Specialising in steaks and seafood, its long hours of opening and stylish laid-back atmosphere make it very popular with tourists and locals alike, and although - like many of Killarney’s most successful restaurants - there may be a slight bias towards the younger end of the scale, it appeals to everybody, from teenagers to retirees.
Highly atmospheric in the evening, with simple table appointments and background music that’s not too loud, it’s a relaxing setting in which to enjoy simple, tasty food that’s cooked really well and attractively presented.
The day begins with some unusual breakfast choices including duck eggs, breakfast in a jar, a champagne breakfast and vegetarian options, alongside more traditional favourites.
Some of these continue onto the brunch section of an all day menu – but if you want a real meal at pocket-friendly prices, look at the serious temptations to be found here, including grilled whole lobster or sirloin steak, which offer much better value at lunchtime.
Sociable sharing plates feature among the starters on the dinner menu and there’s quite an emphasis on local produce, notably fish and seafood from nearby ports as well as the steaks that are the main evening speciality - sirloin, rib eye, fillet, rump and (at a whopping €5 per 100g) prime rib T-bone steaks.
Some chicken and vegetarian dishes are available too, of course, but the most obvious option for the budget conscious diner is the ‘classic burger’ made especially for The Smoke House by the local butcher, or perhaps choose from excellent speciality burgers including venison burgers, lamb burgers and beef burgers with gambas.
Their pride and joy – and the secret of the excellent cooking and great flavour – is their Josper charcoal oven. Specially imported from Spain and a first for Ireland, the oven is effectively an enclosed charcoal grill and reaches the very high temperatures that are necessary to cook rare but appealingly charred steaks, fish and vegetables. It's a cool bit of kit to have in a steak house, but it does depend on starting with the very best quality ingredients for its success - a point worth remembering when you get the bill.
Whites and reds are equally represented on the short, mid-priced wine list and, although service can perhaps be a little too laid back at times, this is a most relaxing restaurant with good honest food and a meal here is sure to be enjoyable.