Located above the Strand House Bar in the heart of the picturesque seaside village of Strandhill, proprietor Anthony Gray’s hidden gem of a restaurant offers tempting menus specialising in steak and seafood.
The restaurant took its name, Trá Bán (White Strand in Gaelic), from the beautiful unspoiled beach that it overlooks. Stunning views of the Blackrock lighthouse, dating from 1834, the Clocháns on Innismurray Island and Ben Bulben in the distance can also be enjoyed from this first floor dining room.
With quality and freshness a priority, there is a commitment to using only the finest local ingredients and Anthony takes pride in listing his suppliers on the menu, among them the Sligo fishmonger John Flynn, who supplies fresh fish and shellfish; Dathi O’Dowd of Mullaghmore Sea Farm, supplier of fresh wild lobsters; Sherlocks of Tubbercurry butcher (beef and lamb), BD Foods (poultry), farmers’ markets, etc.
There is no getting away from the seaside in this busy restaurant, as walls are adorned with seascapes and fish dishes abound on menus that are wide ranging and carefully crafted to combine quality with popular appeal.
Good versions of many dishes that have stood the test of time feature – fresh fish and seafood chowder, crab claws in garlic butter, anything on the steak menu and reassuringly traditional desserts are all examples – but a favourite starter that indicates the chef’s more adventurous mindset is his famed Taste of the Wild Atlantic Way speciality of pan-seared diver scallop, kattaffi prawn, Mullaghmore baby crab cake and Lissadell mussels with carrot and ginger purée.
Another exciting dish that also has novelty is Daithi O’Dowd's Mullaghmore lobster tossed in fresh linguini with a champagne cream sauce, flaked almonds and balsamic cherry tomato. This very tasty and substantial main course has an element of surprise and, like most of the dishes, it is accompanied by an appealing selection of seasonal vegetables.
Or you could go the more traditional route with a 10oz fillet or sirloin steak with all the trimmings or a paupiette of plaice stuffed with baby prawn mousse and served on a lemon and dill risotto with a yellow pepper cream sauce.
The atmosphere is relaxed and the meal experience is casual and unrushed, so you’ll have plenty of time between courses to watch the surfers catch a wave and, on a good evening, to enjoy the wonderful sunset over the Atlantic. When making a reservation, be sure to ask for one of the window seats.
Service is friendly and efficient, with staff displaying good menu knowledge and able to explain exactly how dishes are cooked and served. The three-course early bird menu, at just €22.95, including tea or coffee, is especially good value.
Also at: Eala Bhán in Sligo Town.