Vegetarian Dining in Galway City
A Visitor’s Impression
While spending a couple of days in Galway city recently, I took the opportunity to take a close look at possible vegetarian options for vegetarian diners. Having visited Galway before and eaten (several times) in a pub serving only vegetarian and vegan meals, I was very disappointed to find that while the pub remains, the food service is now gone.
On a more positive note, however, first impressions of the dining establishments in the city centre area were good. There appears to be a keen awareness of vegetarianism - and with most places displaying their menus on windows or at the door, potential customers get the chance to have a peek at the menu and decide whether there might be something that might suit their tastes. A good number of restaurants cater very well for vegetarians, offering two or more (and up to six or seven) options. Veggie breakfasts are also in good supply around the city (for about €6). Also, as a back up it is good to remember that ‘Evergreen Health Food Shop’ is well stocked and is easily accessible in High Street.
There appears to be much competition between establishments, particularly along the main pedestrian thoroughfares of Shop Street, Quay Street and High Street. We visited mid-week and found that Galway was thronging with tourists, workers and shoppers going about their business.
FAT FREDDIES, Quay Street
This is a small and atmospheric venue. They serve Italian-style food - lots of pizza options, salads, baked potatoes, veggie lasagne, veggie Mexican food and so on. We ordered a “small” goat’s cheese salad with olives (it wasn’t small! but it was delicious), served with baked potato and a lasagne also served with baked potato, accompanied by ½ carafe of house red. The service was great and the bill came to just under €30.
THE RIVER GOD CAFÉ, High Street
Not only does this restaurant have a good veggie section but they also go a step further by denoting their vegan options with a V. Their fare included, ‘Pan-fried vegetable fajitas and tossed salad’ (€10), ‘Ragout of gnocchi Provencal’ (€12), ‘Organic tofu and spicy vegetable rice stir-fry (€12), Thai vegetable curry and more exotic sounding dishes such as ‘Indonesian gado-gado’ stating clearly whether each dish is suitable for vegetarians or not.
SKEFFS BAR, Eyre Square (food from 4.30–9.00)
This might be handy for those getting a train or bus but with an hour or two to spare. Skeffs offers ‘vegetable chimichangas’ – deep-fried tortilla wrap with vegetables, tomato and garlic sauce with rice and ‘vegetable fajitas’ – tortilla wrap served with peppers, garlic, sour cream, guacamole and pineapple. For starters and snacks, one could opt for the deep-fried brie or mushrooms, bruscetta, baked potatoes, home made chips, mixed salad, sautéed mushrooms, etc – so you could find several snacks that would help make a meal.
CUBA, Eyre Square
Cuba is also handy for those getting a train or bus but with an hour or two to spare, and I preferred Cuba to Skeffs. Cuba boasts a restaurant and bar, and offers lots of room, a good atmosphere, good coffee and helpful staff as well as a well-labelled menu stating clearly whether each dish is suitable for vegetarians or not.
Their veggie breakfast consists of baked beans, potato wedges, grilled tomatoes, mushrooms, toast, scrambled eggs (I went without this), with tea or coffee included for €7.50. Other options for later in the day include: ‘Sorrento Salad’ (pasta quills, sun-dried tomatoes, peppers, onions, toasted almonds and mustard dressing), ‘Havana Rolls’ (filo pastry, spinach and cream cheese, deep fried and served with guacamole), ‘Pasta Primavera’ (€7.95) and ‘Quesedillas’ (€7.75). Cuba also offers fresh orange juice (squeezed to order) and various smoothies.