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St. Martin's Bed-and-Breakfast, 2 Nuns Island (353-91) 568286. It has four bedrooms, each costing $43 a person a night,....Brennans Yard Hotel, Lower Merchants Road, (353-91) 568166, It houses a pub, the Spanish Bar, and doubles start at $123.



Similar to those of pungent country cheeses found in France and Italy, the strong aromas of Irish cheese hit you as soon as you walk in the door at Sheridans Cheesemongers, 14-16 Churchyard Street, www.sheridanscheesemongers.com, (353-91) 564829, across the street from the historic Church of St. Nicholas, which dates to 1320. One Irish cheese to try is Cratloe Hills sheep's milk, but ask the knowledgeable staff what's at its best. . .


Sheridans downstairs food shop is open Monday to Friday, 9:30 to 6. It opens at 9 on Saturdays, to coincide with the weekly Churchyard Street farmers' market.


For breakfast, try a velvety raisin scone for $2.50 at Griffin's Bakery, 21 Shop Street, (353-91) 563683


Enjoying local seafood is a must - Galway's 51st International Oyster Festival takes place this year from Sept. 22 to 25 - .....Ard Bia Restaurant, 2 Quay Street, (353-91) 539897, www.ardbia.com. .... K. C. Blakes, Quay Street, (353-91) 561826. ....Scribblers, 3 Middle Street, (353-91) 865930, Monday to Saturday, 8 to 6; closed Sundays.




Sheridan Cheese

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  • 7 years later...

NY Times pays another visit to Galway. A lively city, open to the arts and fine food, but mind the hen and stag parties that take over on many weekends.






Continue your tour of Galway history while adding some contemporary flavors via Ard Bia at Nimmos (Spanish Arch, Long Walk; 353-91-561-114; ardbia.com), a modern Irish restaurant in a quaint stone building opposite the museum. With wood tables and low ceilings, the setting resembles a country kitchen, albeit one with refined seasonal menus that emphasize local ingredients like pan-fried Irish hake with chorizo, mussels, clams, coriander seed potatoes and samphire, a coastal plant. Dinner for two runs about 90 euros, $110, at $1.21 to the euro.


7:30 p.m.



An 1820s courthouse-turned-town-hall-turned-cinema has been reimagined again, this time as a performing arts complex appropriately named Town Hall Theater (Courthouse Square; 353-91-569-777; tht.ie). The space plays a role in gatherings like the annual Galway Arts Festival and Galway Film Fleadh, and it is host to nightly events year-round. You might catch stand-up comedy, a visiting Polish cabaret act or a play from Galway’s acclaimed Druid Theater Company, which also operates the smaller Druid Lane Theater (Druid Lane; 353-91-568-660; druid.ie) nearby.






Sample farmers’ fare in front of St. Nicholas’ Collegiate Church during the weekend Galway Market (Church Lane; galwaymarket.com), which showcases not only fresh flowers and produce but also everything from sushi to samosas. Afterward, browse the selection of Irish and European cheeses at the adjacent Sheridans Cheesemongers (14-16 Churchyard Street; 353-91-564-829; sheridanscheesemongers.com). Even better: Enjoy a wedge of Cashel Blue with a prime people-watching view over the busy streets from their second-floor wine bar.


5 p.m.



Galwegians’ exercise of choice is a walk, run or cycle down “the prom” — a seaside promenade providing views across Galway Bay to the rugged landscape of the Burren and leading into Salthill, a resort area past its prime but now dotted with hip bars popping up among the fading casinos. After the roughly 1.5-mile jaunt from the city center, have a pint of locally brewed porter at the Oslo (Upper Salthill; 353-91-448-390; winefoodbeer.com/oslo), a former dance hall reborn as a microbrewery; or opt for wine and jazz in a Georgian town house at the homey Black Cat (179 Upper Salthill; 353-91-501-007; blackcat.ie). A few doors down, it’s soccer on the projector screen and Zlaty Bazant on tap at Krcma (163 Upper Salthill; 353-91-582-233; krcma.biz), a Slovak-owned pub and a gathering place for the central European population.


