The best food & drink experiences in Cork
When you look at Cork’s food and drink experiences, it’s no wonder that it’s considered the food capital of Ireland. From passionate world-renowned producers, bustling restaurants & bars, colourful cafés & markets, Cork is a foodie paradise!
We have created a list of some of the food & drink experiences that every foodie should have on their list when visiting Cork. But our number one top tip, make sure to arrive hungry!
THE ENGLISH MARKET
One of the oldest markets of its kind, The English Market has served customers in Cork through the famine, revolutions, wars & economic declines. Over the years, The Market has expanded itself & its offerings where foodies flock to, to get some of Cork’s best produce. Just off the hustle & bustle of Patrick Street, immerse yourself into the history & flavours of this covered market, that has been trading since 1788. The mix of traders & stalls in The English Market show the diversity & flavour of the Cork food scene. Small independent stalls sit proudly next to large businesses, fledgling traders beside long-established family businesses passed down from one generation to the next. The wide variety of food & products on display are truly mouth-watering! From meats & seafood to cheese & olives, to chocolate & cakes, the Market is the perfect foodie paradise.
Here are some of our top stalls to head to if you are visiting The English Market:
K O’Connell Fish Mongers – You may recognise this spot from the TV series The Young Offenders, but K O’Connell’s has been a English Market staple since 1962, providing the freshest catch of the day, excellent customer service and superb seafood
On The Pigs Back – Finding its home in The English Market in 1992, On The Pigs Back is a must-visit for charcuterie lovers. Award winning farmhouse cheeses, cold meats, patés & terrines fill the stall, it is truly a taste of French in the middle of Cork.
Mr. Bells – For spices, herbs & specialist products from all over the world, Mr. Bells is your one stop-shop. Establishing itself in 1984, Mr Bells has a reputation for the highest quality products, from a range of cuisines such as Thai, Japanese, Chinese, Malaysian, African, Middle Eastern, French, Italian and Mexican, plus more. They are also experts in sourcing, so if there is a particular hard to find product, you can be assured that Mr. Bell’s will do their very best to find it!
O’Flynn’s Gourmet Sausages – Old family recipes as well as new innovations, O’Flynn’s Gourmet Sausages has something for everyone to enjoy. The Cork Boi & The Blackwater flavours are our absolute favourites! The stall has been trading since 1921, but their products can be found all over Ireland. However, if you visit, try one of their take-away sausage sandwiches for a quick bite!
THE MARINA MARKET
Along the tree line streets along the Lee, you will find Cork newest foodie haven of The Marina Market. Established in September 2020, The Marina Market breathes new life into the city’s oldest industrial area and is only a short walk away. Open daily, locals & visitors alike pop-down to get some tasty treats, delicious lunch & gorgeous coffee. We recommend visiting in the afternoon, making sure all stalls are open & ready for the day. Here our some of our highlights from the market:
Guji Coffee Bar – The bright pink exterior of this converted container will ensure you won’t miss this bespoke coffee bar. Serving up specialty coffee & tasty treats, Guji is the perfect spot for a coffee and spot of people watching!
Lekker – A taste of Switzerland in Cork, Lekker serves up the world famous raclette cheese and delicious Dutch mini pancakes. Try the mini roast potatoes topped with gooey oozy raclette cheese!
Burnt – Serving Neapolitan style pizza, Burnt use the freshest and most authentic ingredients in their delicious take-away pizza. Our favourite has to be their Diavola pizza!
The coolest kid on the block, Harley’s StrEAT has arrived right next door to The Metropole Hotel and has made a huge impact already. Serving tacos, coffee, sweet treats and more, Harley’s St., located next to The Metropole Hotel has been buzzing with excitement from the launch of the new food market Harley’s StrEAT.
Bursting with delicious flavours and using locally sourced produce and seasonal foods, Harley’s StrEAT is bringing together food vendors for guests to enjoy along the colourful backdrop of Harley St. featuring designs by Irish graffiti artists Shane O’Driscoll/Ardu Street Art and Kevin O’Brien/Mad About Cork. Our highlights are:
Taco Rebel – Bringing a taste of Mexico to Cork, Taco Rebel’s short menu pack a big punch of flavour. Perfect for lunch time, try out their delicious tacos while you explore the city. Make sure you try the famous Birra tacos as well.
