Dublin city centre has very few dedicated seafood restaurants, but this buzzy seafood bar and grill has upped the ante with its exciting menus packed with delicious fish and shellfish dishes - and an unrelated claim to fame is that Michelle Obama and her daughters ate here on their 2013 visit to Dublin.
The long, bright room is dominated by a dramatic coiled light that swirls its way along the ceiling like a beanstalk. A bright mezzanine and darker, cosier basement allow plenty of seating options, with the main floor a mix of curved booths, banquettes and bar stools.
Bare top tables, a tiled floor and double height ceilings look smart but mean the acoustics are bad at busy times, especially if sitting close to the talented pianist on the mezzanine level.
The menu reads like a roll call of the finest seafood, with delights like Dingle Bay crab claws, Ted Browne’s smoked salmon, Roaring Water Bay mussels and Carlingford oysters, although we’d like more information on the menu about where all the delicious fish comes from.
Stephen Caviston, of Glasthule’s celebrated fishmonger family, is in the kitchen, and has an innate respect for his ingredients. From a starter of potted smoked mackerel with homemade gherkins and sourdough toast to a main of scampi made with Dublin Bay prawns in light ale batter alongside skin-on chips and house tarter sauce you’ll find great flavours and attention to detail.
There’s plenty of choice for non-fish eaters too, notably Tipperary beef is dishes like ribeye steak and shepherd’s pie, though the dessert menu, with choices like Baileys cheesecake and pavlova, seems uninspired.
Service is friendly although it may lack a little professionalism at busy times. The wine list is well chosen to suit the food on offer and a full bar means diners can enjoy a pint with their meal too.