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. The Town Hall Bistro

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    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...Read More

  • 2. Café Linnalla

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    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...Read More

  • 3. Cava Bodega

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    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...Read More

  • 4. 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...Read More

  • 5. Eva's Cafe

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    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...Read More

  • 6. Flanagan's on the Lake

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    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...Read More

  • 7. Gallery Cafe

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    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...Read More

  • 8. Goosers

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    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...Read More

  • 9. Hazel Mountain Cafe

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    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

  • 10. Jilly and Joe's

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    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...Read More

  • 11. 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...Read More

  • 12. Monk's Pub

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    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

  • 13. Morrissey's Seafood Bar and Grill

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    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...Read More

  • 14. Teach an Tae

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    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...Read More

  • 15. The Long Dock

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    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...Read More

  • 16. Vaughan’s on the Prom

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    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...Read More

  • 17. Food Heaven

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    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 a...Read More

  • 18. Murphy Blacks Restaurant

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    Set in modest Victorian quarters on the main thoroughfare into Kilkee, Murphy Blacks is operated by a duo with a vast experience in hospitality and...Read More

  • 19. The Pie Maker

    $ | Center

    This quirky little slice of Galway harbors some of the city's best sweet and savory treats behind its maroon, ivy-clad facade, and a visit is...Read More

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