Restaurants and Pubs
Dining options become more local as you move away from the bigger towns in rural Ireland. This is especially true in Sligo and Roscommon. The largest county of the three, Mayo is brimming with dining selections; Ballina, Westport, and Castlebar offer traditional and modern Irish fare, while the coastal regions and islands have delectable seafood. During the summer and peak holiday times, make reservations for dinner as early as possible. (In the restaurant listings that follow, = around 25 euros per person.)
The Lemon Peel
The Octagon, Westport, Co. Mayo 098 26 929
The Lemon Peel is a modern and stylish bistro serving up tasty modern-Irish concoctions using local produce. The host and chef, Robbie McMenamin, does a grand job of not only cooking, but of greeting his patrons. Serious about its food, the Lemon Peel is both gourmet and free-spirited.
Caf é Rua
Spencer St., Castlebar, Co. Mayo 094 928 6072
The Caf é Rua offers a delectable set menu that, while slightly on the pricy side, does match its notoriety as one of the Castlebar-Westport region's best traditional dining venues. Numerous epicures concede that the slow-roasted pork belly ribs are a favorite.
Achill Cliff Houseand Restaurant
Keel, Achill Island, Co. Mayo 098 43 400
A hotel and a restaurant, the Achill Cliff House is held in high esteem for its wonderful selection of fresh seafood and traditional dishes. From mussels to Atlantic salmon and roast leg of Achill lamb, the oceanic and meaty delights are served with a smile. Hotel rooms are simple but clean and comfortable.
The Silver Apple
Lord Edward Street, Strandhill Rd., Sligo Town 071 914 6770
The Silver Apple is a French-inspired dining establishment with flawless d écor and an appetizing menu. With a well-thought out children's menu, do not be shy about bringing them along. The extensive wine selection means a perfect accompaniment of ruby Bordeaux or sweet Banyuls.
Coach Lane at Donaghy's
1-2 Lord Edward Street, Sligo Town 071 916 2417
An international m élange of flavor with a focus on seafood, the Coach Lane also has pub grub, French, and Italian cuisine. The place gets packed on weekends, making for an animated atmosphere. Reserve ahead to avoid disappointment.
Jackson's Restaurantand Guesthouse
Market Sq., Roscommon Town 090 663 4140
Award-winning chef Geraldine Garvin ensures that each plate is prepared and presented as an artistic masterpiece. Dishes are categorized as vegetarian and pasta, meat and poultry, and fish. Superb and stimulating for the taste buds is the honey-roasted half duckling. Kiddy dishes are offered and prepared with the same idea that freshness and the use of in-season local produce makes the meal. The guesthouse has spacious rooms great for families.