In search of the best restaurants in Carlingford? Our Carlingford restaurants guide will make your belly happy!
A medieval town on the shores of Carlingford Lough, with a central market, Carlingford plays host to a tempting mixture of cafes, restaurants, tearooms, and bars. Wander the town’s historic and colourful streets and discover the gastronomic delights it has to offer.
In the guide below, you’ll find a clatter of Carlingford restaurants, pubs and cafes cooking up a tasty storm in 2022.
Our favourite restaurants in Carlingford
The first section of our guide to the best restaurants in Carlingford tackles our favourite places to eat in Carlingford.
These are pubs and restaurants that we (one of the Irish Road Trip team) have munched away in at some point over the years. Dive on in!
1. Kingfisher Bistro
As they say, it all starts with great food, and for Kingfisher Bistro, that means sourcing top quality, local and seasonal produce to showcase on their top-class menus. With seating for 42 patrons, this small but mighty bistro is renowned throughout the area for its exciting cuisine.
For a quarter of a century, Kingfisher Bistro has served up high-quality European dishes with a distinct Irish flare, menus feature dishes like Honey & Thyme Goats Cheese Fritters, Crispy Skinned Fish of the Day, and Neapolitan Baked Alaska.
Be sure to book to avoid disappointment, as they are exceptionally busy on weekends. This is one of our favourite restaurants in Carlingford for good reason.
2. The Carlingford Brewery
If craft beers and brewery tours are your thing, and you also love a slice of wood-fired pizza, then you’re going to want to check out the Carlingford Brewing Co. The brewery offers guided tours, hosted by the brewery owner, Des Goldrick, and will take you on a journey of discovery to better understand and appreciate the brewing process.
They also dish up a very tasty pizza! Baked on a stone floor, each 10″ pizza is thin-based perfection, and you can choose from the six pizzas on offer, or change things up with extra toppings.
Other menu items include chicken wings, loaded chips, and a brioche bun with pulled pork. If you’re looking for Carlingford restaurants that’ll suit a big group, this is a solid option.
3. The Bay Tree Restaurant
Award-winning, and rightly featured in the UK & Ireland Michelin Guide, the Bay Tree Restaurant offers patrons stunning cuisine in elegant surroundings. Located on the ground floor, with in-house accommodation upstairs, the restaurant has built up a reputation for using all Irish produce wherever possible and sourcing their fresh seasonal ingredients from local producers.
Seasonal menus ensure there’s always something new for diners to try, and dishes do change regularly. You can expect dishes like roasted butternut soup with goats cheese fritter, slow-cooked pork belly with parsnip puree and champ, or golden apple streusel tart with vanilla ice cream.
4. Wildwood Street Food Box
OK, so this is a little bit different from the rest, but this eclectic street food box weaves together a menu of varied tastes with a setting that is cheerful and welcoming. With a range of vegetarian and vegan dishes, you’ll find Wildwood Street Food Box includes tempting items like spiced lentil tacos, the classic veggie curry, or a mean sweet potato and bean burger.
Don’t worry if you’re a carnivore, you won’t be left out. Their menu also features dishes like lamb or chicken burgers, Cooley beef stew, Nori wrapped salmon or jerk chicken.
There’s a separate children’s menu, which makes this venue great for everyone to enjoy a relaxed meal. If you’re looking for casual places to eat in Carlingford, this is a great option.
Other popular places to eat in Carlingford
Now that we have our favourite Carlingford restaurants out of the way, it’s time to see what else this lively little town has to offer.
If you’re still not sold on any of the previous choices, the section below is packed with some more highly-reviewed restaurants in Carlingford.
1. Ruby Ellen’s Tea Rooms
Step out of the pages of an Alice in Wonderland-like adventure, and into your Gran’s living room, this tearoom is unlike anything you’ll experience elsewhere. With an eclectic decor of china teacups and lace tablecloths, mismatched chairs and curious wall hangings, it’s a feast for the senses as much as for hungry tums.
Not just for afternoon tea, and oh what an afternoon tea is offered with handmade sandwiches and cream tea. Ruby Ellen’s is also open for breakfast, and with menu items like smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, or a stack of pancakes with mixed berries and yoghurt, you’ll have to force yourself to leave!
Although this is another casual spot, the quality of its dishes could go toe-to-toe with the finest restaurants in Carlingford. The breakfast, as you can see above, is particularly good!
2. Liberty Cafe
Conveniently located near historic sites, Liberty Cafe is the perfect spot to stop and revive, and if it’s a bright and sunny summer’s day, then you’ll want to grab a seat outside and watch the passing parade. Liberty Cafe is a wonderful escape from daily doings, and to enjoy a bite to eat, whether it’s a late breakfast or an early dinner.
With a great drinks menu, especially if you’re a coffee-lover, and a food menu that features items like fruity scones with jam and cream, pancakes with bacon and maple syrup, or a full Irish breakfast to start your day off right.
3. PJ O Hare’s
PJ’s is one of my favourite pubs in Carlingford, and it’s the spot to head for if you’re looking for a cosy bar, a beer garden, or a pub with fantastic food and drink. Widely known as a popular pub, the Anchor Bar is better known as PJ’s for its open fire, and folklore relics like Leprechaun bones, and clothing belonging to Sean Òg.
A true gastropub, the menu features dishes that will be friendly and familiar to new and old patrons alike. Choose from items like spicy chicken wings or the deep-fried brie if you want to nibble and natter. Or, if you’re hungry, head for the steak sandwich or gourmet bangers and mash!
4. Schooners Restaurant
Located within the McKevitts hotel, Schooner’s Restaurant offers both residents and non-residents a stylish and sophisticated dining experience. With a contemporary and modern menu, that features the finest in local seasonal produce, you’ll be treated to the very best of land and sea.
You can expect to find dishes like Wild Mushroom Bruschetta with rocket and roasted garlic pesto, homemade fish cakes with salmon, hake and cod, or a traditional beef and Guinness stew.
Don’t forget, if you find it hard to pull yourself away, you can always check in to the hotel’s accommodations located on the same site! This is another of the more popular restaurants in Carlingford.
5. John Long’s Bar & Restaurant
If the Carlingford restaurants above didn’t tickle your fancy, we’ve one more recommendation for you! A 5-minute drive south of Carlingford and you’ll find John Long’s Bar & Restaurant nestled in the countryside of Grange Church. A traditional white lime-washed building with a straw roof, this bar is the real deal when it comes to proper Irish pubs.
Sit yourself down at one of the plentiful tables, perhaps near the roaring open fire if it’s cold, and treat yourself to Irish hospitality at its finest. You’ll find the menu offers dishes like traditional roasts, served with vegetables on the side, steak and chips, burgers and chips, steaming sticky-toffee pudding, and of course a pint of Guinness.
Carlingford restaurants: Where have we missed?
I’ve no doubt that we’ve unintentionally left out some brilliant places to ear in Carlingford from the guide above.
If you have a place that you’d like to recommend, let me know in the comments below and I’ll check it out!
FAQs about the best places to eat in Carlingford
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘Where’s good for a fancy meal?’ to ‘Which is best for groups?’.
In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.
What are the best restaurants in Carlingford?
My favourite places to eat in Carlingford are Kingfisher Bistro, The Carlingford Brewery and The Bay Tree Restaurant.
What Carlingford restaurants are good for a big group?
You’re arguably best off with one of the pubs, like PJ’s. However, although a little outside the village, The Carlingford Brewery is a good option for big groups.
Katherine is an food and travel writer with family-roots in Ireland. She enjoys hitting the road at every given opportunity, and can often be found with an atlas and notebook to hand planning the next big trip.