Right in the centre of Durrus village, sharing the premises of Ryan’s village shop, the ground floor of this welcoming restaurant is a family-friendly contemporary café serving good quality casual fare (smoked fish, meat or cheese platters, quiches, pizza, cakes) throughout the day, while stairs up to the first floor lead to a smartly appointed evening restaurant.
Here, in a long room with windows overlooking the street, well spaced polished tables are simply but promisingly set up with sea salt, butter and stainless steel water jugs.
There’s no written menu, everything is chalked up on a big blackboard – a system which may not be quite as convenient for customers, but it gives a sense of immediacy and is a welcome change from laminated menus that are so obviously built to last.
The choice is wide and, although there’s a strong emphasis on local produce, there’s a distinctly continental tone to the menu offering overall – an impression that is confirmed by the arrival of excellent breads and starters like chicory and Cashel Blue salad with walnuts and delicious paté with crostini (made with a lovely close-textured brown bread); while simple-sounding enough, they are dishes full of flavour and delivered with panache.
Main courses will include local fish and seafood – perfectly cooked John Dory, perhaps – and excellent cooking and plenty of TLC give popular dishes the edge. Tender steaks, for example, can be memorable when served with a richly flavoured wine sauce, chips cooked to just the right degree of crispy golden brown, a leaf salad, and imaginative side vegetables cooked au point.
Finish with a classic dessert – typically lemon meringue pie, or a mousse cake – and very good coffee.
The wine list offers good value by the bottle and by the glass, and service is friendly and professional.
The Gateway gives real value as well as excellent food, making this a most enjoyable dining destination and a great asset to the area.