7 p.m.



Pale green paint lines the walls, and local greens top the plates at Aniar (53 Lower Dominick Street; 353-91-535-947; aniarrestaurant.ie), Gaelic for “of the West,” an intimate new restaurant that matches a diverse wine list with locavore-focused food. Artful presentations of Irish meats (free-range duck, wild venison), fresh seafood and vegetables are all prepared with local ingredients like gooseberries, ramson buds, sheep’s yogurt and seaweed. A four-course tasting menu with wine pairings is 60 euros per person.






I'm surprised the article didn't mention the Druid Theater and its sprawling operations in Galway.



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  • 1 year later...

*expletive-filled Flickr rant redacted*


Many countries take pride in their local products, Ireland takes that to a new level- even the supermarket receipts break out how much of your bill you spend on Irish products. Restaurants and pubs of all caliber point out the local, farm-raised/harvested items on the menu.


We arrived in Galway by bus from Dublin around 11am, and headed for Ard Bia at Nimmos, an adorable cafe set on the River Corrib. It was a sunny day, and people were outside soaking it up. We've had amazing luck with weather here, many sunny bright, cool days.



It's a small, very cute cafe. Here's the menu.



They don't start serving lunch until noon, and we were about 30 min early, but they do serve coffees and pastry, so I had a Lebanese coffee, brewed with cardamom, which was very nice. Brent had a latte and eyeballed the desserts table, making his plan.


For lunch, I had the pulled pork sandwich, which while almost impossible to eat as a sandwich, was delicious. Later, when I looked at the menu, I noticed that I did not get the rocket and pickles, but didn't miss them. The soup of the day was a pea and cabbage, added for 3 euro. A fine meal. The pork was slow-cooked and delicious and finished on the grill for some char, the aioli just garlicky enough. The focaccia bread was forgettable and crumbly. At first I would have appreciated a little more salt in both the soup and the pork, but didn't bother asking... I'm trying to stop myself from over-salting everything. After a bit I was glad I held off.


Husband opted for the chowder, and the smokiness of the fish was apparent, but not overwhelming. There were about 10 clams hiding in there, it had a lovely balance between the fishes and the tomato and the touch of crime fraiche.



With more coffee, 2 glasses of wine, and a dessert (shared), came to around 50.


We had a good walk around Galway, stopped into a few pubs and churches. Here's a door handle at the Cathedral



Later: Oscar's Seafood Bistro and Kai Cafe

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Oscar's is on all the Galway lists of where to eat. It's a cute little place, and we had about the sweetest server you can imagine, just delightful. With only 2 girls working the many tables, she remained sunny and friendly. Perhaps she has brain damage.


Here's the website: http://www.oscarsbistro.ie. they have a prix fixe menu- 15 euro for 3 courses, which we both opted for.


Fish spring rolls. Very good, and piping hot. "spicy green chili sauce" was in the bottom of the bowl, which was very good, but had me questioning why spring rolls were served in a bowl at all. Lots of nice fish inside, even if the picture doesn't really show that. They were very good, and I found myself craving them the next day.



My husband ordered the seafood vol au vent, pictured below. I considered this dish, but felt that so much could go wrong, I didn't order it. It was pretty damned good, lots of mussels, and the fish that was mostly inside the pastry was cooked perfectly, firm, but flakes easily. The velouté looks a bit gluey, but the flavor was very rich and just fishy enough.



I ordered the Hake fillet, with Dillisk and Kaffir Butter. I will confess that I did not know what Dillisk was (I thought it might be related to dill?), but have since learned it's essentially Irish Kombu. It tasted of olives and anchovies. I wasn't crazy about it, but the fish itself was nicely done. I kept thinking how a nice brown butter with lemon would have really done the trick, but my anchovy-loving husband liked the Dillisk butter.



