Fresh Eire Blog
The Claddagh is a symbol of love and friendship. The story of the famous Claddagh ring began in a small fishing spot in Claddagh, Galway. The area contains little more than a church, a school and a visitor centre, providing privacy and yet a tradition steeped in love.
Here are our Top Restaurant Recommendations in Galway.
Located on Father Griffin Road, Anton’s Café is our top choice for lunch in Galway. Open 7 days a week, the restaurant offers 3 main menus (House menu, Take out menu and Breakfast menu) all made with locally sourced products. Anton’s Café has its own in-house bakery, its own focaccia bread, and uses only fresh ingredients for its soups & salads. The flour-free chocolate cake is divine. The restaurant also acts as a gallery and, from time to time, art exhibitions are on display as part of the Galway Arts Festival.
Here’s a review from TripAdvisor of Anton’s Café by Padraic, owner of Fresh Eire Adventures :
“A Galway institution I've been enjoying since 2001, Anton has been baking his delicious foccacias at dawn and filling them with the highest quality produce; home made pesto, hot tuna, blacky ham, aged cheddar...complimenting everything with hearty home made soups, fresh salads...followed by classic desserts and muffins with probably the best coffee on this side of the Corrib. No trip to Galway is complete without calling in to soak up the ambiance at the very least. Do yourself a favour and go. And return. Many times. Gets very busy at lunch time Mon - Fri so try plan your visit keeping this in mind. VERY highly recommended.’’
Located in Galway’s West End, the authentic Aniar restaurant was awarded a Michelin Star in 2013. Chef, JP McMahon prepares recipes with ingredients from Galway and the West of Ireland. The restaurant offers a daily tasting menu, which consists of 10 enticing courses. Aniar also offers an early evening menu of 5 delicious courses.
Ard Bia at Nimmo’s
The quality of its food and the variety of its menus have made Ard Bia one of the most enduring restaurants in Galway. It’s fun atmosphere and excellent service coupled with the unique culture curated by Galway institution Aoibheann McNamara, Nimmo’s is our top dining recommendation for your trip to Galway. Opt for a table next to the water and you will take in views of The Claddagh while small groups of 4 should request The Snug. McNamara has also received acclaim for her Tweed Project; another feather in this maven’s cap.
Padraic, founder and managing director of Fresh Eire Adventures, tried this restaurant and reviewed it on TripAdvisor :
‘’I've been going to Nimmos for over ten years now...it changed management a few years ago and the quality has, if anything, improved. The building itself is historic and built right on the pier. It attracts a great variety of people; there's almost always a few suits and glammed up ladies, a few arty types, hipsters and urban professionals; and a few smug-looking tourists who look as though they got in on Galway's best kept secret! The food is simply wonderful; a great array of seafood especially. Great presentation, lots of originality but very straightforward. Excellent wine list also. Service is very laid back, casual and friendly - it's very much in keeping with the laid back vibe of this special place. My favourite table is 'the snug' - ideal for 3 or 4 people only.’’
Kai is an excellent casual restaurant, which delights with its simple authenticity and combines the old with the modern in a comfortable and homely atmosphere. The restaurant offers a large range of affordable and tasty menu. Kai also houses a great collection of artworks and paintings.
Locals rate McDonaghs as the "Best Fish & Chips" in Galway, if not in Ireland! Indeed, with a menu that lists a dozen delicious fish (ray, hake, salmon, cod and so on) and tasty french fries, McDonaghs offers a fine insight into this Irish staple dish. The service is speedy and informal – there are two options; either take-away or dine-in. With the take-away option you get your food in around 5 minutes after you order and you can sit at communal benches to enjoy your food. The dine-in option is more traditional with table service. Staff are polite and friendly, and the price is very affordable for the quality of the food. You will appreciate the original and unique marine-themed decoration of the interior, which tells the story of local Irish fishermen.
Padraic, founder and managing director of Fresh Eire Adventures, tried this restaurant and reviewed it on TripAdvisor :
‘’A great selection of fresh fish, cooked to perfection. My recommendation is the battered salmon, with chips and a side of curry sauce (try it!). Do as the Galwegians do - order at the counter and take a bench seat. It's effectively the same menu as the restaurant (which almost always involves a wait for a table). Great people watching opportunities if you side outside on the benches.’’
Dough Bros Pizzeria
Located in Galway city centre, Dough Bros is a casual venue to enjoy an authentic wood-fired pizza like no other in town. The place is warm, cosy and you can enjoy the combination of the wood fire and pizza smells. The service is friendly, and the flavour of each featured ingredient is easily identifiable such is the quality. The size of the pizza is relatively small for enthusiastic pizza lovers so we recommend that you double your order – lucky you!
