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10 Cool Pubs in County Donegal that Specialise in Seafood

Being surrounded by the cool, clean waters of the Atlantic Ocean, it is no wonder that Donegal is probably the best county in Ireland to eat fresh seafood. Having been awarded 13 Blue Flag beaches last year, is an indication of how clean the waters around County Donegal are, something that is vital to the healthy growth of fresh oysters, mussels and all other shellfish.

To eat the amazing seafood that is landed fresh into Donegal every day, by locally owned fishing boats off our west coast, is a true pleasure! Our Donegal chefs have grown up with fresh seafood and are proud to cook it simply and let the flavour of the fish speak for itself. To eat delicious fish and seafood in a local pub, with a chilled glass of wine - or even better, with a pint of locally brewed Donegal craft beer - and you will get a taste of what it's actually like to live here in Donegal!

And so, we've put together this list (in no particular order) of 10 Cool Pubs in County Donegal that specialise in cooking and serving the freshest Fish and Seafood. Enjoy!

The Village Tavern 
Mountcharles, County Donegal
Tel: 074 973 5622

The Village Tavern is just 5 minutes drive west of Donegal Town. The Tavern prides itself on the many varied seafood dishes it has to offer. Fresh fish and seafood is sourced daily from the nearby ports of Inver and Killybegs and locally grown herbs and vegetables also make their way onto the menu. The Village Tavern has a modern approach to seafood cooking and presentation and combines traditional methods of cooking with modern styles and flavours such as Byrne's locally Smoked Cod Cakes‎, McHugh’s Atlantic Mussels & Oysters and a Donegal Mountain Lamb Plate. They specialise in small tasting plates (almost like an Irish seafood tapas) that you can enjoy in the bar or the casual dining room. The Village Tavern also offers a large selection of Irish craft beers.

The Fleet Inn
Bridge Street, Killybegs, County Donegal
Tel: 074 973 1518

Centrally located in the heart of the fishing town of Killybegs, the Fleet Inn is just a few minutes walk from the main harbour and only a short drive from the amazing Sliabh Liag Cliffs. The menu is designed to suite almost everyone's taste and includes traditional classics such as Monkfish & Prawns cooked in garlic butter and cheese along with other Oyster, Mussels, Scallops, Smoked Salmon and Crab dishes! Their beer battered fillet of fresh Killybegs Cod is locally famous and they also offer a good selection of meat dishes.

The Salmon Inn
Mullinasole, Laghey, County Donegal
Tel: 074 973 4040

Situated at the head of the pier in Mullinasole, halfway between Donegal Town and Ballyshannon, the Salmon Inn is one of the hidden gems of the Donegal food scene. The dining room looks out over Donegal Bay and the sunsets viewed from there are as spectacular as is the food on offer. Fresh fish and seafood are delivered daily and all are cooked to perfection. Local steak and lamb are also on the menu with daily specials on the blackboard. The staff are friendly and relaxed and the bar-food can also be served outside on the garden benches. Definitely one to try!

Olde Castle Bar, Donegal Town
Castle Street, Donegal Town, County Donegal
Tel: 074 972 1262

The Olde Castle Bar & Fish Dock Restaurant is home to some of finest Donegal Town's finest seafood, steaks, beers & whiskies, served by the O’Toole family and their team. The Bar is situated in the centre of Donegal Town, under the shadow of the famous Red Hugh O'Donnell Castle on the banks of the River Eske. The Olde Castle Bar serves a creamy Seafood Chowder and seafood and fish sourced from local ports and delivered fresh to their kitchen 6 days a week. Their Lobster, Crab, Mussels and Oysters are all fished from Donegal Bay.

Coll's Bar (Téach Coll)
Magheroarty, Gortahork, County Donegal
Tel: 087 7836415

Coll's Bar (Téach Coll in Gaelic) is a long established family-run public house in the North West Donegal Gaeltacht of Magheroarty. It overlooks the pier and beach, with the Inisboffin & Tory Islands, Muckish and Errigal mountains in the distance. The pub was established around 1900 by James Coll, the current proprietors grandfather. Coll's Bar is cosy and relaxed and the food is fresh, simply cooked and very tasty. They serve fresh Hake, Haddock, Oysters, Mussels, Smoked Salmon and are locally famous for their fresh Crab Claws and the house special Cod on Champ with Chorizo!

