I'm not sure what I was thinking when I stopped by a grocery store for lunch in Howth, after seeing all of the tasy menus in the windows of the restaurants along West Pier I was kicking myself. So I decided to head off to see Malahide Castle and then come back to Howth for dinner a few hours later and settled on The Oar House which had a lovely tapas option so a solo diner like me could try a couple of different things. Howth is a big fishing area and I think you can safely assume that most of the offerings are very fresh, if in doubt, ask the wait staff.
I got there at about 5pm and the hostess said I was welcome to one of the tables as long as I vacated it by 6:30pm when all the tables were booked, mind you this was on a Monday so it must be a popular place. It appears that you can book reservations here and it might be advisable especially in high season or on the weekend.
Service was fine and I liked that they brought out a bottle of tap water without having to ask for it.
Favorite Dish: I ordered two tapas portions which are about 1/2 the size of the main portion. That was more than enough food for me. The Howth crab cakes (9.95€) were quite good, not greasy and with a fair amount of crab. The fried calamari (7.95€) was very tender and not greasy, both came with dipping sauces.
Dinner for 1 was €20.90.
My second visit to Howth, I came across The House - it was my kind of place, but I didn't get the chance to eat here - I drooled over the menu from outside though!
I especially liked the sound of their 'Soup and Stew Nights for a tenner' I enjoyed reading the complimentary newspaper reviews that were displayed too.
I was particularly interested to read that this was the former home of the notorious Sea Captain - William Bligh - yes, he of 'Mutiny on the Bounty' fame. (See my Things to do tips for more info)
The House prides itself on serving 'Home-made Food in a relaxed, friendly atmosphere, using the best local, fresh ingredients' (Wrights of Howth fish feature especially) to create simple home cooked dishes! It's a well renowned place now for locals and diners from further afield to enjoy this stylish but relaxed place. The owner Karl Dillon (a local of Howth) and the chef, Ian Connelly aimed to build up a family restaurant, with the emphasis being on serving simple, seasonal, locally sourced and organic food.
Well I was here mid morning, (my 3rd visit to Howth) so after entering and finding a seat next to the window (and a pile of newspapers and Sunday supplements) and the pastry counter! I (eventually) chose a Danish Pastry and a latte.
There was a mix of clientele, enjoying a coffee/ pastry or early lunch. 'Yummy Mummies', elderly ladies, couples and business partners. It appeared to be mainly locals, as quite a few people here seemed to know each other.
The menu included
Breakfast- (from 1.70 - 8.95 Euros) Fresh pastries, sourdough or wholemeal toast with jam, Home made scone with cream and jam, bacon sandwich, Granola with fruit and yogurt, American style pancakes (with fruit, yogurts, roasted nuts and maple syrup)
Lunch Sandwiches (8.95- 9.95 Euros) Ham Hock and Mount Callon cheddar melt on sourdough with apple salad and pineapple chutney, Steak baguette, buttermilk and onion rings, Organic meatball sandwich with melted mozzarella onion rings and mixed leaves, Daily roast in a roll, Smoked salmon on brown bread with potato and horseradish salad and capers.
Soups and homemade bread, chicken and apple sausages black pudding with apple and cider gravy and mashed potatoe, McGeoghs Irish charcuterie and Irish cheeseboard with home made pickles chutneys and crusty baguette.(9.95-17.95 Euros)
Mixed salads. (8.50 Euros)
The Dinner Menu has 7 starters (6.75-19.95) including Bluebell Falls goats cheese and warm figs on toasted brioche with rosemary oil and aged balsamic, Home cured trout with salsify and almond fritters and anchovy mayo.
8 main courses (15.50 - 21.95) including Galway mussels irish crab cream mixed herbs and fries, Roast rump of lamb pea mash cherry tomato caper and mint gravy, Chargrilled whole seabass saute potatoes garlicky green beans slow roast tomato shellfish mayo.
Desserts 5 choices (5.50 -10.50 euros) including Carrot cake, Miss Mandys Ice Creams, Strawberry Eton Mess; Chocolate Brownie with raspberry, white chocolate and vanilla malt ice cream; Three Irish cheeses with home made chutneys and crusty bread.
Remember the menu is seasonal though - this was Julys menu
Extensive range of wines, beers lager, soft drinks
I enjoyed this place- a comfortable atmosphere, with friendly staff.