Moran’s of the Weir Restaurant
Moran’s of the Weir is an excellent seafood restaurant, which is famous for Galway flat oysters and tasty fresh mussels. With their produce directly collected from the sea in front of the cottage restaurant on Galway Bay, you will appreciate their delicious menu with a refreshing Guinness or glass of wine. Enjoy a large piece of their traditional homemade brown bread with (my favourite ) the garlic breaded grilled oysters with a splash of Tabasco. In a simple and comfortable setting, the restaurant offers a friendly atmosphere in which to relax and enjoy a pleasant dinner. Based just outside Clarinbridge (on the Galway side), Moran’s of the Weir is ideally located for your visit en route to or from the Burren or the Cliffs of Moher.
The G Counter
Open 7 days a week, the G Counter is a delicious and trendy cafe-restaurant. The G offers an appetizing breakfast, tempting sandwiches, succulent dishes and tasty homemade burgers. We also recommend trying its fresh bakery and pastry products with a excellent cup of dark coffee. Located at the rear of the G Hotel this is an ideal place to try on your way in or out of town.
Here’s a review from TripAdvisor of The G Counter Café - Restaurant by Padraic, owner of Fresh Eire Adventures :
‘’I ate here twice in the last month; both times for lunch in a hurry - service was superb both times despite the restaurant (a bright, spacious industrial style airy space) being very busy. The first day I had the Nicoise sandwich - an open extravagnaza on home-baked sourdough, served on a breadboard and ENORMOUS. Delicious. Second time (2 weeks ago) I ordered the best salmon fish cakes in Galway - featuring salmon 3 ways; in the fish cakes, in a side salad (smoked salmon) and poached. With a bowl of fries and a coke this came to €15 - outstanding value for money. Service on both occasions was speedy and friendly, efficient and well informed. Bathrooms could be better. Not a great location. Lots of free parking however - every cloud! I love this place and have no hesitation in recommending it. Top Drawer.’’
Dubrovnik: Restaurants & Wine Bar
Here are our Top Restaurant & Wine Bar Recommendations in Dubrovnik, as prepared by intern Mathieu.
For the ultimate Dubrovnik dining experience pay a visit to Restaurant 360° a trendy and elegant place commited to presenting top-notch cuisine prepared with the finest ingredients, inspired by Mediterranean flavours, influenced by local history and presented in a contemporary manner. The chef at 360° takes modern Mediterranean dining to a whole new level constantly experimenting with new techniques and recipes to keep their menu full of delicious selections and inventive combinations. Regarding the food, there isn't really a thing we wouldn't recommend from the delicacies they serve, for all the dishes encompassed in their menu are a gastronomic adventure. There is a special degustation menu that serves several mains in smaller portions. One other thing you shouldn't miss, is treating yourself with some of the exclusive wines recommended by the sommelier.
360° is a sophisitcated outdoor oasis, showcasing superb fine dining amidst the iconic sights of Dubrovnik's dramatic architecture. Their superior service is a pearl of the Adriatic's gastro scene. Whether it is a romantic dinner with your significant other, a family get together, or just a night out with your friends, 360° offers something for everyone.
Jam packed into a street filled with restaurants is this small haven for non-meaty lovers. You'll find a fusion vegetarian cuisine from all over the world. Choose from falafel, curry, soups, salad bar and much more. The menu also contains vegan and gluten-free dishes for those mor in tune with Mother Nature. Enjoy the local wines, beers, and home-made juices that Nishta has to offer. A lot of thought has gone into the design of the toilets, so make sure you arrive with a full bladder otherwise you will miss out on the joke.
In the old town of Dubrovnik, Barba is a restaurant which offers you delicious seafood in a simple but modern interior. Their burgers and salads are also gorgeous. This restaurant is a nice place to order fast food such as fried fish.
Here’s a review from TripAdvisor of Barba by Padraic, owner of Fresh Eire Adventures:
“Great value, no nonsense fast food in a comfortable and friendly restaurant setting. I made the mistake of ordering too much - the tempura prawn dish was very heavy. However, the server saw it wasn't to my liking, and (they also forgot to order it for me so it took half an hour to arrive) didn't charge me for it.
Recommended (for the calamari)”.
D'vino Wine Bar
D'vino Wine Bar is the perfect place to relax, share an intimate conversation, celebrate a special occasion, or just unwind and enjoy a glass of wine at the end of the day. Located in a narrow street in the heart of Dubrovnik Old City, D'vino has an imported wine available by the glass, bottle, and tasting servings. D'vino offers over 60 wines by the glass, which is by far the richest selection in Dubrovnik, with a focus on small wine producers and family vineyards across Croatia. From quick bites to elaborate gourmet platters, D'vino has it all. Based on local ingredients and traditional delicasies, they serve delicious food with a twist.
