2015 Award Winners NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR 2015

Harry's Shack, Portstewart, Co Derry

Harry's Shack, Portstewart, Co Derry

This is always one of our most hotly-contested wards – by which we mean that the ‘short list’ is anything but - and how could it be otherwise when the businesses under consideration are all fresh and new and full of enthusiasm? It’s mainly the closures that have been hitting the news in recent times, of course, but a surprising thing about the last few years is the number of openings there have been - and the pace is heating up now that the economic climate is improving.

Fans of the Doherty family's famously unlikely culinary hotspsot, Harry's Restaurant, in the 'blink and you've missed it' village of Bridgend will be thrilled to find this new coastal offshoot at Portstewart.

True to form, the bland street address gives very little away and first time visitors may be surprised to find what looks for all the world like a hairy-roofed shed right at the entrance to the beach.

Owned by the National Trust and formerly an office, the building underwent a major revamp before opening, with Donal Doherty and the team applying their own special brand of down to earth magic - to install a great working kitchen, for a start, but also to create a vibrant dining space with big picture windows (yes, they had to add those too) looking out over the strand and the pounding waves.

Simplicity rules, yet there's a real sense of excitement among the hungry diners queuing at the door - happy punters know the wait will be worthwhile. And once settled at one of the upcycled tables with one of those gorgeous Harrys menus, rich with local shellfish, fish from Greencastle ('straight off yesterday's boats and here today'), local meats - and, of course, lots of dishes to show off the fresh seasonal produce beautifully grown by Noel Doherty in their walled garden at Burt - where else would you want to be?

Under Derek Creagh - overall Head Chef of both restaurants - the cooking is simply brilliant, memorable for its freshness, flavour and colour. You'd travel a long way to find food as good as this, and hardworking staff make sure you get the service to match.

This little place was a runaway success from the day it opened, and no wonder. It's a brilliant asset to the beautiful North Coast and Donal pays tribute to the National Trust, acknowledging that it was a brave move to give them this iconic building. "They love our walled garden and our sourcing model. They have been amazing to us," he says. A perfect excuse to take a trip up North …

21 votes

Harry's Shack

Portstewart, Co. Londonderry
Café / Restaurant
'Best Budget' denotes moderately priced establishment (max. less than €50pps for accommodation or €35 for 3-course meal without drinks) 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. Outstanding Location, building or atmosphere Serious About Seafood 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
Fans of the Doherty family's famously unlikely culinary hotspsot, Harry's Restaurant, in the 'blink and you've missed it' village of Bridgend were thrilled to find this new coastal offshoot at Portstewart in 2014. Sadly, Harry's in Bridgend has since c ...

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