Dingle-dweller Deanna O’Connor on where to go in search of Dingle’s finest fish dishes.
Every time I think of the phrase ‘seafood dinner’ I have a little laugh to myself because it reminds me of the fight scene in Anchorman, where Champ goads Ron Burgundy saying, “I will smash your face into a car windshield, and then take your mother, Dorothy Mantooth, out for a nice seafood dinner and never call her again.”
”I do love a nice seafood dinner—partly because it’s not something I don’t often cook at home because I hate when the house smells fishy, and partly because when you’re eating out, a light seafood course leaves plenty of room for dessert!
Ireland’s Atlantic coast provides a wealth of wonderful seafood and the restaurants in Dingle are serving up the freshest catch daily from local fishing trawlers and Kerry fishermen, so it really is a seafood lover’s paradise.
Sheehy’s Anchor Down
For the best value, I’m a big fan of Sheehy’s Anchor Down (3 The Colony, Dingle, Phone: +353 66 915 1545). Before getting into the restaurant business the Sheehy family were already running a fish shop, so you know they’ve got the best supply in town!
Of course the menu may vary depending on the catch but to give you an idea of the treats in store, recent mouth-watering specials have included John Dory in almond butter served with asparagus, potatoes and salad, and my personal drool-inducing favourite, a seafood platter featuring monkfish, salmon, plaice and scallops.
Ask any Dingle native what their favourite restaurant is, and there is a strong chance they will say Doyles on John Street. Run by chef and proprietor Sean Roche, Doyles is a must-visit for the seafood lover, and while there are a few main course options for those who aren’t fish fans, seafood is really a strong focus of the menu here. From Black Sole on the bone to seafood linguine and Spanish-style fish stew, all the classic favourites are there. For something a little different, I love the flavour combination of the Duo of Scallops & Organic Pork, a delicious take on the surf ’n’ turf concept with seared Atlantic scallops, crispy pork belly and black pudding. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it!
Out of the Blue
Ask me what my favourite seafood dinner in Dingle is, and it’s probably Out of the Blue. It might look a bit like a shack from the outside, but all the foodies (and a few celebs) that pass through town flock here. It has a strict ‘No chips, and nothing frozen’ policy and serves up delicious and innovative dishes. I love the zing of home-cured & smoked salmon with pickled ginger and grapefruit for a refreshing starter, to get my taste buds’ attention and gear up for the gluttony ahead!
But we can’t just leave it there…
Those might be the best when it comes to sit down dinners and slap up grub, but there’s a new kid on the block which is perfect if you want to grab a quick bite. Newly opened, The Fish Box, on Green Street, serves up the freshest of fish from their very own fishing trawler Cú Na Mara.
For an all-out treat try their eponymous ‘The Fish Box’—deep-fried prawns, monkfish, fish of the day and calamari with homemade chips, tartar sauce and sweet chilli jam; priced at €14 takeaway or €16 to eat in, it’s a classy take on takeaway.
View this post on Instagram
It's great to see the Cú Na Mara landing 100% Irish fish to our family run restaurant #thefishboxdingle... But it's even better seeing them cleaning the sea and bringing in litter and disposing of it appropriately. This is litter they trawler up in their nets! A big well done for promoting Irish produce and helping OUR environment #cleanthesea #EcoFriendly #GwanTheLads #IrishSeafood #BIM #fishingforlitter #irishfish #dinglefish #GreenStreet #Localproduce @bimfrances
TAKE THE MEMORIES HOME
If you’ve loved your dinners out in Dingle, famed as Ireland’s No 1 foodie town, then make sure you pick up the Dingle Dinners cookbook before you leave, so you can recreate some of the favourite food of Dingle chefs at home.
Here, Stella Doyle, founder of Doyle’s, shares one of her favourite seafood dishes to cook:
Pasta with Dingle Bay Prawns in White Wine and Saffron Sauce
600g / 1lb 5oz linguine
200ml / 7fl oz / ¾ cup + 4 tsp white wine
pinch of saffron
75g / 2 ½ oz / 5 tbsp butter
600g / 1lb 5oz Dingle Bay prawns
2 garlic cloves, crushed
60ml / 2fl oz / ¼ cup cream (optional)
squeeze of lemon juice
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling water until al dente.
Steep saffron in white wine.
Heat a knob of butter in a large pan, let sizzle, add prawns and fry until they change colour, 1–2 minutes. Take prawns out and set aside.
Add the garlic, sizzle but do not brown – about 30 seconds. Add the wine with saffron, bring to the boil and let reduce by half. Add the rest of the butter and cream, if using, a squeeze of lemon, salt and pepper to taste. Add back the prawns and reheat, add the parsley, toss into the pasta.
Dingle Dinners – From the Chefs of Ireland’s #1 Foodie Town compiled and edited by Trevis L. Gleason, published by The Collins Press, price €24.99. It is available from all good bookshops and online from www.collinspress.ie
Follow me on Instagram @deannadublin for more Dingle sights and sounds.
MIND THE GAPS!!
If you fancy a slap up Seafood supper in Dingle, take a look at some of the super properties we have available to rent.