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. 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

  • 2. 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

  • 3. 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

  • 4. 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

  • 5. Oscar's Seafood Bistro

    $$ | Center | Irish

    Taking full advantage of Galway's fish-rich waters, Oscar's offers a daily changing menu based on the availability of the straight-from-trawler...Read More

  • 6. The Cloister Restaurant and Bar

    $$ | European

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

  • 7. The Pier Head

    $$ | Irish

    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 the top (head...Read More

  • 8. Cullinan's Restaurant & Guesthouse

    $$ | Seafood

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

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