That's the only way to get to The Fish Kitchen...by going up a narrow staircase with the hope no one is coming down since there's only room for one at a time! But the climb is absolutely worth it. The Fish Kitchen is located above a fish market in the center of town, no more than 150 yards from the waters of Bantry Bay.
The first thing to know about this very hidden gem is that you MUST make a reservation. There are only about 8-10 tables depending on arrangement. The night we were there at least 5-6 groups of hungry walk-ins were turned away...and that was midweek.
There are many great seafood restaurants in West County Cork, Ireland all the way from Kinsale to Schull and Goleen. The Fish Kitchen is as good, if not better than any of them. The hospitality is warm and friendly. The staff is knowledgeable. This is a husband/wife business with a few relatives and friends helping out. All aim to please. And then there's the food! Everything is very fresh, much of it from just outside the door in Bantry Bay. Though there are a few meat courses, the idea here is fish: shell fish and ocean fish all cooked to perfection and served with abundant sides. The wine list is small but has some fine choices. And the dessert menu is hard to turn down. Tables are a little close together as you might expect but the four of us still had our space and never felt our conversation was mixing with that coming from the next table. The West Cork area is well known to European tourists as the amount of audible French and German proves. Americans have yet to discover this scenic area in any great number however. Bantry is a great place to start. And the Fish Kitchen is the perfect place for dinner the first night in town...you might just go back a few more times!
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