Just a stone’s throw from the sea at Cromane, where the mussels that the area is famous for are landed, this handsome stone building is smartly maintained and sends out all the right signals from the outset. Jack's recently celebrated 50 years in business, having been opened by the original owner, Jack Sugrue, in December 1961 - and it's going stronger than ever today.
Entrance is through an attractive traditional bar at the front, then through to a big, bright split level dining room with big windows overlooking a landscaped garden and sea at the back; the décor is basically simple but, with quirky details and bright turquoise accents in fun cushions and lovely fish-themed murals, the effect is fresh and original.
Well spaced tables, crisp white linen and gleaming glasses also augur well and, after a warm welcome, menus are promptly presented. Head chef is Jonothan Keary, brother of the owner of Jacks, Brian Keary, and he's doing an excellent job with fresh produce that includes the meats of the area - Kerry lamb and beef, speciality foods such as Annascaul puddings - and, most notably, fish and seafood.
Although the ubiquitous tiger prawn finds its way in, even here (in a speciality tempura dish, served with a zucchini salad and sweet chilli sauce), when available the superb range of seafood offered includes hake, black sole, prawns, lobster, plaice on the bone, turbot, and scallops.
And Cromane mussels also star, of course, typically in classic marinière style. The cooking is excellent and everything beautifully presented, with generous servings of lovely fresh vegetables, and irresistible puddings - vanilla crème brulée with almond biscotti comes highly recommended.
A well chosen wine list complements the food, and staff are pleasant, accommodating and knowledgeable.
This restaurant is a great asset to the area and it’s well worth building a visit into your plans. Booking is strongly advised, especially at weekends. Be prepared for Dublin prices.