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Hot 100 Places To Eat - Part Two

Hot 100 Places To Eat - Part Two

Wednesday 19 July 2017

We never really appreciated fish until recent times. Now, we can’t get enough and love the fact that the gap is being filled between the basic, old-style fish-and-chip shops and expensive seafood restaurants. There are some really great casual fish eateries out there, including market stalls, pier-side food trucks, shacks and cafes, offering everything from Maine-style lobster rolls to scampi, succulent crab claws to hip Hawaiian poke bowls, at prices that wont necessarily break the bank.

Here are my top 20 sassy seafood spots around the country.

Fifty4 Seafood Bar
Within a stone’s throw of the River Boyne and new to Drogheda, Sarah Jane Kirwan’s pretty seafood bar with red brick walls and marble topped tables, serves fresh fish from the family fish shop next door. Think seafood chowder, prawn pil pil, fish pie, and daily blackboard specials. Dinner Fri/Sat night. There's also a takeaway menu.

Beshoff Bros
'Grab and go' is the thing here, before climbing Howth Head or walking the pier. There’s always a fast moving queue of tourists and locals eager to chow down on their chowder, fish ‘n chips, or, my fave, calamari or scampi and chips with tartare sauce and lemon.

Facing the wooden bridge leading to Bull Island and Dollymount Strand on Clontarf’s main drag, I had a bit of a glitch with service on my visit, but the yellow fronted Fishbone did come up with good fish on the day. Loud music, cocktails, Howth lobster, Lambay crab…

Klaw Poke
Niall Sabongi’s Klaw in Temple Bar is hot hot in the fishy stakes, as is his new Klaw Poke on Capel Street, which combines the original great shellfish offerings of Klaw with Ireland’s first Hawiaan style traditional healthy poke bowls filled with marinated tuna (or other seafood), grains, salad, toppings and sauces. Delish.

Fish Shop
Having started from a shed in Blackrock Market, Peter and Jumoke now have a Fish and Chip Shop on Dublin’s Benburb Street, as well as this casually hip seafood restaurant on Queen Street serving anything but casual seafood. A 4-course dinner menu will titillate, while their tasting menu will knock your socks off.

Veronika and Zsolt Zakar’s tiny seafood and steak eatery is giving the other 900 covers in Dublin’s coastal Monkstown Village a run for their money with great lobster burgers, lobster rolls, lobster pots, lobster ravioli. Did I mention lobster? Lovely Hungarian wine.

Chef Gareth ‘Gaz’ Smith is the captain of the ship at Michael’s Mount Merrion. With a fantastic pedigree stretching from Wexford to London to Vienna and back, Gaz specializes in getting every bit of flavour from the fresh seafood he sources from small, independent fisherman.

Fish Bar
On Dock Terrace, Bray, the Fish Bar at the legendary Harbour Bar, serves casual seafood with eclectic twists that Molly Malone never knew. From oysters Bloody Mary to prawn tacos, sweet potato crab cakes to crab rolls to smoked salmon and chorizo nachos.

La Cote
Open since 2014, Paul and Edwina Hynes' chic, contemporary seafood restaurant on Wexford’s quayside evokes a real feel of dining on the Cote d’Azur. Think brill and caper brandade; plaice with Pernod froth; and seafood platters.

Wild & Native
Fergal Dempsey’s restaurant and wine bar located on the Strand Road in Rosslare, serves almost anything that swims, from black sole to seared swordfish, Rosslare crab claws to calamari and octopus, Wexford mussels, whitebait, razor clams and lobster.

Pier 26
It doesn’t get any fresher than Pier 26 in East Cork’s Ballycotton, right at the source of some of best loved seafood in the country. Set virtually on the pier, it has fab views of the bay and the happenings in the harbour. The food is cracking and the prices are right.

The Fishmarket Café
Set in the historic Kinsale Fish Market, dine inside or out in the new Fishmarket Cafe at the Blue Haven Hotel on Pearse Street. Great panko crumbed scampi, oysters prepared any which way, chowder and crab crumbles – which you can wash down with their own label premium artisan Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc sourced from New Zealand’s Fairbourne Estate.

The Bulman
Pearse and Mary O’Sullivan’s atmospheric Kinsale pub, right by the waters edge, is a local and holiday hotspot, and for good reason. They do a great tapas style bar menu with lots of fab fishy bits, but the real star of the show is their grilled half local lobster. Absolute bliss and surprisingly affordable.

O’Connor’s Seafood Restaurant
On Wolfe Tone Square facing Bantry Harbour, O’Connor’s is always popular for excellent local seafood. A new more casual element has been added to the front, so it's perfect for family summer lunches. Try the Bantry Bay hand-dived scallops.

Con’s Bar & Restaurant
Part of the Star Outdoors Outdoor Adventure Centre on the Ring of Beara Road, here you can enjoy great seafood, including scampi and Kenmare mussels, on their waterfront balcony while soaking up views of Kenmare Bay, Dinish Island and the MacGillicuddy Reeks. Owned by Star Seafoods, there is an on-site smokery.

Tra Ban
Overlooking the ocean in the picturesque village of Strandhill, Co. Sligo, Tra Ban boasts some of the best views on the emerald isle. On the first floor, above the Strand Pub, this steak and seafood restaurant is a sibling of the popular Eala Bhan in Sligo Town.

Part of the Quinlan & Cooke Boutique Townhouse, QC’s is a long established fishy fave amongst those in the know. Owners Andrew and Kate Cooke reel in their customers with their fab flavoursome fish, supplied by the family’s company, Quinlan’s Kerry Fish. In summertime, grab a table in their courtyard garden and dine al fresco.

Marine Restaurant
In the attractive coastal town of Ballybunion, Co. Kerry, a favoured stop along the Wild Atlantic Way, the Marine Restaurant, part of the Marine Hotel, has become a popular spot for locals and tourists alike. Owner and Head Chef Derek Nagle strive sto make sure all his menus are full of locally sourced fish and meats.

Nancy’s Barn
This authentic cottage in Ballyliffin, Co. Donegal, boasts Head Chef Kieran Duey who scooped the prestigious award of World Chowder Champion on his recent excursion to Newport, Rhode Island. After savouring a bowl of his award-winning poisson, treat yourself to their home baked breads and desserts.

The Lobster Pot
This Donegal pub and restaurant, known locally as Kelly’s, in the small village of Burtonport, does a lot more than it says on the tin. Their signature lobster comes from their live tank, while there’s also an ocean of cod, scampi, oysters and prime Irish beef, but why not go big time with their house speciality – The Titanic, a seafood platter, loaded with lobster, crab, mussels, salmon, prawns and more.