The best place in town to eat is the Farmgate Restaurant on Broderick St (fairly soon on the right when you turn off Main St). Sadly however it was fully booked when I went on spec on a Saturday and is closed Sunday and Monday so I didn’t get to try it. Tel. 021 427 8134
A bright modern alternative with friendly service is Raymond’s on Distillery walk (just before you get to the distillery), also just off Main St. Before the main event they give you some wonderfully dense brown bread and a tray of olive oil, butter and chilli sauce spread and, unusually, a lemon sorbet, presumably to cleanse the palate. I had the sirloin steak (overdone despite my request for rare, but still a good B) with caramelised onions, mash and seasonal veg, alongside an excellent half bottle of Rioja Crianza, which came to €38.50 in all. On Sunday night it loses the tablecloths and has a different menu but the food is still good. I had a Caesar’s salad with spicy succulent chicken with garlic bread and a half bottle of Sauvignon Blanc (both A) for €25. Closed Mondays.
There’s a decent Chinese called Majesty just a few doors down and on the same side as Farmgate on Broderick St. The sauce on my Chicken Satay tasted of curry but the chicken was succulent and good quality. The Singapore noodles are pretty good too (B+). It came to €25 with a Tsing Tao beer.
To save money you could eat in the hotel carvery. For lunch on Saturday I had the roast lamb with all the trimmings which was fine (B) and on Sunday the beef (C), both of which cost around €13. The standard hotel fare was not as good on Sunday perhaps because it was so busy.
There are lots of other restaurants on Main St, and a chippy at #40, although many are closed on Mondays.
If you are in a car, the Woodside in the nearby village of Saleen looks very nice and gets great reviews.
Mc Daids near the end of Main St is an atmospheric pub in a beautiful building although given the crowds outside, Wallis’ bar over the road seems to have a better craic. It also seems to have other roles as an estate agents, auctioneers and undertakers!
As regards things to do, you could go on the distillery tour but I didn’t bother as it isn’t actually a working distillery.
Here are some reviews of the tour by other people.
On Saturdays there is also a farmer’s market near the hotel but it finishes at 3pm.
You can catch the bus to Cork right outside the hotel. If you are on the bus from Waterford (they leave once an hour on the hour from the bus station on the quay) to Cork, you can actually get off in Midleton, although this fact isn’t well advertised (I missed the stop). Otherwise a taxi from Cork bus station takes about 20 minutes and costs about €30, or you can get the bus.
The Midleton Park Hotel is the best place to stay in town. It has an excellent gym with plenty of jogging machines and other equipment, and also a large swimming pool, although it’s full of kids at the weekend. Breakfast is fairly comprehensive though the full Irish is fairly average with overdone eggs and mediocre black and white puddings and sausages. The bacon is great though and you get an acre of toast. The rooms all have free wi-fi.