Ireland’s west coast is rich with seafood, dairy, meat, and vegetables, and nowhere more so than Galway, which has natural abundance and a veritable army of diligent farmers and producers. A stay at Ashford Castle or The Lodge at Ashford Castle, with its decadent dining rooms and top-notch chefs, is one of the best places in the area to taste and experience everything that Galway has to offer.
But when you’re out and about, where do you turn? Never fear: these are the top five restaurants in Galway City for delicious, local food. Their commitment to using everything that the area has to offer, from microgreens to mountain lamb, is nothing short of outstanding – and the results are really very tasty. So get ready to make some reservations; these are five restaurants in Galway you’re not going to want to miss.
Kai Café and Restaurant
Not only does Kai Café and Restaurant have delicious daily menus, which change with the seasons and according to what can be sourced from the restaurant’s formidable roster of local suppliers, but Kai also has more awards than you can shake a spatula at. This year alone, it’s won “Best Restaurant in Galway” and “Best Chef in Galway” (for Head Chef and co-owner Jessica Murphy) at the Irish Restaurant Awards. Expect dishes like Ardsallagh goat cheese salad with homemade brown bread and perfectly cooked, locally caught Pollock fish fingers served with a tangy wild garlic ranch sauce.
The tasting menu at self-proclaimed terroir-focussed restaurant Aniar aims to introduce you to (and celebrate) the flavours of Galway and Ireland’s west coast. Awarded a Michelin star for the past three years, the food here is creative, clever and a treat for the taste buds. Old school preservation methods like pickling are frequently found on the daily changing menus alongside fresh fish, wild game and locally grown microgreens. And should the food here inspire you, Aniar offers daylong workshops at its Boutique Cookery School.
Oscar’s Seafood Bistro
One of the best restaurants in Galway City for seafood, Oscar’s is beloved for the fresh-out-of-the-boat approach it takes to its menu. One day you might find line-caught squid that’s deep-fried and served with a tangy lime aioli, the next you might stumble upon Galway Bay lobster or delicately poached turbot and brill. Whatever the fishermen catch, Oscar’s will cook it up in a moreish and marvellous fashion (think salmon salad with a cardamom infused blood orange and pomegranate sauce).
Sometimes nothing beats a good burger, or some perfectly crispy chips. For those looking for hearty local food, EAT Gastropub is one of the top restaurants in Galway City to sate your cravings. With its charming beer garden (perfect for long summer afternoons) and fun, informal approach to food, it’s an obvious choice for dining out in Galway. Everything on the menu – from the organic potatoes to the Connemara crab – is sustainably and responsibly sourced, meaning you can tuck into your delicious gastro pub dinner without the slightest hint of guilt. After all, even the takeaway here comes in biodegradable containers.
Love tapas? Dubbed by many to be the best tapas restaurant in Ireland, Cava Bodega offers an unmissable fusion of Irish ingredients and Spanish cooking, with over 50 regional Spanish tapas represented on the menu. The restaurant has an admirable “nose-to-tail” philosophy and makes it a point of pride to serve local ingredients wherever possible. From the delectable Connemara mountain lamb shoulder to the wild mussels in white wine and garlic, the apple juice from Co. Tipperary to spinach sourced from Kinvara, Cava Bodega is the perfect meeting point between Spanish cuisine and Irish produce.
After a day of sampling locally sourced, epicurean delights, relax in the warm and welcoming environs of the Prince of Wales Bar back at Ashford Castle, and enjoy a rare Irish whiskey or a thirst-quenching cocktail.
Header image © Kai