Whether you’re cooking at home or eating out, food culture has become central to Irish lives in the past few years. In 2018, we ordered – and Instagrammed – poké bowls, turmeric lattes, pomegranates and all things fermented. So what are the ingredients, dishes and cooking methods we’ll be getting excited about over the next 12 months? Here’s our guide…


Rich in antioxidants, minerals and vitamins, edible seaweed also lends a nutritious umami taste to mealtime. If you fear foraging your own, check out This is Seaweed’s kelp and dulse flakes, WASI’s seaweed pestos and Connemara Organic Seaweed Company’s sweet kelp.


Edible insects have moved west from the streets of south east Asia, thanks to our health obsession with protein. Deep-fried grasshoppers, beetles and ants are less offensive than you’d imagine, making for especially crunchy snacks. UK company Crunch Critters is doing a roaring trade in salt and vinegar crickets, chilli chapulines and barbecue mealworms.


Amanda Cohen from New York ‘s Dirt Candy cooking in Aniar. Three-Michelin star chef Alain Passard cooking in Belfast’s Ox. Kai’s Jess Murphy cooking in The Tannery. 2018 saw some great kitchen takeovers, allowing us sample the food of someone special from out of town. Expect even more big name kitchen exchanges in 2019.


With an increased trend in customer no-shows, credit cards and deposits are set to become the norm for restaurant bookings. With people making multiple bookings, then deciding last minute where to dine, no-shows are damaging business. We pay up front for flights, concerts and the theatre, so why should restaurants be any different?

Entertaining at home

We might have reached peak new restaurants in 2018 (primarily in Dublin), but dinner parties are set to be the new going-out in 2019. Formal courses are out of fashion, with platters, large pots (see also F, below) and bring-a-dish all part of a casual new trend in socialising.

Family-style dining

Family-style dining is all about platters and bowls in the middle of the table with everyone helping themselves. Popular on the continent – we’ve always preferred ordering individual starters and mains in Ireland – restaurant manager Declan Maxwell has noticed changes at Luna. “After three years, guests are now sharing a few starters and a couple of pasta dishes and then ordering their own main course, Italian-style.”


Budget bulbs of bleached and chemical-laced Chinese garlic are dire, and nothing like their Irish counterparts. That’s why Drummond House’s produce is so in demand. The biggest growers of garlic in Ireland, producing six varieties from heritage seed, with Elephant garlic their bestseller, chefs are clamouring to cook with these beauties. With a far superior flavour profile and intensity, they may be dearer but you’ll need to use a lot less. Grower Marita Collier predicts that their smoke garlic will be the hit of 2019.

Home economics

With a push for Home Economics to become a mandatory subject in secondary schools (like in Northern Ireland) we can anticipate a new generation of young chefs; home cooks leaving school with the skills to feed themselves. Student numbers are up at the country’s only home economics college too and Neven Maguire’s newest book, Home Economics for Life, is flying off the shelves.

Irish vegetables

There’s never been a more exciting time for vegetables in Ireland. Farmers like Maria Flynn at Ballymakenny Farm are bringing wonderful home-grown varieties to market like sweet-stem cauliflower, longstem broccoli, Yukon Gold and Violetta potatoes. With plans for new additions next year, chefs are queueing up to cook this quality Irish produce.


Chef Takashi Miyazaki has single-handedly raised the profile of Japanese food in Ireland. His casual take away, Miyazaki, and traditional kaiseki restaurant, Ichigo Ichie, have introduced diners to the real joys of authentic Japanese food. All foodie pilgrimages lead to Cork in 2019.


Kid goat mince curry is so popular at Pickle that Sunil Ghai hasn’t taken it off the menu since opening in 2016. Despite being the world’s most widely eaten meat, we’ve been slow in Ireland to embrace the high protein-low fat meat. Paul Davis of Goat Ireland is one of our most prolific goat farmers and also sells his wares on online at goatireland.ie.


Provenance on menus isn’t exactly new, but restaurants like Aimsir in Kildare are putting localism on the map. The ‘all-island restaurant’, opening in March 2019, will only use ingredients from within Ireland – meaning no citrus, black pepper or olive oil, for example. Kevin Aherne at Sage in Midleton has gone hyperlocal with his ethos, sourcing the majority of ingredients from within a 12-mile radius of his restaurant. Sustainability, seasonality and the environment have moved centre stage for restaurateurs who care.


Picado ploughs a lonely furrow in Dublin 2, plying authentic Mexican ingredients, running cooking classes and Mexican supper clubs. Mexican food is red hot right now and while we love 777, it’s time someone gave Ireland a restaurant that matches the global trend.

