The Gilded Gourmet Gang – The 2018 Guide to Michelin Starred Restaurants in Ireland
Though the relevance it holds is called into question by a few it is hard to dispute that restaurant-goers place more trust in the Michelin Guide as a mark of quality than any other dining listing, award or rating.
And so, since the very first Michelin Guide for Great Britain and Ireland was published in 1974, the unveiling of the latest volume of that small red book has played a big part in the shape of the culinary landscape.
For the second year running this year’s group of Michelin star restaurants were announced at a hotly anticipated, star-studded event in the centre of London, with the Guide holding the hearts of chefs across the region in the palm of their hands as they revealed the rankings.
This year The Wild Honey Inn, Lisdoonvarna, County Clare joined the star spangled squad of eleven one star venues and Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud, which remains the only holder of two stars.
Here’s the full, county by county, list of Michelin starred restaurants, and one pub too, in Ireland, plus the full list of Michelin Bib Gourmand winners.
The first ever pub in Ireland to ever be awarded a Michelin star, The Wild Honey Inn‘s entry into the guide book caught many by surprise, but not those who have been tracking the progress of chef patron Aidan McGrath, who has run the establishment with his wife Kate, for the past nine years. His cooking style was praised by the Michelin judges as having a “a classical French base that delivers on flavour.” Securing a booking here was already a challenge but we expect now that a path will be beaten to the Burren as curious diners scramble to experience the character, warmth and impressive cooking for themselves – this isn’t your average country pub.
Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud – 2 Stars
Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud still remains the only Irish restaurant to merit two star recognition. Situated within one the four Georgian townhouses that make up the 5 star Merrion Hotel was awarded one star in 1990 followed by a second in 1996. The current team including head chef Kieran Glennon and restaurant manager Stéphane Robin continue to chase perfection, and strive for that elusive third star. Along with serving flawless food and offering outstanding service last year they completed a full renovation for the third time in 19 years to add another luxurious layer to the dining experience.
Chapter One – 1 Star
In 2007, after fifteen years in business, Ross Lewis’s Chapter One on Parnell Square achieved the ultimate seal of international culinary approval, a Michelin star. Speaking to TheTaste earlier this year Ross said that 2017 is the “start of a new five year term” for the restaurant. “With a new team we are looking at the next five years; how we evolve the food, make it cleaner, more clever. There’s a new vision, a new thought process.” This new drive is bolstered by new team members including head chef Eric Matthews and general manager Danny Desmond, who joins long time restaurant manager Darren Campbell.
l’Ecrivain – 1 Star
Opening in July 1989 l’Ecrivain by Derry and Sallyanne Clarke has undergone several transformations and now stands on the site of two old Georgian Coach Houses on on Dublin’s Lower Baggot Street, a charming location which adds to the superb standard of cooking and service which they have meticulously maintained over their 28 year history. First awarded a Michelin star in 2003, though chef Derry’s signature style is still evident across the menus head chef Tom Doyle now leads the talented young kitchen team that continues to ensure l’Ecrivain delivers an exceptional experience every time you visit.
The GreenHouse – 1 Star
Restaurateur Eamonn O’Reilly, who also owns the long-standing Dublin stalwart One Pico, opened The GreenHouse on Dawson Street in 2012, with head chef Mickael Viljanen ensuring that Michelin granted that precious gold star in 2015. While you can expect a predominantly French cooking style and menu stalwarts like Foie Gras Royale the Finnish chef’s innovation means the menu is never exactly the same for two days. On how the star effects his cooking, in an interview with TheTaste Mickael said: “Its funny, a lot of days you don’t even think about it, its not even in your head, you just do what you do and just always try to provide the best thing for the punters you know?”
Heron & Grey – 1 Star
A surprise addition to Ireland’s Michelin star line up in 2017, since Heron & Grey achieved the accolade tables have been hard to come by. The tiny space in Blackrock Market run by Andrew Heron, who manages front of house, and head chef Damien Grey can only seat sixty six people per week and received more than 3,000 reservation requests in the three days following the announcement. The next scheduled release for future reservations will be on Wednesday, November 1st for the period of January to March 2018. In the meantime those already converted to their unique style of modern international cuisine and curious diners are invited to to join the waiting list for any last minute cancellations.
Aniar – 1 Star
Not too long after opening in 2011, Aniar was was given the seal of approval by Michelin in 2013 for its terroir-based ethos, a style of cooking that reflects the unique features of the landscape of West of Ireland using as many local and wild ingredients as possible. Chef patron JP McMahon hasn’t been shy about his two star ambitions, speaking to TheTaste, he said: “I have been travelling around doing stages in various kitchens and looking to see how we can develop Aniar, and ultimately see how we can get a second star. That is the ultimate goal.” Over the past year the restaurant has made changes to create a more theatrical atmosphere included making tables bigger, decreasing the number of seats to just 20, moving the kitchen out into the dining space, and serving set five, eight or ten course tasting menus.
