Allo's Bar & Bistro, Listowel, Co Kerry

Allo's Bar & Bistro, Listowel, Co Kerry

The leading restaurants in major cities, and their chefs, tend to hog the spotlight at awards and, while the size of the population means more top rank establishments to choose from, excellence is no respecter of location – or style. Our Casual Dining and Café of the Year awards aim to highlight the quality of (mainly) smaller establishments, especially those serving outstanding daytime food and, in the case of the important Casual Dining Award, also ambitious restaurants with an informal style.

When Helen Mullane and Armel Whyte opened their characterful Listowel café-bar in 1995, the gastro-pub concept was unknown in Ireland - and so, for the most part, was quality casual dining.

Allo’s seems much older than it is, as the whole interior was reconstructed with salvaged materials (the flooring was once in the London Stock Exchange) and it is brilliantly done, with the long, narrow bar divided up in the traditional way, with oilcloth-covered tables that extend into a restaurant next door.

Helen is an impressive hostess, buzzing about, dealing with orders and queries with grace and efficiency, backed up by an organised kitchen playing to its strengths: great raw materials, careful cooking by a mix of old hands and new recruits, well led by Armel and head chef, Theo Lynch.

Pub/bistro lunch dishes are executed with flair and offer great value (well worth a deteour), while an à la carte dinner menu ups the ante, highlighting the day's fresh fish and seafood from Fenit and some good local meat dishes.

And there's no chance of things getting stale, as theme nights are held every Thursday when the kitchen team has fun with menus from France, Italy, America, China and others around the world. They've been doing this for years and it's an ongoing success.

Allo’s is the type of contemporary, self-confident Irish eating house that visitors hope for but do not always find in every provincial town - and this talented team was not only well ahead of the posse in the mid 90s but they’re continuing to do an outstanding job, every day.

And it’s for everyone: “You could have a quick lunch here for less than €12 and not feel that your low spend was in any way resented” commented one of our team several years ago, and that still holds true.

This is casual dining at its best - if only every Irish town did have somewhere like Allo's.


16 votes

Allo's Restaurant, Bar & Bistro

Listowel, Co. Kerry
Bar / Restaurant with Rooms
2 euro A selection of establishments outside the standard categories that should enhance the discerning travellers experience of Ireland Denotes genuine Irish food culture, ie special Irish food products/companies/producers, and highlights the best places to shop for regional and artisan foods; the selection excludes obvious 'non-Irish' elements regardless of quality, eg ethnic restaurants and specialists in coffee, wine and other drinks, unless relevant to local production or history. Eat & Stay establishments are chosen for their commitment to showcasing local produce and Irish hospitality. Pub with good food and atmosphere Previous Georgina Campbell Guides Award Winner The "Best of the Best" - Only the very best establishments across various categories have been chosen for this accolade
Named after the previous owner, Helen Mullane and Armel Whyte’s café-bar seems much older than it is, as the whole interior was reconstructed with salvaged materials (the flooring was once in the London Stock Exchange). It is brilliantly ...

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