Natural wines

Natural wines are low intervention wines, made with minimal chemical or technological interference, both unfiltered and sulphur-free. Gerard Maguire of 64 Wine reports a surge in availability and demand in Ireland. “There’s been a trend in Paris for about 20 years, with a couple of Michelin-starred restaurants there only listing natural wines.” With wider availability and awareness behind it, Gerard joins many wine writers in predicting its ascent in 2019.

Organic chicken

Organic and free range chickens are very different, from their life span (81 days v 56) to the rules governing antibiotics and feed. Free range chickens have access to open air runs, but that’s really the only difference between them and conventional production. In 2019 more of us will turn to organic poultry, both for ethical and environmental reasons and its better flavour. Taste the difference from Regan Organic or Gannon’s Poultry.


Adieu doughnuts, bonjour patisseries! It’s time to embrace French pastries in all their delicate deliciousness: mille feuille, flans patissier, madeleines, religieuses. Rather than an after-thought in mainstream bakeries we’re looking forward to new, authentic patisseries. Laura Gannon of Cake Face Patisserie in Kilkenny is ahead of the pack. “We eat with our eyes so our most eye-catching desserts are our most popular. French-style patisserie is very visual and there is a trend towards more stylish desserts.”

Quinto quarto

Translated as the fifth quarter in Roman cuisine, offal is on trend again. A staple of the lower classes in empire days, it’s not just cost-effective to use as much of an animal as possible, but also environmentally sound. Expect to see even more nose-to-tail offerings on menus, with livers, kidneys, hearts, tails and tripe set for a revival.

Real bread

Pearse Street’s Bread 41, a new organic bakery with flour mill on site, shows how far demand for real bread has come. Co-owner and baker Eoin Cluskey joins a growing list of craft bakers promoting traditional, age-old baking methods, and eschewing commercially added ingredients that prolong shelf-life. With Real Bread Ireland boasting over 30 members, real bread is finally moving mainstream.


Ireland has never had as many chefs championing our amazing seafood. From Gareth Smith at Michael’s to Niall Sabongi at Klaw, Takashi Miyazaki of Ichigo Ichie, Martin Shanahan at Fishy Fishy and Jumoke Akintola of Fish Shop, Irish fish and shellfish are finally getting the love they deserve.


2019 will be all about reading the small print. We’re fed up with brands and supermarkets misleading us with foreign goods packaged here and flogged as Irish. Between fake farm names and imported fish and chicken, we’ll all be reading the small print and demanding that Irish means Irish.

Urban monger

A fishmonger within a fish restaurant. We couldn’t be more excited! And with Niall Sabongi of Klaw and Seafood Café at the helm we don’t need a crystal ball to know this will be the hottest ticket in Dublin when it opens in January.


Plant-based eating isn’t showing signs of going anywhere for 2019. From Tesco developing its Wicked Kitchen ready-meal range and M&S’s new Plant Kitchen, to the increase of vegan restaurants and cafés nationwide we can expect more mainstream strides into the new year.

Wood burning ovens

2018 was the year of the wood-fired pizza in Dublin, with everyone wanting to capture the smoky pizza experience at home. Go for it! Woodies sells a portable version for a few hundred euro, but, for something more serious hit up woodofrieland.ie.


That’s Pedro Ximenez, one of the great sherry houses. “We never see a peak in demand, no matter how many predictions are made about sherry,” admits Gerard Maguire of 64 Wine in Glasthule, before agreeing that if the newly opened Uno Mas restaurant (which has six sherries up front on its wine list) is as influential as its sister restaurant, Etto, that sherry stands a fighting chance. Gerard stocks 30-40 sherries, with the most popular fino and manzanilla.


Specifically Velvet Cloud sheep’s yogurt. Made on the Flanagan family’s farm in Claremorris, it doesn’t just have a higher nutritional value than cow’s milk, it tastes sublime and is wonderful for cooking with. No wonder it’s in the kitchens of so many top restaurants across the land.


Refill shops like Kilmainham’s Dublin Food Co-op and Small Changes in Drumcondra are paving the way for a new style of eco-friendly shopping: bringing your own containers and cutting out waste. Support farmers’ markets too, and never leave home without your Keep Cup. It’s only a matter of time before disposable take-away cups draw judgemental looks on the street…

Good riddance to:

Sweet choice: dougnuts. Photo: Fran Veale


* Doughnuts

* No-shows

* ‘Influencers’ looking for free meals

* Freak shakes

* Overseas franchises

* Vague tipping policies

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