Situated just minutes from the centre of Galway, Salthill is as much a residential satellite suburb for the city as it is a traditional seaside resort.
Facilities such as the aquarium, Leisureland, the slot machine palaces entice tourists to spend their holiday money while a favourite pastime for Galwegians and visitors alike is walking along the seaside promenade running from the edge of the city, Salthill's biggest asset. Local tradition dictates 'kicking the wall' across from the diving boards before turning back the way you came and there is loads to enjoy in the area around the beach and prom, the summertime funfair, amusements and playground.
There are elegant old buildings and hotels amid the masses of Celtic Tiger style apartments in this area that seem able to withstand whatever Mother Nature throws at them. In and around Salthill there have always been plenty of cosy pubs from where you can watch storms roll over the bay and in more recent years the area has gained a number of good restaurants. You can find everything from traditional cafes, to authentic Italian and Asian street food. As new restaurants open, it is good to remember the pioneers who first broke ground, dishing up delicious meals year after year. The best loved and longest serving of them all is undoubtedly The Galleon.
Situated in the heart of Salthill, just a short walk from the promenade, this restaurant is always busy. It is kept bustling throughout the summer with the tourists who throng this much loved costal village and it is just as popular with the local residents. The relaxed, cosy, atmosphere and welcoming staff ensure it also enjoys a large share of repeat custom, keeping it full through the winter months. The Galleon is in the ownership of the third generation of the same family since it opened its doors as The Galleon Grill in 1965, beginning under the ownership of Jimmy Lydon, on to the current owner since 2009, Roger O’Sullivan. Not only is The Galleon a family business, it is also one of the most family-friendly restaurants in the city. The littlest diners are well catered for with a good menu of kiddie favorites. The Galleon has seen more than its fair share of family celebrations in the function area to the rear of the restaurant, where it caters for parties of up to 30 people, perfect for celebrating confirmation, Communions, and other special occasions. There is no such thing as a typical Galleon customer, it appeals in equal measure to young and old, family and friends, couples and groups.
There really is something for everyone, all meals are covered from a traditional breakfast, a full three course dinner, or just a quiet coffee and scone. The selection of food includes hearty roasts, salads and sandwiches, creamy pasta, and indulgent desserts. The menu is diverse and eclectic, some items like the mixed grill and chicken Maryland are thoroughly retro, from a time when Twiggs and The Castle were still flourishing. It has also kept up with the times and has some gluten-free options and vegetarian specialities. The menu is competitively priced, and starters include crisp calamari rings and golden fried breaded mushrooms. There is plenty of choice for mains including traditional Irish lamb stew, bacon and cabbage, and spaghetti bolognese. While the adults eat, the young guests are provided with crayons to colour with and are presented with a chocolate gold coin from the Galleon’s treasure chest on leaving. Wine, spirits, beers and liquers are also available.
Although the Galleon is not really thought of as a seafood restaurant, fish dishes are definitely a speciality of the house. It has earned a reputation for its Atlantic seafood chowder, and the evening seafood menu is exceptionally good value with two courses offered for €19.50. Starters can be garlic prawns on toasted brioche or a crispy calamari salad and mains of fillet of hake with pea puree and caramelized lemon tomato and basil sauce or sea bream with crushed baby potatoes. You would be well advised to leave room for dessert, whether you go for the homemade Nutella cheesecake or Snickers and almond tart, they all come with a generous helping of Mr Whippy ice-cream.
There are few local restaurants that inspire such loyalty in their customers, it continues to please with its varied, well priced, menu. Everybody has a Galleon story, it is a building that is alive with great people from the moment you set foot inside until you leave. It is firmly rooted in the community, a constant in the ever changing face of the Salthill landscape. The long serving staff have developed one-to-one relationships with their customers over the years, some bring grandchildren in as they did their own children, part of the Galleon family. Competent, uncomplicated, cooking, and Irish hospitality at its finest - it is this emphasis placed firmly on customer service, choice and value that ensures the enduring popularity of this great Galway restaurant. More than five million satisfied customers over the last half century cannot be wrong.
The Galleon Restaurant, 210 Upper Salthill, Galway. Tel: (091 ) 522 963 Email: [email protected].