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Great-value Irish restaurants: Nine places to eat sustainably

Part of the Irish Times guide to 100 great-value restaurants, cafes and places to eat in Ireland 2022

Bread 41

Upstairs, 41 Pearse Street, Dublin 2;

Eoin Cluskey set himself the task of turning his establishment into a zero-waste restaurant, and his new bakery in Greystones will be used as a test site. Upstairs in the Pearse Street bakery in Dublin 2, the 44-seater cafe is the place to go for brunch, where the kimchi fritters have become a stalwart on the menu, along with the breakfast sandwich, French toast and croissant Benedict. Corinna Hardgrave.

Dooks Fine Foods

Kerry Street, Fethard, Co Tipperary; 052-6130828,

Bright colours and bold flavours give an indication of the origins of Richard Gleeson’s food story, which is very much anchored in the Ottolenghi tradition, where he worked for several years. Za’atar, sumac, preserved lemons and pomegranate seeds all punch up the flavour in the salads in this smart daytime restaurant, where sustainably raised meat and produce are at the core. Do not miss the signature Crowes pork sausage rolls. CH


Fethard-on-Sea, Co Wexford; 085-787797,

Dee Kelly and Matteo Griscti moved from Elmhurst Urban Farm in Dublin to open their pretty 24-seater cafe and restaurant in Fethard-on-Sea amid all the turmoil of the past two years. Building on what they had been doing at festivals and supper clubs, their menu has developed and now centres around vegetable-focused dishes, using produce that is grown organically. Since October, they’ve been opening in the evenings. Closed January and February to host pasta classes. CH

Grow HQ

Farronshoneen, Dunmore Road, Waterford; 051-584422,

Grow HQ is the zero-waste cafe located in GIY, an initiative that helps people live more sustainable and healthier lives by growing their own food. The cafe brings the mission to life, serving local, organic and seasonal food, with a mere 112 steps separating the kitchen from food grown on premise. Dishes from chef JB Dubois include the breakfast vegan stack, vegetable patch quiche and toasted sourdough specials. Dogs welcome outside. Joanne Cronin


Kai Restaurant

22 Sea Road, Galway; 091-526003,

Jess and Dave Murphy were awarded a Michelin green star last year for the focus on sustainability they bring to their restaurant. Relationships with local suppliers and organic growers have been forged over the years, and the focus on seasonal, organic produce can be seen in the dishes they serve, with a casual approach by day, and a more serious restaurant vibe in the evening. Food waste is kept to a minimum and sent for green composting rather than landfill while spent coffee grains are sent to their growers to fertilise plants, and, in order to limit the impact of packaging, plastic containers from suppliers are washed and returned to be reused. CH

McNally Family Farm Cafe

Balrickard, Ring Commons, Co Dublin;

If you ever wondered how much of a difference organic produce can make, you should take a visit to the McNally’s organic farm, where daughter Sarah and Rory Cruickshank run a cafe. Baps, focaccia and flatbreads come loaded with fresh and roasted seasonal vegetables; there are salad pots of barley tabbouleh and hummus, and delicious sweet treats under glass cloches. It’s primarily a takeaway cafe with some outdoor seating, but there’s also a market where you can stock up on their vegetables, Corleggy cheese and artisan produce. CH


An Tulach, Baile na hAbhann, Co Galway; 085-7566963,

Diarmuid Ó Mathúna has created the perfect template for a cafe in the Connemara Gaeltacht, where local produce is central to everything he does. Goat’s cheese and crab come from the Aran Islands, vegetables are from An Garraí Glas across the road, the yoghurt is from Velvet Cloud, fresh and smoked fish is from Ros an Mhíl, shellfish is from Kelly’s in Killary and the meat is from McGeough’s. He is Ballymaloe-trained so these ingredients also translate into extremely good dishes. CH

Saint Francis Provisions

Short Quay, Kinsale, Co Cork; 083-0636879,

Sometimes you read a menu before visiting a restaurant, and even with all that lead time, you still can’t decide what you’re going to order. That’s the case when it comes to Barbara Nealon’s little restaurant where seasonal toast topped with Macroom buffalo mozzarella and delicata squash battles it out with roasted onions topped with anchovy pangratto or Caherbeg pork jowl with tonnato and capers. A natural wine list rounds out an excellent experience. JC

The Fumbally

Fumbally Lane, Dublin 8; 01-5298732,

Sitting on the corner of Clanbrassil Street and Fumbally Lane, Aisling Rogerson and Luca Dalfonso’s cafe and shop is part of the fabric of Dublin 8. There is no head chef, with all kitchen staff sharing the load. Bright and airy, the food is Mediterranean-influenced with popular dishes such as Fumbally scrambled eggs, ricotta and honey toast and changing daily specials along with an extensive minimal intervention wine list. Produce is sourced from five local farms and also sold in their shop. Dogs welcome. JC

Follow a link below to read the other sections of this guide

Corinna Hardgrave’s introduction
Twenty-three new places to eat
Fifteen places to go for a quick bite
Fourteen places to go for lunch
Eleven places to go for small plates
Thirteen places to go for dinner
Eight places to go for seafood
Seven places to go for takeaway