If you’re in search of the best restaurants in Galway, you’ve landed in the right spot!
Although it’s the various pubs in Galway that tend to attract much of the attention online, Galway’s food scene has long been a favourite of local and visiting foodies.
In 2023, there’s a staggering number of exceptional places to eat in Galway, regardless of whether you’re after something cheap and tasty or if you’re looking to sample Michelin-starred dining.
In this guide, we’re going to take you to what we think are the best restaurants in Galway City and beyond. Dive on in!
What we think are the best restaurants in Galway
Now, a quick note – our Galway restaurants guide is in no particular order. Each place included has earned a place thanks to a combination of great food and service.
Below, you’ll find everywhere from the Michelin-starred ‘Aniar’ and the brilliant ‘Dela’ to some of the best places to eat in Galway for a special occasion.
1. Dela Restaurant
Located at the southern end of Nuns Island in the city, Dela is a charming Irish restaurant that serves up some remarkable cuisine.
New takes on old favourites and plate presentations with eye-watering appeal are just the beginning.
Step inside the chic timber and stone dining room, with its dark-bentwood chairs and reclaimed timber tables, and you’ll see why this restaurant has such an impressive reputation.
Whether it’s a warming winter brunch of wood mushrooms with kale on garlicky ciabatta with a poached egg, or a springtime dinner of slow-braised lamb with pearl barley, turnips, and carrots, you can’t go wrong here.
Deala is, in our opinion, one of the best restaurants in Galway City for good reason.
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2. Kai Café and Restaurant
A small cafe-come restaurant, Kai is an eclectic mix of rough stone walls, painted wooden furniture, and contemporary food styling that would challenge the very best in capital cities across Europe.
It’s intimate, warm and friendly, and a great spot to while away an afternoon over coffee and into the evening with a decadent and mouth-watering menu.
Start your experience off right and order the Carlow chicken rillette with cornichons. They’ll set your chin wagging.
No matter what you choose in between for a second plate or mains, be sure to get give their lemon curd and blackberry pavlova a lash at the end.
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3. Ard Bia at Nimmos
Just near the mouth of the River Corrib, the constant flow of traffic on both the waterway and into Ard Bia at Nimmos is testimony to its popularity.
Bright and airy, with a neutral colour scheme and natural lighting, this charming restaurant blends everything perfectly, right down to the wax-covered candlesticks on the relaxed tables.
Known for both its food and its drinks, it’s the whiskey selection that sets jaws a gawp. Definitely sit down to their menu before you consider the stronger stuff.
You really don’t want to miss out on the incredible monkfish with langoustine bisque and dillisk mash!
If you’re looking for places to eat in Galway for a lunch/brunch with a difference, cave out some time for this place!
4. The Quay Street Kitchen
If you’re wondering where to eat in Galway where you’re guaranteed a knock-you-sideways steak, this next place will tickle your fancy.
Take a stroll down Quay Street, and you’ll swear Paris meets up with Galway in the contemporary Quay Street Kitchen.
It’s a seamless blend of two-tone timber tables and chairs, an exposed ceiling, and classic parquetry flooring; this is one classy dine-in kitchen.
Start with the soup of the day; it could be tomato and basil or potato and leek. Still have room for more?
Then start with the beef and mushroom crostini while you wait for your Moroccan spiced vegetable tagine.
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5. Brasserie On The Corner
Definitely one of the more fancy restaurants in Galway, Brasserie On The Corner is the spot for those special nights out.
Plush mauve velvet chairs and polished wooden tables, brick arches and decorative plaster ceilings, and a well-stocked bar all help set a tone of adult sophistication and serious consumption of both outstanding food and drink.
With a reputation as one of the best restaurants in Galway for seafood, you want to make sure you try the local mussels in cider cream reduction, followed by the chef’s fish of the day recommendation – it does change daily, fresh with the catch!
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6. The Dough Bros
The most casual of the many places to eat in Galway in this guide is the excellent Dough Bros.
Dough Bros is well known for its wood-fired pizzas, craft beers, and chilled atmosphere in the heart of Galway City.
There are no plates or breakables on the tables here; the pies are served on paper bags or boxes to go.
The menu is classic, with favourites like Margherita, pepperoni, ham and mushroom, and a guilt-free vegan marinara.
Related Galway Food Guide: 10 Places Dishing Up The Best Pizza In Galway City And Beyond
7. Rúibín Bar & Restaurant
Right on the waterfront, with commanding views of the busy quay, Rúibín’s has a mixture of rustic exposed composite brickwork, polished timber tables and chairs, and formal fireplaces with brass fenders.
This bar and restaurant is a perfect melding of shabby and chic to create an inviting and relaxed dining environment.
Like many of the best restaurants in Galway, Rúibín leverage local seasonal Irish ingredients to make thier magic.
The menu is extensive with everything you could want, from a selection of olives while you wait for your appetiser of crostini with ‘nduja, burrata, and pinenuts, or a main course like their pumpkin and brown butter gnocchi in walnut pesto with sage and garnished with Cais Na Tire cheese.
8. Aniar Restaurant
Few places to eat in Galway are as memorable as Aniar. At the south end of Nuns Island, this is a Michelin starred restaurant with an exceptional reputation, and it also boasts its own cookery school for hands-on foodies.
Book a table to ensure you get in, it is a very popular place, and you’ll soon see why.