Light coloured walls, dark wooden tables and chairs, plain crockery
- No chintz/faux olde worlde stuff.
Monday - Friday 09.00 - 22.00
Saturday - Sunday 10.00 - 22.30
09.00- coffee and light breakfast
11.30 (Saturday/Sunday) - Brunch
12.00 Weekdays - lunch
5 of us enjoyed breakfast here - coffees and bacon sandwiches or toast and home made jam. A lovely relaxing atmosphere.
Favorite Dish: I loved my Danish Pastry (1.70 Euros)and Latte (made with Illy Coffee).
At my second visit, the bacon sandwich was sublime!!! (pic 5) Ciaba tta bread, local Irish bacon, with a grilled tomato (with a sprinkling of herbs) and dressed leaves! Machiata, and a (complimentary) carafe of water.
Bacon Sandwich 6.75 Euros
Toast and jam 1.80 Euros
Capuccino/Latte 2.95 Euros
Double espresso 2.80 Euros
Machiata 2.45 Euros
I smelt this place, before I saw it, as the delicious cooking smells were wafting towards me.
I had planned to find a pub to eat at in Howth, but decided to see what this converted tramcar had to offer.
It didn't take me long to decide- Fish chowder!. This was served in a polystyrene tub, with a spoon. It was a very filling meal, and delicious! Plenty of flavour-many chunks of fish and Irish potatoes, and a creamy seasoned sauce.
I could have had deep fried calamari for 6 euros or Fish soup for 3 euros too.
A notice on the tram stated that all the fish was supplied daily by Dorans on the pier. I'm not sure if this 'Take Away' was part of their business or not.
I headed to the harbour to enjoy my food, while watching the seals bobbing up and down in the water.
Later, looking in the fish shops and fish restaurants nearby, I saw fresh fish chunks for making your own chowder, as well as packets of 'chowder seasoning', also trays of chowder for freezing/reheating later. It seems that this is a popular dish!
The fish in Dorans looked very fresh, it was a pity that I couldn't take any home with me.
There was a sign in their shop window advertising bags of fish (and a glove) to feed the seals for 2 euros. (pic 3) The council have controversially stopped 'feeding of the seals' due to 'Health and Safety risks'!!!
UPDATE - I was disappointed to find that this place was closed when I visited on Monday - I was looking forward my chowder.
Hopefully it was just closed because of the torrential downpour that was happening- Great July weather-NOT! I was soaked to the skin!
UPDATE OCTOBER 2011
On my most recent visit, I noticed that the tramcar had been replaced by a new stall. Although I didn't eat here, it appeared that Fish Chowder and calamari etc were on the menu.
Favorite Dish: Mmmmm, this chowder was hot and full of flavour - creamy and peppery. with good sized chunks of fish and potato. Just right for a breezy day in March!
It cost me 5 euros. (Which thinking about it now, was quite expensive 5 euro = £5!!), but it was delicious!! So I'm not complaining too much)
As we arrived in Howth around lunch time, The Waterside was our very first stop and it turned out to be a great way to kick off our visit! We mainly picked The Waterside because I don't eat fish, which of course is the main item on the menu of all the restaurants located closer to the harbour. As soon as we stepped into this little pub, we liked the cozy atmosphere so we picked two seats at the well-worn bar counter and ordered some drinks. When I asked about the wine selection (it was our last day and I'd had enough Guinness at that point), the bartender placed all the mini bottles in front of me and told me to pick one or all of them! I was in the mood for pasta so I got the spaghetti Bolognese with garlic bread, and that was very good. The bartender chatted with us for a little while, and he gave us a map of the town that turned out to be quite useful to locate all the major attractions. Our day in Howth was off to a good start!
After wandering around the harbour, watching the seals and the fishing boats, I was ready for a coffee. I chose this place due to its brightly coloured facade and seating outside-It was a lovely sunny spring morning.
I went inside and received a friendly welcome from the young man behind the bar. I ordered a coffee-I was tempted by the array of pastries, but was still full from breakfast.
I was asked if I wanted water with my coffee.
I sat outside and enjoyed sitting in the sunshine, people watching. This establishment doesn't overlook the harbour directly - sadly the view is blocked by a warehouse, but this is the only downside.