Nancy's Bar
Ardara, County Donegal
Tel: 074 954 1187

The McHugh family have owned Nancy's for over seven generations! At Nancy's you will find a host of cosy wee rooms waiting to make you feel at home, with helpful staff, delicious food, great local craft beers and a chatty, friendly atmosphere. The menu is simple and classic - from hearty vegetable soup and it's famous Seafood Chowder to local Oysters and Mussels. The house specials also include the Louis Armstrong Sandwich with smoked salmon, juicy homemade burgers and Charlie's Supper, a dish of prawns and smoked salmon warmed in a sweet chilli and garlic sauce.

The Singing Pub
Downings, County Donegal
Tel: 074 915 5176

The Singing Pub, at Clontallagh in Downings, is a traditional thatched pub with open fires that serves good pub grub, with an emphasis on local steaks and locally caught seafood. It all goes down great with a pint of local craft beer and they have regular live music sessions. The bar food ranges from homemade soup and chowder with traditional breads to a full a la carte menu including their famous Seafood Platter and a mouth-watering Steak on a Stone. The menu changes every week with fresh local seafood on the special daily menu board.

The Lobster Pot
Burtonport, County Donegal
Tel: 074 954 2012

The Lobster Pot has been in the Kelly family for over thirty years. Anne, Tim and the staff really love their seafood and they have built up a great reputation for serving superbly fresh and simply cooked seafood. Fresh Lobster, Crab Claws, Mussels and Oysters are all served. Their signature Seafood Platter, known as "The Titanic", is a feast for both the eyes and the taste buds!

The Seaview Tavern
Ballygorman, Malin Head, County Donegal
Tel: 0749370117

Michael and Caitriona Doherty run this wonderful old pub. Bar food and lunch specials are served daily with the emphasis on local produce including fresh seafood from the local pier. Lobster, Mussels, Oysters, Crab and Salmon are just some of the succulent seafoods available throughout most of the year with fresh seafood and meat specials on the blackboard every day!

Kealys' Seafood Bar
The Harbour, Greencastle, County Donegal
Tel: 074 93 81010

Kealy's Seafood Bar has been family run by James and Tricia Kealy since 1989. It is situated in the picturesque fishing village of Greencastle with an abundance of freshly caught fish, quite literally on the doorstep, from members of the Greencastle Fishermen’s Co-op! Fresh Hake, Haddock, Salmon, Oysters, Mussels and Smoked Mackerel are some of the favourites. The chefs at Kealy's also take great pride in the fact that they prepare all the breads, sauces, dips and desserts in-house.

Website: www.kealysseafoodbar.ie

And now for a Very Special Mention for the Best Seafood Chowder in the World!

Nancy's Barn
Main Street, Ballyliffin, Clonmany, County Donegal
Tel: 086 843 2897

Nancy's Barn is not a pub, but it is a beautifully restored old barn in the heart of Ballyliffin, which serves the most delicious seafood chowder in the world - and that's official!

Chef and owner of Nancy’s Barn, Kieran 'Duey' Doherty, won the sixth annual All-Ireland Chowder Cook Off in Kinsale in April last year, which earned him the right to compete with some of the best chowder makers in the world. On Saturday, 10th June, 2017, Nancy's Barn competed in and won the 1st Prize at the 36th Annual Great Chowder Cook-Off in Rhode Island, USA, which is the longest-running event of this kind in world.

The restaurant is run by Kieran and his wife Edel, and they serve delicious fresh home baking, desserts, shortbread, scones, sandwiches and seafood chowder.

For more information on all the bars and restaurants that provide food in County Donegal and other information about events and places to visit, go to our website at www.GoVisitDonegal.com.

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