Kay and JJ Mitchell's attractive and well-managed family-run restaurant in Clifden offers efficient, welcoming service and very agreeably stylish “good home cooking” all day, every day throughout a long season - and they have been doing so, with admirable consistency, since 1991.
Spread over two storeys of a late 19th century building, the restaurant is stylish in an understated way that works equally well during the day or for dinner and it's full of character, with open stonework, soft lighting and fires on both floors making it very cosy.
The bustling atmosphereis full of confidence and, under JJ's eagle eye, well trained - and well motivated - waiting staff work together exceptionally well to provide seamless service, even at the busiest times
Although the emphasis is very much on fish 'from local and sustainable sources', there's a fair choice for non-fish eaters too, especially on the all-day menu which offers a wide range of lightish fare.
From sandwiches and wraps to panini, the international flavours are there - but how refreshing it is to find old friends like bacon & cabbage 'Mitchell's style', seafood chowder and fresh crab salad with home-made brown bread there amongst the home-made spicy fish cakes and duck wraps with spicy mayo. And what a good idea the Boxty Steak Burger is, set on a homemade potato cake (the 'boxty') instead of a bun, and served with tasty onion gravy.
There’s some overlap onto an à la carte evening menu, which includes some variations on dishes from the day menu, but the choice is much wider. You'll find half a dozen appealing meat and poultry dishes and a vegetarian dish of the day, for example - but, with eight or nine seafood dishes offered, the emphasis is definitely on fish. And the cooking style is very appealing, offering a mixture of classics and house variations - often with an Irish twist, such as the black pudding and parsnip mash that comes with the seared scallops, or the colcannon and bacon potato cake with the monkfish. Everything is cooked in-house, including breads and desserts - and it shows, in the freshness and flavour.
This is a very fair place, offering honest food at honest prices – and, in the Guide’s recent experience, it is better than ever each year, the food really delicious and service outstanding.
A great, down to earth seafood restaurant, full of happy customers - every seaside town in Ireland deserves to have a place like Mitchell's.