No traveler's meal is more crucial than the one after an overnight transatlantic flight, four hours of buses and trains, and (finally!) a shower. An Irish friend who knows my passion for good food recommended Ard Bia in Galway, a two-minute walk from where I stayed. My expectations remain fairly low for quality gluten-free food on the road, but Ard Bia, its attentive staff, and amazing fare far exceeded them.
My table at an open window overlooking Ballyknow Quay afforded a delightful sensory experience--rushing water and the craic of a beautiful (sunny!) summer afternoon in Galway--as I waited for my food. I also paged through the Ard Bia cookbook as I sat. First up was the Ard Bia mezze--a white bean hummus, muhumara, and smoked chili and feta, all served with gluten-free bread and so very remarkable after 24 hours of airplane/train food and backpack snacks that I almost cried. I had the pan-fried Irish hake, with chorizo, mussels, and clams as my main, and experienced my first-ever taste of samphire. There was barely any room for the gluten-free chocolate cake and sea salt ice cream, so they packaged up the cake for me (a lovely snack the following afternoon). The staff was laid-back, friendly, and not at all flummoxed by my gluten-free state.
Ard Bia was my top pick for Galway, followed by Vina Mara (equally accommodating in the gluten-free department, though Ard Bia's atmosphere and flavor won out). Make reservations at each of these restaurants.
Have you been here? Share a tip or a photo with fellow travelers.
A rare sunny moment in Galway.
Galway is beautiful whether it rains or shines. I spent a couple of lunchtime hours sitting on the banks of the river taking in the sights. You also get a good view here of a super delicious and super hip restaurant called Ard Bia. Highly recommended.
Just when you thought the locavore organic movement could not have survived in this land of fried chips and meat of questionable origin, think again. Nimmos serves the gourmet organic food made from local ingredients in the requisite rustic atmosphere that you’ve come to know and love from your favorite Brooklyn haunts. Artsy locals crowded the place when we visited its charming location behind the Spanish Arch and overlooking the water.
The truth about Ard Bia is that it just feels good to be here. They have captured all that is wonderful about Ireland - the kindness, the beauty, the amazing local food - and they share it with their guests. You will feel immediately at home among the wooden topped tables, mismatched chairs and moroccan crockery. This is a foodie paradise and the menu showcases product from nearby farms in unique and interesting ways. Be sure to save room for dessert and go home with their amazing cookbook!