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The best places to eat in Kilkenny right now

Foodie stop-offs, French country classics and Michelin-quality fare are in abundance in the Marble City and surrounds



8 The Arches, Barrack Street, Kilkenny; 056-7756297,

It has been a story of continued evolution in Kilkenny for owners Bart Pawlukojć and wife Nicole. Their legendary bakery now sits alongside their bistro. Drawing on their combined experiences and Nicole’s Filipina background, you can enjoy sisig, sizzling eggs made with local pork and tart calamansi; Vietnamese lemon grass chicken; or the Arán rarebit with smoked cheddar and ale sauce. Dogs welcome. Joanne Cronin


3 John’s Bridge, Kilkenny;

Ex-Fumbally chef Sinéad Moclair opened her compact restaurant in Kilkenny last year, serving a limited lunch menu with additional dishes at dinner time. Global influences are brought to Irish produce, so you’ll find Mexican tacos, red lentil dal, spiced lamb flatbreads and fresh pollock in a tempura batter on Seagull Bakery sourdough. Corinna Hardgrave

Bridge House at the Kilkenny River Court Hotel

056 781 3225;

Keith and Carmel Boyle first garnered the attention of the Michelin Guide with a Michelin Plate for their excellent Restaurant Lady Anne in Castlecomer. Now the duo known for excellent service and well-executed food have taken up residence at the historic Bridge House at the Kilkenny River Court Hotel. Visitors to the Marble City can enjoy the nine-course tasting menu for €120, Thursday to Sunday, in the beautiful surrounds of the restored original diningroom overlooking Kilkenny Castle.

Butcher Restaurant

The Butterslip, Kieran Street, Kilkenny; 056-7790655,

Now in its fifth year, Butcher has become a popular and reliable haunt for diners in search of quality beef. Owned by beef farmer Mark Williams, it’s not just about the meat, there’s a wide and varied menu and a buzzy cocktail bar adds to the atmosphere.



5 The Arches, Gashouse Lane, Kilkenny; 056-7772858,

Garett Byrne moved to Kilkenny in 2008 to open Campagne with his wife Brid, after several years cooking with Ross Lewis in Chapter One. Five years later, a Michelin star followed and Campagne has earned its stripes as the star attraction among Kilkenny’s many culinary offerings. Expect classic regional French cuisine – and an early-bird three-course menu at €46 is hard to beat.

Muse Coffee + Food

Butler Gallery, Evans’ Home, John’s Quay, Kilkenny, Co Kilkenny; 056-7741169,

With five outdoor heated dining pods located in the courtyard, along with indoor seating, Muse Coffee + Food is a relaxing spot that pours some of the best coffee in town, using beans from Cloud Picker and other guest roasters. If you’re feeling virtuous, try the Muse salad bowl or avocado toast, but if you want to keep the good times rolling, then the Croque Benedict might be just the ticket for you. JC

Ristorante Rinuccini

1 The Parade, Kilkenny; 056-7761575,

Ristorante Rinuccini has been on the go for more than 30 years and is a firm favourite with Kilkenny diners. Recently upgraded and expanded, this Italian fare is consistently well executed by the Cavaliere family. What could be more authentic than calamari and courgette fritters or home-made pasta with njduja, cherry tomatoes and fresh burrata.


26 Patrick Street, Kilkenny;

Zuni on Patrick Street is a great spot for a lazy lunch, or if you prefer an all-out dinner with an overnight stay in its boutique hotel. The diningroom faces on to a bright courtyard and the open kitchen serves tempura of Goatsbridge trout with a nori, chilli and chive omelette, Asian rice noodles, a squid ink tuille and cucumber gazpacho; or confit pork belly with black pudding mousse, parsnip and apple purée and tempura bok choy.


Lady Helen at Mount Juliet

Thomastown, Co Kilkenny;

This sumptuous room with its three tall windows overlooking the river Nore is the perfect blend of grandeur and comfort. Michelin-starred food from executive chef Ken Harker and head chef John Kelly is sophisticated and elegant, and perfectly in tune with the surroundings. It’s the perfect place for a vegetarian, too, as the nine-course surprise tasting menu can be vegetarian and may feature treats such as potato and truffle ravioli with duck egg yolk and hazelnut. Marie Claire Digby


Main Street, Bennettsbridge, Co Kilkenny; 087 3905246

Located in the beautiful village of Bennettsbridge on the banks of the river Nore, Crafted offers a rest point for walkers, cyclists and motorists alike. Browse the lovely range of crafts, pictures and other items curated by owners Katie Gordon and Gail Johnson, then relax with a light meal made with local ingredients such as home-made pork, sage and apple sausage roll; hearty ham and cheese toasties; or freshly made fishcakes. Dogs welcome outside.

Lekker Food Collection

Pipe Street, Thomastown, Co Kilkenny; 087 218 4808,

In South Africa, the word “lekker” means something pleasant or delicious, giving a little hint as to what you will find tucked away in Thomastown. Ashika and Julien are both trained chefs, creating breakfast and light lunches with South African and French influences. Fill up on their full Irish or try the Durban classic dish of Bunny Chow, curry served in a hollowed-out loaf of bread. Browse their pantry for dishes to takeaway.

Tãbú Tapas

Marsh’s Street, Thomastown, Co Kilkenny; 083 164 1967

There have been a few restaurants over the years in this expansive building on the road out to the train station in Thomastown, but none with the combination of brunch, lunch and tapas that is the current offering. Chilean-born Rodrigo Gonzales, formerly of the Cliff House in Ardmore, is in the kitchen. There are paella nights and wood-fired pizza nights, as well as fish and chips and burgers to add to the regular tapas menu, and the cocktail list is extensive. MCD

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