Myles and Ruth O’Brien have been running The Tavern Bar & Restaurant in the village of Murrisk, at the foot of Croagh Patrick, just outside Westport, since 1999. Over the years they have built up a well earned reputation for fine food, quality drink and a friendly service.
Dependent on time of year there are several dining options available at The Tavern, all extremely enjoyable. Upstairs the restaurant offers an early dinner menu, midweek specials and an A La Carte. There is also a children’s menu available, as well as half portions where possible off all menus.
The staff couldn’t be more helpful on this, and are really knowledgeable about everything on offer, which is always a god sign in a restaurant. During the winter months the restaurant closes some of the time, but the same good food is served all year round in the bar.
Seafood plays a big part on all menus, all fresh and mostly locally sourced, predominantly from Clew Bay. The selection includes mussels, lobster (seasonal), scallops, prawns and crab as well as my favourites; monkfish and seabass, cooked to order and to perfection. For the more carnivorous of us there is also a great selection of steaks, lamb and various fowl.
Like the fish they go the extra mile to try to use only local suppliers across the rest of the menu, so you will find the meats are from the well known local butchers. Mc Geogh’s of Oughterard and local artisan producers like Carrowholly cheeses also feature.
The last time we visited we had just finished climbing Croagh Patrick. The Tavern is almost at the foot of the mountain, and we needed some hot food and comfort after our three hours trek up and down the famous Reek. The fire was blazing and two starters made us feel human again; a cup of the Tavern’s chowder with brown bread was perfect comfort food for my weary body, while the fitter half, looking positively lively on the other side of the table enjoyed a seafood salad, which was a deconstructed prawn cocktail, with pile of prawns and a good Marie Rose sauce.
I left the sea behind for the main course and had a rustic dish of pan seared mountain lamb’s liver, which was really tender and cooked pink. It was served in onion gravy with bacon and creamy mash and revived the spirits perfectly. Deirdre finished her seafood pie in no time, and liked the good selection of fish and shellfish they used. We finished with a big pot of tea, and sat in front of the fire updating the world on our accomplishment via Facebook.
To accompany your meal there is a very extensive wine list, full and half bottles, and all very well priced. There is a smaller selection of wines available by the glass but ¼ bottles are also on offer.
Even if the Tavern at Murrisk didn’t serve great food, the location would make up for a lot; the scenery is stunning, and the welcome is warm. In short, The Tavern serves great food at value prices in a fabulous setting. What’s not to like?