Dessert was a perfectly serviceable tarte tatin with ice cream and requisite caramel squiggle



All told, I'd recommend Oscars's, but not as much as Ard Bia or Kai cafe, where we had lunch the next day. I'll post that shortly. A neighboring table got the scallops and mussels, and it was the biggest pile of mussels I've ever seen.

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Best for last- Kai cafe for lunch. It was a rainy day in Galway (shocking). The people were carrying on as usual, but we were surprised- don't we bring sunshine everywhere we go? Not to be the center of the universe or anything, but I've been traveling since November, and could count the rainy days on one hand.


The restaurant is small, the menu is short, the quality is high. I'm taking this picture from my seat at a table tucked under the stairs. It's good that I'm short- I chose the "downstairs" side, as the husband is in the "did you play basketball" category in the height department. For the record, he did not.


If you zoom into the chalkboard, you can see what's available. The garden-like sunroom makes for such a charming and friendly space. (Edited to add: no, zooming will not help you see the menu, sorry).



We opted for the Rueben and the crab salad. But before we get to that, let's talk about the bread. Brown bread is a thing in Ireland, and when fresh, it's pretty great. At all 3 places we ate in Galway, the brown bread had green bits in it- kelp from the Adriatic. The picture is from Kai Cafe, which had the best of the three. I didn't ask about the seeds in there.



The Reuben. I know many of you are New Yorkers with strong feelings on the Reuben, so authenticity can be debated, but this was a great sandwich. Shaved pastrami, melty cheese, and enough fat on the meat to make it nicely juicy. On the side was a horseradish, mustard and mayo sauce that I will be replicating. Our waiter said that as his staff meal, he gets the fried fish with a side of that, and I was pretty tempted, had I not just eaten.



I ordered the crab salad, which was dilly (not dillisky), light and briney. With a glass of Sauvignon Blanc (okay, 2), this was a perfect lunch for me. Especially since the husband and I always swap plates a couple of times during meals, and I could get a few choice bites of that Reuben. There were 3 mounds of the crab on the plate, so a generous portion.



After lunch we stopped into Tigh Neachtain for a pint, and I found myself in an impromptu Irish whiskey tasting. Nothing wrong with some spirits in the middle of the day, right?



And last, the random thing. This is the sink in the bathroom at Kai Cafe. The oblong item above the sink- even in person it looks like it's probably a squeezey bottle for hand soap. It's not- it's a bar of soap, hollowed, mounted on the metal bar there. I wish I had taken pictures of all the ways that cultures have solved necessary problems- toilets and sinks especially. Same function, so many different designs.


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very good information. we were in the west of ireland last summer and stayed out of galway, and we found nothing good to eat at all.

I agree, outside of Galway and Dublin, eats in Eire didn't impress.



Cork, especially West Cork, takes food very seriously. My theory is that the high percentage of French/German/Belgian second homeowners keeps the standards high.

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The coastal towns - it is an island after all.


In my two visits, I found that the best cooking was in the small country inns and hotels, not the restaurants (outside of Dublin). Simple, rustic dishes, but very well prepared with very good ingredients. There's still a tradition of butchery there and non-industrial farming; probably my first exposure to blood sausage was in Ireland.


It's easy to get down on the restaurants, but for a country of 6 million, they really don't do so poorly. Would I rather eat in a small Irish town or a small American or Canadian one? Ireland, no question.

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I've never thought of Ireland as being a country where people eat a lot of fish. I've always thought of meat, potatoes, and cabbage. Am I grossly misinformed?


Yes, sorry :( Granted, I spent the majority of my time in West Cork, which may not be typical, but there was no end of salmon, mackerel, Bantry Bay mussels, prawns, and all manner of smoked fish. West Cork seafood chowder, which has as many recipes as people who make it, was on almost every pub menu, and is a personal obsession of mine.


I found John and Sally McKenna the most reliable barometers for markets and restaurants, and I see they have an app now, which I will definitely use on my next visit.

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