Leading chef Wade Murphy and his wife Elaine's restaurant is in this postcard pretty village’s most charming thatched cottage, just across the road from the Dunraven Arms.
Commissioner General of Euro-Toques Ireland and former head chef at The Lodge at Doonbeg, Wade moved away from fine dining when he opened his own restaurant. Taking a similar path to several other well known chefs, including Aidan McGrath of Lisdoonvarna’s Wild Honey Inn and Kevin Arundel of The Chop House in Dublin, he opted for casual dining "in a broadly gastropub style, but without being a pub!”. In fact, the experience at 1826 Adare is very special.
The rustic cottage setting and chic country décor, paired with flavoursome food offering freshness, simplicity and keen pricing to match, make a winning combination: with almost all starters under €10, plenty of mains for €20 and less (excluding steaks), and a very reasonable €6.95 for desserts, Wade’s 5-5-5 type à la carte menu will please a lot of punters.
There’s also a small children’s menu, and a Sunday menu that will always include roast as well as a pared down selection from the week night menu.
Seasonal local produce is the foundation of Wade’s food philosophy, with suppliers credited on menus that change monthly - and there are blackboard specials such as whole sole, braised meats and so on changing daily.
Allowing for that, standout dishes to look out for may include a gorgeous starter of brown bread baked Castletownbere scallops in the shell (perfectly cooked tender scallops and just the right amount of the breading) and an excellent warm chicken liver salad - dollops of chicken liver on dressed microgreens and flowers - which is good enough to win over the most reluctant liver eater.
Of the main courses, don't miss the ‘Head to Tail’ Tasting Plate of Pork (loin, belly, cheek and black pudding, with celeriac, beer mustard,‘1826’ chutneys; €22.50). Alternatively, there is The Friendly Farmer's famous pasture reared chicken from Athenry, and fish lovers will be equally happy with a beautifully presented and perfectly cooked roasted fillet of organic salmon, which is loaded with flavour and served with summer vegetables - and with a lipsmackingly good topping such as fried mussels and clams, or grilled potato, with fennel, Doughmore crab, and saffron aioli...
But don't let these good things distract you from the grand finale - if you're lucky it might be poached rhubarb and custard which will transport you back to your childhood; served with brown sugar meringue and chantilly cream, it's sweet and tart in just the right proportions, it's quite possibly the best rhubarb dessert you will ever encounter. And then, of course, there's the brilliant Ponaire coffee from Limerick to ensure that your taste buds finish on a high.
Elaine Murphy and her warmly efficient staff provide attentive service throughout - including sound advice on wine choices.
The impression you are left with is that, while you can take fine dining out of the equation, what you get from a classically trained chef of this calibre is the same top notch cooking in a more relaxed style - and at a very accessible price.
Given such simple, delicious dining, delightful surroundings, good service and great value, it is not surprising that 1826 is one of the area's most popular restaurants.
Another must-visit destination in Adare.