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 celebrated 50 years in business a few years ago, having been opened by the original owner, Jack Sugrue, in December 1961 - and, now in the ownership of Brian and Grainne Keary, 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 Brian Keary's brother, Jonathan 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 wide 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, under the watchful eye of the ever-present owners, service by pleasant, accommodating and knowledgeable staff is outstanding. This - in addition to the beautiful location and good cooking - ensures that every visit here will be a memorable one.
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.