13 best restaurants by the sea – The Irish Times

. . . And fries

Castle House, The Quay, Dungarvan, Co Waterford; 058-24498, andchips.ie

It’s an unwritten rule that any seaside outing must involve fish and chips. Especially if it’s the perfectly beaten specimens produced by TV chef and restaurant superstar Eunice Power in her swanky grinder. Choose from ling, cod, hake or haddock or, alternatively, burgers and falafels. Add a glass of wine from the short wine list and enjoy indoors, outdoors or to go. Joanne Cronin


By the Pier, Ballycotton, Co Cork; 021-4646768, cush.ie

Drive along the stunning coastline towards Ballycotton and you’re sure to be in the mood for some beautifully fresh fish when you arrive. Dan Guerin has won a Michelin Bib Gourmand for this small seaside restaurant, and it’s not just a question of price: a three-course menu, available for lunch and dinner, costs €38. His classical training underlies the apparent simplicity of the way he cooks fish. A recent dish of halibut with vadouvan-spiced langoustine bisque was particularly good. Corinna Hardgrave

Fisk Seafood Bar

The Harbor Bar, Downings, Co Donegal; fiskseafoodbar.com

Perched on a hill overlooking the bay, chef Tony Davidson and his partner Lina Reppert have made Downings a destination for seafood lovers. Every dish is a celebration of fresh seafood, including local mussels, oysters with spicy Bloody Mary granita, fish tacos or kimchi and shrimp banh mi. There is indoor seating, but the best views are outside. Accepted animals. JC


Fethard, County Wexford; 085-787797, gralinn.squarespace.com

A stone’s throw from the beach, this pretty 20-seat café, where Dee Kelly and Matteo Griscti serve brunch from Thursday to Sunday, is charmingly sweet. The vegetable-focused menu items are local and organic, with an optional meat supplement with each course. Mediterranean and North African influences draw plenty of interest, there are pastries from their recently opened Lumi Bakery, and the low-intervention wine list is a joy. CH

Linnanes Lobster Bar

New Wharf, The Burren, County Clare, H91 NWX6; 065-7078120, linnanesbar.com

Book well in advance if you’re hoping to get a table on the covered terrace, where you’ll see platters of lobster and Chablis 1er Cru heading for people with deep pockets in the prime seats. But there is also value to be had, especially the very good clams and fish and chips. And, since Linnanes is the new owner of Flaggy Shore Oysters, give them a try. CH


Harbor House, Harbor Road, Howth, Dublin 13; 01-8397096, mamorestaurant.ie

Lunch in the sun on the beautiful terrace of the Mamó, facing the boats and alternating bites of their “cod chips”, ceviche with chips and lobster croquettes, is one of these essential summer tables. Owner and host Jess D’Arcy treats everyone like a Michelin inspector, and the service is matched by a thoughtful and endlessly interesting wine list, which the staff are happy to take the head. Lisa Cope

misunderstood heron

Derrynacleigh, Leenane, County Galway; 083-0244203, misunderstandingheron.com

The Heron, as its loyal followers call it, is a ‘wild alfresco eatery’ on the edge of Killary Fjord, where Rose OToole’s Middle Eastern and South American-influenced ‘bangin’ menu changes daily. From beetroot and goat cheese croquettes to Toulouse sausages and sourdough chimichurri, everything is better outside. A new South American-style weekend barbecue will seriously up the fun here, with animal roasts and some serious tunes. CH

Native seafood and scran

The Crescent, Portstewart, County Derry; 00-44-7828-127739, nativeseafood.co.uk

After a storm devastated the operation of Native Seafood & Scran, destroying everything in its path, the local community immediately rowed with funding and help, such is the love for this fish and fruit cafe The specials are back, chalked on the blackboard – squid shawarma, Kentucky fried monkfish burger, fish tacos, lobster rolls and fish and chips – all fresh and delicious. CH

Russell’s Bar & Eatery in Fiddle & Bow

Fiddle + Bow Hotel, Teergonean, Doolin, Co Clare, V95 XR0K; 065-6700200, fiddleandbow.ie

Serious crimes have been committed in the name of seafood chowder, but in my book there is one cardinal rule: no salmon. It’s one of the many things Viv Kelly gets at this totally laid-back restaurant at the super cool Fiddle & Bow boutique hotel. Hand-cut fish and chips and bouillabaisse are also on the rise. CH

Rubin Bar & Restaurant

1-3 Dock Road, Galway, H91 D7NE; 091-399200, ruibin.ie

Rúibín is that restaurant you wish you had booked before arriving in Galway. Lunch here is a lively affair upstairs, with tables of groups who had their heads held high beforehand, and is considerably quieter in the small room downstairs. Marinated rhubarb oysters, seafood chowder and beer-battered fish on homemade milk bread are just a few of the menu items; there is a more extensive menu in the evening. Especially good for vegetarians and vegans. CH


Shore Road, Strandhill, County Sligo; 071-9122938, shellscafe.com

What happens when a Dubliner and a South African share a love of cooking and surfing? The answer is Shells, a cafe and bakery overlooking the sea. Try the beach burrito for breakfast, a specialty lobster in garlic butter, or house-made glazed fingers, served with their house coffee from McCabe’s. The adjoining Little Shop sells Irish gifts, gourmet food and the two cookbooks written by this energetic duo. JC

The basket of fish

Longstrand Beach, Castlefreke, County Cork; 023-8851716, thefishbasket.ie

Prepare to queue at the Fish Basket, where the lovely staff handles operations with ease. The fish, caught fresh every day at Union Hall before being battered and packed on hand-cut fries, is the big draw, but you can also find bites of lemon sole, langoustines or monkfish, depending on the day. Sitting on a picnic bench watching a huge sharing box is the perfect end to a sunny day on the beach. CL

Vaughan’s Anchor Inn

Main Street, Liscannor, County Clare; 065-7081548, vaughans.ie

No trip to the Cliffs of Moher is complete without a stop in Vaughan for Flaggy Shore oysters, sautéed scallops or local lobster. Despite the tourist crowds, there’s no rush or profit here – three generations have been involved in the business, and none have let down the standards. If you don’t get the Taittinger champagne tasting flight to go with your seafood, you’re not doing it right. CL

Follow a link below to read the other sections of this guide

Introducing Corinna Hardgrave
Fourteen new places to eat well
Seven Best Outdoor Restaurants
Eighteen Best Places to Eat on a Special Occasion
Twenty addresses of good local products
Eight Great Places for Vegetarian and Vegan Food
Ten places with wonderful wine lists
Ten great places to eat – and then stay
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