Loam – 1 Star
Just a year after achieving a star at Aniar as head chef Enda McEvoy opened his own restaurant in the city taking over a modern unit that was intended for retail use. His brave move paid off when Loam was awarded a Michelin star in 2016. McEvoy and his team have continued to impress, warming the sparse, industrial feel of this large space with the sparks of creativity and culinary ambition that blaze in the kitchen, bringing the ingredients from local farmers and producers to life on the plate.
The Lady Helen Restaurant, Mount Juliet Estate – 1 Star
The setting alone would have left a lasting impression on the Michelin inspector who visited Kilkenny’s Lady Helen Restaurant, located inside Mount Juliet house with panoramic views over the River Nore and lush country views of the 1500 acre estate. However with the kitchen under executive chef Ken Harker’s rule, the food served in the elegant dining room is just as picture perfect. Already boasting three AA Rosettes prior to the 2014 Michelin listing, here local ingredients, many from their kitchen garden and farm, are transformed into superbly executed dishes that more than match the majesty of the restaurant’s backdrop.
Campagne – 1 Star
Kilkenny’s title as a culinary destination was bolstered considerably in 2014 when Michelin adorned the county with not one but two stars. While diverse in location, Lady Helen Restaurant being set on a lush countryside estate in Thomastown while city centre restaurant Campagne is hidden underneath old railway arches on Gas House Lane, again this year both have upheld the honour. Giving seasonal, local produce a French gastronomic twist, Campagne’s solid pairing of chef Garrett Byrne in the kitchen and Brid Hannon running front of house has ensured it has consistently delivered the dining experience that they first set out to bring to the Marble City 2008.
OX – 1 Star
Chef Stevie Toman and restaurant manager and sommelier Alain Kerloc’h brought combined their fine dining pedigree when they opened OX in 2013. The pair had a strong vision for the restaurant from day one: to provide the same quality of food and attentive service as in the restaurants of Paris, but in a more relaxed, simple environment. Stevie’s enlightened touch, transforming humble ingredients into something awe inspiring, ensured rave reviews were instantaneous, and after just two years it was awarded a Michelin star. Speaking to TheTaste, Stevie said that achieving that stamp of approval in that little red book was always a goal of his but added that the informal atmosphere of OX is an example of how there is no set formula to achieving a Michelin star. “The main thing is the quality and consistency of the food.”
Deanes EIPIC – 1 Star
Similarly to Kilkenny in 2013, 2016 was Belfast’s year with two restaurants achieving a Michelin star, though in the case of Deanes EIPIC this technically wasn’t the first time. Proprietor chef Micheal Deane held a star for a record 14 years, before a flood devastated his original restaurant in 2010. In 2015 he opened EIPIC and head hunted chef Danni Barry who to bring back a star to the Deanes’ restaurant family, a task which she completed just 18 months after opening. After confirmation that they had retained the star for a second year, in a shock move Danni announced that she will reopen Clenaghans restaurant in the village of Aghalee in partnership with Stevie and Cristina Higginson of the hugely popular Square Bistro in Lisburn. Danni’s departure from EIPIC sees Chef Alex Greene take over her role as head chef.
The House Restaurant, The Cliff House Hotel – 1 Star
Given how striking the views from this ocean facing, glass walled restaurant situated within The Cliff House Hotel are, the food served has to reach quite a standard to distract and excite the diner. But the exquisite cuisine crafted by Dutch executive chef Martijn Kajuiter at The House Restaurant ensures this standard is reached and surpassed. Unrelenting in his commitment to regional produce, Martijn’s passion and innovation has ensured the restaurant has retained the star it first earned in 2010. The restaurant also boasts a private dining room that features a fire and dramatic 20 foot long oak table.
New Bib Gourmand
– Noble, Holywood, Belfast
– Bastible, South Circular Road, Dublin 8
– Forest & Marcy, Leeson Street, Dublin 2
– Craft, Harold’s Cross, Dublin 6W
– Richmond, Richmond Street, Dublin 2
– TwoCooks, Sallins, Co. Kildare
– Morrisseys, Doonbeg, Co. Clare
– Kai, Galway
Retained Bib Gourmand
– Wine and Brine, Moira, Co. Armagh
– Adare 1826, Adare, Co. Limerick
– Pichet, Dublin 2
– Pigs Ear, Dublin 2
– Etto, Dubin 2
– Delahunt, Dublin 2
– The Pigeon House, Clontarf, Co. Dublin
– The Copper Hen, Tramore, Co. Waterford
– The Courthouse, Monaghan
– Sah-Roe Bistro, Carlow
– The Chart House, Dingle
– Aldridge Lodge, Wexford
– Giovannelli, Kerry
– Bastion, Kinsale, Co. Cork
– The Wild Honey Inn, Clare
– Fontana, Down
– Old Schoolhouse Inn, Down
– Bar + Grill at James Street South, Belfast
– Deanes @ Queens, Belfast
– Home, Belfast
Erica grew up with a baker and confectioner for a father and a mother with an instinct and love for good food. It is little wonder then that, after completing a law degree, she went on to do a Masters in Food Business at UCC. With a consuming passion for all things food, nutrition and wellness, working with TheTaste is a perfect fit for Erica; allowing her to learn and experience every aspect of the food world meeting its characters and influencers along the way.