Just the sort of old pub advertising people dream about, this old bar looks as it must have done a hundred years ago, with its low ceilings, an ancient weathered bar and furniture and fires in winter in a big old room and then another behind.
Then it got so popular that they built on a further room, which is light and bright, with paintings on the walls and this is also for drinking and sitting while you wait for a table to become available in The Restaurant, which is beyond it again.
The restaurant is such a roaring success in high season that they have to have two sittings every evening, and then go on beyond the summer proper into the end of October, as there are lots of golfers in the Rosapenna area until then. After that they do meals at weekends, maybe taking a break mid-winter.
Why is it so popular? Because it provides just what you want: delicious, fresh, imaginative dishes served in an easygoing atmosphere, in a basic but well thought-out setting. And, while the Olde Glen changed ownership in 2013, new owner Cormac Walsh has kept everything at this much-loved destination just as it should be, and the food continues to delight.
Meat, fish and chicken all feature on a well-balanced menu and vegetarians are always catered for. There is also a specials board, which offers perhaps four extra main courses each day. The meat is local and all fish is brought in nearby. Local produce is used and is credited in many cases and the superb ingredients are well handled all the way to the table. Presentation is good without being overly elaborate and the food looks inviting.
And what might you eat? Starters included butterfly prawns, chicken liver pate, the popular salt and pepper squid, a baked goat’s cheese tart and smoked duck salad served with a beetroot carpaccio. Do watch out too for the organic smoked salmon from Haven Smoke House in Carrigart.
Mains included pan-fried turbot with crab butter and champ, grilled plaice with sautéed leeks, spicy crab linguini, aged sirloin from Raphoe, Silver Hill duckling or supreme of chicken, all served with good vegetables.
Local lamb and beef are highly regarded. Fish features strongly, such as plaice, monkfish and sea bass, but cod is always a favourite, especially their version, which is herb crusted and served with butter beans and a chorizo ragout.
For dessert, apple pie, a cheesecake of the day, death by chocolate and forest fruit pavlova all feature, but the favourite is their Tunisian orange cake with spiced orange syrup and rum and raisin ice cream – gorgeous.
With all this and a good wine list, great service and good value too, it’s no wonder it’s so popular.
* Olde Glen Bar was our Pub of the Year in 2008.