Seafood Restaurants - 10 of the Best

Summer in Ireland and seafood is at its best...With dozens of seriously good speciality seafood restaurants around the country, our selection below is just a drop in the ocean. Better get started with this little taster then – always remembering there are plenty more (including many deservedly famous places) to choose from as well...

LIR - Native Seafood & Scran
Coleraine, Co Londonderry

Recently opened in the old Yacht Club building on a peaceful stretch of the River Bann outside Coleraine, Lir is the long-awaited brainchild of Rebekah and Stevie McCarry - whose project here was stalled by the arrival of the pandemic. Yet they achieved huge success (and fame) at the fish shop and casual dining operation, Native Seafood & Scran, that they set up at Portstewart while waiting for normality to return. The Coleraine building's had a major makeover, now featuring a cool black box with the name LIR in bold gold lettering, a sleekly contemporary 60-seater restaurant inside and a tented outside area overlooking the river and the yachts in the marina... Sustainability is king here and the menu - which, as stated on their website 'changes daily depending on what the fishermen, farm and local suppliers have to offer' - features the innovative dishes that followers of Stevie McCarry's experimental cooking will thrill to. Don't miss this gem.

The Seafood Café By Niall Sabongi
Dublin 2

I was once stopped on Dame Street by visitors asking where they could find a seafood restaurant nearby. At the time there was nowhere - but if asked the same question today they would only have a very short walk here, to Niall Sabongi’s compact corner café in the shadow of the old Central Bank – an acclaimed seafood restaurant that is as cool and clever as its reputation suggests. The glass-walled box wraps around a booths-and-bar counter setup, from where the cooking is done in view of customers. Raising the standard of fish and shellfish in Ireland, The Seafood Café typifies Sabongi’s creativity and quest for quality and is supplied by his own wholesale company, Sustainable Seafood Ireland, which also counts the The Salty Buoy food truck among its many imaginative ventures. Until recently we may have associated lobster rolls with New England, but given the clever formula in places like The Seafood Café, we’re edging closer to establishing New Ireland seafood as the benchmark in excellence

King Sitric Seafood Bar & Accommodation
Howth Co Dublin

Established by leading chef Aidan MacManus as a fine dining restaurant in 1971, the King Sitric is now run by his son and daughter-in-law, Declan and Sue, who have made it the more casual - but equally distinctive -destination that it is today. Fine dining may no longer be offered, but the popular contemporary Seafood Bar continues the family’s longstanding commitment to the best of seasonal, local produce and offers excellent, mainly seafood, dishes at very fair prices - and the famous house wine, Hugel Pinot Blanc from Alsace, still leads off the drinks list. The King Sitric is at the far end of harbour-front, facing the East Pier, and views over the harbour and Balscadden Bay are also shared by the smart nautically themed guest rooms – where dogs are welcome by arrangement – are all named after Irish lighthouses.

Vaughans Anchor Inn
Liscannor Co Clare

The Vaughan family’s much-loved traditional pub has great character, with open fires and lots of memorabilia, also an elegant restaurant featuring a fascinating aquarium. It’s famed for local produce, notably ultra fresh seafood, and superb cooking of everything from their trademark Fish’n’Chips to sophisticated seafood dishes by second-generation chef Denis Vaughan. Denis’s eldest son, James, took over the kitchen in 2021 when the family acquired a sister restaurant, Vaughan’s on the Prom in Lahinch, where Denis and his second son, Denis Jr, work together - and next door they have a ‘cow to cone’ ice cream parlour and fish’n’chips takeaway, Spooney’s . That’s a lot of change for this talented team – and several more good reasons to visit West Clare.

Cork Co Cork

‘Fish & Ale’ is the mantra at the first fish restaurant from Cork’s excellent Market Lane Group - and, true to form, it has made a splash. The duo at the helm of this small but very exciting restaurant are Aishling Moore, the talented young former head chef of Elbow Lane, and Stephen Kehoe, executive chef of the Market Lane Group – and their USP is a courageous and adventurous ‘gill to tail’ approach to sustainability. And, while you’re discovering something deliciously innovative on your plate, try it with a beer from their own Elbow Lane microbrewery - you may well find yourself converted to drinking craft beer with fish.