Razonada Wine & Tapas Bar:
Razonada Wine & Tapas Bar is simply the best place to discover high quality Croatian wines in Dubrovnik. With its elegant interior, we suggest to combine a fabulous glass of wine with Croatian tapas such as Proscuitto. Charming and romantic, this establishment is located inside the Pucic Palace Hotel, in the very heart of the Old City of Dubrovnik. Croatia is a land of contrast and the fine wines follow this diversity. Produced on lush rolling green valleys or steep cliff sides the wines of Croatia range from refreshing light whites to full-bodied reds. We recommend sampling a glass of the famous red wine from the Peljesac peninsula, Dingac. Or if you are looking for a cool white wine then we recommend Posip from the island of Korcula. And the lounge bar Defne, a rooftop terrace over Razonda, offers a stunning ambience above the busy streets, after a glass of fine wine make your way up to the terrace for a light lunch. If you are looking for a slightly different way to explore and experience the beauties of Croatia look no further.
Kopun, one of the rising stars among Dubrovnik's restaurants, and a local favourite, is located on one of the most enchanting squares in Dubrovnik's Old Town, the calm and peaceful Ruder Boškovic square, approached via romantic baroque staircase. Elegant interior, gorgeous outside seating and relaxed setting of the whole area, popularly known as Jezuiti, enhances their rich offer, and puts Kopun in the top of the town's restaurant scene. Alfresco dining at Kopun, gives you a unique opportunity to enjoy the view of a wonderfully ornate Jesuit church of St Ignatius, while indulging in authentic delicasies. Their menu features buzzes for everyone's taste, with an emphasis put on tradidtional Croatian recipes, thus one can enjoy flavours from all over Croatia, tastes of Istria or Slavonija, Zagorje or Dalmatia, all carefully gathered and brilliantly created in this one lovely venue.
Special feature on their menu is capon, young rooster bread exclusively for meat. Capon represents a highly valued delicacy in traditional cuisines all across Europe, and in time of Dubrovnik republic it was served to local aristocrats. The recommended dish Dubrovnik Capon, rooster in sauce of sour orange and honey, is inspired by the work of Marin Drzic, Dubrovnik's famous 16th century writer. So sink in and sense the true Dubrovnik, as it once was.
Here are our Top Hotel Recommendations in Dubrovnik, as prepared by intern Mathieu.
The Pucic Palace:
The 5-star Pucic Palace is a 17th century baroque building in the old town of Dubrovnik, and the unique hotel is located inside the fortifications. Rooms are chic and charming, and bathrooms are unique with their Romanesque Italian mosaic in walls and tiles. Open your window, and admire a stunning view of Dubrovnik (be sure to pack some earplugs: the old town can become very loud at night).
Their Defne terrace offers a creative contemporary eastern Mediterranean cuisine, best enjoyed on a sunny day; it’s so pleasant and refreshing.
The 5-star Hilton Imperial is a wonderful building on the doorstep of Old Dubrovnik just outside the Pile Gate, and close to Banje Beach. Rooms are spacious and comfortable with high-quality bedding. To fully decompress, the Beauty Line Center at the Hilton Imperial, allows you to enjoy their indoor swimming pool, spa, steam room, fitness gym or even massages.
The Porat Restaurant offers refined Mediterranean cuisine with local produce meticulously chosen by Hilton Imperial Executive Chef, Julija Basic. The Lobby Bar is also a smart way to appreciate cocktails, wines or even a simple coffee in their sumptuous terrace, facing the beautiful old town and their ramparts.
Lapad Hotel is a 4-star Victorian architectural building located close to the old town of Dubrovnik, in front of the sea in Lapad. Rooms are spacious and cosy; you have the option to choose between the old and classic parts of the establishment. The breakfast is substantial and varied, no better way to start a good day. To relax, the swimming pool is ideal after a day visiting old Dubrovnik city, as is the restaurant where you can enjoy gastronomic Mediterranean creative food.
Here are our Top Casual Dining Restaurant & Takeaway Recommendations in Paris, as prepared by intern Thibault.
L’As du Fallafel
Located in Le Marais neighbourhood, L’As du Fallafel is simply the best Falafel in Paris. No doubt, their falafels will give you a foretaste of Egyptian and Middle Eastern food. It’s not only a tasty surprising experience but an unexpected journey.
