County Clare: Where to Eat in The Burren
Almost everyone hits County Clare on their way through Ireland. The infamous Cliffs of Moher with their striking vistas spark wanderlust in us all. The road there is equally majestic. A vast, stark landscape adorned with sheets of limestone stretching their way to the Atlantic. The towns are quaint filled with welcoming locals and impressive cuisine.
In Ireland, there are great local pubs in every town. There’s something magical about settling in with a Guinness and pie, but the food in Ireland is far more nuanced than most realize. Local dives showcasing the briny flavors of the ocean, and ivy lined cottages with fresh clotted cream are just a few of the food experiences awaiting you in The Burren.
Here’s are a few great places to eat in The Burren.
Hazel Mountain Chocolate Factory
Chocolate isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Ireland. Or the 2nd, or the 3rd, or even the 10th, but wham, pow, bring on the cocoa. Hazel Mountain Chocolate Factory has some serious chocolate game.
It’s impossible to escape the suspicion that you’re lost, as you weave through the limestone mountains in search of this place. Keep going till you find the red shuttered cottage that Ireland’s first bean to bar chocolate factory calls home.
Owner Kasha Connelly has created something wonderful in this boutique cafe and chocolate factory. Tours are available for a rundown of the handcrafted process. If you miss the 1 o’clock tour, the charismatic staff is more than happy to let you sample the confections while walking you through flavor profiles and techniques.
The space is warm and happy, with charming details at every turn. Lovingly adorned with vintage furniture, bright tiles and dainty dish wear. The cafe features a whimsical menu with chocolate sneaking its way into more savory options like grilled halloumi chocolate chutney toasties and cocoa butter hummus. Orange blossom carrot cake and raspberry praline buckwheat tarts(all gluten free) indulge your sweet tooth.
Burren Fine Wine and Foods
Straight out of a postcard this ivy-lined cottage fills all your wanderlust fantasies. Inside is equally charming with stone walls and rustic benches. The owner is as sweet and adorable as you would imagine. Every pastry, dressing and jam is made from scratch in a 100 sq ft kitchen.
Settle in for afternoon tea, lunch or to take sanctuary in wet weather.
When you visit The Burren Smokehouse, you don’t get to watch them smoke hundreds of bright orange salmon slabs. All of that is done off-site, but the visitor center is still worth checking out. At the visitors center, they show you an educational video on the two different smoking methods. Hot smoked and cold smoked. Then they butter you up with tasty samples of smoked fish.
The fish is delicious. It’s buttery, rich and rivals any Norwegian or Scottish gravlax. The shop is chock full of goodies, the makings of which scream picnic (if the weather is on your side). Local goat cheese, fresh baked bread, and sundries galore.
Voted best bar in Ireland, this unassuming pub takes their food seriously. A spoonful of the nightly soup serves as an amuse bouche, alongside housemade bread.
With the roar of the Atlantic just a few yards away it’s hard to pass up the fresh seafood on the menu. The seafood platter features a cornucopia of treasures from the ocean including oysters, lobster, and dingles. A survey of other tables suggests the fish and chips is all but mandatory. Fish is flaky and thick, with a light and crispy crust.
Stone Wall Cafe
The town of Doolin is about one block long. But that one block is riddled with charm. Darling restaurants, welcoming B&B’s and lively pubs make deciding where to stop challenging. It’s easy to feel at home in practically any door you walk through.
After a long night in Galway, the pillow-lined benches and aroma of fresh ground espresso made Stone Wall the perfect place to regroup before tackling the cliffs. In the daytime you can find hearty sandwiches, vegetarian friendly options and baked goods. In the evening it transforms into a pizzeria.
Have you visited The Burren? Share your favorite places to in the comments.