Willie Pa’s Restaurant and Bar is located five miles outside Bantry. This imposing roadside premises has been taken over by Pat Kiely, owner and chef at the famous O’Connors Seafood restaurant in Bantry town. The food is now hitting the high notes, and with a new young team, it’s a great stopping point on any West Cork odyssey.
Willie Pa’s is hard to miss, it is painted in a bright mustard colour, and there is a large car park. Hanging baskets and flowers boxes add to the colour, and outside is a new beer garden, perfect for a drink and a bite to eat in the sun.
Inside the premises is bright and airy, with a changing collection of photographs of the surrounding countryside by local photographers on the walls. These are for sale, at reasonable prices and make an excellent keepsake for visitors. The bar area is dominated by a large image of a happy cow that looks down over the room, and in the restaurant there is seating for up to eighty people, and it lends itself to parties and large groups.
While O’Connor’s is a Michelin recommended seafood restaurant, Willie Pa’s is primarily a steakhouse, and a choice of several cuts and sizes of aged beef dominate the menu. There are of course seafood dishes – the traditional fish and chips are very popular – and a selection of shellfish starters and mains.
Head chef here is Mark Donovan, who has worked with Dylan McGrath in Rustic Stone and Fade Street, and who also spent some time with Roly’s Bistro in Ballsbridge, and has the flair and experience to run a great kitchen. The meats are all locally sourced and the beef is hung and aged up to 35 days.
Willie Pa’s is one of West corks best casual dining options, and with a carefully selected wine list from Wines Direct, and a great front of house manager in Pat Murnane, Bantry and its environs have two of the best dining options in this part of the country. Highly recommended.