Where to Eat for Winterval
You may or may not know this, but when I first moved to Ireland I lived in Waterford. Actually, up until last June I lived in Waterford. It’s Ireland’s oldest city and has a crazy, awesome history that includes (but is not limited to) vikings, war, disease, the British, boats and, of course, blaa.
When most non-Irish think of Waterford (if they’ve heard of it at all), Waterford Crystal generally comes to mind. If you’re Irish and don’t live in Waterford, you might remember the TV3 series The Estate (which only really represented a small portion of Waterford’s population).
Having lived there, given birth there, made friends there and attended events there, my opinion of Waterford as a city is that it’s… awesome. Coming back for a visit actually makes me emotional. For someone moving to Ireland from abroad, Waterford offers so much – as a city and a county. There’s a thriving arts scene, amazing food and scenery and the people are nothing short of wonderful.
Waterford also hosts Ireland’s largest annual Christmas festival, aptly named Winterval. This year, the festival started on the 21st of November and will continue on until December 23rd (read my post on last year’s event here). It brings thousands of visitors to the city each year to indulge in some Santa-visiting, ice-skating and hot-chocolate-drinking.
I don’t know about you, visitors, but when I first moved to Waterford I had absolutely no idea where (or what) to eat. There is very little online information about Waterford’s wonderful food destinations, so here is a list of my favourite haunts. During Winterval there are plenty of kiosks selling all kinds of festive foods, but if you’re looking for something specific this list might help. Happy Winterval-ing (and eating!).
Coffee & Snacks
Location: 1 Peter Street, Waterford City
Arch Coffee: Having just opened, Arch Coffee is giving Portico a run for their money – they know their stuff and make a mean flat white.
Location: George’s Street, Waterford City (opposite Guiney’s)
Aoife’s Café: Gorgeous little spot located in the historic 33 The Mall building.
Location: 33 The Mall, Waterford City (close to Waterford Crystal)
The Park Lodge Café: The only café located within The People’s Park – a haven for mothers of young children or those with an affinity for cake.
Larder: Opened just recently, Larder offers home-baked snacks and hand-slung espresso, among other things.
Location: 9 Barronstrand Street, Waterford City (in George’s Court Shopping Centre opposite Mothercare)
Ardkeen Stores: The best grocery store in Waterford has a café on the second floor. Lovely full Irish breakkies and hot chocolate, or you can grab lunch to go from the prepared food counter in the shop.
Bistro on the Dole: Formerly Koliba, the Polish Food restaurant, but with the same owners. You can get all day breakfast, but why would you when the pork goulash and pierogi are so phenomenally good?
Location: 11a O’Connell Street, Waterford City (opposite The Granary Café)
The Granary Café: My favourite place to get a chai latte and some quinoa salad. Lovely atmosphere in an historic building.
Location: Hanover Street, Waterford City (just off The Quay)
Fresh Food Hall: Lots of hot food or grab and go options; also very nice scones.
Location: 1, 35 Michael Street, Waterford City (pedestrian shopping street)
Best Places for Adult Dinner and Drinks:
La Bohème: The best restaurant in Waterford and among the best in the country. They have early bird and prix fixe options that make eating here very affordable (if you can show some restraint with the alcoholic beverages, unlike yours truly… bad news for me; they’re opening a wine bar in the next few months!).
Location: 2 George’s Street, Waterford City
Bodega: Cozy restaurant serving up delicious, very well presented Irish food. They are champions of local produce, as you’ll tell when you read the menu. Also serve a great lunch (I love their BLT’s with pesto mayo).
Location: 54 John Street, Waterford City
Sabai: The best Thai food in town and the priciest. But, oh my God, the massaman curry is so worth it. I could bathe in that stuff.
The Olive Tree: I’m embarrassed to say I haven’t eaten here yet, but my husband has (does that count?). The only place serving up tapas in Waterford!
Location: 8 The Mall, Waterford City
L’Atmosphere: My first-ever meal out in Waterford was here, and it made me fall in love with the city even more. Amazing bread and desserts, and they offer an excellent value early bird menu.
Location: 19 Henrietta Street, Waterford City
Antichi Sapori: Tiny spot serving up cold Peroni beer and authentic Italian fare.
The Munster Bar: Always busy. Packed patio in the summer, day or night.
Location: Bailey’s New Street, Waterford City
The Gingerman: Again, this place is generally packed (especially around lunch time). Great, but typical, pub fare.
Location: 6/7 Arundel Lane, Waterford City (near the downtown shopping centre)
Kazbar: At night Kazbar is annoyingly nightclub-ish, but by day it’s a decent spot for a club sandwich and chips.
Location: 57 John Street, Waterford City
Geoff’s: Located across from Kazbar, Geoff’s offers similar fare with a slightly quieter atmosphere.
Location: 8-9 John Street, Waterford City
The Granville Hotel: Consistently recommended by locals and a lovely hotel, too (I actually wrote this post from one of their cozy rooms).
Location: The Quay, Waterford City
Brass Cock Bar: I’ve had many a satisfying carvery lunches here. Salivating in remembrance.
This is not a definitive list by any means, but it’s a start. If you live in Waterford or have had an amazing meal there, please add your two cents (and let me know if you think I am completely off my rocker). Happy Holidays!