The restaurant is bright and airy with a certain Parisian-chic about it, painted-white bentwood chairs and polished pale timber tables complete the ensemble.
If it’s your first time there, try the tasting menu; it’s absolutely magnificent if you’re into the fine dining experiences.
9. Oscars Seafood Bistro
Just over the bridge from Nuns Island, and in the Claddagh corner of the city, Oscar’s is a charming bistro that’s arguably one of the best places to eat in Galway for seafood.
The restaurant uses neutral tones from a nautical palette; dusky blues and sea greens, polished timber tables and exposed beam ceilings make for a charming evening out.
Oscar’s is well-known for its Catch of the Day offerings, with features like Japanese-style seaweed steamed oysters with yuzu and ginger sauce, or the blackened cod with habanero spiced beans with Yemeni green chilli, and of course, there’s always cod with Marty’s mussels.
Related Galway Food Guide: 10 Of The Best Seafood Restaurants In Galway In 2023
10. OSTERIA da Simone
If you’re in search of restaurants in Galway that serve up a fine bit of Italian, aim your belly in the direction of Osteria. This place oozes Italian styling and sophistication, with its monochromatic colour scheme.
Start with the Insalata Caprese or Insalata Mista, and then move on to the pasta; the tagliatelle Boscaiola is delicious! Round out your evening with the Pollo alla Valdostana, or a traditional pizza.
Osteria also boasts an impressive wine list, with careful selections from across the various wine regions of Italy, including reds from the Veneto, Calabria, and Puglia, and whites from Benevento, Toscana, and Sardinia.
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11. Cava Bodega
Cava Bodega sits in the heart of the city, with its bright yellow front, and lively and eclectic palette inside, this is not a quiet and sedate place to eat. It is, however, authentic.
It’s the kind of restaurant you’d expect to stumble into if you were in Barcelona or Cadiz.
Punchy and vibrant walls, mix n match seating, and reclaimed timber everywhere you look, it is packed full of personality, just like the food!
Get yourself in there for their tapas, the other menus are great, but the tapas are outstanding. Sink your fangs into the tortilla and patatas bravas, and the Moorish couscous is a must-try!
12. Zappi’s Restaurant
Authentic Italian in the heart of Galway city, there’s no mistaking Zappi’s as anything else.
The emphatic decorations and colour scheme shows the pride of their heritage, and when you sit down at Zappi’s open-plan tables, with its polished wood and red leather seats, you’ll discover why; it’s the food that does all the talking.
Zappi’s does all the classics, from a Margherita pizza to spaghetti Bolognese, snack on some garlic bread, or fresh bruschetta, and glasses of house red wine while you make your mind up.
But try not to miss out on the gelato or tiramisu, they’re truly Bellissimo! Zappi’s is one of the best restaurants in Galway if you fancy a hearty Italian feed!
Related Galway Food Guide: 9 Of The Best Italian Restaurants In Galway In 2023
13. Hooked Galway
Hooked is one of the best restaurants in Galway when it comes to top-class seafood.
This is a family-run seafood restaurant that does seafood just how we like it – down-to-earth cooking with just the right amount of frills to make your meal memorable.
Their culinary team has over 2o years of experience preparing seafood and you can tell. We love their hand crafted timber interior with distinctive seaside vibes.
From authentic creamy seafood chowder, ripping spicy shrimp tacos, or steamed Killary mussels, Hooked knows how to start the party. Their show-stopping mains are filling, so be warned, but the fish and chips are definitely a winner, as is the 70% dark chocolate brownie!
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14. Handsome Burger
It’s hard to walk past a good burger spot, which is why you’ll have no chance of ignoring this beast!
Tucked away at the very south of Nuns Island, Handsome Burger is a real gent with an unobtrusive decor of pale whitewashed brickwork, exposed industrial ceilings, and reclaimed timber tables.
But, you’re not going there for the ambience; you’re going there for what some consider to be the best burgers in Ireland.
Made with 100% Irish beef, and each patty is hand-rolled, they are a labour of love.
What great Galway restaurants have we missed?
I’ve no doubt that we’ve unintentionally left out some brilliant restaurants in Galway in the guide above.
Have a place that you regard as the best restaurant in Galway? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!
FAQs about the top restaurants in Galway
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘What are the best restaurants in Galway for a fancy bite?’ to ‘Where to eat in Galway with friends?’.
In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.
What are the best restaurants in Galway?
In our opinion, the best places to eat in Galway are Zappi’s, Kai Restaurant, Loam and Dela but, as you’ll see above, there’s some stiff competition.
What are the best places to eat in Galway for a fancy evening meal?
Again, in our opinion, Ard Bia at Nimmos and Quay Street Kitchen are two great options if you fancy splashing out a little.
What are the top casual restaurants in Galway?
Although you can’t beat a Supermac’s, we’re fond of Dough Bros and Handsome Burger – two spots that’ll make your belly very happy!
Keith O’Hara has lived in Ireland for 34 years and has spent most of the last 10 years creating what is now The Irish Road Trip guide. Over the years, the website has published thousands of meticulously researched Ireland travel guides, welcoming 30 million+ visitors along the way. In 2022, the Irish Road Trip team published the world’s largest collection of Irish Road Trip itineraries. Keith lives in Dublin with his dog Toby and finds writing in the 3rd person minus craic altogether.