30 Best Restaurants in County Clare, Galway, and the Aran Islands, Ireland

Aniar Restaurant

$$$$ | Center Fodor's choice

JP McMahon has caused quite a stir in the Galway dining scene with his tapas at Cava Bodega and the recently opened casual spot Tartare, but award-winning Aniar (meaning "from the west") is his flagship restaurant. A minimalist Nordic decor provides an unfussy backdrop for the chef's equally unfussy approach to food. Each course in the daily menu, ranging from 6 to 10 dishes, is designed to either complement or contrast with the local produce. For those brave enough, try a dillisk starter with its overwhelmingly briny flavor, while awaiting monkfish in a bed of lush foraged salad.

53 Lower Dominick St., Galway City, Ireland
Known For
  • seaweed ice cream
  • minimalist furnishings
  • locally sourced food
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Sun. and Mon., Reservations recommended.

Linnane's Lobster Bar

$$$ Fodor's choice

It doesn't get much better than this 300-year-old, slated, whitewashed cottage with a turf fire and full-length windows that open out onto a terrace overlooking Galway Bay. The specialty is seafood; clams, scallops, salmon, crab claws, and lobster—the restaurant's cornerstone dish. Chicken and beef make the occasional guest appearance. Seat yourself in the conservatory to keep one eye on your crab cakes and Guinness, and another on the crystal clear waters of the bay. 

Cartron, Oughtmama, Ireland
Known For
  • crab claws with butter sauce
  • great wine list
  • live music in the evenings
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Mon.--Thurs. Nov.--Mar.


$$$$ | Center Fodor's choice

The industrial facade and simply furnished interior of this Michelin-starred restaurant and wine bar just off Eyre Square betray nothing of head chef Enda McEvoy's daily creations; he scours, forages, and travels the coast for the finest and most offbeat indigenous ingredients like reindeer moss or trout caviar. Plates are imaginatively presented, and the tasting menu has a cult following across the country (but is fairly priced at from €85 for seven courses). 

Geata na Cathrach, Fairgreen, Galway City, Ireland
Known For
  • multi-award-winning chef
  • mostly organic, biodynamic wines
  • foraged local and all-Irish ingredients
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Sun. and Mon.

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Moran's Oyster Cottage

$$$$ Fodor's choice

This small thatched cottage is just upstream from where the Dunkellin River flows into Dunbulcaun Bay, the epicenter of Ireland's fresh oyster trade. The local oysters make a regular appearance, straight from bay to plate, though smoked salmon, crab claws fried in garlic butter, seafood cocktail, lobster with boiled potatoes and garlic butter, and fresh crab salad are also on offer. The front bar has been preserved in the "old style," which means it's small and cramped, but very interesting if you want to get an idea of what most pubs around here were like 50 years ago.

The Pullman Restaurant

$$$$ Fodor's choice

Stationed on the grounds of Glenlo Abbey Hotel, overlooking Lough Corrib in the outskirts of Galway, is Ireland's most unique restaurant: two intricately restored train carriages that starred in Sidney Lumet's 1974 film, Murder on the Orient Express, starring Ingrid Bergman. Fully equipped with brass luggage racks and mahogany paneling, the carriages are as impressive as the menu, which highlights wild game, fish, and beef. The origins of all ingredients, from the goat cheese starter to venison, are fully traceable. Diners opt for a two or three-course set menu, priced at €63 or €72.

The Town Hall Bistro

$ Fodor's choice

Slate flooring, rich timber fixtures, a large bay window, and whitewashed walls hark back to an earlier time of midmorning scones and cakes with afternoon tea---both of which are available at this gorgeous former town hall, a local landmark right on the southern corner of O'Connell Street. Lunch and evening meals are special too, making use of the rich County Clare produce like artisanal cheese or sea catch. Try grilled halibut with crab meat or a ravioli made from mushroom, courgette, spinach, and basil. 

Wild Honey Inn

$$ Fodor's choice

Owner-chef Aidan McGrath and Kate Sweeney's modest Victorian premises on the outskirts of Lisdoonvarna have become something of a culinary landmark by being Ireland's first pub to be awarded a Michelin star in 2017. A brief, well-thought-out menu showcases the best of local produce, which includes hake, lamb, rib-eye steak, and pork. Food is served in the bar, which is warm and welcoming, with an upright piano, original painted-wood cladding, assorted wooden tables and bentwood chairs, cheerful cotton-check blinds, and a random selection of bric-a-brac. Guest rooms (doubles from €120) are spacious and stylishly decorated in neutral tones with nice Victorian touches such as brass bedside lamps, and peaceful views of the countryside.

