While the Wild Atlantic vistas, colourful towns and villages and innumerable food finds across West and East Cork make the Rebel county an obvious havens for a leisurely staycation, but Cork city is the perfect spot for those looking for a buzzy break away.
Cork city’s embrace of outdoor café culture and innovative adaptations for al fresco dining has been second to none, with pedestrianised streets creating a festival atmosphere and elsewhere, food trucks flourishing in dedicated parks for hungry diners.
If you’re heading to the “Real Capital” this summer, make hay while the sun shines (or at least while the rain stays away) and add the following outdoor dining spots to your list to ensure your Cork city trip is packed with delicious memories.
Leading the way in outdoor dining innovation is MacCurtain Street’s excellent Greene’s Restaurant. A fine dining spot which has refused to compromise on creating an elegant experience for diners, here you can enjoy a tasting menu in beautiful tented dining pods draped in white. Sit back, relax and enjoy silver service and delicate, Cork produce-driven dishes designed by chef Bryan McCarthy in a seriously memorable setting.
One of the hottest tickets in town, Michelin Bib Gourmand holder Goldie has been ensuring Cork city diners can get their superb seafood fix outdoors with a handful of tables out front on Oliver Plunkett Street. If you are lucky enough to snap up a table here, you’ll want to order one of everything on the menu, which is packed with all things foraged and fermented.
Ali’s Kitchen on Paul Street is always a safe bet to satisfy breakfast and baked goods cravings when in Cork. Grab a spot outside and indulge in treats like an eggs benny bap or a homemade fro-yo and oat cookie sandwich from the ever-changing menu of healthy-ish but heavenly sounding delights. Probably a good idea to nab some extra sweet treats to take away for later too.
Serving inventive and inviting vegetarian dishes long before plant-based eating was cool, Denis Cotter’s Paradiso has been a Cork city staple since 1993. Paradiso has a handful of outdoor tables on a walk-in only basis, and if you manage to land one you’ll be treated to an evening menu of tapas style sharing dishes celebrating the very best of local produce, with an excellent wine selection to match.
The Good Day Deli
It is hard to believe you could find somewhere as leafy and picturesque as the Good Day Deli to enjoy a summery outdoor dining experience in Cork city, a mere 10 minute walk from the hustle and bustle of Patrick Street. Housed in Nano Nagle Place gardens, Good Day Deli offers gazebo dining and plenty of patio tables where you can enjoy the brunch of champions, beautiful bakes, bountiful salads and natural wine.
For a serious brunch treat in Cork city, Caroline Street’s Idaho is always a solid choice, so pull up a stool and perch yourself in their colourful barrel and flower-lined outdoor terrace for prime people watching, great coffee and even better dishes. With a menu dotted with not only local but also homegrown produce, you can be guaranteed a genuine taste of Cork at Idaho.
A rainbow coloured roof of umbrellas will guide you to Princes Street, a must visit for al fresco dining in Cork city, with a street party-style atmosphere and an array of restaurants to choose from. Rossini’s is a long-standing favourite for rustic Italian fare, if fish and chips is your thing you cannot miss Quinlan’s Seafood Bar and if it is casual lunch vibes and craft cocktails you’re after, hit up Clancy’s and King’s.
At Harley’s Streat (by the Metropole Hotel) tacos, cocktails and street art collide in what must be one of the most Instagrammable spots in the city. Park yourself at the Taco Rebel food truck for some loaded Birria Beef Tacos and Rebel Nachos dripping in queso and pick up a Pink Gin Fizz from Bevs and Brews to go with.
Electric is the place to be for an evening of Lee side cocktails and tempting Asian creations for walk-ins only. You can keep it casual with sushi or small plates like shisho and ginger Oyster Haven oysters and Korean chicken bao buns or go all out with a Wagyu fillet or whole roasted lobster with gingery and cucumber.
There’s something for everyone, including your fur friends, at the Marina Market. Just a ten minute walk from the city centre, Marina Market is home to an array of dining options including Hansum, which serves up a behemoth of a rotisserie chicken ciabatta worth a dedicated trip. Pick up dessert in the form of Kinder Bueno cupcakes from Messy Buns or a loaded Oreo waffle from Smoove to enjoy while you wander through stalls of local produce and quirky crafts.
Why not have a read of our article about Athlone in Winter here.
WRITTEN BY DARINA COFFEY