Smuggler's Creek Inn
In just a decade, Ireland's booming economy has taken it from a rural backwater to a sophisticated country that has surpassed Scandinavia for highest cost of living in Europe. In a place where pizza costs $18 and main dishes start at $30, the key to hearty meals that won't break the bank is pub grub; entrées start around $10. Smuggler's Creek Inn, a stone cottage with picture windows on Rossnowlagh Beach below, has been in continuous operation as a pub since 1845. It blends Irish tradition—a turf fire, upended barrels as tables—with an award-winning menu of innovative dishes such as lemongrass risotto with Atlantic prawns and roast monkfish with garlic and fennel.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.