Isaacs Restaurant, Cork

Isaacs Restaurant

Our Casual Dining award aims to highlight the quality of (mainly) smaller establishments, especially those serving outstanding daytime food and also ambitious restaurants with an informal style.

Pioneers get shot is a phrase that often comes to mind when thinking about the early demise of many apparently promising enterprises that were just too far ahead of their time.

Not so our Casual Dining Restaurant of the Year, however, which was set up in 1992 by Michael and Catherine Ryan and chef Canice Sharkey, three young but exceptionally well qualified and experienced professionals who had vision by the bucket load and decided to make the break from fine dining and create something new - an informal, midmarket restaurant offering flavourful bistro cooking based on top quality local ingredients.

It’s hard to credit now but this was something completely new at the time, filling the gap between fine dining (their own background - Michael is the younger brother of Declan Ryan of Arbutus Artisan Bread, and they previously worked together at the legendary Arbutus Lodge Hotel) and cheap casual places where quality simply wasn’t on the menu.

Add accessible, carefully selected wines and seasonally led menus changed twice daily and this is the stuff of culinary revolution - and it’s still as fresh (and almost as unusual) today as the day they opened.

Engaging staff too and a simple, colourful cooking style that allows this delicious food to speak for itself. We loved it then, and we love it now.

6 votes

Isaacs Restaurant

Cork City, Co. Cork
Denotes genuine Irish food culture, ie special Irish food products/companies/producers, and highlights the best places to shop for regional and artisan foods; the selection excludes obvious 'non-Irish' elements regardless of quality, eg ethnic restaurants and specialists in coffee, wine and other drinks, unless relevant to local production or history. Eat & Stay establishments are chosen for their commitment to showcasing local produce and Irish hospitality. Previous Georgina Campbell Guides Award Winner
In 1992 Michael and Catherine Ryan, together with partner/head chef Canice Sharkey, opened this large, atmospheric modern restaurant in an 18th-century warehouse and it immediately struck a chord with people tired of having to choose between fine dinin ...

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