The Vaughan family's traditional bar has great character, with open fires and lots of memorabilia - it was our Pub of the Year in 2006 and it's just the place for some seriously good seafood at fair prices, either in the bar or in the restaurant area at the back.
Although famed locally for their seafood platters (and they are fantastic - and, at only €25.95, great value), there's much more to the menu than that: Denis Vaughan is an exceptionally talented and creative chef who cooks everything to order and patience is quite reasonably requested on this score, as it gets very busy and everything really is fresh - they offer about twenty varieties of fish, and the menu may even be changed in mid-stream because there's something new coming up off the boats.
Denis Vaughan's philosophy is to use as much local produce as possible, and for all fish to be fresh and from Irish waters; fish is bought whole and processed on site in order to have greater control over quality - and he uses as many native species as possible, on both lunch and dinner menus.
However, you don't have to eat seafood to eat well here - vegetarian options are offered, also game in season, and they do excellent steaks too, and many other good meat dishes including imaginative variations on roast lamb or beef (supplied by Donald Russell) - and you can have sautéed foie gras with any of the meat dishes if you wish.
Cooking combines old-fashioned generosity with some contemporary (and, on the evening menu especially, sophisticated) twists: an assiette of Dublin Bay Prawns (langoustines) from Spiddal, for example, may be served with glazed slow cooked rare breed pig's cheeks and carrot purée, a mixture of traditional Irish ingredients and current cooking styles.
Great dedication and attention to detail is seen in every dish served here - and that includes the home made desserts, and breads - even the humble burger is lifted to new heights here, and is served with a homemade bun and chips.
Vaughan's is understandably very popular and they don't take bookings so, get there early - lunch time (when some more casual dishes, like open sandwiches, are also offered) might be worth a gamble but, if you want to have a reasonably quiet dinner without a long wait, get there before seven o'clock.
Great cooking is matched by excellent service - and, while quality food can never be cheap, it's great value too.
An interesting wine list offers a dozen or so house wines, and something for every budget and occasion.