The wonderful Ramore Restaurant in Portrush was once the leading light of cosmopolitan fine dining in Northern Ireland and, after a long spell concentrating exclusively on quality fast food, George and Jane McAlpin promised to being back something of the spirit of the old Ramore in an 80-seater restaurant that now complements their three existing casual eating places (The Wine Bar, Coast Pasta & Pizza and Ramore Oriental).
Things are not quite what they were of course; although the smart modern design is perhaps in tune with the hopes of longtime followers, the fact that the name has been changed to ‘Oriental Restaurant’ indicates how different the current Ramore really is.
On the top floor, above the wine bar, the new restaurant is in two areas - one a large square room overlooking the harbour, which is very noisy, and a quieter area in a room along the bar. The very long menus offer a wide range of broadly oriental dishes and would sound a warning note in any but the most accomplished hands - but here the cooking is as good as ever, presentation is very attractive and service is quick and attentive.
Wine service, especially, is impressive and the drinks menu includes a tempting range of cocktails. This is a fun place, with many of the dishes designed for sharing, and it is executed with flair.
NB: There are two sittings each evening and reservations are essential.
The Wine Bar:
This informal restaurant is on the first floor, underneath Ramore Oriental, and above Coast, the pasta restaurant; it remains very popular with the holiday market and with the young who appreciate the fun and friendly atmosphere, the speed and reasonable prices.
Menus offer a wide selection of contemporary dishes ranging from home baked breads with nuts, olives and dips, through bang bang chicken, or chilli steak in pitta, to roast fillet of salmon with champ. Prices are very accessible – although the downside is noise, discomfort and scanty service.
*The famous old Harbour Bar nearby is in the same ownership; the front section retains its original character and, behind it the Harbour Bistro & Wine Bar offer mainly contemporary food, and roasts for Sunday lunch. (L&D served daily).