County Clare, Galway, and the Aran Islands Restaurants

Because the West provinces have a brief high season—from mid-June to early September—and a quiet off-season, it doesn't have as broad a choice of small, owner-operated restaurants as do other parts of Ireland. Often the best place to eat is a local hotel. But some places landmark the region, including Moran's Oyster Cottage in Kilcolgan near Galway City, where the fare is simple, served in traditional pub surroundings, but sea-leaping fresh. At the other extreme are more dazzling experiences, like when you splurge to dine in style like the superb formal restaurant at Dromoland Castle. For truly adventurous contemporary Irish cooking, head to happening Galway; the town center is so compact you can meander around and read the menus on display outside before making your choice.

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  • 1. Aniar Restaurant

    $$$$ | Center | Irish

    J. P. McMahon has caused quite a stir in the Galway dining scene with his tapas at Cava Bodega and the recently opened casual spot Tartare,...Read More

  • 2. Gallagher's Seafood Restaurant

    $$ | Seafood

    In the village's only thatched cottage outside the folk park, Gallagher's Restaurant has been wowing for the last two decades, with a strong...Read More

  • 3. Kai Cafe and Restaurant

    $$ | Center | Contemporary

    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...Read More

  • 4. Linnane's Lobster Bar

    $$$ | Irish

    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...Read More

  • 5. Loam

    $$$$ | Center | Irish

    The industrial facade and simply furnished interior of this award-winning restaurant and wine bar just off Eyre Square betray nothing of head...Read More

  • 6. Moran's Oyster Cottage

    $$$$ | Seafood

    This small thatched cottage is just upstream from where the Dunkellin River flows into Dunbulcaun Bay, the epicenter of Ireland's fresh oyster...Read More

  • 7. The Pullman Restaurant

    $$$$ | Irish

    Stationed on the grounds of Glenlo Abbey Hotel, overlooking Lough Corrib in the outskirts of Galway, is Ireland's most unique restaurant: two...Read More

  • 8. Wild Honey Inn

    $$ | Irish

    Owner-chef Aidan McGrath and wife Kate's modest Victorian premises on the outskirts of Lisdoonvarna have become something of a culinary landmark...Read More

  • 9. Ard Bia at Nimmo's

    $$ | Spanish Arch | European

    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...Read More

  • 10. Barrtrá Seafood Restaurant

    $ | Seafood

    Sweeping Atlantic views from this whitewashed cottage sets the stage for a delightful meal of fresh catch from the waters lapping the Wild Atlantic...Read More

  • 11. Café Linnalla

    $ | Café

    Set in a peninsula on Galway Bay's Flaggy Shore, the enterprising Brid Fahy opened this farm-to-wafer parlor experience back in 2006 to milk...Read More

  • 12. Cava Bodega

    $ | Spanish

    Tapping into Galway's past as a major trading post for Spain, chef-owners J. P, McMahon and Drigin Gaffeybring all the favorite aspects of authentic...Read More

  • 13. Cupán Tae

    $ | Center | Irish

    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...Read More

  • 14. Flanagans on the Lake

    $ | International

    This lakeside restaurant, convenient for a bite before or after a River Shannon cruise, serves international fare with breezy service. Locally...Read More

  • 15. Food Heaven

    $ | Irish

    Commanding a prime location in the town's market, Food Heaven is one of the best places to eat breakfast in Ennis, with standouts including...Read More

  • 16. Gallery Cafe

    $ | Irish

    A chilled-out café in the middle of town, Gallery Cafe has heaps of character with local artist exhibitions and the occasional live performance...Read More

  • 17. Goosers

    $ | Irish

    One of the most famous landmarks in town, complete with thatched roof, turf fire, and stone flooring, this classic Irish pub is a cozy a retreat...Read More

  • 18. Hazel Mountain Cafe

    $ | Café

    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...Read More

  • 19. McDonagh's Fish and Chips

    $ | Spanish Arch | Seafood

    The humble fish-and-chip is king at this stalwart restaurant, serving deep-fried cod, whiting, haddock, and hake for decades. The reasonably...Read More

  • 20. Monk's Pub

    $ | Irish

    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...Read More

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