Ard Bia at Nimmo's

$$$ | Spanish Arch

Expect to wait in line at this city-center restaurant set in an old stone house, with tables overlooking the Corrib. Ard Bia serves budget-conscious, freshly baked and sourced food, with a menu that changes according to what is in season. Jumbled furnishings from dressers to crockery in a casual setting contrasts the more spacious, timber-floored restaurant upstairs. Here the menu is concise with offerings from sea and land with monkfish, rib eye, and lentil cakes.

Galway City, Ireland
Known For
  • all-day brunch
  • river views
  • seasonal menu
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Reservations required for dinner.

Barrtrá Seafood Restaurant


Sweeping Atlantic views from this whitewashed cottage set the stage for a delightful meal of fresh catch from the waters lapping the Wild Atlantic Way. For €50 guests can sample the best of the menu with a five-course Seafood Surprise taster menu: not to spoil the surprise, but expect mussels, halibut, and mackerel---and locally sourced black Angus fillet makes a guest appearance. A simple but well-thought-out à la carte menu is also available. 

Barrtrá, Lahinch, Ireland
Known For
  • offers gluten-free options
  • exceptional service
  • incredible desserts
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Jan.--Feb.; weekdays Mar.--Apr.; Sun. Oct.–Dec.; Tues. May--Sept.

Café Linnalla


Set in a peninsula on Galway Bay's Flaggy Shore, the enterprising Brid Fahy opened this farm-to-wafer parlor experience back in 2006. Made with milk from the Friesian and Shorthorn herd from her five-generation farm, the ice cream here is fantastic, and for good reason: the cows cross between the mainland and a small island to graze and this gives the cow's milk a unique and varied flavor. This delicious cow's milk is combined with locally sourced ingredients such as hazelnuts, wild berries, rhubarb, and apples that are spiced with the taste of the ocean to create unique flavors that alternate with the changing of seasons. All to say, it makes for great ice creams.

New Quay, Oughtmama, Ireland
Known For
  • decadent sundaes with homemade brownies
  • lovely Galway Bay views
  • fruit smoothies
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed weekdays Nov.--Mar.

Cava Bodega


Tapping into Galway's past as a major trading post for Spain, chef--owners JP McMahon and Drigin Gaffey bring all the favorite aspects of authentic Spanish cuisine and wine while also serving excellent local produce in this vibrant and warm Galway hot spot. More than 50 regional tapas served family-style at large, wooden communal tables are the heart of this restaurant filled with Spanish flavors and Irish produce and heart. There is an impressive craft beer and wine menu to accompany the food choices. For groups of eight or more, there's a tasting menu (€29 per person) that includes a sweeping selection of tapas.

Middle Street Mews, Galway City, Ireland
Known For
  • offers tasty traditional and vegetarian paellas
  • superb desserts
  • carefully sourced Spanish wines and sherries
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: No lunch weekdays

Cupán Tae

$ | Center

For anyone seeking an authentic tea-drinking experience, à la the Irish grandma who serves tea as an art form, the Cupán Tae ("the cup of tea" in Irish) serves it up with fussy crockery and much nostalgia. Breakfast is top-notch, and the popular afternoon tea comes complete with fresh-baked pastries served on a tiered china stand (of course). Add prosecco if you're feeling celebratory.

Eva's Cafe


For soup lovers, this modest, brightly painted café on a square in the heart of Ennis will hit all the right notes. With daily changing specials and a range of paninis and sandwiches, it's the perfect pit stop for a quality snack or budget lunch.

Flanagan's on the Lake


This lakeside restaurant, convenient for a bite before or after a River Shannon cruise, serves international fare with a breezy service. Locally produced standard fare like beef-and-Guinness pie as well as its reputable hamburgers, are favorites, but the restaurant also offers a good selection of vegetarian and gluten-free options. Its location on the Ballina side of the Killaloe Bridge puts it right across from the Shannon Cruise docking point.

Gallery Cafe


A chilled-out café in the middle of town, Gallery Cafe has heaps of character with local artist exhibitions and the occasional live performance providing an ever-changing setting. The seasonal menu often features local catch, stews, and braised venison as well as pizza and sandwiches.



