In dishes like grilled Sweaty Betty (a deep sea fish also known as Greater Forkbeard) with lobster bisque and citrus almonds, or Kate’s Killary Fjord mussels steamed with coconut, pineapple and chorizo, chef-proprietor Shteryo Yurukov brings cosmopolitan flair to local produce and a few surprises to his beloved Sage in Westport town.
Roundstone is a picture-perfect Connemara seaside village complete with fishing harbour and dreamy beaches, and O’Dowd’s its poster boy fourth-generation bar: somewhere to pull up a stool beside the turf fire to a steaming bowl of seafood chowder, or to wash down their Fisherman’s Platter with a creamy stout or something crisp and cold. Heaven, wild Atlantic style.
Galway City’s gastro scene has transformed in two decades but what remains unchanged is the skilled creativity and commitment to sustainable seafood that award-winning cookbook writer and chef-proprietor Michael O’Meara brings to Oscars Seafood Bistro. Think oatmeal-crusted smoked fishcakes with citrus-tarragon yoghurt, scallops with samphire and pepper dulse, and local treats like thornback ray and red gurnard.
Fans of Seamus Heaney’s poetry can walk the Flaggy Shore captured so in Postscript before watching the tide flow as they feast on wild clams, Burren-smoked mackerel and salmon, hyper-local lobster and oysters (Flaggy Shore ‘dainties’) in Linnane’s, a 300-year-old pub at the heart of the local New Quay community.
Fishy Fishy is a jewel in the glittering crown of the harbour town of Kinsale, Ireland’s mecca for seafood lovers. Chef-owner Martin Shanahan brings personality and passion to his airy seafood restaurant. On a fine day, dine al fresco under mature trees on their signature seafood soup, perhaps, or line-caught hake with orzo. Or keep it casual in their Blue Room wine bar with small plates, wines and cocktails.
While Dingle is home to some of Ireland’s best locally caught fish and chips, it’s hard to beat the daily changing blackboard menu at Out of the Blue where the promise is ‘nothing deep fried, everything fresh or alive!’ Expect classics like lobster bisque with croutons and aioli alongside under-sung heroes like pollock in a potato crust with cream of chives.
At one of Cork City’s hottest casual restaurants, head chef Aishling Moore brings a gill-to-fin approach to Goldie’s ever-changing catch direct daily from local day boats. Her magpie approach to international culinary techniques translates into dishes like cod tail schnitzel with soy-cured egg yolk, celeriac and gherkin remoulade, or treacle and peppercorn-cured pollock bacon with ale mustard from their own micro brewery.
A handsome Victorian townhouse in the seaside resort of Tramore is the atmospheric setting for Beach House. Owners Peter Hogan and Jumoke Akintola Hogan devise a daily changing seafood lunch menu where simplicity and imagination are king and queen in dishes like whipped cod's roe with crab and crudités or red mullet with blood orange and fennel.
At La Côte Seafood Restaurant in the heart of Wexford town, Michelin-trained chef-owner Paul Hynes excels in layering flavour and texture, taking a very modern Irish approach to local sourcing and global seasoning. Expect dishes like monkfish with squid ink bulghur, fennel kimchi, tapioca and seaweed crisp sitting happily alongside classics like pan-roast Kilmore hake with bouillabaisse, rouille and wilted baby gem. Scenic views of the Slaney estuary and harbour area seal the deal.
‘Inspired by nature, consumed by flavour’ is the motto at Rosslare Strand’s Wild & Native Seafood Restaurant, owned and run by couple Fergal and Jodie Dempsey. You’ll find Fergal in the kitchen, devising a daily menu, and Jodie on the floor, dreaming up great wine pairings. That menu springs from whatever the local fishing boats can bring in, from blanket sole to the freshest hake, though you can often expect whole lobsters and crab claws on offer.
Irish Food Pub of the Year 2018, The Glyde Inn in Annagassan remains a gem of a beachside pub and restaurant. Insiders know not to miss the Annagassan razor clams in garlic and white wine reduction and to get your hands messy with Annagassan crab claws and Clogherhead prawns, washed down with their own Viking beer. Magic.
With cobblestone courtyard dining and confident, creative seafood cookery (including a seafood chowder named Ireland’s best two years running), Anderson’s Boathouse Restaurant is justifiably busy. If you haven’t booked, don’t despair: the same couple run the pier-side Killybegs Seafood Shack. Freshly cooked fish and chips and Cajan-spiced calamari never tasted better than eaten overlooking one of Ireland’s key fishing harbours.
Could there be a more idyllic spot to have your feed of local seafood than harbourside in Mullaghmore? No wonder they travel from far and wide for Eithna’s By the Sea. Choose from wild Atlantic mussels or oysters farmed at nearby Lissadell Bay or local lobster from Mullaghmore Sea Farm. Don’t miss Eithna’s brilliant seaweed and herb pesto, served simply with her homemade seaweed bread or with her lentil dahl, for a vegan taste of the sea.
The Oarsman Pub is an institution: not just of Carrick-on-Shannon but of the hidden heartlands that the mighty Shannon river flows through. Named Irish Gastro Pub of the Year and run by two brothers with seven generations of hospitality in their blood, it’s a keenly-priced, characterful choice for top-notch pub food served with talent and pride: think Donegal mussels with MacIvors cider cream sauce, barley and homemade sourdough.
Prefer your fish battered and fried? Check out of guide to the best fish and chip shops in the country. Or dive into Visit Dublin’s guide to the best seafood restaurants in Dublin.