As Wexford is partly surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea, we have a number of thriving fishing villages like Kilmore Quay, Duncannon and Wexford town supplying fresh fish and shellfish to great pubs and restaurants across the county.
We also have two wonderful smokehouses. Located in the town of New Ross, Kai and Lee Ronan run Duncannon Smokehouse which produces gorgeous cold smoked trout, smoked wild and organic salmon, and natural oak smoked haddock. They also have a beautiful fish shop on Wexford Street in New Ross which is opened Monday to Saturday. Check out their website here: duncannonfish.com.
The other fish smokery is Ballyhack Smokehouse situated in the picturesque village of Arthurstown. Owned by local fisherman Michael Walsh, Ballyhack is a family-run business that has been handed down for five generations. Michael only uses three ingredients when smoking his fish – beech wood chips, salt and wild [when in season] or Irish organic salmon. Time is a primary factor to consider when smoking as it could take up to three days to smoke his salmon. It all depends on the size of the salmon and the humidity in the air. You can taste his delicious smoked salmon in many establishments across the county and beyond. It can be purchased through his website here: ballyhacksmokehouse.com. Also, if you’re interested in seeing Michael’s 80-year old smokehouse, Lorraine O’Dywer from Gallivanting Tours visits Ballyhack as part of her one-day food and drink tours of Wexford. Check them out here: www.gallavanting.ie
Below in no particular order, we have listed five spots to enjoy seafood while staying here in Wexford. Do not worry, if you’re travelling with non-seafood lovers, all locations provide meat and vegetarian options as well.
1. La Cote
Custom Quay, Wexford town, County Wexford
00353 (0)53 912 2122
La Cote has the perfect setting located along the quayside of Wexford town overlooking the harbour where our famous mussel trawlers rest while not out on the Irish Sea. This contemporary seafood restaurant is much loved by local customers and returning visitors to the town. It has won many national accolades over the years where both owners, Chef Paul Hynes and his wife Edwina who runs the front of house, have been recognised for their food and hospitality. The restaurant is a holder of the L’Assiette Michelin, or Michelin Plate, indicating a restaurant of noteworthy, quality food.
What we love about La Cote is the informality and accessibility it brings to seafood dining in Wexford. The dining room is simply decorated with polished wooden tables, white linen napkins, good quality glasses and crockery. Everything here has been sourced carefully to make sure the diner has a relaxing and memorable experience.
Menus change regularly here, and you can see Paul’s passion for using local but high-quality produce jumping from his menus. Paul is well-known in the food community in Ireland as he loves to share his knowledge and enthusiasm for good honest cooking at festivals and events. He is a fan of foraging and is quite active on Twitter – give him a follow @ChefPaulHynes. Paul is a member of Euro-Toques Ireland, a chef’s organisation which fights to protect Ireland’s culinary heritage and helps to inspire the future generation of chefs.
Producers are named checked on dishes with names like Meylers Fish Merchants, Fancy Fungi mushrooms, the famous Cashel Blue cheese and Drummond House garlic. The drinks list is well written with beers from our local breweries, Clever Man, Yellow Belly and Arthurstown, and wines sourced from great independent wine merchants in Ireland.
We would recommend letting the team tell you what to order as they have a great special blackboard featuring much loved seafood like Wexford bay mussels, crab, brill and sometimes the delicious lobster. Desserts are a high point here as well which include a range of house ice creams.
2.Roches Pub of Duncannon
Quay Road, Duncannon, The Hook Peninsula, County Wexford
00353 (0)51 389188
Located on the picturesque Hook Peninsula, Roches is a traditional family-run Irish pub with lots of charm and character. It is situated in the centre of Duncannon village across the road from Duncannon’s mile long beach and the pub is the epicentre of activity within the community. Here you will find a huge selection of Irish craft beers and ciders plus a good wine list. They have a great range of Irish gin and whiskey which just keeps expanding.
