cork city

I’m a sucker for a good sandwich, especially a delicious Reuben sandwich. Sonny’s Deli in Cork City is a culinary adventure that takes your taste buds on a delightful journey. Tucked away on a charming corner, this Sonny’s Deli exudes a cosy and inviting vibe.

The menu boasts an array of creative sandwiches, wraps, and salads, all crafted with an emphasis on high-quality, locally sourced ingredients. Sonny’s Deli caters to various tastes, from classic Deli favourites to inventive flavour combinations.

I’ve had their banh mi and it is next level when it comes to sandwiches. It is packed full of delicious veg and the Char Sui roast pork. I got lucky the day I visited and got my hands on one and I will be making sure I get in early in future.

The friendly staff and relaxed atmosphere make it an ideal spot for a quick and satisfying lunch break. For those seeking a memorable and delicious midday meal in Cork City, Sonny’s Deli is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered and one of my new favourite lunch spots. I would highly recommend it as one of the Best Places to Lunch in Cork City.

Visit Sonny’s Click & Collect Website.

11. Orso Cork City

  • Located on Pembrook Street just off of Oliver Plunkett Street
  • Sit in or grab and go
places to lunch in cork city Orso
photos via Orso

Lunch at Orso in Cork City is a delightful Mediterranean-inspired culinary escape. Orso is nestled in the city’s heart; this charming eatery offers a warm and inviting ambience with rustic wooden tables and colourful decor. The menu celebrates fresh and flavorful dishes, featuring diverse options, from mezze platters to sumptuous mains like tagines and kebabs.

Orso’s commitment to using locally sourced ingredients and authentic Mediterranean flavours ensures every bite is a taste sensation. Whether you’re enjoying a leisurely lunch with friends or a quick bite, Orso promises a memorable dining experience in the heart of Cork City.

Visit Orso’s Website.

12. Cafe Gusto

  • Two locations, Washington Street and Lapps Quay
  • Grab and Go or Sit in
cafes in cork city Cafe Gusto
photos via Cafe Gusto

Lunch at Cafe Gusto in Cork City is a delightful culinary journey through various flavours. This cosy cafe, tucked away in the city’s heart, offers a welcoming atmosphere with its rustic decor and warm ambience.

The menu is a testament to fresh and locally sourced ingredients, featuring a diverse selection of sandwiches, salads, and daily specials. Whether you’re in the mood for a classic panini or an exotic fusion dish, Cafe Gusto has something to satisfy every palate.

With friendly service and a passion for good food, it’s the perfect spot to enjoy a satisfying and flavorful lunch in Cork City.

Vitis Cafe Gusto Website.

13. The Cameron Bakery

  • Not just a bakery, exceptional range of food
  • Located on Washington Street
lunch cork cameron bakery
Photos via Cameron Bakery Cork

Lunch at The Cameron Bakery in Cork City is a delightful experience for both the senses and the soul. This charming bakery, nestled in the city’s heart, welcomes visitors with the enticing aroma of freshly baked goods.

The menu features an array of artisanal sandwiches, savoury pies, and delectable quiches, all made with the bakery’s signature attention to detail and commitment to using the finest ingredients. The cosy and rustic ambience and the friendly service create a warm and inviting atmosphere for a satisfying lunch.

Whether indulging in a hearty meal or grabbing a quick bite, The Cameron Bakery is one of the best places to lunch in Cork City.

Visit the Cameron Bakery Menu.

14. Loving Salads Cork City

  • Located on Academy Street
  • Sit in dining available
vegetarian lunch cork city
photos via Loving Salads

Lunch at Loving Salads in Cork City is a refreshing and wholesome experience that caters to health-conscious diners. Tucked away in the heart of the city, this diner is a haven for those seeking delicious and nutritious meals.

The menu features various salads, wraps, and bowls, each bursting with fresh, locally sourced ingredients and creative flavour combinations. Whether you’re a vegetarian, vegan, or simply looking for a guilt-free meal, Loving Salads satisfies every palate.

With its bright and welcoming atmosphere, it’s the perfect spot for a rejuvenating lunch that nourishes both body and soul in Cork City.

Visit Loving Salads Menu.

Conclusion

Lunchtime in Cork City is not just about satiating your hunger; it’s about embarking on a culinary journey filled with flavour, history, and culture. Whether you explore the bustling stalls of The English Market or indulge in the innovative dishes at Isaac’s Restaurant, you’re guaranteed to enjoy these best places to lunch in Cork City.

Cork City’s dining scene reflects its rich heritage and the creativity of its chefs. It caters to diverse tastes, from those who relish traditional Irish dishes to those who seek global flavours or healthier, plant-based options. With an emphasis on using locally sourced ingredients and a commitment to quality, Cork City’s restaurants take pride in delivering top-notch dining experiences.

Moreover, the warm and welcoming atmosphere of Cork City’s eateries and the friendly service add a layer of comfort to your lunchtime escapades. It’s not just about what’s on your plate; it’s about the ambience, the conversations, and the memories you create while savouring a meal in this vibrant city.

So, the next time you find yourself in Cork City, make sure to visit one of these locations on my list of best places to lunch in Cork City. Whether enjoying a hearty sausage sandwich at O’Flynn’s Gourmet Sausages or sipping a craft beer with barbecue delights at Elbow Lane Brew and Smoke House, Cork City’s lunchtime experiences are as diverse as they are delectable.

Ultimately, dining out for lunch in Cork City is about savouring the essence of this remarkable city. It’s about connecting with its people, history, and ever-evolving culinary landscape. It’s a chance to slow down, indulge your senses, and embrace the delightful flavours that make Cork City a true epicurean haven. So, make lunch in Cork City not just a meal but a memorable part of your journey. 

Bon appétit!

About the author
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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