Approached from the Seafront Promenade side with uninterrupted views over Galway Bay, Arabica is a busy hub, now an established part of Salthill's buzzing cafe culture. The day starts early and there’s a great choice for breakfast from a traditional fry to a more healthy granola or fluffy Belgian waffles. Lunch brings all kinds of sandwiches and panini, soups, and various colourful salads to eat.
The drinks list goes beyond the usual, offering juices, smoothies, and soft drinks as well as a long list of Fairtrade coffee options. If you are coming down with a cold they have just the thing, in the form of a lemon, ginger, and honey tea. Arabica is the perfect place for an afternoon treat. Along with the excellent teas and coffees, you will be tempted by all kinds of sweet things - muffins, lemon meringue pies, cheesecake, and ice-cream. The service can become frantic as the staff struggle to keep on top of the coffee takeout trade at peak times. The takeout cups are a common sight clutched in the hands of the many Prom walkers and those who don’t have time to linger.
It is casual and relaxed, with lots of comfortable seating to choose from. Dark and ambient towards the back, bright and light filled to the front, the cafe is very accommodating to children as it is a convenient pit-stop for the many families visiting the aquarium next door. There are options of toast with sausage or scrambled egg, half a ham and cheese panini, or bread sticks with cream cheese or Nutella, all priced at €2.80, on the dedicated children’s menu. The large outdoor terrace seating area overlooking the bay is very popular on a sunny day, bring your small one and a fistful of crayons to while away the time. The cafe itself is spacious with plenty of space for even the most mammoth of buggies, and it is especially useful for larger groups.
An appealing daytime spot with a summer evening menu
Arabica has recently extended opening hours until 10pm for the summer months, serving a range of freshly made pizzas, gourmet burgers with French fries, charcuterie and cheese boards, and fresh salads. There is a small selection of organic wines also, available by the bottle, with most prices in the early €20 range. Bring someone to share with unless you think you can manage by yourself. There is a choice of crowd-pleasing starters to nibble while you wait, such as meatballs with thyme and tomato, spicy chicken wings, hot prawns flash fried with fresh chilli, or onion rings with dip. The boards are delicious selections of cheese, cured meats, or both, served with chutney, mustard, crackers or toast, and pitted olives to share or keep all to yourself.
The inventive, colourful salads are all priced under €10. Eat your greens topped with Eastern-style hummus salad, chicken with fresh mango and toasted almonds, Italian Parma ham with creamy goat’s cheese, or a classic Caesar, all with their matching dressings.
A very useful seasonal addition to the Salthill dining scene
The gourmet beef and chicken burgers come in various guises. Beef can be with cheese and bacon or with grilled mushrooms, rocket, and relish; chicken burgers can be classic or dressed up with brie, cranberry sauce, leaves, and mayo. The other main event is the pizzas, themed by regional names and available in two sizes, nine and a half inches or a whopping 13, averaging out at €11 and €14 respectively. The toppings are anything from fiery chorizo, pepperoni, and jalapenos to flavourful mozzarella, sun-dried tomatoes, and goat’s cheese. There is a short evening children's menu also but much of the adult fare would also be acceptable to them.
Evening desserts also feature Arabica’s own Belgian Liege dough waffles, fresh and heavily scented with vanilla. There is a topping to suit everyone from decadent melted butter, icing sugar, and whipped cream to organic maple syrup and fresh strawberries. More grown-up desserts feature classic Italian affogato with a shot of the dark roast organic espresso poured over scoops of vanilla or chocolate ice-cream.
Arabica is a very useful seasonal addition to the Salthill dining scene, sitting nicely as it does between the cheerful chip shop offerings and a more formal restaurant meal. And of course a window seat to watch the sun setting over the water is the perfect way to end the day.
Arabica, Salthill, Galway. Phone (091 ) 527 846. Email: [email protected].