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The best fish restaurants to try around Ireland right now

Nothing screams summer like a shared seafood platter. From fish and chips to langoustine bisque these are the kitchens serving up the finest fishy fare

Beach House

Turkey Road, Tramore, Co Waterford, X91 Y521; 051-338270,

A serious destination restaurant in a 20-seater space. It’s a return to the 100-per-cent seafood menu that Jumoke Akintola was serving when she and Peter Hogan ran the Fish Shop restaurant on Queen Street in Dublin, and we couldn’t be happier. The wine list now features more than 200 listings, with a particular focus on Burgundy. Corinna Hardgrave

Boathouse Bistro

The Dromquinna Manor Estate, Kenmare; 064-6642889,

If you fancy a little escape with a New England vibe and views out to Kenmare Bay, there’s plenty to love at this stylish wine bar and bistro, with seafood chowder, scallops and fish and chips all featuring on the menu. Grab an outside table and wrap up in a throw on cooler days. CH


By the Pier, Ballycotton, Co Cork; 021-4646768,

Drive along the stunning coast on the way to Ballycotton and you will certainly be in the mood for some splendidly fresh fish when you arrive. Dan Guerin landed a Michelin Bib Gourmand for this small seaside restaurant, and it’s not just about the price - a three-course set menu, available for lunch and dinner, costs €38. His classical training underpins the seeming simplicity of how he cooks fish. A recent dish of halibut with vadouvan-spiced langoustine bisque was particularly good. Read our review here. CH

Fisk Seafood Bar

The Harbour Bar, Downings, Co Donegal;

Perched on a hill overlooking the bay, chef Tony Davidson and partner Lina Reppert have established Downings as a destination for the seafood lover. Every dish is a celebration of fresh seafood, including local mussels, oysters with spicy Bloody Mary granita, fish tacos or kimchi and prawn banh mi. There are seats indoors, but the best views are outdoors. Pets welcome. Joanne Cronin


The Fish Basket

Long Strand, Castlefreke, Clonakilty; 023-8851716,

The Long Strand is, it turns out, a very long beach and a fantastic spot for walking. The Fish Basket sits at the western end, with indoor and outdoor seating, turning out superb golden-battered fish and chips as well as coffee, teas and snacks. Explore the full menu with their sharing box. Opening hours can vary so check social media for the latest. JC

The Fish Box Dingle

Green Street, Dingle, Co Kerry; 087-602786,

It may sound simple to cook fish that has come straight off the family boat, but the key is getting the small things right and doing it at an affordable price. The queue for the fish box at this no-reservation and takeaway spot says it all. Better still, there’s a new outdoor area with a wine bar, booths, a stretch tent, heaters and enough room for 70 people to hang out and listen to cool tunes. CH

Fish Shop

76 Benburb Street, Dublin 7; 01-5571473,

Grower Champagne by the glass is just one of the many reasons to drop into Fish Shop, where the 200-strong wine list is printed on paper so tactile it makes you want to up your spend. Which you should do. Because incredible fish and chips start at €15.95. You will of course have started with a gilda, then calamari and squid on toast. You could also consider Bar Pez, the new wine bar from the same owners, on Kevin Street. CH


128 Oliver Plunkett Street, Cork; 021-2398720,

The original Goldie sits atop Shandon Steeple, watching over Cork. It’s the perfect name for Aishling Moore’s unique nose-to-fin restaurant, where the menu is driven by the daily catch. As a result there is a relentless creativity that always feels fresh. Order small bites of monkfish-cheek scampi with gherkin ketchup or panisse with creme-fraiche tartare, followed by hake with cafe de Paris butter or Tamil Nadu mushy-pea fritters. Read our review here. JC


