This restaurant with accommodation in Carlingford is centrally-located and smartly presented on the main street of this delightful medieval village, The Bay Tree has an appealing frontage - and a well-earned reputation for quality and value, making it popular with local diners and first port of call for many returning visitors.
It’s an attractive modern room and friendly staff are quick to make arriving guests feel at home - whether you having a dinner for two or a party for a group, everyone is equally welcome here.
Proprietor Conor Woods is an accomplished chef who trained with those most pernickety Irish masters of the kitchen, Michael Deane (Deanes Restaurant Belfast) and Raymond McArdle (Restaurant 23, Warrenpoint) and, after working abroad, returned to the area to set up his own restaurant here in 2007.
Conor takes pride in using the best fresh local produce (some of which is grown in a polytunnel at the back of the restaurant); meat is supplied by the exemplary Kettyle Irish Foods in Co Fermanagh (an Irish Food Writers’ Guild award winner) and there is a natural emphasis on fresh local fish.
The stated aim is for “simple modern food at great prices” but, true to Conor’s rigorous training and his own philosophy, this does not imply any shortcuts in the kitchen. On the contrary, they take pride in making everything possible from scratch, including excellent breads, stocks, sauces, ice creams and sorbets - and it shows, in food with great flavour.
The main menu is à la carte, offering perhaps six or eight choices on each course, of which at least two are likely to be local seafood.
The foundation is classical – starters like foie gras paté (served with a homemade preserve and toast), or Carlingford mussels, with garlic, lemon & parsley; mains such as roasted lamb with a seasonal vegetable & rosemary sauce, or Irish Angus sirloin with champ and a choice of sauces – but you will find a sprinkling of lighter, more contemporary dishes (especially among the seafood choices) and the range changes frequently to reflect the seasonal produce available.
Consistently delicious meals are rounded off with classical seasonal desserts and very good coffee – and the cooking is complemented by excellent service given by helpful and well-informed staff, who contribute a lot to the atmosphere.
A compact and carefully selected wine list reflecting the overall policy of combining quality and value includes both French and New World house wines.
An appealing 2/3 course Sunday lunch menu offers very good value at €19.95/€24.95, and families are made especially welcome.
Accommodation - see separate entry for Belvedere House.