My coffee arrived, along with a decanter of water and a glass with ice, plus a complimentary biscuit. I was quite amused to see that the sugar packets had 'A spoonful of Irish' quotations in Irish and English - 'The traveller has tales to tell' and 'What fills the eye fills the heart'! which seemed quite appropriate that morning.
It was these small touches, and the quality of service, that elevated 'a cup of coffee' into a memorable occasion.
As I commented on my Facebook status 'Sitting, supping coffee in Howth Harbour in the sunshine - why can't all Monday mornings be like this'??
It was nice to 'escape' for a while, and this was the place to do that. I was so chilled that I can't remember how much I paid- I'll no doubt come across my receipt soon.
I'll certainly return here next time I'm in Howth, and will try one of the delicious dishes from their extensive menu-The only problem I can foresee is deciding which of Chef Daniel Smyths creations to choose!
Open for Coffee and Pastries 10.00 -12.00
Early Monkey Menu - all day Monday - Saturday to 19.00 2 courses and tea or coffee for 20.11 Euros - See the website for this menu - A good selection of 6 starters/ and 7 Mains - I think there must be a separate desserts menu.
The main menu
3 soups 5 -11 Euros - seafood chowders and Soup of the Day
13 starters/Tapas 5 - 14 Euros Anti pasti platter, Dublin Bay Prawn Cocktail, pate, barbecued pork ribs
16 mains -12 -35 Euros Lamb Shank, pan seared scallops, Warm pear and blue cheese salad, Fish and Chips, Surf n Turf
Live entertainment Friday evenings
BRASS MONKEY FACEBOOK
Favorite Dish: Although I only had a coffee, this was nicely presented, with extra touches of a biscuit and decanter of water with ice.
I'm looking forward to eating here next time I'm in Howth.
The food in the restaurant is really good and the service, as well.
The restaurant is on the first floor, has lots of light and great view because of huge windows.
If you are booking the table, ask to be seated by the window.
Favorite Dish: Duck salad, salmon
Let's face it, many of the restaurants in Howth are quite pricey and sometimes all you want is something salty and bad for you - walking by the sea always has that effect on me anyway! :)
This is where many local Dubliners will go for their chip-fix. They have a take-away counter or you can go inside and eat.
This is NOT the place to go if you're a health nut!!!
If you're on a budget and don't care about calories, this is the place for you.
Favorite Dish: I like their Southern Fried Chicken. Chunky proper chip-shop chips, not like that McDonald's muck.
Alcohol is not on sale here.
Lovely and informal atmosphere in this place, as well as a very nice range of cocktails and liquer coffees ;)
I've had their Chicken Caesar salad, which is delicious, don't get me wrong, but €16 is a lot to pay for a simple dish like that, I reckon.
The service is great, as is the location, overlooking Howth Harbour.
Favorite Dish: Tiramisu :)
After our walk from Sutton to Howth, we realised that we were hungry. A whiff of fish and chips from this cafe enticed us to join the small queue. On my first visit to Howth 'Years Ago' I'd enjoyed a take away tray of calimari and chips from Beshoffs, which I'd been wanting to try again, but, we were planning to walk along the nearby East Pier, so decided to buy here instead.
We ordered 2 bags of chips (2.30 Euros each). We had to wait about 5 minutes, while our chips were 'double fried' then served in thick paper bags. I doused mine in white vinegar and salt. (I'm more used to (brown) malt vinegar, but noticed in the cafes and bars of Dublin, that white vinegar was the norm)
We ate our chips while strolling on the upper harbour wall - it was quite breezy, so we had to tightly grip the chip bag!
I enjoyed my chips, they were good, but not as memorable or tasty as those I'd enjoyed before at Beshoffs.
Take Away or Sit in - Fish and Chips, burgers, pizza etc.
After walking from Sutton, we were ready for a cold drink, and decided to stop off here. I fancied a glass of the 'red' lemonade - although one of my work colleagues, who is of Irish descent, had recently corrected me that the red lemonade is just known as lemonade, while the clear stuff, that is sold in England, is known as white lemonade!
to be continued.....
East Pier, Howth, Ireland
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Solo
I had been wanting to stay in Howth, and was pleasantly surprised, when I came across this hotel on...more
Nashville Road, Howth, 3, Ireland
Good for: Solo