Best Restaurants, Cafés & Pubs
Food, food, food.
In the West, it is believed that the earlier “restaurants” originated in Paris in the 18th century (the “bouillon restaurant” or “restorative broth”). But the very first examples of a restaurant culture began around 1100 A.D. in China: You could go to a noodle shop, a dim sum restaurant or a little chop suey stall.
Well, I will not renege my French culture, meal time for me is a daily ritual where the pleasure of eating is inseparable from the other key part of a meal, the sharing with family or friends. Meals are all about the conviviality, the exchange of ideas and the moments spent together. In fact I would say, meals are to the French what pubs are to the Irish...a tradition anchored so deep, even the McDonalds can’t uproot it.
So in this last blog in the Fermanagh series, I will look at a variety of restaurants and eateries to highlight some of their special features from the gourmet to the casual dining, the various cuisines, the unique setting.
If you want to sample some of the great array of food available, The Enniskillen Taste Experience will showcase the culinary delights local businesses have to offer. We really enjoyed the whole experience, even as locals!
In Blacklion, only 3 miles from Corralea, is the famous award winning MacNean House & Restaurant run by the acclaimed and most respected chef Neven Maguire. The menu is changed regularly to include an array of seasonal produce and is a gastronomic treat to be enjoyed with the finest wines.
28 Darling street is the newest gourmet restaurant in Enniskillen. It offers exquisite food perfectly prepared using only the best locally sourced ingredients. The restaurant is run by husband and wife, Glen & Zara who both have a wealth of experience and have both worked with Neven Maguire.
One of my favourite restaurants is Dollakis. It is a fantastic Greek restaurant with great food, a lot of choice, a sort of tapas-style menu, friendly and helpful staff and a good wine list. I have never been disappointed, I would recommend it 100%.
I love the atmosphere and the buzz of Franco’s. It has an authentic, rustic main dining room and a Garden Room with bar for private parties. Food ranges from fine Italian dining to family food, and there is a good selection of wines.
Café Merlot serves modern cuisine, giving classic dishes a global twist. The atmosphere is convivial and relaxed in a beautiful dining room with vaulted ceilings. It also offers regular gourmet themed nights with special menus and wines.
The Firehouse is ideal for tapas & stone baked pizza. Every pizza is made to order in a Bertha oven imported from Italy. A good family restaurant which has something for everyone’s taste from chicken wings to pork belly squares.
Kamal Mahal is a great Indian restaurant. It caters for vegan, vegetarian and gluten free options and offers great korma and curry.
Ruby Palace specialises in traditional Chinese & Thai food. It has a good selection of dishes and good portion sizes.
Traditional Sunday Lunch
Tully Mill Restaurant near Florencecourt Forest Park is a converted 18th century water powered corn mill that was once part of the Florencecourt Estate. The restaurant offers a relaxed and intimate dining experience and is ideal for a traditional Sunday Lunch
Lunches or treats in my favourite Cafés
In Enniskillen, Rebecca’s Kitchen Café is situated in the Buttermarket. You can eat inside or outside and it is ideal for Brunch. The food is tasty and fresh and the staff very welcoming.
The Jolly sandwich Bar is a family run coffee shop serving a large selection of homemade breakfast, Brunch and afternoon traybakes & cakes. Their meal deals have generous portions, are freshly cooked and very reasonably priced.
The Bees Knees Café offers great coffee, delicious homemade pies and pastries, lovely freshly made falafel sandwiches and a nice bee themed décor.
In Belleek, The Lemon Tree Coffee House is ideal for lunch after visiting Belleek pottery. It has a brilliant selection of home cooked delicious food: its seafood medley is fantastic, cakes are light and tasty. You can wash it down with a decent pot of tea or a nice coffee. Staff is very friendly and helpful.
In Lisnaskea, The Kissin Crust is on route to Upper Lough Erne. You can stop off for a coffee, delicious cappuccino, home made scones, traybakes or sandwiches to eat in or take away.
Finally as the pub is such a huge part of life in Ireland, I wanted to mention a few of my favourites.
In Blacklion, Frank Eddies always brings me back in time, to the years where the pub was also the local corner shop, where you could drink your pint and buy your tin of beans for supper... Frank Eddies is a magnet for the local musicians.
In Boho, The Linnet Inn is a hidden gem. A traditionally thatched pub serving its community in the remote hills of West Fermanagh. You are guaranteed a warm welcome and a turf fire!
In Enniskillen, Blakes of the Hollow is one of the oldest pub in Fermanagh. It is a finely preserved old Victorian pub, with its traditional snugs and the Victorian Bar remains virtually untouched since 1887. A Must visit.
I can’t wait for restaurants, cafés and bars to re-open so we can enjoy all these fabulous places and re-discover the pleasures of an epicurean lifestyle!
Fermanagh Series: Blog 5 of 5