Myles and Ruth O’Brien have been running this fine bar and restaurant just outside Westport, at the foot of Croagh Patrick, since 1999 and have built up an enviable reputation.
The fine dining restaurant, Upstairs At The Tavern, offers several very attractive menus, including an early dinner, a midweek special, and an à la carte. Well-informed staff, who are nearly all local, are welcoming and know the menu and the nightly specials.
Local seafood from Clew Bay is very much the speciality here, and menus also include named local and artisan foods such as air-dried Connemara lamb and meat from the renowned butchers McGeough’s of Oughterard, Chris Smyth’s organic leaves and Carrowholly cheeses.
The dinner menu offers a wide choice of starters and main courses, about two thirds of them local seafood - and some, perhaps including fresh tuna and prawns, are offered in a choice of styles. Lobster, prawns, scallops, and crab may all be among the wide range of seafood on main courses, along with fish like monkfish, tuna, cod, salmon and seabass.
And, for anyone who is not in the mood for seafood, there are also plenty of good options - steaks, rack of lamb and duck are perennial favourites, for example and there will usually be a vegetarian pasta dish.
Pleasing retro cooking features in, for example, a really good scallop dish that is a lighter descendant of the 70’s classic, Coquille Saint Jacques: queenies (cluaisíns), are served in the shells but without the traditional piped mashed potatoes, on a bed of creamed spinach and enlivened by a delicious sauce of gratinéed hollandaise garnished with fresh crab.
Other enjoyable dishes include prawns with linguini and baked cod - and prices are very competitive for the quality of food, excellent cooking and caring service.
The wine list offers a choice of 28 wines, including some half bottles and also some sparkling and dessert wines. Only a couple of wines are available by the glass but a range of 1/4 bottles is also offered.
Bar menus are quite extensive, with a children’s menu as well as a good choice of dishes for full meals, and a range of sandwiches. Traditional Irish music on Wednesday nights.