Fethard, Co Wexford; 085-787797

Just a stroll from the beach, this pretty 20-seater cafe, where Dee Kelly and Matteo Griscti serve brunch Thursday to Sunday, 10am-3pm, has a charmingly gentle mood. The produce for the vegetable-focused menu is local and organic, with an optional meat add-on with each dish. Mediterranean and north African influences bring plenty of interest, there are baked goods from their recently opened Lumi Bakery, and the low-intervention wine list is a joy. CH

Helen’s Bar

Kilmackillogue; 064-6683104

When my parents start sending pictures in the family WhatsApp group, you know that it’s got to be that magic combination of generous portions, good food and even better value. Located on the shores of Kenmare Bay, it’s not unusual to see a small boat pull up, disgorging diners in search of their dinner and a decent pint. Think seafood platters, mussels, fish and chips, all best enjoyed outdoors. JC

King Sitric Seafood Bar

East Pier, Howth, Co Dublin; 01-8325235,

You know it’s summer in Howth when you land an outside table at the King Sitric, which conveniently is open daily. Perfect for swilling a chilled glass of Picpoul while you work your way through local prawns, shellfish bisque, crab salad, fish and chips, and lobster, which is served five different ways. It’s market price and there’s a good chance it will be down to €30 in the summer. Read our review here. CH

Little Fish

Cleggan, Connemara; 087-9603735

Starting out in a food truck in Letterfrack last year, Tom Mullan and Eva Caulwell have moved to premises in Cleggan. The concise menu adapts to what fish is landed but always includes fish and chips, buffalo prawns, calamari spice bag and their fish burger, along with some daily specials such as Killary mussels, crab nachos, chip butties and oysters. There’s a small selection of wines and outdoor seating on picnic benches and stools for sunny days. Read more here. CH

Linnane’s Lobster Bar

New Quay, the Burren, Co Clare, H91 NWX6; 065-7078120,

Book well in advance if you’re hoping to bag a table on the covered terrace, where you’ll see trays of lobster and Chablis 1er Cru winging their way to the deep-pocketed folks in the prime seats. But there’s also value to be had, particularly the very good clams and fish and chips. And, as Linnanes is the new owner of Flaggy Shore Oysters, do give them a go. CH


64a Portstewart Road, Coleraine Marina, Coleraine;

Named after the tragic myth of the Children of Lir, the story of Rebekah and Stevie McCarry’s new restaurant is an altogether much happier affair. Overlooking the river Bann, Lir’s outdoor terrace is going to be a popular spot in summer months. The real star, however, is the food, which is that kind of creative crazy brilliance that leaves you dreaming of more. Their nose-to-tail ethos means they make the most of every ingredient, from smoked dogfish bacon carbonara to monkfish liver parfait. JC


57 Deerpark Road, Mount Merrion, Co Dublin; 01-2780377,

Have you been barred from Michael’s yet? This running joke from chef-patron Gareth “Gaz” Smith is typical of the joy that fills Michael’s, its sister Little Mikes in Mount Merrion and more recently Big Mikes, its newest location in Blackrock. The combination of seafood platters fresh from the boat and swimming in butter sauce and a self-proclaimed whopper wine list combine to ensure delight. Read our review here. JC


Harbour House, Harbour Road, Howth, Dublin 13; 01-8397096,

Lunch in the sun on Mamó's beautiful terrace, looking out at the boats and alternating between bites of their “cod chip”, ceviche with crisps, and lobster croquettes, is one of those unbeatable summer dining experiences. Owner and host Jess D’Arcy treats everyone as if they’re a Michelin inspector, and the service is matched by a thoughtful and endlessly interesting wine list, which staff will happily take the lead on. Read our review here. Lisa Cope

Native Seafood & Scran

The Crescent, Portstewart, Co Derry; 00-44-7828-127739,

After a freak storm ripped through Native Seafood & Scran’s operation, destroying everything in its path, the local community immediately rowed in with funding and help, such is the love for this fishmonger’s and seafood cafe. The specials are back, chalked on the blackboard - squid shawarma, Kentucky-fried monkfish burger, fish tacos, lobster rolls and fish and chips - all spanking fresh and delicious. Read our review here. CH


