A Guide to Galway: Restaurants we look forward to re-opening

By Laura Varley / December 4, 2020

It might only be myself who thinks this, but I have found this second lockdown has been significantly easier than the first. We moved to Level 3 as of Tuesday December 1st and the general consensus is that restaurants will begin to open from the 4th of December. I previously wrote an article about the best places in Galway currently offering takeaway and the one thing I didn’t like about it was that I couldn’t add some of my favourites as they were closed entirely. This article goes some of the way in rectifying that as the following is a guide to Galway’s restaurants set to re-open. Keep in mind some of the names on this list did stay open during Level 5 but as I did not utilise their takeaway options I saved them for part two. Also some of the venues are further outside of the city than in the previous article and in the interest of originality I won’t be repeating examples. 

Park House

I mentioned in the previous article my deep and abiding love for soup and sandwiches. Truly, if I could eat this combination of foods for every meal I would. Side-note, there have been days where I literally ate soup and sandwiches for all three meals and regretted nothing. Park House, located on Forster Street in the heart of Galway City, at the risk of hyperbolizing, has the best vegetable soup in Ireland. Back when sitting in restaurants was allowed, (weird sentence I know), I would regularly go to Park House for soup and one of the many gourmet sandwiches on offer, sometimes ordering soup to takeaway also. On top of that they have a varied, reasonably priced bar menu offering everything from salads, sandwiches and light-bites, to more hearty lunch options such as a roast, curry or fresh fish. Their evening menu, though pricier, is absolutely delicious and the venue is perfect for a special occasion. Remember when we had special occasions? I personally had my 18th and my college graduation dinner here and on top of delicious food, the atmosphere is always charming. Also it is worth noting that it has several menus on offer, including fine-dining and set-menus and is award winning. Go to Park House for vegetable soup, you won’t regret it. 

Dela

Dela, located on Lower Dominick Street and set to re-open on December 7th, is another restaurant I am excited to revisit. The business grows much of its produce on its Moycullen based farm and has an eco-friendly plot-to-plate ethos. They offer a brunch and evening menu, both with a medley of options to suit everyone from vegan to carnivore. The brunch menu in particular has a wide range of meals to choose from, including a mouth-watering breakfast burrito. It was the first burrito I ever ate and now is the burrito by which all others shall be judged. Their evening and set-menu offer fresh fish, steak and pasta dishes, amongst others. They also serve an incredibly delicious French onion soup. Dela has won numerous awards including spots in Hotpress Top 100 Restaurants and Hotpress Irelands Best Brunches, multiple times and is constantly expanding their plot in Moycullen and their menu. This environmentally sound, exciting, friendly little spot is one not to miss and I personally can not wait to see them return. 

McDonaghs

McDonaghs has stood on Quay Street since 1902 and is a proudly family run business. For 115 years the restaurant and fish & chip bar has served high quality seafood to the people of Galway and is a virtual institution in the city. Aside from the takeaway aspect of the business there is also a dine in, slightly more up-market seating area. Amongst other dishes, the evening menu includes cod, monkfish, salmon, Clarenbridge mussels and oysters and I can personally attest to the sheer heaven that is the monkfish risotto. Although this half of the restaurant is currently closed due to Covid-19, patrons can still order and sit in at the fish & chip bar. All of their seafood is sustainably resourced and traceable, an important move considering the growing popularity of responsible consumerism. To see McDonaghs flourish for another 115 years head to Quay Street for some good old-fashioned fish & chips. 

Rouge

Quick disclaimer, unfortunately Rouge announced on the 2nd of December that they have made the difficult decision not to re-open this year. However as they are expected to re-open in the new year and they are a business we should all support, I wanted to include them. Rouge offers fine French cuisine at a shockingly inexpensive price and to them atmosphere is as vital as the meal itself. It is a beautifully decorated, calming space with an innovative menu and has over 100 bottles of wine to choose from. The set menu starts at €22 and ranges from fish, lobster and steak to vegetarian options. They also have a variety of mouth-watering french desserts, dessert wines and hot beverages. The ambiance is so peaceful and the service so friendly that you can easily wile away hours over a meal and a bottle of French wine. I look forward to seeing what Rouge offers when they return in the new year. 

Da Robertas

Da Robertas in Upper Salthill offers an authentic Italian experience with homemade breads, pastas, pizzas and a broad list of Italian beers and wines. Service is efficient and friendly and it is another spot that is perfect for a special occasion. Another side-note, my friends and I chose Da Robertas for my 21st and they mis-spelled the labels as Laura’s 21rd which made me laugh and I still have a couple of the labels in a drawer somewhere. It was an absolutely great night and I remember the chicken parmigiana was particularly tasty. I have eaten there several times since and I am always pleased with the food and the service. 

Basilico

Basilico is another outstanding Italian restaurant and is located a little further out in Oranmore. There are a number of menus to choose from, to suit all tastes and budgets, with a sinfully tasty vegan minestrone soup on the popular evening menu. They have all of the fan favourites, including bolognese, lasagna, steak and pizza, whilst also showcasing a number of new dishes. You can choose to sit in the dining room or the slightly more casual bar area but either way the service is great and the atmosphere is warm and inviting. Ingredients are locally sourced and it is the only Italian restaurant to win the prestigious Eccellenze Italiane award. Fun fact the owner and general manager of Basilico, Fabiano Mulas, has decorated the walls of the restaurant with his impressive oil paintings. Giving a fun, vibrant look at his hometown in Sardinia. If you are in the mood for Italian I suggest you make a reservation for Basilico. 

Lady Gregorys 

Lady Gregorys is a homely restaurant/hotel situated in Gort. The Jack B Yeats bar offers a varied menu and their carvery dinners are always hearty, piping hot and reasonably priced. Before covid cancelled life, it was a regular stop for my family and I on the way to matches. If you are in the mood for a decent bowl of soup or a generously sized roast Lady Gregorys is the place to go. Then between 3-9pm there is a wide selection of starters, main-courses and desserts, with the hotel also offering alternative dining options in the popular Copper Beech restaurant. 

Seven

Seven on Bridgestreet is another spot I would regularly visit when we were allowed to do so. The restaurant was always popular and you would usually have to wait for a few minutes before being seated. It regularly hosted live music and broadcast live sports, offering related food and drink deals and boasts a lengthy cocktail and drinks menu. The menu is varied with all-day breakfast, pastas, burgers, chicken-wings, salads and more and their long island iced tea is the nectar of the Gods. I can’t count how many nights out started with a meal in Seven, it is another restaurant that I genuinely look forward to re-opening and if you haven’t been, I suggest you do. 

So there you have it, eight restaurants in Galway that we should all support when they re-open. It is exciting that this side of the economy is having the chance to re-emerge and recuperate, but do take into account that the coronavirus is still a very real threat. Only visit a restaurant if you are symptom free and appropriate regulations are in place. There is no reason we can’t enjoy local restaurants and stay safe at the same time. 

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About the author

    Laura Varley

    Laura is a graduate of NUIG, writes freelance and is an avid follower of Mayo football, the Arts and current affairs.

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