Here’s a review from TripAdvisor of L’As du Fallafel by Padraic, owner of Fresh Eire Adventures:
“Touted as the best falafel sandwich in Paris this institution did not disappoint. The constant lines outside at peak times (and indeed off peak times) can disappoint but really - the wait is worthwhile. Freshly made falafel with deliciously fresh and crispy salad and high quality humous make for a tasty sandwich. However, the pita bread is nothing special and is really only a falafel delivery vessel; use a fork and discard the bread. There is also a sit-down restaurant option (which I didn't try). Excellent and very highly recommended”.
Touller Outillage is a wine bar in the 11th Arr. in Paris, next to Place de la République. You can taste some tapas to fully appreciate your free time in the capital city. Wines are excellent, and the atmosphere is user-friendly.
Here’s a review from TripAdvisor of Touller Outillage by Padraic, owner of Fresh Eire Adventures:
"Superb atmosphere is this gorgeous authentic space; a fine collection of wines from every corner of France available by the glass and a simple cheese or charcuterie & bread option. The crowd is mostly younger people in the 20s and 30s. We opted for a glass each of superb Cote de Beaune at €6.50 per glass. I believe there is also an option to order tapas here but I saw no menu describing same".
Benedict, in Le Marais neighbourhood is a cosy restaurant famous for its eggs Benedict. However, you should also try their salads, burgers or even the tamara with truffle, simply delicious.
Here’s a review from TripAdvisor of Benedict by Padraic, owner of Fresh Eire Adventures:
"This is a very buzzy restaurant on the edge of Beaubourg; lots of urban, stylish professionals meeting for after-work drinks often head here before going on to a party or club. I can't remember what my friend ordered but I had the filet of cod with a side of greens and salad along with an outstanding Saint Emillion Grand Cru (bargain at €10!!). I recall the meal worked out at €40 each including tip. Excellent value for money, hugely enjoyable and highly recommended".
La Droguerie is a small restaurant which allows you to taste the best “crepes” of the Marais at a very affordable price. Portions are generous, genial, the pleasure of a tasty dessert will be longer.
Here’s a review from TripAdvisor of La Droguerie by Padraic, owner of Fresh Eire Adventures:
“An excellent post-falafel treat awaits you here at La Droguerie with freshly made crepes with a selection of classic toppings. My Nutella and Banana crepe was perfectly cooked and Crepe, Nutella, Banana ratio was excellently calculated. (They also have savoury crepes which I didn't try.) Superb. Very highly recommended and great value for money at €4 (Crepes start at €2)”.
Le Pick Clops:
Le Pick Clops is a coffee bar in Le Marais neighbourhood which welcome you inside a 50’s retro atmosphere. Return back in the 50’s with your friends to fully appreciate this old school and kitsch bar. On a sunny day, we advise you to sit on the terrace, don’t worry the locals will be there to show you the way.
Here’s a review from TripAdvisor of Le Pick Clops by Padraic, owner of Fresh Eire Adventures:
"An awesome spot for people-watching, this stylish and retro restaurant offers simple dishes done well without any fuss or expense. My Inca Salad (€11 - quinoa, avocado etc) was refreshing with a citrus flavour, my friends Quiche du Jour (€9) was excellent. We also enjoyed an excellent bottle of Cotes Gascogne (€19). Total was €48.80 - superb value and highly recommended".
Café de l’Industrie:
Café de l’Industrie is a bar-restaurant, and a true institution located in the 11th Arr. in Paris which offers you a varied menu from the famous veal stew to the stuffed tomatoes in a unique space. The cuisine is simple but tasty and very affordable for a Paris restaurant.
Here’s a review from TripAdvisor of Café de l’Industrie by Padraic, owner of Fresh Eire Adventures:
“I love this place and have eaten here a number of times. It's great value, has excellent choice (I love the Tuna steaks) and is a great place to have dinner before hitting the bars in the neighbourhood. Consistently good, the staff are friendly and helpful but don't be expecting a fine dining experience - this is unpretentious, value dining at it's best”.
Hotel du Nord:
Hotel du Nord is an institution in the 10th Arr. in Paris, in front of Saint-Martin Canal. The bar-restaurant is an authentic famous place since 1938 because of Michel Carné’s movie: Hotel du Nord. The curious will be surprised to enjoy not only the filming scene of the movie but a refined and varied cuisine with local and fresh products. Don’t forget to combine your dish with a glass of wine, the restaurant received in 2005 one prize according to “Le Grand Prix de la Presse du Vin”.