Through their menus, Roches is a huge supporter of Wexford and Irish ingredients using producers like Fish Ahoy from Arthurstown and Duncannon Fish Merchants, sourcing tomatoes from Wallace’s of Horeswood, dry-cured bacon from O’Neills Bacon in Enniscorthy, and of course Wexford potatoes and strawberries when in season. They even have their own herb and vegetable garden where they grow an abundance of vegetables throughout the summer.
Blackboards are used here where specials change daily depending on the catch of the day by local fishing trawlers. You will find an array of meat, fish and vegetable dishes to suit all people. Try the Fisherman’s Basket which usually consists of breaded calamari [squid], prawns and ling, proper chips and tartare sauce – ultimate pub food which goes well with one of our craft beers made here in Wexford – Clever Man, Arthurtown or Yellow Belly.
3.Wild and Native
Strand Road, Rosslare, County Wexford
00353 (0)53 913 2668
The couple behind this lovely Rosslare seafood restaurant is Fergal and Jodie Dempsey. Fergal runs the kitchen while Jodie works front of house. Located just a stone throw away from the golden Rosslare strand, they have cleverly decorated the room with varnished pallets, fish nets and flickering lights. This place is a great location to dine with friends or a loved one but make sure you book ahead as it is very popular with locals and regular visitors to the area. Wild and Native made the 100 Best places to eat by Mckennas’ Guides for 2018, the only Wexford dining establishment to make the prestigious list.
As they are inspired by their surroundings and source produce from mainly Wexford suppliers, the menu is more or less seafood, with a few meat and vegetarian options. Definitely try the fish, Fergal knows how to cook it right. Rosslare crab, Wexford bay mussels, lobster, turbot, scallops, brill, sole, hake are all regular features on the menu. Fish heaven! They have a cracking wine list here also, lots of choices to suit all tastes. Jodie and her front of house team create an electric and friendly atmosphere. A perfect location to relax after a stroll on Rosslare strand.
4.The Lobster Pot
Ballyfane, Carne, County Wexford
00353 (0)53 913 1110
Yes, if you are a fan of lobster, you will find it here. Cooked straight from the lobster tank and served with lots of lemon butter. The Lobster Pot Seafood and Steak Bar is a well-established restaurant situated in the south east corner of Wexford county and it has a huge following from locals and visitors from around the world. Listed in Michelin Guide Great Britain and Ireland 2018, The Lobster Pot is known for their simple but delicious approach to seafood cooking using produce from their locality. They serve food all day in the bar with an extensive evening menu that can list over twenty types of fish at any given time. Impressive or what?
You will find dishes like Duncannon smoked salmon, seafood chowder, crab salad, and dover sole on the bone. For non-seafood lovers, they have you covered with items like crispy duckling, delicious range of steaks and a lovely selection of vegetarian dishes. We have to mention their superb selection of Irish whiskeys which will definitely keep any whiskey nut entertained for the evening. Atmosphere here can be electric in their quaint pub and restaurant. On sunny days, you can enjoy your food outside on the large picnic wooden tables at the front.
5.The Bistro Gorey
The Avenue, Gorey, County Wexford
00353 (0)53 948 9540
The Bistro in Gorey is known for their personal and warm welcome the minute you walk through the door. The atmosphere here is always buzzing with their open plan and modern look interiors. Run by husband and wife team Tina and James Bursey, The Bistro menus change daily in line with the seasons and the best of what Wexford has to offer.
Here, you will find dishes like a classic Dublin bay prawn cocktail, natural smoked hake with a fresh herb crust, tempura of plaice with lemon aioli, surf ‘n’ turf, and delicious sweet pan fried scallops. For non-seafood lovers, The Bistro is known for their meat dishes too such as their succulent prime Hereford steaks. Their wine list is extensive with superb options by the glass or bottle. Desserts are a highlight and will please any sweet tooth. Items like crème brulee, strawberries and cream, and icky-sticky meringues. If you’re a fan of an Irish Coffee, they know how to make a good one!