Savour a seafood feast
Thanks to its location perched on the North Atlantic waters of the Wild Atlantic Way, the seafood in Galway is world class. At The Dockside Deli @ Galway Bay Seafoods, over 70 years of expertise shine at a family business that’s been here, right in the heart of Galway's docks, for generations. Alongside cooking classes and a shop that's very popular with the locals, the deli’s choices include Galway Bay oak smoked salmon and smoked mackerel pâté.
Check out the award-winning Oscars Seafood Bistro on Dominick Street nearby in Galway's West End. Serving up some of the best seafood on the west coast, their mouth-watering menu includes crispy fried oysters, scallops and monkfish mussel fricasse.
Looking for a more traditional vibe? Located on bustling Quay Street in the Latin Quarter, McDonagh's Seafood House serves up a well-shucked Clarenbridge oyster and fish fried to order with a generous portion of chips.
For a more hands-on option, book a lobster safari with Galway Bay Boat Tours. With their ‘Catch, Cook and Eat’ programme, experience the thrill of the trawl and see how fishing traditions are kept alive in the region.
Tuck into terrific pub grub
A cosy pub, a fire and a song can be just the ingredients for an ideal afternoon. But what about the food? Brasserie On The Corner Restaurant and Wine Bar is known for their stellar service, and get their surf and turf just right with prime steaks alongside grilled garlic and herb prawns.
The Kings Head may be over 800 years old, but they take a modern stance with a commitment to sustainable and organic produce. Their prime Irish Hereford King Charles 1 Burger is a cut above, with Hegarty’s cheese, Andarl Farm suckling pig and homemade red onion relish on an artisan brioche bun.
Along Salthill Promenade, the Galway Bay Hotel Conference and Leisure Centre can feed you from brunch to dinner. Visit the hotel's Atlantic Bar and choose from a classic all-day bar menu, a favourite with locals.
Head into the village of Salthill to Barnacles Bar & Kitchen to sample their range of pub classics; from seafood chowder and oysters to traditional fish and chips and sirloin steak.
Go on a Galway food odyssey
Set out on a delicious excursion with Galway Food Tours for over two hours of walking, chatting, nibbling, drinking and laughing. A choice of itineraries seeks out local delicacies from a ‘Galway Whiskey Tour’ for lovers of uisce beatha to a ‘Sweet Tooth’ ramble that takes in the city’s finest bakeries and pastry shops.
Heading out of the city centre towards the spectacular wilderness of Connemara, Glenlo Abbey Hotel & Estate sits on the edge of Lough Corrib. The estate has distinctive restaurants in The River Room, with glorious views from its 18th century windows, and Palmers Bar & Kitchen for more casual dining. But the real showstopper is Pullman Restaurant, in two carriages salvaged from the Orient Express. Flanked by two gold lions and treated to silver service, this journey back in time is an eating experience to write home about.
Watch the world go by as you dine
To enjoy the pleasures of people watching over lunch, head for The Hardiman and the Gaslight Bar & Brasserie’s bright Victorian bay windows, overlooking Eyre Square.
When the sun shines, get yourself to The Galmont Hotel & Spa and lounge on a wraparound waterfront terrace with views of Lough Atalia.
To observe arty types over hearty food, head to 56 Central, an eclectic restaurant that hosts cultural events and yoga sessions. Old and new collide here. Sip a flat white as you peer out of ancient windows onto Lynch’s Castle or relax over a breakfast bruschetta in the zen rooftop Buddha Garden.
Another favourite of the cultural crowd is Ard Bia at Nimmos, situated right in the shadows of the Galway City Museum and the Spanish Arch. This stylish spot blends global cuisine with Irish flavour in dishes like Connemara crab tostada and kimchi fried potatoes.
Fine dining, small plates, great tastes
Galway's Michelin-starred Aniar Restaurant is appropriately influenced by the west of Ireland's salty spray of flavours and local produce. Chef JP McMahon has honed centuries of culinary traditions. He pickles, cures, smokes and ferments a tasting menu of 18 dishes. McMahon is also the brains behind tapas bar Cava Bodega, where duck fritters with seaweed jam make for a mind-blowing take on the small plate.
Local favourite Kai has also been catching the attention of the fine dining set. Their aim is to make you feel at home, with stone-flagged floors, rustic touches and bushels of fruit lying around. The menu changes seasonally and head chef Jess Murphy creates playful takes on classic dishes like Roscommon lamb chops with green tahini.
The famous Galway Farmers Market is a brilliant place to spend a couple of hours. Every Saturday and Sunday by St Nicholas' Church you can taste the best produce Galway has to offer. The coastal setting means fresh fodder for the likes of the Kappa-ya Sushi stall as well as the Oyster Man, who often shucks as crowds gather around. The market is home to local artisans and vintage stalls, where you are sure to pick up something unique.
Umbrella Le Chéile is a social enterprise hosting an indoor market every third Sunday that focuses on uplifting local makers. Swoon over intricate jewellery designs, handmade beauty products, and contemporary fibre art by the likes of Adventurous Stitches.
Wine and cheese your way through the city
Local legends Tigh Neachtain have been offering warm hospitality to natives and tourists since 1894. Known for hosting live music throughout the week, you can also drop in for platters of seafood, local cheeses and charcuterie featuring favourites like Flaggy Shore dainty oysters, Cashel Blue and Gubbeen salami. Graze away happily while tunes get your foot tapping.
Trieste Café & Wine Bar is a laid back option on the cobblestones of Buttermilk Walk. Sit outside with a glass of wine and a board full of treats like Serrano ham, chorizo, manchego and gorgonzola. Desserts and Italian roasted coffee provide a sweet finish in this slice of the Mediterranean in Galway.
Sheridan’s Wine & Cheese Bar has been mixing a slice of continental Europe with homegrown fare since 1995. For fans of the homegrown, try local Cais na Tire’s matured, earthy hard cheeses, or give the award-winning Drunken Saint’s camembert a whirl. The wine bar incorporates rustic charm with modern touches, making it the ideal place to sip an imported Old World tipple with one of Sheridan's classic cheese and charcuterie boards.
Treat yourself to afternoon tea
Is there anything as decadent as afternoon tea with tiered stands full of featherlight pastries, pots of rich jam and petite sandwiches? To get a real taste of this genteel tradition, head to Corrib House Tea Rooms where cakes are baked daily. In their Georgian finery, the rooms overlook the beautiful Salmon Weir.
EnjoyTae Tráthnóna in the library at the Connacht Hotel with homemade scones, delicate cakes and savoury finger sandwiches or settle in to the Ardilaun Hotel’s lounge for a traditional tea with a contemporary French twist. Elsewhere, Nox Hotel adds a splash of Prosecco to proceedings, set against the background of their stylish bar with its warm wood accents and azure blue tiling.
Try an ultimate pampering session at the G Hotel & Spa, where tea and soothing treatments meet. World renowned milliner Philip Treacy has designed a bohemian boudoir that puts a fashionable finish on this luxurious interlude.