7 Church Street, Townparks, Skerries, Co Dublin; 01-8029486,

Special occasions by the sea don’t get much better than chef Cathal Leonard and partner Sarah Ryan’s Potager. With a menu of predominantly local ingredients, a chef whose plates surprise in the most delicious ways, a list wine-lovers will want to pore over, and the kind of convivial service in sophisticated surroundings that Leonard’s former stomping ground of Chapter One is famous for, there are so many reasons to head for the north Co Dublin town. Read our review here. LC

Restaurant Chestnut

The Chestnut Tree, Staball Hill, Ballydehob, Co Cork; 028-25766,

Robbie Krawczyk cooks with compelling restraint, his €140 tasting menu inspiring awe in the relaxed room. There is also the sense that the food here is nudging beyond one-Michelin-star level. Roaringwater Bay mussels with caviar in buttermilk, whiskey granita with damson, monkfish and Irish truffle in chicken and whey glaze, and a haunting meadowsweet dessert are as memorable as they are beautiful. Read our review here. CH

Russell’s Bar & Eatery at Fiddle & Bow

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

Serious crimes have been committed in the name of seafood chowder, but in my book there’s one cardinal rule: no salmon. It is one of the many things Viv Kelly gets right at this totally laid-back restaurant in the supercool Fiddle & Bow boutique hotel. Fish and hand-cut chips and the bouillabaisse also get the vote. CH

Rúibín Bar & Restaurant

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

Rúibín is that restaurant you wish you’d booked before you got to Galway. Lunch here is a lively affair upstairs, with tables of groups who had the heads-up in advance, and it’s considerably quieter in the small room downstairs. Oysters with pickled rhubarb, seafood chowder and beer-battered fish on a homemade milk bun are just some of the dishes likely to be on the menu; there’s a more extended menu in the evening. Particularly good for vegetarians and vegans. Read our review here. CH

The Sea Rooms at Kelly’s

Kelly’s Resort Hotel, Rosslare, 053-9173553,

A small garden area with views out to sea at Kelly’s Hotel has evolved into a 50-seater restaurant, The Sea Rooms, with an indoor/outdoor dining experience. Chris Fullam, formerly of The Greenhouse, Forest Avenue, and The Cliff House, is in the kitchen, making full use of the produce available from the hotel’s kitchen garden, fish from Duncannon and crab from Kilmore Quay. Read our review here. CH


Shore Road, Strandhill, Co Sligo; 071-9122938,

What happens when a Dubliner and a South African share a love of food and surfing? The answer is Shells, a cafe and bakery overlooking the sea. Try the beachwalk burrito for breakfast, a special of garlic-butter lobster, or homemade iced fingers, accompanied by their house-blend coffee from McCabe’s. The adjoining Little Shop sells Irish gifts, gourmet food and the two cookbooks written by this energetic pair. Read our review here. JC

Vaughan’s Anchor Inn

Main Street, Liscannor, Co Clare; 065-7081548,

No trip to the Cliffs of Moher is complete without a stop at Vaughan’s for Flaggy Shore oysters, sauteed scallops or local lobster. Despite the throng of tourists around, there’s nothing rushed or profit-pushing here—three generations have been involved in the business, and none has let standards slip. If you don’t get the Taittinger champagne tasting flight to go with your seafood you’re not doing it right. Read more here. LC

Wá Sushi

13 New Dock Street, Galway; 091-895850,

Chef-owner Yoshimi Hayakawa, who came to Ireland in 2001, sold sushi in Galway Market before finding her own space to showcase her skills—and sushi devotees travel from far and wide to sample her offerings. Lunch is a casual menu of sushi, gyoza and seaweed noodle salad; dinner is where it gets serious, with an omakase/tasting menu of what they’ve termed “Galway-Mae sushi”, a combination of traditional Edomae-style sushi techniques using locally caught fish and ingredients from the west of Ireland. LC