The official title of the culinary capital of Ireland is one that’s often disputed. While Dublin is a bubbling hub of new restaurant and bar openings, Cork’s wealth of food producers, as championed in the historic English Market, gives it strong bid for the throne.
Though smaller than these two contenders, Galway refuses to be ruled out, making up for what it lacks in size with passion, pride and, most importantly, incredibly good food.
We’ve compiled a list of our favourite restaurants, cafes, bars and hotels in Galway city that will have you buzzing around this bustling, bohemian town from morning to night.
Coffeewerk + Press
Opened in 2015 by Daniel Ulrichs, whose family have been running toy shop Wooden Heart in Galway since for close to fifty years, downstairs baristas at this coffee come craft shop will craft you the perfect cup of coffee which you can enjoy in a beautiful serene space surrounded beautiful things made by local and international artists at their second floor gallery, or take yours to go in one of their coffee cups which in themselves are a work of art. Don’t leave without checking out their carefully curated range of merchandise on the first floor.
A small independent speciality coffee shop in Galway’s Westend, Urban Grind was one of the first to introduce Galway coffee lovers to new choices of coffees and brew methods. Along with great coffee they serve breakfast and lunch everyday except Sunday, with scones, brownies and cookies, baked daily in-house, always available to curb that sugar craving no matter what time of the day it arises. Not a coffee fan? There’s a wonderful selection of teas from Waterloo teas in Cardiff for you to work your way through.
Nestled inside the doors of the Galway City Museum, next to the city’s famous Spanish Arch, The Kitchen is a cute day-time eatery run by chef Michelle Crehan where whether its breakfast or lunch you’ll be served plates of colourful food that combines local ingredients with world flavours. Amazing coffee, fresh juices and friendly service completes a wholesome, heart warming dining experience.
Badger & Dodo
If you’re a fan of Irish artisan coffee roaster Badger & Dodo, served in close to 200 cafes nationwide, then you’ll be first in line for a lungo at their only standalone coffee shop. The roastery itself is in Cork, set up in 2008 by Australian Brock Lewin to share of his love of speciality coffee with the people of Ireland.
In 1922 George McCambridge opened McCambridge’s on Shop Street, in that 105 year history the store has expanded from a grocery store to include Galway’s first off-licence, a deli, sandwich bar and an upstairs restaurant where for breakfast you can enjoy dishes like their signature Full Irish and Mirin Roasted Portobello Mushroom with egg and avocado, all served with Bridie Murphy’s homemade Soda Bread served in a bright airy space overlooking the bustling street below.
Kai Cafe and Restaurant
The skills, passion and dynamism of the husband and wife duo behind Kai, David and Jessica Murphy, combine to create a energy filled, flavour packed, memorable dining experience every time. Daily changing menus are designed by head chef Jess depending on what’s local and in season, and served with a smile by a front of house team manned by David.
Ard Bia at Nimmos
Ard Bia‘s Owner Aoibheann MacNamara may be from Donegal but she has created a restaurant that aligns seamlessly with Galway’s bohemiam vibes and that has become a part of the fabric of the city’s growing food community and culture. Located a mere stone’s throw from the historic Spanish Arch, this is a fun environment that serves seriously superb food using local ingredients, and one of Galway’s best brunches.
Everything at Biteclub at Electric Galway is designed to delight and excite, from the interior, styled with 1950’s reclaimed kitchen counters and a colourful mosaic floor, to the eclectic, street food inspired menus and drinks list that includes their famous Margarita slushies. Keep an eye our for new dates for their regular Brunch + Dancing rooftop parties, a three disco course boozy brunch where the prosecco is free-flowing and the tunes are rocking.
Another West End gem, dine at Dela to sample a scandi-Irish style menu using as many ingredients as possible from the restaurants very own plot in Moycullen, ensuring a ‘plot to plate’ time of mere minutes. Open from early until late, their hashtag #notallbrunchesarecreatedequal tells you all you need to know about how seriously Dela takes their brunch very seriously
37 West Cafe
The tagline ‘Healthy is the New Sexy’ tells you a lot you need to know about 37 West Cafe. Cleverly located nearby NUI Galway this cafe/deli is often thronged with fitness mad, study weary or hungover (sometimes all three) students. Since opening, a sister restaurant http://www.56central.com/56 Central has spawned on Shop Street offering a similar menu of nutritious, delicious and affordable food but with the added bonuses of a rooftop garden and wine vault.
For one of the most experiential meals you can treat yourself in Ireland visit Michelin starred Aniar and immerse yourself in food that is at the same time hyper-local and internationally influenced. Chef owner JP McMahon doesn’t hide the fact that he is striving to achieve a second star but for a more casual style of food visit JP’s other Galway ventures, Cava Bodega and EAT gastro pub with a fourth member of the family, Tartare, set to open in this autumn.
