The Fish Box Restaurant in Dingle, from their boat to our plate
There really is something special about Dingle. If you have already visited, I think you know what I mean. Fantastic restaurants, pubs and shops… where there is a great variety of food to try, to taste and to bring home; passionate people that do what they love most, and they do it well; amazing produce is found and creative minds bring it all together in delicious and innovative ways.
One of these great places is The Fish Box, seafood restaurant and take away and some of these great people I am talking about are the Flannery’s. They have been a fishing family since 1920, and still are! Sustainability is one of their core ethos and they do a lot of work to bring an environmentally friendly approach to their business. They reduce the mileage on their seafood by bringing the freshest of fish from their boat to our plate, they clean up the sea by bringing home sea litter and use fully compostable packaging… Their restaurant on Green Street is a great success!
‘’The Fish Box is a revolutionary destination in darling Dingle, and you can’t go home until you have eaten their signature Fish Box, one of the great Irish culinary creations.’’ John and Sally McKennas
We got the chance to ask them some questions…
You are running a fantastic family business here in Dingle, tell us, who is involved in the Fish Box and who is doing what…
Thank you! We’ve got a cool dynamic here because we also own a fishing trawler. So my brother Patrick catches the fish, my mother Deirdre is a chef at The Fish Box, my father Michael and Uncle Paul prepare all of our fish. My sister Eimear works full time here at The Fish Box and Micheál does the day to day running of The Fish Box. We have an amazing team here working with us at The Fish Box and they are all part of the Fish Box family now, without the amazing work of our team, we don’t know where we would be!
Since you opened in 2018, you have been growing with success, we have been witnessing queues outside the door during Dingle’s peak season and fantastic feedback from all over. We would say, the secret ingredient in your kitchen is definitely the quality and freshness of the fish…would you agree?
Yes, 100%. The fish we have here is second to none. The whole reason we opened The Fish Box was to get people eating more Irish Fish! We’re also very creative & the dishes are enticing. I think our customers love our variety! Fresh fish is delicious and people love it!
Dingle has been a fishing port for centuries, being out at sea was and still is a very dangerous job, a lot of work is involved, and your crew is out on your trawler Cú Na Mara for weeks at times. We think that it is important that people know where their food comes from, and you are doing a brilliant job telling your story to a wider public….what would you say are the biggest challenges in supplying the restaurant with your own fish?
Fishing is definitely one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. You couldn’t but have the utmost admiration for what these people go through to ensure that we have the freshest of seafood on our plates! Some of the biggest difficulties we have are the weather! If the sea forecast is bad, it means the boat cannot fish and we are then short of supply! Menu writing can also be difficult as sometimes they don’t catch their targeted species. We always say ‘’That is why it’s called Fishing and not Catching!’’
Your menu varies from a classic fish and chips and your signature Fish Box, to delicious currys, oysters and much more…. What would you say is the most popular dish in your restaurant?
We have a few… Because we work 2 kitchens, we’ve different elements to our menu. It is hard to narrow it down but if I was to choose one from each element I would say, The Fish Box… which is a dish we created offering a selection of the deep fried offerings we have and the Crispy Chilli Monkfish. And I think our Flambé Langoustines are also hugely popular!
Ireland has been blooming in recent years regarding food and drink, small producers are given credit and people are starting to see the beauty and quality of our food. Could you tell us, what is Irish food for you and your family?
For us, Irish Food is food with a story. At The Fish Box we try and use all locally sourced ingredients. This way we can tell our customers about the amazing food producers that supply us! To have traceability, to support Irish food producers and to be able to tell our customers where our fish was caught, when it was caught, who caught it… This means everything to us. Ireland boasts some of the most amazing produce available to the market & The Fish Box wants to be able to play a part in telling our customers about amazing Irish products & producers.
Ireland is an island, there are plenty of beautiful shores and beaches where people can walk by the sea, swim and …fish. Alas, the consumption of fish at home in Ireland is still low compared to meat. Why do you think is that?
I think that fresh Irish Seafood and the Frozen At Sea products from the Irish Trawlers is a commodity. I think that seafood is largely overlooked and could be promoted a bit more. I believe that when people can see where their fish is coming from, who is catching it, the freshness, etc, makes it much more appealing. In saying that, people are becoming much more health conscious and they know that eating fresh fish has massive health & nutritional benefits. We’re hoping that we can get as many people eating fish as often as possible.
What is it that you like the most about Dingle and its food scene?
I love the variety. Dingle boasts a wide range of offerings which is very attractive. I feel Dingle has really focused on Local produce. Our peninsula boasts some of the best producers in Ireland and we are so lucky to be able to cook & create with these products. Dingle’s food scene is blessed with amazing people, families and chefs that is making it a really exciting time to be part of the Dingle foodie family.
Just curious, what is your favourite family dinner at home for an occasion or simply for being all together and enjoying a good meal?
This is an easy one! During the first lockdown we had a family dinner every Wednesday. Our favourite is a Prawn Cocktail to start with a Roast of Beef from our local butcher or Black Sole on the bone (depending on its availability)
One last one, how have you guys managed to keep the spirits up during these times? We cannot wait to see the streets of Dingle being filled with visitors again…
We’re really lucky to have an amazingly innovative staff team who are in constant contact via Snapchat and WhatsApp. We have our own fun and send food pictures (mostly cake) to keep spirits up. We try and keep the menu fresh each week which keeps our mind active! We’re also working on some exciting things that we cannot wait to share with everyone when the time is right!