One of the most famous landmarks in town, complete with thatched roof, turf fire, and stone flooring, this classic Irish pub is a cozy retreat from the lake in winter and a popular spot for alfresco dining in summer. Goosers is directly across the lake from St. Flannan's Cathedral and close to the town bridge that links County Tipperary to County Clare (Goosers is technically on the Tipperary side, but just barely), and serves traditional fare like Irish stew, seafood chowder, and bacon and cabbage.

Ballina Rd., Killaloe, Ireland
Known For
  • lakeside setting
  • traditional Irish fare
  • lively weekend trade
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Tues. and Wed.

Hazel Mountain Cafe


This surprising find in a cottage on the northern ridge of the Burren is not only a refreshing place for a soup-and-sandwich break, it's also home to the boutique Hazel Mountain Chocolate Factory, which produces chocolate using the same techniques employed by the monks who once occupied nearby Corcomroe Abbey. Vegetables are grown on-site and the cakes baked star in their own cookbook.

Oughtmama, H91 VCF1, Ireland
Known For
  • offers chocolate tours and tastings
  • hearty soup with homegrown vegetables
  • cottage farmhouse setting
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Factory tours available Mar.--Sept.

Jilly and Joe's


Located in a courtyard outside of Bunratty Mills and spread out over a number of food trucks and kiosks, Jilly and Joe's was created to satisfy the demand for alfresco dining and has since become a local staple in the dining scene. Outside, guests huddle close to flames of heaters on a chilly day---beneath an awning or canopy---and order pizza, sandwiches, daily special, or a burger. Inside, the sprawling loft of Blarney Woollen Mills is the best place for good value lunchtime dishes like breaded fish, stews, and pasta along with custom-made sandwiches---the humble French fries are delicious. A fine selection of confectionery and ice-cream booth keep the sweet tooth brigade satisfied. If the car park is filled with tour buses, move along, or expect a long wait.

JP Clarke's Country Pub


Adjoining the village's only thatched cottage that isn't in the folk park, gastropub JP Clarke's has an airy, mountain-lodge style interior with a brightly painted, vernacular exterior. On a sunny day, diners eat in the front garden space or can request seating under a glass roof. The menu is reasonably priced and straightforward---and the highlights are the daily specials listed on chalkboards throughout the premises. It's popular with locals so reservations are recommended.

Old Bunratty Rd., Bunratty, Ireland
Known For
  • lunchtime and evening meals
  • country setting close to Bunratty Castle
  • nightly specials
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Reservations recommended

Kai Restaurant

$$ | Center

Tucked inside a renovated cottage in the shadow of St. Ignatius's limestone belfry is one of Galway's best restaurants. The bare stone walls and floors are brightened by a pop of color from thrifted chairs and a skylight that draws in natural light, but what really shines is the reasonably priced and locally sourced organic food. The menu changes daily, but offerings are always excellent, local, and pulled together with intelligence and creativity.

20 Sea Rd., Galway City, Ireland
Known For
  • amazing desserts
  • excellent wine list
  • reservations in demand
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Sun. and Mon., Dinner reservations essential, no reservations taken for lunch

McDonagh's Fish and Chips

$ | Spanish Arch

The humble fish-and-chip is king at this stalwart restaurant, serving deep-fried cod, whiting, haddock, and hake for decades. The reasonably priced fish is served with a heap of fabulous, freshly cooked chips (which have won a nationwide competition for the best in Ireland) and eaten at communal tables—a great way to meet the locals.

Monk's Pub


This landmark dining pub a stone's throw from Ballyvaughan Pier has changed hands and fortunes over the past few years, but all you need to know is that it is back on its game with a freshly renovated interior and menu. The welcoming fire and friendly service remain, as does the signature seafood chowder that lures locals and visitors from miles around. Galway oysters feature prominently on the menu along with Hereford steak and salmon. The addition of new luxury bedrooms (from €115) means that you can now stay overnight. 

Ballyvaughan, Ireland
Known For
  • live music during the summer months
  • decadent desserts
  • excellent fish-and-chips
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Oct.–May. No food Mon.–Thurs.

Morrissey's Seafood Bar and Grill


Set on a bend in the river a short drive north of Loop Head Peninsula, this unpretentious town house has gained a national reputation. The key to its success is simplicity, with a menu that keeps in season whether it's a heartwarming casserole in winter or fruit crumbles in late summer. The interior is smart and bright, with decking that leads out by the river.