Bevs & Brews – For the coffee lovers among us, Bevs & Brews is not to be missed. Serving freshly ground coffee, it’s the perfect place for a mid-day pick me up. If you are looking to try something new, check out their Nitro Coffee.
JAMESON DISTILLERY EXPERIENCE
The Jameson Distillery in Middleton is consistently ranked as one of the best things to do in Cork and it’s not hard to see why. Providing a world-class experience for those seeking a whiskey wonderland, tours are conducted by Jameson Brand Ambassadors and include a deep dive into the history of Jameson, an incredible sensory room, masterclass in whiskey tasting and a complimentary drink at the bar! It is an ideal way to spend an afternoon while on your trip to Cork and is often cited as the highlight of trips from whiskey lovers & foodies. On this unforgettable distillery tour, the Jameson Experience brings the stories of Jameson’s rich heritage and ongoing developments to life. Visit the incredible buildings, hear about the dedicated craftsmen, and learn about the field to glass processes that produce the world-famous Jameson flavour. If you’re planning on staying here at The Metropole Hotel, why not book in for our Jameson Whiskey Experience Package.
AFTERNOON TEA AT THE MET
Afternoon tea at The MET is truly a treat during your stay in Cork. Enjoy a delectable Afternoon Tea in our stunning tearoom, with our specially curated Afternoon Tea Menu. Filled with light, decadent and flavourful dishes and freshly baked sweet treats, foodies love spending an afternoon tea at The MET. The bright tea room is perfect for a afternoon of sampling some of the best produce Cork has to offer as our chefs use the freshest ingredients on our menu. Why not enjoy a glass of prosecco with your daytime delight! We have Afternoon Tea packages available for our guests.
KINSALE MEAD CO.
Founded in 2016 to rediscover & reimagine the ancient art of mead making, owners Kate and Denis Dempsey have reawakened a love & art of Mead through the sustainably made, award-winning meads created at their family run meadery located in Kinsale. A truly unique experience, visitors can enjoy a tour of the meadery. Spend an hour on an entertaining, fun experience learning all about Mead. Also known as “honey wine,” Mead is believed to be the world’s oldest alcoholic drink, dating back to 6000 BC. Kinsale Mead is Ireland’s first meadery in almost 200 years. Highlights of a tour at Kinsale Mead Co. include:
- Insights into Kinsale Meads: light and refreshing, fermented off dry (12% ABV wine strength)
- The story and evolution of Mead through the centuries
- The process of modern mead making from fermentation, through to maturation and bottling
- Sample award-winning meads and cocktails in the Meadery’s oak bar tasting room
FRANCISCAN WELL BREWERY
Known by locals and tourists alike, the Franciscan Well Brewery is based in the heart of Cork City, and has a deep rooted passion for all things brewing & distilling. The Franciscan Well host tours & tastings that gives visitors the ultimate craft beer experience; bringing them on a journey from the rebellious monks right up until the present day, hearing how local ingredients impact the flavours of beers and learning how to judge and taste beers like a pro. Within ‘The Well’ as known by friends, a large outdoor space is surrounded by the walls of the old Franciscan monastery, the unique atmosphere is derived from a mix of the enthusiasm and creative nature of the brewers and the diverse crowd made up of patrons and craft beer lovers. Highlights of experiences with the Franciscan Well Brewpub:
- Tasting innovative and award-winning Irish beers made using local ingredients.
- Insights into the culture of brewing in the heart of Cork city.
- Learning about the landscape, where they get the grain, farming, the soils, growing of hops and how the ingredients impact the final product
- Wood-fired pizza oven, made from self-milled flour and all locally sourced ingredients.
This is only a small taste of the food & drink experiences on offer in Cork. With all this & more, you definitely won’t be leaving here hungry!