British Open: Where are the best places to eat around Portrush?
The Co Antrim seaside town has everything from brunch to late-night bites for golf-goers
Sea views and an all-day brunch at Babushka Kitchen Café on Portrush’s South Pier
Whatever about a good walk spoiled, a day spent at the golf is bound to bring on a hearty appetite and the thousands of spectators headed to Portrush for the Open will be descending on the region’s excellent restaurants, cafes and pubs.
Here are a selection of great places to grab something or eat and drink.
Strand Road, Portstewart, 0044-28-7083-1783
Donal Doherty’s famous beach shack above the National Trust Beach at Portstewart, is the first place on just about everybody’s mind when it comes to great places to eat in this part of the world, so not surprisingly the restaurant is booked out this week.
“We had more than 300 emails asking for tables, from all over the world, even before we opened the reservations list in March, and the place booked out in three days,” says Doherty.
But don’t despair, every night while the golf is on, Doherty’s team are feeding an extra 400 to 500 people, with a beach barbecue, pop-up bars, live music and a 120sq m tent serving fish and chips, scampi, squid and casual meals to walk-ins – famous golfers included.
“The place has literally doubled in size,” Doherty says. Food is being served outside and in the tent from 1-10pm. The Shack is fully booked for dinner, serving 150 people each night, but there is still some lunchtime availability.
South Pier, Portrush, 0044-77-8750-2012
George Nelson’s popular cafe on the town’s South Pier, which celebrates its fifth birthday on Thursday, opens from 9.15am until 5pm, with an all-day brunch menu and two seasonal lunch specials, as well as home-made cakes and sandwiches.
There are 25 seats inside, and the same number outside, weather permitting, and no reservations are taken, so it’s first come, first served.
A standout from the all-day brunch menu is buttermilk pancakes with coffee -infused maple syrup and honeycomb butter, served with poached eggs and smoked bacon. The cafe is also known for its excellent coffee, which comes from Swedish roastery, Koppi.
Nelson has plans for evening opening later in the year, with a small plates menu and natural wine list.
The Harbour, Portrush, 0044-28-7082-4313
This family-owned group of restaurants clustered together on the harbour can feed up to 1,000 people in a day, so keep it in your sights this week.
There are now six different outlets to choose from, with the recent addition of Basalt, a Spanish-influenced restaurant, which joins Ramore Wine Bar (casual, open for lunch and dinner from 5pm); The Mermaid Kitchen & Bar (the more formal offering, from 5pm); Neptune & Prawn (Asian influences, open from 4pm); The Tourist (family-friendly world food, from 3pm); and Harbour Bistro (wood-fired grilled meats, chicken and fish, from 5pm). The Harbour Bar also serves food and is open from noon.
Main Street, Portrush, 0044-28-7082-4110
Picky food, more substantial main courses and a paella del dia are on offer here, and it is one of few places in this locality that serve right up until 11pm (Monday to Saturday), so a good spot for a late bite.
Although their online bookings are full for the next few days, proprietors Sean and Trudy Brolly (Trudy is also the head chef), have held back some tables for regulars and walk-ins, so it’s definitely one to keep in mind.
Over to You: We asked readers to suggest their own favourite drinking and dining spots in the area. Here are a selection of the responses.
Lots of love forKiwi’s Brew Bar on Main Street in Portrush, with Danielle Roberts recommending the wings and messy fries, with a craft beer, and Ashleigh Topley saying the burgers are “the best”.
Garrett Murphy’s vote is for Amici Ristorante right beside the golf course in Portstewart, for pizzas cooked in a wood-fired oven, and meats grilled over charcoal.
Grilled cheese sandwiches seem to be a bit of thing in this neck of the weeds, with Sonia Harris Pope recommending the one at the Old Bushmills Distillery, with chips (and a whiskey) on the side, while Christine McClune gets a vote in for the gourmet toasties from the Maegden food truck, also in Bushmills.
Pizza expert Darren Bradley suggests avoiding the crowds and hopping over to Nonna’s Wood Fired Pizzas in Derry, where the Legendary Street Food Festival is also taking place this week (July 19th-21st).
For a comprehensive guide to the Causeway Coast, check out this list of 11 not-to-be-missed eating and drinking spots from Patrick Hanlon and Russell Alford of Gastrogays.