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. Wild Honey Inn

    $$

    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...Read More

  • 2. 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,...Read More

  • 3. 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...Read More

  • 4. 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....Read More

  • 5. 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...Read More

  • 6. Cullinan's Restaurant & Guesthouse

    $$

    The small 25-seat restaurant, set in the back of an attractively renovated traditional farmhouse, is famed for its fresh, simply prepared seafood, but vegetarian and...Read More

  • 7. The Cloister Restaurant and Bar

    $$

    Nestled by 13th-century Ennis Friary, this landmark restaurant's contemporary flair contrasts with its old open-stone walls and timber joists, and it offers a great wine...Read More

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