Editor’s note: Bella Supiana is working with JJ Kavanagh & Sons on a new series called ‘Tastes of Ireland’. She’ll be travelling to our destinations around Ireland and scouting out the best places to eat for hungry travellers. In this post she finds the Top Restaurants in Kilkenny. Yum!
Top Restaurants in Kilkenny
Kilkenny, a city similar to the size of a large town, has a great selection of places to fill your tummy with utterly delicious food. As I write this, my mind is lost thinking of mouthwatering memories that the Marble County had to offer. With their excellent hurling, the Cats have brought fame all around Ireland and there are a handful of chefs doing the same thing but this time through food… From modern Irish cuisine to comforting Texas, let’s take a look at the top restaurants in Kilkenny!
Cafe Sol celebrates twenty years of business this October. It was conceived by two Ballymaloe tutors, Gale Johnson and Eavan Kenny. They both ran it for the first five years, instilling a truly Ballymaloe approach to food. Locally sourced and as organic as possible, the food I am told was divine… Now in its second decade, Noel McCarron current proprietor, has proudly brought it into the 21st century.
When asked how to best describe Cafe Sol, McCarron simply stated ‘it’s modern Irish cooking’. He would love to adopt a seasonal, organic and locally sourced way of cooking, making Sol a pretty neat acronym. Unfortunately, he has found it difficult to source fully organic ingredients so at Cafe Sol you will taste fresh, seasonal and beautifully presented food that is as organic as the locality will permit.
Attended by the wonderful Irene, she has been here for seventeen years. With a smile and a certain gift for making guests feel instantly welcomed, she must be a key component to the longstanding success of this cafe.
Advised to taste the Ham Hock Terrine with Piccalilli, I was not disappointed. In fact, it could possibly be one of the best starters I’ve ever put in my mouth! Bursts of colour atop a shiny grey plate, my eyes had it devoured before I even put a fork to it. A firmly packed terrine with succulent ham hock accompanied by the well balanced sharp piccalilli crunchy veg and a crisp thin slice of sourdough – heaven!
For mains it was on to the eighteen hour slow cooked pork belly, maple glazed and served with a bacon and cabbage croquette, black pudding cigar, luscious pomme puree and an apple and cider compote. Moist meat with a slight chew along with the crisp crackling, a true carnivore’s dream. Perfect lumpless pomme puree, a 21st century Irish croquette and innovative rich cigar, brought together by the sweet yet tart apple compote…
A vegetarian would adore this place too, think halloumi fritters with impeccable roast beets and carrots accompanied by a mixed pepper chutney. Noel has this place down to a tee… Quality chefs in the kitchen and brilliant staff front of house, no wonder they’ve been open so long!
Until the 30th of October, the end of this month they are running a brilliant offer for just €20. Avail of either a starter and a main or a glass of wine and a main. Come here if you want excellent quality food that challenges the normal bacon and cabbage or spuds and pork smothered in apple sauce… Money well spent and guaranteed outstanding food.
Pizza and pasta lovers aboard, this Italian restaurant has you absolutely sorted!
Owned and ran by Carlos and his Irish wife Bernadette, they have been feeding Kilkenny on delicious Medi food for the past twenty five years. Kilkenny seems to have a plethora of long standing restaurants which is very commendable.
A long room with a very stylish marble bar welcoming you at the front door. The open kitchen is all the way at the back and if you’re lucky you might see a pizza or two being flipped to perfection! Homemade pizza dough, it was seriously crisp and thin just how I like it! Enough tomato sauce to disallow a soggy bottom and at the same time make for a beautifully rich pizza. We went for the Pizza Connection – mozzarella baked with thinly sliced Parma ham and scattered with fresh rocket leaf and shavings of Parmesan. One of the best pizzas I’ve tasted in Ireland.
Tagliatelle Primavera, Mama Mia… Al dente strips of pasta wrapped with a delicious hearty coating of Napoletana sauce and tossed with black olives, courgettes and aubergine. Sprinkled with parsley for freshness and crackled with fresh black pepper and gratings of Parmesan by the lovely waitress, it was lip smackingly good!
It has a huge space so it’s great for large groups of people. Very affordable and right on the high street, jot this place down if you’re feeling a trip to Italy but can only afford a weekend in Kilkenny!
Are you feeling pure comfort food, in need of a scrumptious hangover cure from a wild night spent in Kilkenny or want to experience a truly Texan experience? You’ve come to the right place… Loaded American size portions are served up here. Naughty, naughty edible yum is the definition of what they have to offer!
I was most excited about the loaded cheesy Cheddar smoked bacon fries when I heard of these guys first and by god they did not disappoint! Crisp chips smothered in bacon bits, melted to perfection cheese, drizzled with sour cream and scattered with vibrant oniony scallions… I’m teasing myself as I write this – I want them now!
Get the tasting combo, for just €15.95 choose three starters. Excellent value for sharing with friends or to have as a main on it own. I’d advise the cheesy bacony fries, Smokin’ Ribs brushed with chipotle sauce and hot Buffalo wings served with a blue cheese dip – such great value and you get to taste the quality Paris Texas delivers! The crab cake was another delicious starter, packed with the most amount of crab I’ve ever seen in a cake. Not just potatoes to bulk it out but an abundant amount of flaky crab too!
Their burgers and sambos are famed. They have eleven to choose from so go wild and try something you haven’t before! The Santa Fe Club was just what I needed to get through that lunch slump I was feeling while on my trip. Chargrilled sourdough sandwiches succulent chicken fillets with American Monterey Jack cheese, crispy bacon, chipotle sauce and vibrant creamy avocado.
I’m told the locals always top it with an egg, sunny side up, so when in Kilkenny… If you can fit it it, finish up with their rice pudding creme brulee. Creamy rich oozingly good cream laden rice pudding with carmelised sugar on top… Decedent, although I would have loved the brulee to have had a tad more crack when I dug in!
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