Main St., Doonbeg, Ireland
Known For
  • homemade scampi and chips
  • crab claws with garlic and herb butter
  • simple, seasonal dishes
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Jan.--Mar. Closed Mon.

Noel's at the Manor


This fine little eatery packs a punch in the local dining scene, harvesting the best of local produce from the sea and land. Operated by the Wallace family in a modern, stone-and-plaster inn on the western perimeter of the village, the style and presentation of the food comes with five-star finesse. The interior has a horse-themed decor, reflecting a strong segment of the restaurant's clientele. Menu samples include pan-seared scallops, honey-glazed duck, or wild mushroom--and-spinach pappardelle pasta. 

Bunratty, Ireland
Known For
  • delicious seafood chowder
  • great selection of vegan and vegetarian options
  • warm, relaxed atmosphere
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Sun. and Mon.

Oscar's Seafood Bistro

$$ | Center

Taking full advantage of Galway's fish-rich waters, Oscar's offers a daily changing menu based on the availability of the straight-from-the-trawler catch at the local market. Its warm interior with a ruby red backdrop, billowing fabric, and pine furnishings in close quarters has the essence of a seafaring vessel, with mackerel from the Aran Islands, and monkfish and scallops.

22 Dominick St. Lower, Galway City, Ireland
Known For
  • tasty local oysters
  • great-value early-bird meals
  • amazing desserts
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Sun.

Teach an Tae


Michael and Alissa Donoghue do not have to travel far to get the ingredients for their little cottage café that overlooks the pier. Their flock of chickens provide eggs, and the vegetable and herb garden—nurtured with seaweed throughout the year—furnishes their salads. Alissa met Michael while visiting the island from America. She uses her home recipes along with generations-old Donoghue recipes on her eclectic, made-from-scratch menu.

The Long Dock


Carrigaholt Village, with its crumbling medieval tower house perched on the coast, is home to this 200-year-old pub and restaurant, one of County Clare's great culinary finds. Seafood is sourced from the local pier as ingredients for the famous chowder, as are oysters, mussels, and lobsters---all served in the warm glow of an open-hearth fireplace and Liscannor stone flooring. Non-seafood options are available.

West St., Carrigaholt, Ireland
Known For
  • ice cream in courtyard out back
  • historical paraphernalia
  • helpful and informative staff
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Mon.--Wed. from Nov.--Mar.

The Pier Head


Once the village pub, the Pier Head is still a bar, but it sells more food than pints these days. The location is idyllic, at the top (head) of the village's pier. Lunch is served in the bustling, wood-floor mahogany bar (restaurant lunch Sunday only), with outdoor seating and modest sea views. At dinner, you can choose between the bar and the more formal upstairs restaurant with unforgettable views across Kinvara Bay to Dunguaire Castle. Both have roaring open fires and friendly staff. Fresh local seafood and locally reared meat (beef, lamb, pork, and duck) feature on the simple, unfussy menu. Don't forget that in summer there will be enough daylight until around 10 pm to enjoy the view.

The Quay, Kinvara, Ireland
Known For
  • delicious Thai steamed-seafood pot
  • good selection of vegetarian options
  • hearty, local food
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Mon. and Tues. Nov.–mid-Mar.

The Seafood Bar at Kirwan's

$$$ | Spanish Arch

Nestled into a lamp-lit corner of Kirwan's Lane near the Quays, this slim, two-story oasis has served quality local seafood for more than 20 years. Its selection reads like a travel guide from the highlights of the Wild Atlantic Way: Burren smoked salmon, Dingle prawns, and Connemara mussels. Owner Mike O'Grady combs the local waters for the finest produce for Kirwan's, and beef and chicken are also on the menu. Specials are a highlight.

Galway City, Ireland
Known For
  • friendly staff and warm atmosphere
  • solid vegetarian options
  • decadent desserts
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: No lunch Sun. Nov.–Apr.

Vaughan’s on the Prom


Travelers come here to get up close and personal with the surf from behind a bowl of steaming Atlantic seafood chowder. Floor-to-ceiling windows capture the breath of the bay from a cozy distance, except in storm season when it can be a little too close for comfort. Images of the property's defiant stand against giant ocean waves have gone global. The menu is concise but covers ground and sea with oysters, mussels, sea bass, pork skewers, and steak. Expect a wait in high season. Next door the sister property, Spooney's, offers standard beach desserts like sundaes and ice cream---and good old fish-and-chips.