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culinary capital

48 hours in Galway: An insider guide to the very best of the city's buzzing food scene

In the last decade, Galway has won recognition as a thriving culinary hotspot. Here’s how to make the best of it.

IT’S NO SECRET that Galway’s food and drink scene is thriving at the moment. With world class chefs and Michelin-starred restaurants aplenty, there’s never been a better time to be a foodie in Galway.

For an outsider, it can be hard to know where to begin. 

Sheena Dignam is the founder of Galway Food Tours, a culinary walking tour that sees  participants sample the best of what Galway’s food producers have to offer. Cheese, doughnuts, beers, sushi – you name it, Galway has it. 

“We try over fifteen different types of food and drink over two and a half hours,” she explains. 

Growing up in France, Dignam recalls getting slagged over Ireland’s food offering. Now we’re the ones laughing. “The food movement in Ireland has changed so much over the last ten years and it’s just intensifying,” she says.

What is unique in Galway is that there is a real sense of community. Starting with the farmers and producers, what they’re doing is exciting the chefs and that translates to the plate.

With that in mind, we decided to ask Dignam for her tips on where to dine out over a long weekend in Galway – and, crucially, what to order. 

Day One

Breakfast: McCambridge’s

This food hall and restaurant has been serving Galwegians for nearly a century and is nothing short of an institution. Start your day off right by feasting on their brioche breakfast sandwich stuffed with avocado, bacon, egg, and brown sauce. Afterwards, you can feast your eyes on their selection of artisan foods and drinks.

Coffee: Little Lane Coffee Company

Need a pick-me-up after eating all that food? Nip into Little Lane Coffee Company. Among other things, it serves filter coffee from local roasters Calendar Coffee.

Lunch: The Lighthouse

This vegetarian café serves up hearty fare sure to satisfy vegans, veggies and carnivores alike. The roast rosemary roots salad is as flavoursome as it is nourishing. Keep an eye out for the daily specials, too. 

Dinner: Loam

Looking for a treat? Loam is a Michelin-starred restaurant planted just off Eyre Square. Led by head chef Enda McEvoy, it prides itself on using ingredients sourced from the West of Ireland to the point that there are no spices or olive oil to be found in the kitchen. The seven-course tasting menu belongs on your bucket list.

Post-dinner cocktails: The Universal

Where to go when you’re finished stuffing yourself? The Universal serves up delicious cocktails and craft beers in a cosy setting. Sláinte.

Day Two

Brunch: Kai

Kai‘s brunches are the stuff of legend. We have even heard tell of chefs traveling across the country just to get their mitts on them. The menu changes regularly according to seasonality, but you can’t go wrong with any of their meals. If you get the chance to try their steak – sourced from Brady’s in Athenry – seize it with both hands.

Lunch: Wa Café

Sushi fan? Look no further than Wa Café. Owned by Yoshimi Hayakawa, it is the city’s go-to spot for fresh and authentic sushi with a local twist. Think sushi rolls with Achill Island smoked mackerel. The zingy seafood noodle salad is also the perfect small plate. 

Dinner: Ard Bia at Nimmos

One of the city’s most beloved eateries and with good reason. While you can’t go wrong with breakfast, brunch or lunch there, the dinner menu changes season by season and takes inspiration from all sorts of worldwide cuisines.  A true culinary adventure.

Day Three

Brunch: Kasbah Wine Bar at Tigh Neachtain

Located upstairs from Tigh Neachtain, Sarah Croffey’s Kasbah Wine Bar has garnered quite the reputation for its brunch menu. Think creative egg dishes and decadent pancakes. A hidden gem.

And an optional final dinner if you’ve the time: Merrow

Situated on the ground floor of Pálás Cinema, Merrow has garnered high praise from the city’s foodies. With its simple menu, the restaurant aims to showcase the best of local produce. Word to the wise: try the beef cheek.  

From cheese to chimichurri: 22 innovative Dublin restaurants changing the way we eat in 2019>

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