Fisk Seafood Bar
Downings Co Donegal

With top Donegal producers and products - including Haven Smokehouse salmon, Mulroy Bay mussels and Scarpello’s famous sourdough bread - name checked on the menu, there’s a real sense of locality at Tony Davidson and Lina Reppert’s atmospheric little seafood restaurant. And Fisk is very much its own place, so the beautiful seasonal local produce is showcased in a way that you won’t see anywhere else. But they don’t take bookings and there’s no phone, so - although you could try by email – you can’t even call and plead for a table. So check the opening hours, get there early and be prepared to queue – annoying to some perhaps, but it’s no great hardship as The Harbour Bar next door (where their food is now also served) is delightful. And the wait will be worth it.

Kealys Seafood Bar
Greencastle Co Donegal

The summer ferry between the Donegal fishing port of Greencastle and Magilligan Point in Northern Ireland brings many new visitors to an area that used to seem quite remote - and those in the know plan their journeys around a meal at Tricia Kealy’s long established harbourside seafood bar. It’s a low-key little place where simplicity has always been valued and, even if it’s just to pop in for a daytime bowl of their excellent Greencastle chowder and some home-baked brown bread or ‘James’s wee scones’, don’t miss the opportunity of a visit to Kealys.

Quinlan & Cooke Boutique Townhouse & QCs Seafood Restaurant
Caherciveen Co Kerry

With its welcoming fire, striking modern zinc-topped bar, and nautical antiques and pictures, Kate Cooke’s atmospheric bar and restaurant with rooms in the centre of Caherciveen abounds with character. The ultra fresh local fish and seafood supplied by the family company Quinlan’s Kerry Fish, at nearby Renard’s Point, has made QC’s Seafood Restaurant a favourite Kerry destination for many seasons, and - thanks to the imaginative developments undertaken over the years by Kate and her late husband, Andrew - it is now equally sought out for its splendidly spacious and quirkily stylish townhouse accommodation. The comfort and enjoyment of guests comes first here, making it a very special place.

The Fish Box/Flannerys Seafood Bar
Dingle Co Kerry
It’s all hands on deck at this deservedly popular spot near Dick Mack’s pub, with half a dozen Flannery family members playing key roles in the uniquely sustainable Sea to Fork experience that they opened here in 2018. A long-established Dingle fishing family, they’ve had their own trawler, Cú Na Mara “Hound of the Sea”, since 2007. Dad Michael is now involved in preparing and cooking the fish, while son Patrick has taken over the boat that supplies the restaurant and takeaway with the trawler-to-table fish that has become their trademark. Mum, Deirdre, is the Head Chef and Michael (junior) and his sister Eimear keep the business running in ship-shape order. Magic.

Fish And Bean
Rosses Point Co Sligo
Chef Dave Mullan has created a little piece of heaven in the Yacht Club at the far end of Rosses Point, where an effortlessly chic, uncluttered marine-themed room looks and can feel like a bit of the Med in Sligo. A daily changing, accessibly priced menu is reassuringly short and, although weighted towards seafood, has options to please everyone. The sense of place is palpable: fresh fish right by the sea. Responsibly sourced fish are treated with respect and cooked to perfection; some is very local, from Rosses Point and Sligo, and the organic vegetables are also grown nearby. Exactly what people dream of finding on the Wild Atlantic Way.

La Côte
Wexford Co Wexford
Appropriately enough, the smartly presented ‘Paul Hynes La Cote Seafood Restaurant’ on the corner of Custom House Quay and Anne Street overlooks the mussel boats in the nearby harbour. Ever since opening here in 2014, Paul Hynes has had a following in the area and from much further afield and it is easy to see why - a fine dining chef by training, he also brings down-to-earth informality, accessibility and connection to seasonal foods of both sea and land. The promise here is ‘traditional French and Irish seafood dishes with a modern twist’, which you should be sure to enjoy – but the welcoming and efficient front of house team led by Paul’s wife Edwina also ensures that a visit to this high quality and reasonably priced restaurant will be memorable for the whole experience, as well as the excellent cooking.


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