Situated in the centre of Clonakilty, close to a little park, Richy Virahsawmy’s restaurant is one of those relaxed places that attract a real cross-section of people.
It has a clean, modern yet warm feeling, with the day's specials chalked up on blackboards and a food style that ranges widely around the Mediterranean, with a leaning towards Spain - and features locally sourced ingredients that often include less usual foods, like samphire, as well as local lamb and fish.
An impressive list including many of the area's best producers and suppliers is proudly proclaimed. (Food provenance has always been a high priority here and Richy's was a Bord Bia "Just Ask" Restaurant of the Month winner in 2011.)
Developments in the last couple of years have seen big changes to the original premises, with one side of the restaurant being completely transformed into a café, The R Café, serving freshly baked cakes, pies, scones and quiches. With white wood panelling and a light and airy colour scheme, it has a comfortable Scandinavian feel and is open all day, serving breakfast/brunch, lunch and afternoon tea.
Flooding wreaked havoc in the town in 2012 and the original Richys Restaurant was badly affected, so January 2013 saw major renovations in this section of the building - including the wise decision to replace the wooden flooring with a waterproof alternative...
But it wasn't all just practical stuff, as relocation of the bar allowed a feature fireplace to be installed which heats up the room really quickly when required and has emphasised the warm and cosy ambience of this friendly restaurant. Richy also took the opportunity to a special pizza oven, so he can now extend the offering to include superb thin-based pizzas and foccacia breads.
The wine list offers an accessible selection of about 30 wines, chosen with equal care to match the food.
A great place to know about, especially when on a family holiday. Children are very welcome, and there's a very nice little 'real food' children's menu.
*Richy has published a cookbook, West Cork Fusion, which gives recipes for many of their most popular dishes and is available online from their website.