If you are a food addict just like me, then Cork is the place to go. Initially, Esther and I came here for the Christmas Market but it ended up as a complete delicious food trip! We were missing some important places to go, instead we were planning which place to eat all the time. So if you are arranging a Cork trip in Ireland, remember to slot in these eateries into your itinerary.
5 Top Places to Eat
It serves yummy Mexican food with different chilli sauces which would definitely stimulate every taste bud of yours. The food is usually sprinkled with cheese. What most important is it comes as a relatively big portion yet with a super reasonable price. With around 5 Euro, you can have a happy tummy. The place is super warm and cosy. When I was there, it was full house during lunch time. After a satisfying meal, I walked out of that café feeling totally #worth it!
I tried the vegetarian lasagna with broccoli and roasted potato wedges. The baked cheese on top and the creamy, nutty lentils below were very fulfilling. Indulging myself yet not feeling guilty. The roasted wedges could be replaced by three other side dishes which I should have gone for it because the wedges were a bit dry. It costed approximately 10 Euro.
Beside the restaurant is Quay Co-op wholefood shop which I missed it as we were rushing for the Christmas market. I would definitely go and have a good look at it next time.
A definite must go! It is the café above the English market. There are two cafes: one is open air where you can peek down at the market on the ground floor, the other one looks more like a restaurant enclosed with mirrors. Both of them share the same kitchen with the same menu, told by a super friendly waiter. The second one must be pre-booked. For me, I like the open air café as I could enjoy people-watching while munching off my beef sandwich. We just ordered the sandwiches (students on budget) which already costed us 7 Euro. It was actually a torturing experience to see families ordering those chocolaty or velvety desserts, creamy soups and coffee while I just tried not to shift my focus away from my sandwich with a glass of sky juice in front of me.
One thing to take note is the opening hours of the kitchen. The first day we went twice and twice the kitchen was closed! I remember the breakfast is until 11 am. They reopens at 12 pm for lunch until 3.30 pm. You can still visit the café but all you have is the leftover sandwiches probably.
O’ Conaill Chocolate
Recommended by an Irish friend of our Spanish dorm mate. It is very sweet and cottage-like, just the right place to hide from the typical Irish weather and have a warm heart-to-heart chit-chat. I prefer dark chocolate with cinnamon or nutmeg which gives me the nice aroma whereas the praline chocolate is way too sweet for me. Around 2 or 3 Euro.
The Beijing Taste
I find no reason to not like this restaurant but to my surprise, I read some very negative comments on Trip Advisor about it. Despite all, this actually would be my number one restaurant to revisit when I am in Cork again! With just 10 Euro, we can have a fabulous savory buffet with some desserts and ice cream! Only limited choices on desserts and they are not in high quality, but I love the savory dishes. To tell you the truth, because of the yumminess which got us mesmerized and fell into dreamland, we did not leave the restaurant until it was 15 minutes to the train we were to catch! We were all caught up with those tasty, piping hot food and felt too positive that we were able to make it. In the end, we missed our train. Fault in Beijing Taste or our food addiction?
Places to Go
Cork is a relatively medium sized city which gives us, travellers on budget a great advantage as almost all the destinations are within walking distances. I did not spend a single penny on any transport in the city, all were travelled by foot.
The top destination to visit when you are in Cork city. A wet market packed with all kinds of meat, vegetables, cheese, organic stores, sweet delicacy stores and Asian stores. It is crowded with local people. Above the market is the Farmgate Café which I mentioned earlier.
It is free of charge and there is a cafeteria inside. It is located in the very city center so it worth a visit.
It is right inside the University College Cork (UCC). A must-go I would say as UCC is one of the top universities in Ireland. It takes around 20-minute walk from the city center. The gallery is free to enter as well.
Mother Jones Flea Market
Beautiful place to explore, full of delicate historical used items. A café with a nostalgic theme hidden inside the market.
This is a shop I came across on one of those lanes that make up the city. I find it super attractive with organic beauty products made into colourful shapes or adorable packages. It would be nice to buy it for oneself or as a gift for loved ones.
Place to Stay
I booked Bru Bar & Hostel through hostelworld.com. I think Hostelworld is very user-friendly and easy to find cheaper hostels. The hostel is so easy to find, just down the road from the Cork Kent train station. It is also near to the city centre. Everything is perfect just that the kitchen could be very messy at times. Breakfast is included, providing simple cereal, milk, bread and jam. I stayed in a four-bedroom dorm and it was in clean condition including the bathroom.