August 30, 2012

Dining in Kenmare: Prego, Wharton's, Cupán Tae and Kenmare Icecream

As a general rule myself and the boyfriend tend to holiday in Ireland and as much as I hate the word, we are ‘staycationers’. I crave peace, quiet, good food and lots of walking and holidays in Ireland tick all these boxes. For our summer holidays this year we got to spend a lovely week in Parknasilla Resort down in Sneem, Co. Kerry. This resort would generally be waaaaay out our budget but I recently had a lucky streak where I won a week’s holiday, a cookbook and cinema tickets. Well sure it never rains but pours as the saying goes!! 

Parknasilla is a beautiful resort based in the Ring of Kerry and overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. It is surrounded by acres of land and there are tons of activities to choose from. We stayed in the villas there and used them as our base to explore the surrounding areas of Kerry. Kenmare was half an hour away by car so it was one of the places that we ate out quite a bit in. 

Kenmare has some great restaurants and seems to be cheaper than the more touristy Killarney though maybe it is because Kenmare seems to be filled with families and it has taken that into account. First off the list was Wharton’s Fish & Chips, this is a takeaway/small sit down restaurant that we wandered past, turned around and came back in to read the menu. They had us at hake burger!! We ordered two at four euros each and got some chips as well. 

This has to be without doubt the best fish burger I have ever had. They batter and fry the fish right in front of you, place it in a fresh bap and add some tartar sauce. It is simple but damn it was good! The chips were also fried to perfection, crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside. They weren’t greasy at all and I could have almost kidded myself into believing it was half healthy. We went back a second time ordered the same thing and got onion rings as well. These were a little disappointing as they were a bit greasy but no worse than anywhere else I have ever eaten them. Be warned though the take away portions are huge, if sitting down they are less so but still substantial. You will not come away hungry!

Hake Burgers and Chips

For lunch we tried Cupán Tae, which after having recently tried out in Galway I was raving about to himself. I did warn him before that everything was fine china cups, very flowery and totally girly but he is well used to that by now! Cupán Tae in Kenmare didn’t disappoint on the crockery but it did disappoint on the food. The menu here is very limited and nothing at all like the Galway Cupán Tae. Himself had a good enough tuna melt while I had a chicken sandwich. I probably should have known better it was literally two pieces of bread with chicken and butter, no relish… nothing. It brought me right back to days spent on the beach as a kid in the 80s!! It was literally what it said on the menu but after being in Galway my expectations had been set very high. For five euros it felt a bit like a tourist rip off! Thankfully though the lime and courgette cake was exactly the same – delicious and moist and always a treat. So if I head there again it would be for just tea and cake. 

During the week we also headed to Prego, an Italian Restaurant, which had enticed us in with the promise of potato pizza. We traipsed up at about 9.30 on a Wednesday evening and were lucky to get a seat as the place was packed. It is a small restaurant and it was cosy but there was a great buzz in the place. We started off the evening with Salmon Crostini and Raviollo Al Gambaretti. The crostini was toasted bread topped with Kenmare Smoked Salmon with a lemon & red onion mayonnaise while the raviollo were small ravioli filled with spinach, cream & garlic.

Both were great starters though the raviollo almost made me wish I had ordered pasta for my main it was that good. Then it was onto the pizza where I ordered the sausage and potato one and he got the Noble Pig. The Noble Pig was topped with slow roasted shredded pork, rocket and apple slices while the sausage and potato pizza came fully loaded with local sausage and baby potatoes. The pizzas were thin, crispy and had great flavor combinations. Having lived in Italy the concept of potato pizza wasn’t new to me but I haven’t seen it outside Italy before and I actually think it was better than what I have had there before.  Having eaten every last scrap it was a struggle whether or not to end with dessert but as the food was so good we got a tiramisu and a tarte au citron. The tiramisu was lovely if a bit heavy for me at that time of night though my lemon tart went down a treat. The whole bill came to just under €50 and that was including a good espresso. 

One other thing to note about Prego is that they do not offer a children’s menu they instead offer smaller portions of all the grown up food so that kids are eating exactly the same food as Mum and Dad. They also offer gluten free pasta and will try to cater to other dietary needs especially if given a bit of notice. We went back the following Friday night starving after a walk up and around Torc Waterfall (it’s a lovely walk try it if you get a chance) but alas they were fully booked. That’s what we get for being too relaxed on holidays!!

One final must try is Kenmare Icecream and with 21 flavours to choose from I used that as justification for the four times we went there during the one week!! It is the good sort of creamy icecream that tastes like the flavour it is meant to be and on the plus side it isn’t that expensive. For two waffle cones with one scoop each cost us €3.85 which is quite a difference to Murphys in Killarney which cost us €7. This place would also be perfect for children that have an intolerance to dairy as they did have sorbets on offer. 

Kenmare is a beautiful part of Kerry and if you are deciding on somewhere to stay for future holidays I would highly recommend it. It would be a great base to explore the Ring of Kerry from and has great food and pubs to come back to after a long day out exploring the countryside, swimming in the sea or just enjoying everything Ireland has to offer. 

 Prego on Urbanspoon

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