Here’s a review from TripAdvisor of Hotel du Nord by Padraic, owner of Fresh Eire Adventures:
"I had been wanting to eat here for a while; the restuarants and bars along Canal St Martin are hip and attract a young, professional, fun crowd. Hotel du Nord is one of the best. While the restuarant is laid out in brasserie style, the food is certainly a step up. Service is friendly and relaxed and there is a wonderful unpretentious feel about the place with an electric atmosphere. Dishes are all good value with starters all under ten euro and mains in the 15-25 euro ballpark. We had mains of salmon and scallops - both cooked to absolute perfection, starters of ravioli with goats cheese and Fraicheur d'Avocat, accompanied by an excellent bottle of Sancerre. Deserts were outstanding - a sublime Tarte au Citron and an excellent Creme Brulee. We were given a complimentary Kir Royale after our deserts and were made feel entirely welcome (even when we moved tables after desert to enjoy a cigarette at a table on the street) throughout our visit and not rushed at all. This is one of my new favourites in Paris, a town which has many great restaurants the majority of which unfortunately suffer from a self-important air. Hotel du Nord is fabuous and you can't go wrong. I have started to recommended this place to clients and the reports back are all extremely positive. While it's not cheap (with a few coffees, all of the above came to €120 + tip) , it represents EXCELLENT value for money as altogether the experience was superb. Go. You'll love it!".
Here are our Top Hotel & Restaurant Recommendations in Biarritz, as prepared by intern Mathieu.
La Maison du Lierre
La Maison du Lierre is a 3-star mansion of the 18th century in Biarritz. The hotel name refers to the Lierre on the terrace. Located near the public park of Biarritz, La Maison du Lierre is an authentic and cocooning atmospheric place to rest. Rooms are cosy and the bedding is comfortable.
Here’s a review from TripAdvisor of La Maison du Lierre by Padraic, owner of Fresh Eire Adventures:
“Excellent value for money centrally located 3-star hotel in Biarritz near all the attractions, shopping, bars, restaurants and the beach. Very beautiful exterior with simple and elegant patio and garden, inviting Reception and communal areas. The hotel seems to be in excellent condition and is well maintained. Lots of original features; the staircase in particular is noteworthy. Rigid check in times as the Reception is only open between 3.30pm and 8.30pm. Room was on the top floor with a lift. Shower was excellent and (free) Wi-Fi signal was also strong. Breakfast was typical French continental with good orange juice, pastries, fruit and cold cuts etc. but the coffee was very poor. Recommended - a great value 3 star”.
Bar Jean is an institution in the west coast of Biarritz. Located in the Halles of the city, this bar is a meeting for locals to relax especially outdoors on a sunny day, drinking a glass of wine, with tapas for instance. Enjoy a mix between local high quality products and a Spanish warming atmosphere to while away the hours or as the French say "faire perdurer le temps" (literally: "when you are having a great time doing something and you don't want it to end").
Here’s a review from TripAdvisor of Bar Jean by Padraic, owner of Fresh Eire Adventures:
I arrived at Bar Jean around 6.30pm, sat in the sunshine, ordered a glass of Rueda and some tapas. Within an hour the entire area had transformed; the restaurant staff were run off their feet, the crowds spilled out onto the street and a festival atmosphere ensued...it was quite a spectacle. Interestingly, the excellent servers appeared to be used to this and were well prepared. I ordered a main course of shrimp a la plancha and side salad...it arrived promptly and was one of my best meals in the past few months; enormous succulent shrimp perfectly cooked and full of flavour. What struck me most however was the friendly, charming server; he couldn't have been more than 18 years of age yet he managed his section of the restaurant with aplomb - he seemed to know everyone, and was so charming and efficient that he always had a word, a smile, a greeting for everyone; at one point I saw him clear a table while taking an order and return change to a couple who were leaving all within a 30 second window and he still managed to greet 2 new arrivals while bussing the plates back to the kitchen. His enthusiasm was infectious and he perfectly exemplified the atmosphere of this wonderful establishment
Puig & Daro
In the heart of Biarritz, the wine bar Puig & Daro is a welcoming spot to try tapas, authentic dishes, cocktails and obviously offers you a selection of excellent wine. Pintxos are gorgeous.
Here’s a review from TripAdvisor of Puig & Daro by Padraic, owner of Fresh Eire Adventures:
«Puig et Daro is a must for those of you who want to experience authentic Basque style pintxos with a contemporary twist. Simply one of the better options in town the pinxos on display here are a feast of the eyes as well as the palate. A fine selection of wines to choose from also - the Txakoli dry white wine makes for a wonderful pairing with most of what is on offer. The streetside terrace is a fantastic place to people watch on Gambetta.Excellent, friendly service and superb value for money».