In a restored stone building directly overlooking the ruins of O’Donnell Castle in the heart of Donegal town, this traditional bar and restaurant is just the kind of place visitors are hoping to find - it may seem a little touristy at first, but the O’Toole family offer real Irish hospitality.
In keeping with the old castle theme, the bar has flagged floors and lanterns on the arched walls, and there are also some tables outside for fine weather.
A compact but wide-ranging bar lunch menu offered daily includes favourites, with good seafood choices and traditional dishes including a hearty bowl of Traditional Irish Stew with perfectly cooked lamb and plenty of vegetables and potatoes in a tasty broth.
Upstairs, above the bar, Red Hugh’s is the evening restaurant; named after one of the town’s most illustrious ancestors Red Hugh O’Donnell, it is an unpretentious dining room with a pleasant rustic atmosphere.
The team of local chefs take pride in presenting an appealing à la carte menu. Local seafood is the main speciality, especially in summer - in winter there may be less choice, and the usual ' Catch of the Day' specials board may not be used.
A wholesome bowl of Seafood Chowder served with very good wheaten bread, and the hot and cold Seafood Platter for two are popular choices, and non-fish eaters have plenty to choose from too, such as including Sligo lamb shank - and perhaps some surprises, like wild Wicklow venison pie (in season).
Homemade desserts worth saving some for might include a warm chocolate fondant and warm apple cake with fresh cream - and good espressos to follow too...
Food is natural, plentiful and reasonably priced, making it a popular choice for local clientèle as well as visitors to this busy tourist town.
Casual but very friendly service adds to the charm of good, flavoursome local foods simply cooked and presented in an atmospheric setting.
A well-balanced wine list offers a choice of over 40 bottles, including eight house wines, and is sensibly pitched to match the food and surroundings.