5 The Arches, Gashouse Lane, Kilkenny Tel: (056) 777 2858 campagne.ie
Garrett Byrne, former head chef of Chapter One, and Brid Hannon serve up superb modern French food in a lovely dining-room featuring banquette seating, bright colours and oak flooring. The menu of six starters and six mains is compact but the food itself is expansively generous. A Three-Course Early Bird is available for € 38, with the Warm Mousse of Smoked Haddock with Deep Fried Egg & Mustard Sauce a particular Best of Ireland- favourite.
Best Dish: Loin of Venison with Red Cabbage, Chestnuts & Crushed Turnip as part of the € 60 Dinner Menu
15-16 Vicar Street, Kilkenny Tel: (056) 778 6326 kernelkilkenny.ie
Having presided over the kitchen in nearby Zuni for 17 years, Maria Raftery has gone solo with this polished wood and picture window casual dining establishment. We adore the afternoon Gentleman’s Tea sharing platter, comprising of Chorizo Croquettes, Mini Burgers, Ham Hock Scotch Egg, Pork Chipolatas, Pickleslaw, Supersalad, House Fries, Scones & Fruit Tartlets for € 25 a person. Make sure to bring your appetite with you!
Best Dish: Baked Hake with Olive Crust, Créme Fraiche, Chilli Potatoes & Salsa Verde – € 18.50
2 The Parade, Kilkenny Tel: (056) 777 5604 rivegauchekk.com
An immediate hit when it opened in the Marble City in August 2015, this wood panelled bar and restaurant is big into its seasonality and foraging for wild local ingredients. With Kilkenny Castle nearby, and some of the freshest seafood in the Southeast, you can see why the reviews have all been rave.
Best Dish: Marinated Lamb Rump with Truffle Celeriac Puree, Pancetta Peas, Fennel & Potato Gratin, Heritage Carrots, Lamb Jus & Mint Sauce – € 25
26 St. Patrick Street, Kilkenny Tel: (056) 772 3999 zuni.ie
Every bit as smart as its parent boutique hotel and located in the heart of Kilkenny’s medieval centre, Zuni never fails to impress with its contemporary Irish cooking and inspired cocktails. The lengthy list of food suppliers at the bottom of the menu underlines their love of seasonal Irish produce.
Best Dish: Stone Bass with Fricassee of Mussels, Haricot Beans, Tomato & Creamed Leek – € 26