Enniskillen and Lough Erne taste great, whether you want to relax over dinner in a vaulted cellar, or indulge in some of the best ice cream on the island of Ireland.
Driven by exceptional local produce, chefs around Enniskillen and Lough Erne are taking things to new heights with a restaurant scene that feels buzzy, vibrant and creative. Wander around town and you’ll find an impressive selection of craft butchers and delis, such as Stewarts and O’Doherty’s Fine Meats (selling everything from Fermanagh Corned Beef to edible seaweed), not to mention thriving local cafés that draw on the local hinterland for inspiration. Menus here can feel like a who’s who list of local producers, from Baronscourt Venison to Broighter Gold Rapeseed Oil to Tickety Moo Ice Cream, and whether you want to fine dine in style, or relax with a cake in a little thatched cottage, you’ll find something to suit.
Craft gin, artisan cheese and some of the best beef anywhere in Ireland, if you want to get to the heart of Fermanagh food then a trail is the way to go. The Enniskillen Taste Trail will bring you on a whistle-stop walking tour of all the town’s greats, with plenty of tasting opportunities, or why not try the Lough Erne Food Trail courtesy of Erne Water Taxi, with visits to some of the loughs’ very best producers, brewers and restaurants.
The Jolly Sandwich Bar
This bright, friendly and cheery café is a local favourite from breakfast through to lunch. Gorgeous, homebaked cakes vie for attention in the window, while the blackboard behind the counter is chock-a-block with top-notch soups, salads, sandwiches and great standards including lasagne, quiche and potato bakes. 3 Darling Street, Enniskillen
The Happiness Trap
Bringing great vegetarian food to the masses, the Happiness Trap is certainly doing something right if the lunchtime crowds are anything to go by. There are tons of salads, cakes and pastries and a changing daily lunch menu that serves up everything from Sri Lankan curry to Spanish vegetable paella. Most produce is locally sourced and organically grown, and the warm, wooden interior is a nice place to linger over a coffee and homemade cake. 12 Townhall Street, Enniskillen.
Upside-down lampshades, ironing boards on the ceiling, knick-knack-crammed walls and old sewing wheels – Grannie Annies is the kind of pub that has taken bric-a-brac chic to the next level. Stuffed with junk, the pub is a riot of textures and patterns from the tartan benches to the intricate tiled floors, making sure you won’t get bored no matter where you sit. Authentic? Certainly not, but the overall effect is fun, friendly and very enjoyable. 1 Townhall Street, Enniskillen
The Thatch Coffee Shop, Belleek
The Thatch is an old-school jewel of a café – a teeny-tiny little gem with wooden beams, a huge hulk of a stone fireplace and a super-cosy atmosphere. As beautiful outside as it is in (with its thatched roof, white stone walls and red windowsills), it’s a perfect place for truly delicious fresh cakes, scones and soups. 22 Main Street, Belleek
Tully Mill Restaurant
Tucked away in a serene and secluded corner of Florence Court Estate overlooking glassy waters, the Tully Mill restaurant tempts diners with a great line in local produce served up in gorgeous surrounds. Chunky stone walls keep the atmosphere casual but the menu takes a relaxed line in fine dining with favourites including Fermanagh steak, Fivemiletown Goat’s Cheese, and Silverhill Duck, as well as good vegetarian options and a kids menu, too.
If the idea of crossing water to get to lunch floats your boat, then make your way to Boa Island, where the “Corlougharoo Ferry” is waiting to sweep you across the lough to the resort of Lusty Beg. This scenic island hideaway is perfect for lunch or even a dinner, with both a relaxed, cabin-style bar and a romantic Island Restaurant. Follow the signs on Boa Island, drive down to the pier and the ferry will be waiting to whisk you across.
Blakes of the Hollow
It’s hard to think of a more perfect pub than Blakes of the Hollow. It’s got it all – picture-filled walls, roaring fire, marble bar, colourful-tiled floor and friendly staff. The Victorian bar has remained more or less unchanged since 1887, and its handsome interior is a place that has been enjoyed by writers such as John McGahern, who included the pub in several of his books. If you’re lucky, on a cold winter’s day you might be able to nab a spot by the fireside – there’s no better place to be.
The lovely stone vaults of Café Merlot make an elegant location for a relaxed lunch or dinner. Lunch covers contemporary classics such as southern fried chicken wrap, fajitas and fish and chips, while come dinnertime you’ll find classic cuisine infusing the menu with roast fillet of pork, dry-aged rib-eye steak and Thai green vegetable curry.
Little Wing Pizzeria
Little Wing has been a game-changer in Enniskillen, serving up excellent wood-fired pizza created with specially sourced local ingredients. The cosy booths are perfect for enjoying the super-tasty specials including Carnivora Piccacante, Tuscan and Giardino flavour. There are skinny pizzas, gluten-free pizza and a great kids menu that will most definitely keep the little ones happy. A winner.
The gorgeous wooden booths and patterned tile floors lend a welcoming nostalgia to Maud’s, one of Enniskillen’s most beloved cafés. Breakfast and lunch are filled with tasty, filling dishes ranging from French toast to Club Sandwiches, but make sure you leave room for one of the sumptuous ice creams… Delicious. 24 Shore Road, Enniskillen
28 Darling Street, Enniskillen
Go fine-dining Fermanagh Style at 28 Darling Street, a stylish new restaurant that’s already a big hit with locals. Chef Glen Wheeler champions local ingredients through simple dishes that shine with a creative twist. The tasting menu will wow with a culinary journey that goes from cod with fregola and cauliflower to peanut parfait and caramelised pear. A vegetarian menu, early bird and a la carte are also available.
Tickety Moo Ice Cream
There’s an award-winning herd of Jersey cows behind this excellent local ice cream – and you can tell. Rich, creamy and whipped into tempting swirls, it’s a tough call trying to choose between the sumptuous flavours in their little café on Townhall Street. Our advice? Go hungry, grab a table and settle in for a tasty treat from ice-cream laden waffles to a seriously indulgent milkshake. 15 Townhall Street, Enniskillen
The Watermill Lodge, Kilmore Quay
The waterside Watermill Lodge is a gem of a place with honey-coloured, chunky stone walls, blooming flowers and a thatched roof, all overlooking the placid waters of Lower Lough Erne. It’s makes for a very elegant destination for lunch or dinner, with a sophisticated menu focussing on Irish cuisine given a French twist. Check out their great Sunday lunch menu, too, with dishes such as chicken cassolette, turkey and ham and classic honey roast pork.