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. 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

  • 2. 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

  • 3. 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

  • 4. 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

  • 5. 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

  • 6. 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

  • 7. 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

  • 8. 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

  • 9. 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

  • 10. 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

  • 11. 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

  • 12. Morrissey's Seafood Bar and Grill

    $ | Irish

    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...Read More

  • 13. Murphy Blacks Restaurant

    $ | Seafood

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

  • 14. O'Looney's Waves Restaurant

    $ | Irish

    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...Read More

  • 15. Souper Cafe

    $ | Café

    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...Read More

  • 16. Teach an Tae (Cafe Aran Tea Rooms)

    $ | Irish

    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

  • 17. The Hummingbird Cafe

    $ | Irish

    In the bright, sprawling loft of Blarney Woollen Mills, this daytime restaurant offers good value lunch time dishes like breaded fish, stews...Read More

  • 18. The Long Dock

    $ | Seafood

    Carrigaholt Village, with its crumbling medieval tower house perched on the coast, is home to this almost-200-year-old pub and restaurant, one...Read More

  • 19. The Pie Maker

    $ | Center | Café

    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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