Remember when The Spanish Arch was a car park and there was nothing much on Middle Street except the Augi; back when BT was Moons and Nora Barnacle's house was just another house; before Westside was called Westside and there was nothing Latin about the Latin Quarter — that was when Salthill was the undisputed centre of all nightlife in the west of Ireland. While those days are long gone, Salthill seems to be reinventing itself once more.
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, and 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 amid the 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, but while Salthill has many good points, up until lately, a wide choice of places to eat was not one of them.
The Galleon, the grandaddy of all Galway restaurants, had been doing a steady trade there for half a century, and of course there are fish and chips — it is beside the seaside after all. Add a couple of good Italians, a noodle house, and the always reliable Gourmet Tart Company, and for a long time, that was the story told.
Nowadays the Salthill menu extends to pub grub and craft beer, new openings include Asian street food, traditional and quirky cafes — Salthill Social is the latest addition to one Ireland’s best-loved coastal destinations, opened in March by proprietors Spencer and Sandra Lacey in a property that used to house a small hotel.
During the day they specialise in brunch dishes, salads and sandwiches; for the end part of the week an evening menu includes a diverse range of dishes from patatas bravas, calamari, gambas aioli, and paella with prawns, mussels, and chicken. Sizzling prawns are pan fried with chorizo, mushrooms, and peppers, and they also feature firm favourites such as chilli cheese nachos, lamb skewers, and bruschetta. There are various large platters — such as the mezze, cheese, or charcuterie plates, and a seafood platter for sharing. It is very child friendly with plenty of space to manoeuvre a buggy as well as having a separate section with a counter for laptops and super fast WiFi.
The Salthill Social is more than just another restaurant, it aims to be part of the fabric of Salthill and wider Galway community and offers parent and toddler groups, yoga mornings, nutritional speakers, and other community events. It has been a fixture in The Village for a for a short time now and it has grown organically. This is a kitchen that punches well above its weight, serving up dishes that elsewhere would cost you a great deal more. The restaurant is light, airy, and nicely decorated with great food and pleasant, helpful, staff, it is exactly the type of restaurant that this area needed.
For more information on The Salthill Social check out its Facebook page, call 091 441420, or email [email protected].