WHERE TO FIND THE BEST FOOD IN MONAGHAN
So you’ve read my article about things to do in Monaghan and you’re considering visiting. You’re nearly ready to book but you’re wondering what the food situation is like. The last post was quite generic in terms of food so I thought I’d delve into it a little bit more. Food is what I’m all about after all so let’s stay on brand people!
So. What can you eat in Monaghan that is memorable? Or at least very tasty as after all not every meal has to be life-changing! But still, good quality sustenance is what we’re all after and Monaghan provides plenty of that!
Your options for food in Monaghan range from the very casual, think pastries and food trucks, to coffee shops, casual restaurants all the way to fancy afternoon tea and the most formal of dinners.
Farmers Markets in Monaghan
There aren’t many markets in Monaghan. In fact, these days, I am aware of only two. The Carrickmacross General Market happens on Thursdays from 8.00 to 17.00. The Monaghan Town Farmers Market takes place every Friday between 10.00 and 14.00 – You’ll find the usual suspects there, good vegs and good fruit, fish fresh from the Donegal boats. With food trucks that bring you Tex-Mex and Spanish food, this makes for a tasty all rounder of an experience.
Food Trucks in Monaghan
There are 3 food trucks of note in Monaghan. You’ll find two of them at the Monaghan Town Farmers Market on a Friday.
The first of the food trucks is the popular Blasta Street Kitchen truck which serves Tex-Mex inspired food. Blasta Street Kitchen was created by Seany McLeary and Nikita McCrory who were inspired by their travels. You can find Blasta Street Kitchen at the Monaghan Town Farmers Market, at various pop-ups (their latest one was in January, at Mackles, a local ice-cream parlour) or at Streatyard during the summer. While the location for Streatyard in 2022 hasn’t been announced yet, we do know it will be North Monaghan.
The second food truck is called Paelling and as the name may give it away, it serves Spanish food. At this food truck, you can expect classic Spanish fare such as paella, frittata, croquetas and patatas bravas. You will find Paelling at the Carrickmacross Market on Thursdays and the Monaghan Farmers Market on Fridays.
Last but not least, Silver Hill have a wee Duck Truck near their head office in Emyvale. It’s right next door to their shop, where you can buy all things duck (meat and bedding) but also a mad interesting variety of asian ingredients (noodles, condiments, sauces, spices). Lots of really fun stuff to be picked. But back to the Duck Truck, it serves as you would expect it, nothing but duck in several guises. The menu is small but perfectly formed. When I was there, I tried the quackos which is their take on a tacos. It was a great bite to have on the hoof while watching the hoards of local kids coming in for a feed post their GAA training (it might have been football, don’t shoot me). There was also duck sliders and duck hot dogs which had a chili and ginger sausage which I’m still sorry I didn’t try.
Bakeries in Monaghan
It appears that Monaghan is great when it comes to traditional baking. I’m told Dinkin’s wheaten bread is the stuff of local legends. If you don’t know about Dinkin’s Bakery, it’s a small chain of bakeries you will find across the county, they have branches in Monaghan Town, Ballybay, Castleblayney and Carrickmacross.
But truly, my heart belongs with Matilda’s of Carrickmacross and by that I mean I’m still thinking about that black pudding sausage rolls and her warm sourdough bread as served upstairs in the Courthouse. And that’s a good 8 months later, not many baked goods make such an impression and I honestly would take it personally if you didn’t fall in love with that sausage roll. The black pudding is made by Matilda’s dad and it is a treat like not many. From the all butter, flaking warm pastry to the juicy pudding dotted sausage meat, you will delight in every single bite.
Sit down meals in Monaghan
When it comes to sitting down for a good meal after a day’s grazing around all the gorgeous food on offer in Monaghan, you simply do not have the same choice in Monaghan than you might have in other, more popular counties in Ireland, but there is one outstanding restaurant which you would be mad not to seek out. You will find The Courthouse restaurant in the heart of Carrickmacross, right above Matilda’s Bakery, this is very smart as it means you can eat their delicious sourdough to start your meal at the restaurant. It doesn’t get much fresher than that. But again, that’s how it is at The Courthouse. I know you will hear the same spiel from so many restaurants these days, “our food is local and seasonal” and when you go scratching you realise maybe the food isn’t that local or seasonal. But Conor Mee is proud of his uber local suppliers list. There are no airs and graces on his menu, just pure, unadultarated gorgeous food. The portions are of the Outside The Pale persuasion which means that dinner at The Courthouse is phenomenal value if you’ve any type of an appetite. The service is as generous as the servings are and you will walk out feeling happy and well cared for.
While I didn’t eat there myself all the following restaurants were strongly recommended and look like you’d be get a decent feed out of them. Ambledown Cottage probably would get away with the title of prettiest spot you could eat a pizza in. Talking of pizzas, I hear rumblings of a great pizza served with a side of trad music in Adamson’s Bar and Lounge in Clones. If you’re after something a little bit more spicy you might choose to head to Eastern Balti or Monaghan Spice both located in Monaghan Town. I didn’t get a chance to eat there but the food I saw getting served in Andy’s Bar and Restaurant was very appealing so I’d give that one the nod too.
Monaghan Summer Food Series
Finally, Monaghan has launched the Monaghan Summer Food Series which promises to highlight some of the best food and beverage businesses in the county with a particular emphasis on what’s new, innovative and unique about each. For further details on ‘Summer of Food’ and to view a full list of participants, visit Monaghan Tourism.