I was in Ireland for 10 days, and had 15 chowders. You read that right. This is one meal I can never get sick of, let alone get enough of. Something that no one tells you before you visit Ireland - the food is REALLY flipping good, especially the chowder. I tried all of the best spots so you know where to go. Here are the footnotes.
#1. O'Shea's Merchant
12a Lower Bridge Street, Dublin, D08 Y271, Ireland
This restaurant was super low-key and located centrally. The chowder was packed with fresh and smoked fish, potatoes, dill, and a rich creamy broth. I wish I could have brought this stuff home - seriously my 2nd favourite chowder I've ever had in my life. While you're in Dublin, make this a must-eat. Hit up the Jameson Distillery a couple of blocks away, and then come here for lunch. I ate here twice because it was so good. You can thank me later.
19 O'Connell Street Upper, North City, Dublin 1, Ireland
I have to admit, this was a very close contender for first place. The chowder was PACKED with seafood. I mean really packed. Fresh and smoked fish, thick cut potatoes, fresh seafood, fresh dill and a very buttery base - this was delicious. The restaurant is quite busy and comfortable, again low-key. Definitely recommend.
Unit D, 1 Lanyon Quay, Oxford Street, Belfast BT1 3LG
So, this was home to the second best meal I've ever had in my life. The chowder was my least favourite part of the meal and it still ranked 3rd on this list. Yes, you read that correctly. We tried to go back to this restaurant on our way back from Belfast to Dublin but it was closed. Whatever you do, find a way to try this place. Their prix-fix menu is out of this world, and I'm not sure what the chefs are doing back there, but it's gotta be witchcraft. Every portion of each dish is thought out so incredibly well - every reduction, every flavour. I'm floored that this place exists and pissed that it exists so far away from home.
34-36 Bank St, Belfast BT1 1HL, UK
This was the bougiest restaurant I ate at while in Ireland/UK - ambiance is very lovely and upscale, but you have to place a reservation. Food was delicious and fresh - also ordered oysters while we were here and they were pristine - clearly caught that day. Service was impeccable. Chowder was the perfect size, full of fresh seafood & topped with fresh herbs. Spotted Jamie Lannister AKA the Kingslayer AKA Nikolaj Coster-Waldau eating here when we walked in - small plus to eating in Belfast is potentially running into the GoT cast. Would definitely recommend this spot.
#5. Stag's Head
1 Dame Ct, Dublin 2, Ireland
Standard and delicious - soda bread was delicious, soup was delicious. Funny little added bit - there's a portion of the pub/restaurant that is sectioned off into a different room. We got the whole room to ourselves which was hella comfortable.
5A Crown Alley, Dublin 2
Klaw was the restaurant that locals told us to check out for good chowder - I have to admit this was so bad I didn't finish it. So the reviews all told us that it was a hole-in-the-wall, not to be discouraged etc, because the food makes up for it. So the place was cramped, like hilariously cramped, but living in Toronto has taught me that the best food often comes from places like this. I found the space to be very endearing. The part that was actually bad was the food. The broth was super thin and filled out with way too much flour, the carrots weren't cooked, and there was barely any seafood in the dish. No flavour whatsoever. We also got oysters that were not very fresh, I would wager a few days old. I would pass on the hype and on Klaw.
#7. Giant's Causeway
44 Causeway Rd, Bushmills BT57 8SU, UK
Haha just don't do it - I think soup from a can is better than this. I didn't even grab a photo.
There you have it! If you have any questions comment below.