After a unhurried drive from Dublin to the county Galway, we were looking forward to reservations at a restaurant that we had been eyeing for months. I had heard about Ard Bia at Nimmos from another travel blogger, and it was love at first sight.
There were four of us, and after mastering the art of driving a car on the wrong side of the road--on the wrong side of the car--we made it to Galway unscathed by the many winding roads and roundabouts that blanket the Emerald Isle. The trip had been nothing but enjoyable. After all, it's hard to be anything but elated when traveling the Irish countryside. Even the weather couldn't deter us from accepting the cheerful, friendly demeanor of the locals.
As the sky drizzled and umbrellas sprung up, the streets remained covered with pub-goers, tourists and the occasional street performer. The yeast from local bars wafted into the air as we made our way down the narrow cobblestone streets to our foodie destination.
Ard Bia at Nimmos is one of Galway's most iconic restaurants. As we toured the cluttered stores, killing time before our dinner, we were asked by several shopkeepers about our next meal. When we mentioned Ard Bia, their faces immediately lit up with approval. "Yes! You are in for a real treat," said the Irish stranger with a thick accent. "That's the place to be."
With even more encouragement than before, we arrived at our reservation a half hour early. The doors hadn't been opened, but we could hear the muffled clinks of pots and pans behind the windows of the restaurant. Less modern than many shops on the main strip, Ard Bia looked far more classical. The stone walls and brilliant red door were adorned with awards, as if to shout the excellence of the food to anyone who approached. We looked at our watches and decided that we had some time to complete a walk--the Long Walk.
As we proceeded down the famous path, I couldn't help but sing to myself.
"The Galway Girl"
Well, I took a stroll on the old long walk
Of a day -I-ay-I-ay
I met a little girl and we stopped to talk
Of a fine soft day -I-ay-I-ay
And I ask you, friend, what's a fella to do
'Cause her hair was black and her eyes were blue
And I knew right then I'd be takin' a whirl
'Round the Salthill Prom with a Galway girl...
The interior was nothing like the outside. Everything was warm and inviting--it was like visiting a sweet smelling bed and breakfast. The walls were white and dusted with antique trinkets like candle holders, old books and dusty bottles. Tables were set to perfection with delicate napkins, wine glasses, and silver cutlery. We were quickly seated and began selecting our meals for the evening.
Cauliflower risotto, cavolo nero, picada, Cais na Tire hard cheese
Morgan’s rib eye, lemon crushed potato, Galway greens, chimichurri
Pan roasted Atlantic hake, roast garlic + lovage gnocchi, chard, thyme butter and clams
They also offered an array of local wines and beers. Several of the boys on the trip went for The White Stag Irish IPA, which they said was very crisp and paired wonderfully with the meal. I was able to get a glass of white wine to go with mine.
If being voted the friendliest city in the world by Travel and Leisure isn't enough to bring you to Galway, the food, culture and many pubs are sure to do the trick.
Be sure to make reservations if you plan on eating at Ard Bia. They open for select times of the day, and serve different menus for lunch and dinner. The lunch menu also includes a few breakfast items. If you want a more extensive menu, visit for supper. It's a culinary experience that is a little more high-end (and slightly more expensive), but worth every Euro!
With bellies full, we did what anyone in Ireland would do...we headed straight to the pubs. And we spent the rest of the evening enjoying the sites and sounds of beautiful Galway.