Marie O’Keeffe’s well-regarded restaurant is hidden away in the centre of Clonakilty, on a lovely serene Georgian square that contrasts unexpectedly with the hustle and bustle of the nearby streets - a most attractive location, although parking may be difficult in high season. Although located in separate premises next door, O’Keeffe’s also has direct access from the Emmet Hotel (www.emmethotelcom) and bookings are made through the hotel.
The restaurant overlooks the square and, with bold decor that is unexpected in an old house, it has plenty of atmosphere. Marie O’Keeffe’s reputation for creative modern cooking is well established in the area, and she is well known for her commitment to using seasonal local produce, much of it organic, when possible.
Seafood tends to take the starring role on her concise, moderately priced menus, which are topped up with daily specials depending on the best produce available on the day; local meats and poultry always feature too, of course; breast of chicken stuffed with Clonakilty black pudding is a house speciality, served with a mustard mash and chicken jus.
Several imaginative vegetarian dishes are offered (spelt lasagne with goat’s cheese, semi-sundried tomatoes, spinach & ricotta is a speciality that is also suitable for coeliacs) and, given notice, other special dietary requirements can be met.
A courtyard garden is pleasant for al fresco dining in fine weather; dinner is available in the restaurant on Saturday nights, otherwise good bar meals are provided in the hotel.