Top Spots to Eat Al Fresco
The warm weather and balmy evenings have got us all gung ho for eating outdoors. When the mercury soars we start to think we are as continental as our cousins in sunny Europe. Trouble is in Ireland, good weather is not guaranteed, so when it comes, we have to make the most of it! We flock to the places where we can grab a table outside and watch the sun go down over a few drinks and some nice grub. Here are some fave places to eat al fresco, for the next time the heatwave hits! In no particular order…
1 - The Terrace at Dylan Hotel, Dublin.
Come grey skies or blue, there’s many a soul enjoyed a cup of coffee and some morning baking or a bit of light lunch on the beautiful terrace outside the Dylan. On summer evenings like the ones we’ve been having lately, the place sings with life. From friends catching up after work with wine and nibbles, to full blown outdoor dining, if you’re in the capital, this heavenly spot, bordering central Dublin with residential Ballsbridge, is perfect for your next outdoor eating experience.
2 - The All-Weather Terrace on the Weir at River Lee Hotel, Cork
The clue is in the name here! This lovely terrace which spans the front of the hotel by the River Lee can be enjoyed all year round, whatever the weather. In winter, you can sit here perfectly covered and cosy and yet still feel like you’re eating outside. In summer, the roof comes off and the sun shines in. A great spot for people watching as you chat to friends and tuck into some great local food.
3 - The Courtyard at The Yard Restaurant Wexford
From the beautiful fairy lights which dangle above your head, to the delicious food which graces your plate, the courtyard at The Yard in Wexford makes a super outdoor eating spot. It feels sheltered from the busy town and has an atmosphere all its own. Better still, you’re probably going to be enjoying some fresh produce from the owner’s garden when you eat here. From courgettes with flowers on to a mix of salad leaves and seasonal fruit and veggies, The Yard’s fresh produce is legendary.
4 - The Courtyard at Sage Restaurant Midleton, Co. Cork
Newly refurbished, The Courtyard is a restaurant in itself. An all weather outdoor space with covered seating and extra tables in the open air. It looks fantastic, with its rustic wooden garden seating and old wooden cable reels for extra tables and chairs. But this is not just a pretty face. The Courtyard at Sage is a place to gather with friends and enjoy some great food too. During the day, enjoy a Greenroom breakfast. At lunch, try the hot sandwiches, salads and house speciality burgers. Some nice little light bites and savoury mains kick in during the evening, perfect with craft beers or wine. Lots of wines served by the glass, so you get ample choice to go with your food.
5 - The Outdoor Terrace at Ashton’s Gastropub, Dublin
Residents of Clonskeagh in Co. Dublin know where to go when the sun shines. The large outdoor seating area beside the pub is quite the buzzing place in this gentile neighbourhood, these summer nights. And why wouldn’t it be? Fantastic conscientiously sourced food on the menu. The pub’s own craft beers at the bar, plus full drinks and wine menus. Downstairs at Ashton’s, The River Room has its own garden beside the Dodder River, perfect for private parties and barbecues. Get your menu designed by the team and enjoy this forty seater function area for your next gathering.
6 - Grab yourself some serious glamour at The Terrace at The Merrion Hotel, Dublin
Only open in summer and even then, only when weather permits, The Terrace is in the style of a grand Palazzo garden, with carved stone sculptures and an ornamental pond in the centre. Let the the water fountains trickle as you dine on a summer salad menu of lighter bites, high on taste and low on calories. If you’re in the area, don’t miss the chance to enjoy this tranquil spot in the centre of Dublin this season.
7 - Flanagan’s Gastro Pub, Co. Mayo
It is what we call a little gem in a country location! Cute outdoor garden benches with umbrellas are pretty swiftly grabbed the minute the sun shows its face. The people of the locality here know Flanagan’s for its no-nonsense ‘typical Irish pub on a crossroads’ appeal, and its modern Irish food with a twist. From gorgeous juicy steaks with mushrooms and real homemade onion rings, to fresh fish, seafood and succulent roast pork with crackling on Sundays. You never know what you will get on the menu here - but you do know it will be delicious.
8 - The Waterside Terrace at ely Wine Bar and Brasserie, Dublin
Dublin’s docklands district is home to this funky eating house and its spacious heated waterside terrace. Beg, steal or borrow to get a seat here when the sun is out. Legendary casual dining which includes meats from the owner’s farm accompanied with local seasonal produce. And the wine. Oh the wine. Iconic.
9 - Larkins Bar and Restaurant, Co. Tipperary
If you’re lucky enough to grab a table outside at Larkins Bar and Restaurant on the banks of Lough Derg, you will be looking at a beautiful view as you eat. This picture box pretty pub has a few tables out front which command darling vistas. To the rear, an intimate private walled garden is a pleasant place to enjoy food and drinks and can be hired for private functions too. Cormac and Maura Boyle have focussed on traditional Irish food made with top quality ingredients. You’ll find bacon and cabbage rubbing shoulders with Beef and Guinness Casserole, with some lighter bites like Fresh Fish and Chips or house burgers and seasonal open sandwiches. Don’t miss the house desserts, or try the Irish cheese board for two. Yum.