The Seafood Café by Niall Sabongi, Temple Bar, Dublin

Seafood cafe

Although we eat less fish at home than might be expected for an island nation, everybody – whether living in Ireland or just visiting - seems to love seafood when eating out, so it’s an increasingly vibrant sector of the restaurant industry. Focusing on provenance is key to supporting the best fishermen and producers and ensuring the best consumer experience, something that BIM have been working on for some time through initiatives like the very successful Seafood Circle (which we were pleased to be involved with), and - jointly with Failte Ireland - the West Coast seafood trail, ‘Taste the Atlantic - a Seafood Journey’ which links a number of Wild Atlantic Way seafood restaurants and their suppliers in a visitor-friendly way. And, increasingly, individual restaurants and chefs are taking up the promotional challenge too, through initiative such as Kids Seafood September.

Perhaps the location seems unlikely, but a compact corner café in the shadow of the old Central Bank is home to one of Dublin’s most forward-looking seafood restaurants. Raising the standard of fish and shellfish in Ireland, The Seafood Café by Niall Sabongi continues the creativity and quest for quality established by the popular chef at his other venues - the nearby Klaw, and Poké by Niall Sabongi across the river - and is supplied by his own wholesale company, Sustainable Seafood Ireland. Given the small space, the menu is lengthy, and imaginative. A seasonal selection of oysters from The Burren, Waterford, Galway Bay and Connemara can be ordered naked or dressed and torched, for example, and these are joined by excellent Irish shellfish – grilled local lobster, whole Dublin Bay Prawns, dressed local crab perhaps - and other fish in season. We may associate lobster rolls with New England, but given Sabongi’s clever formula, we’re edging closer to establishing New Ireland seafood as the benchmark in excellence. And, together with his friend and fellow chef Gaz Smith (see Family Friendly Restaurant of the Year), Niall is working on the next generation through their Kids Seafood September initiative which has gone nationwide this year – proof, if it were needed, that if you want to make things happen this Failte Ireland Food Champion is just the man to have on your side.

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7 votes

The Seafood Café by Niall Sabongi

Dublin 2, Dublin City
Fish & Seafood / Restaurant
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. Serious About Seafood Previous Georgina Campbell Guides Award Winner
A compact corner café in the shadow of the old Central Bank, Niall Sabongi’s smart seafood restaurant is as cool and clever as its reputation suggests. The glass walled box wraps around a booths-and-bar counter set-up, from where the cooki ...

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