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Ballymore Eus­tace Tel: (045) 864 585 bal­ly­mor­

Lo­cated on the Wick­low/Kil­dare bor­der in the pic­turesque vil­lage of Ballymore Eus­tace, you’d be tempted to call this place a hid­den gem if its glow­ing rep­u­ta­tion didn’t al­ready pre­cede it. Bono and JR Ewing – no, re­ally – are only a cou­ple of its more high-pro­file sat­is­fied cus­tomers, at­tracted by unan­i­mously rave

re­views for Ge­orgina O’Sul­li­van’s in­spired blend of whole­some and imag­i­na­tive cook­ing. The re­laxed, wel­com­ing at­mos­phere is an­other plus, as are its child-friend­li­ness and great value Back Bar Menu.

Best Dish: Dun­can­non Fil­let of Salmon with Crispy Cour­gettes, Lemon Sauce & To­mato Rel­ish – € 25.75


4 Main Street, Cel­bridge Tel: (01) 627 4967 can­teencel­

The food is as com­plex as the dé­cor is min­i­mal in this un­der­stated Kil­dare gem, which James Sheri­dan and Soizic Hum­bert launched three years ago af­ter be­queath­ing their orig­i­nal Black­rock Mar­ket premises to the Miche­lin-starred Heron & Grey. The three to four starters/mains/desserts menu means that ev­ery­thing has lots of love lav­ished on it.

Best Dish: Bar­be­cued Pork Jowl with Dublin Bay Prawns, Cau­li­flower & Lan­gous­tine Bisque – € 27


Mill­town, New­bridge Tel: (045) 431 515 hanged­

The mis­sion state­ment in Pat Keane’s high­lyrated canal­side eatery is to serve out­stand­ingly good fresh food in an in­ter­est­ing and un­usual way. There’s a strong French in­flu­ence, but with a dis­tinc­tively Ir­ish twist. Meat is the star turn here, with a va­ri­ety of steaks, beef and duck all to the fore. The at­mos­phere is of a wel­com­ing haven – warm, cheer­ful and friendly, mak­ing it a great stop­ping-off point at any time of the day or evening.

Best Dish: Surf & Turf Pasta – € 22.50


Kil­dare Vil­lage, Kil­dare Town, Co.Kil­dare Tel: (045) 535850 dun­ne­and­

Cros­toni of Toasted Al­ta­mura Sour­dough with Ir­ish Free Range Poached Eggs, Mush­room Pate & Ital­ian Truf­fle Olive Oil is our favourite way to kick off the day when we break­fast in this won­der­fully au­then­tic Ital­ian, brought to you by the folk from Dunne & Crescenzi. They serve great an­tipasti, pas­tas and Ital­ian sand­wiches, along with their sig­na­ture Tiramisu al Vin­santo dessert.

Best Dish: Ama­tri­ciana Spaghetti with Tus­can Pancetta Ba­con, To­mato, Chilli & Pecorino – € 16


5 Canal View, Sallins Tel: (045) 853 768

Josef Zam­mit and Nicola Cur­ran Zam­mit are the hus­band and wife team be­hind this charm­ing mod­ern eatery and wine bar, which won Miche­lin Bib Gour­mand sta­tus for its Euro­pean in­flu­enced dishes and ex­cel­lent hos­pi­tal­ity. Ex­pect a re­laxed, fam­ily-friendly din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, over­look­ing the Grand Canal in Sallins.

Best Dish: Duck Breast with Sprout Tops, Chest­nut & Spat­zle – € 29

TWO COOKS: In for the grill

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