Oscar’s Seafood Bistro
For great seafood you don’t need to look any further than Oscar’s, a multi awarding winning, dedicated seafood bistro in the atmospheric cultural quarter of the city. While menus are dictated by the what’s best at market you can guaranteed that the dishes devised by chef patron Michael O’Meara like steaming bowls of Marty’s mussels and grilled haddock with dillisk butter will make the most of the seafood freshly caught off the coast of Galway.
Brasserie on the Corner
Brasserie on the Corner on Eglington street is an established part of the Galway food scene. Kick off your night with a creative cocktails at Blakes Bar, then settle into the intimate, relaxed restaurant space, delving into the notable wine list and varied menu that has something for everybody. Dishes inspired by the sea, land and earth are designed to highlight ingredients from the award-winning local suppliers Gannet fish mongers and McGeough’s Butchers.
Set in the majestic grounds of the five-star Glenlo Abbey Hotel is the Pullman Restaurant. Although a little outside the city centre the extra few minutes travel time will allow you to travel back in time at this unique dining experience set inside two exquisite original carriages from the Orient Express. Far from a themed restaurant, there are no gimmicks here, just superb food, service, views and ambiance.
Le Petit Pois
Like French food, cheese and wine? There are few who can claim not to be charmed by one, if not all three, of these vices. Fans of the cuisine flock to Le Petit Pois for an authentic taste of France. Indulge in one of their set menus including full meal and wine pairing or take to the heated wine garden with a platter of cheese and a glass of wine – la vie est belle.
With nearly as many awards as they have whiskey bottles in their formidable collection, morning, noon or night, An Púcán is always a fun loving place to be. Priding itself on being an Irish Bar, chats, craic and craft beers are guaranteed and as one of Galway’s premier music venues in the evening you’ll have some beats to accompany the banter and brews.
Named after Nora Barnacle, the wife and muse of James Joyce, Tigh Nora is Galway’s first ever gin bar on located on Cross Street, adjoining the ever popular The Front Door pub. The highlight of their drinks and cocktail menu of course is gin and with one hundred varieties in stock and an extensive tonic selection this is a must visit for gin lovers.
The Dáil Bar
A landmark at the corner of Cross street and Middle street, this is a long established and much applauded late bar spread over two floors with live music seven nights a week. Not just a place to enjoy a drink, The Dáil Bar raises the bar on typical pub grub offering affordably priced traditional hearty meals and internationally inspired lighter bites all made with local ingredients.
In a bold makeover of one of Galway’s most distinctive art-deco buildings, complete with an open kitchen, hand-painted floor mural, vintage light fixtures and antique mirrors, Tribeton wouldn’t be out of place in any major city. The perfect spot to enjoy a late drink in stylish surroundings with chilled sounds and slick service.
Boasting over twenty beers on tap and more than sixty craft beers, Bierhaus stocks the greatest selection of beer in the city. Aficionados in the craft of great beer but in the art of music and good conversation too, this is an easygoing space with a bohemian vibe that attracts quirky characters from the Galway arts scene.
Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa
Located on the banks of Lough Atalia and overlooking Galway Bay, the Radisson Blu is just a three-minute walk from Eyre Square. Though seeing as this modern, stylish hotel is complete with a range of dining options, a fully equipped bar and a haven of peace and tranquillity, the Spirit One Spa you may be tempted not to leave at all during your stay.
The Residence Hotel
You might book into The Residence Hotel for the amazing location on Quay Street, right in the beating heart of the city, but you’ll come back again and again once you’ve been spoiled at this newly revamped boutique hotel with Belaire Champagne room service, lush contemporary rooms and smart TVs equipped with Netflix on demand.
The Meyrick Hotel
Part of the landscape of the city’s scenery for the past 160 years, the 4 star Hotel Meyrick has long been the choice of those visiting on business or lesiure. Overlooking Eyre Square the hotel is the perfect base to enjoy the ambiance of Galway, or soak up the venue’s Victorian era elegance with afternoon tea at the Parlour lounge, cocktails in the glamorous Gaslight Bar or enjoy a more fine dining experience in No.15 on the Square restaurant.
The Galway Bay Hotel
Situated five minutes from Galway city centre along located on the famous Salthill Promenade, The Galway Bay Hotel provides access for exploring Connemara, the Aran Islands and the county’s coastal highlights on the Wild Atlantic Way. After a day exploring head home to the four star hotel to enjoy the fine food at the AA Rosette awarded Lobster Pot Restaurant.
The Ardilaun Hotel
Built around 1840 as a townhouse for a notable family in the community, The Ardilaun Hotel first opened its doors to the public in 1962 and has been owned and managed by the Ryan family since that time.
Surrounded by lush gardens yet only ten minutes walk from city centre the 4 star hotel is the perfect haven to escape to after a day exploring the vibrant, bustling city.
Erica grew up with a baker and confectioner for a father and a mother with an instinct and love for good food. It is little wonder then that, after completing a law degree, she went on to do a Masters in Food Business at UCC. With a consuming passion for all things food, nutrition and wellness, working with TheTaste is a perfect fit for Erica; allowing her to learn and experience every aspect of the food world meeting its characters and influencers along the way.