Let’s ditch the old misconception that Irish cuisine is all about cabbages and potatoes. By embracing its rich agricultural resources and placing emphasis on traditional recipes with a modern twist, Ireland has gained recognition in recent years for its evolving and vibrant culinary scene.
And when it comes to the best places for embarking on a gastronomic adventure in Ireland, Galway is always on top of the list. The coastal location and the fertile landscapes surrounding the region contribute to the local culinary offerings, from local food producers to talented chefs and local food artisans dotted across Galway.
Whether you’re a seasoned foodie or simply seeking to savor the authentic tastes of Ireland, here are some of the must-try local dishes and dining experiences in Galway,
1. Calling all seafood lovers!
Located on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, Galway benefits from the abundance of fresh and high-quality seafood, which has become a hallmark of Galway’s gastronomy.
- Galway Oysters: No gastronomic trip to Galway is complete without trying their fresh and flavourful oysters — something they’re famous for. Savor the briny sweetness of Galway Bay oysters in one of the many seafood restaurants or oyster bars along the coast. Locals claim that they’re best paired with a pint of creamy Guinness stout.
- Connemara Mussels: Freshly plucked from the Atlantic waters near Connemara, these plump mussels are steamed to perfection and served with crusty bread for a classic seafood treat.
- Smoked Salmon Platter: Enjoy the delicate richness of locally smoked salmon served with crusty bread, capers, and a squeeze of lemon for a light and flavorful starter.
- Seafood Chowder: For a taste of the coast, indulge in a creamy seafood chowder packed with fresh fish, potatoes, and herbs, warming you up from the inside out.
- Fish and Chips by the Sea: Enjoy the seaside ambiance of Salthill Promenade and grab some fish and chips from one of the local chippers. O’Connor’s Famous Pub and McDonagh’s are popular spots known for their quality seafood offerings. You can even try fish and chips made with Galway Hooker beer batter, giving a unique, local twist to the Irish classic.
2. Irish classics and local pub favourites
Whether it’s from a lively traditional pub or the banquet of your luxury hotel in Galway City don’t miss out on the opportunity to savor authentic Irish cuisine.
- Irish Lamb Stew: Tender lamb, root vegetables, and herbs come together in a comforting and savory stew, perfect for a cozy pub meal.
- Guinness Stew: Aside from enjoying a pint of Guinness per se, discover how this beloved Irish brew can level up a classic dish — Irish stew. A hearty winter warmer, this stew simmered with Guinness adds depth and richness to tender beef, vegetables, and potatoes.
- Lamb Dishes: Given the lush pastures surrounding Galway, lamb is a popular choice — and they’re not only good in stews. Try dishes like roast lamb or lamb cutlets, often prepared with local herbs and ingredients.
- Galway Goat Cheese: Galway is home to some excellent goat cheese producers. Enjoy local goat cheese in salads, on cheese boards, or as part of innovative dishes in restaurants that emphasize local ingredients.
The Crane Bar offers traditional dishes with a modern twist, while Ard Bia at Nimmos provides a more upscale dining experience.
3. Unique street food and cheap eats
Looking for something to munch while getting around Galway? Here are some of Galway’s must-try street food and snacks on the go.
- Spice Bag: A Dublin-born phenomenon, this paper bag overflowing with crispy chips, juicy chicken pieces, and a fiery red chili blend is a spicy and satisfying on-the-go treat.
- Boychik Donuts: Indulge in fluffy, gourmet donuts made with fresh, local ingredients and topped with creative glazes and sprinkles, a perfect sweet escape.
- Prátaí Chips: Elevate your chip experience with unique toppings like sriracha mayo, pulled pork, and cajun spices, offered by this popular stall.
- International dishes: Galway doesn’t just offer Irish classics — the city is a melting pot of international flavours and influences. The best part is they can be savoured while on the streets, soaking up the atmosphere and enjoying the general buzz of the city.
Shop Street, for instance, is a bustling pedestrian street in the heart of Galway where you can find various street food vendors and late-night eateries. Try everything from savoury crepes, curries, and kebabs to gourmet hot dogs and pizzas.
4. Freshly baked goodness
Skip the calorie counter — you won’t regret loading up on carbs with Galway’s variety of delicious pastries. Some can be paired with hot cocoa or coffee, while others make a perfect sidekick to warm and hearty stews.
- Soda Bread: A staple of Irish cuisine, warm, fluffy soda bread, often served with butter and jam, is a comforting and delicious accompaniment to any meal.
- Boxty: Sample boxty, a traditional Irish potato pancake. It can be served in various ways, including filled with meats, cheeses, or vegetables, offering a versatile and tasty experience.
- Gourmet Pies: Try gourmet pies from places like The Pie Maker, offering a variety of savory and sweet pies with creative fillings, perfect for a quick and delicious meal. Beef and Guinness Pie, for instance, is a must-try delicacies that boasts tender beef braised in Guinness, vegetables, and a rich gravy.
5. Finish it off with something sweet!
Are you a sweet-toothed foodie? Galway’s got you covered with a wide array of sweet treats. You can even find desserts infused with alcohol!
- Galway’s finest ice cream: Made with fresh cream and real Irish ingredients, this local ice cream comes in a range of delectable flavors, a refreshing pick-me-up on a sunny day. Murphy’s ice cream, The Creamery Cafe, and Gino’s Gelato are among the local favourites.
- Sticky Toffee Pudding: A classic Irish dessert, this warm, spongey pudding topped with sticky toffee sauce and creamy vanilla ice cream is guaranteed to satisfy your sweet tooth.
- Brown Bread and Whiskey Pudding: Indulge in a uniquely Irish dessert, featuring dense brown bread soaked in whiskey and cream, served with warm fruit sauce for a comforting and flavorful ending.
- Irish Coffee: No Irish food journey is complete without a steaming mug of Irish coffee, featuring whiskey, coffee, sugar, and whipped cream, a delightful way to cap off your culinary adventures.
So, grab your appetite and wander the streets of Galway! These must-try dishes are just a glimpse into the city’s diverse and delicious culinary scene. Let your taste buds guide you and discover your own favorite Galway food memories.
Author Bio: Carmina Natividad is a daytime writer who spends a fair amount of time discovering new cafes, watching live music, and visiting cultural gems after shift. Her fondness for travel, food, music and cultural appreciation makes it easy for her to write inspiring pieces of content about them. To know more about hotels and travel blogs, you may visit Imperial Hotel Galway.