Athlone has been described as a "vibrant and happening food destination" in a glowing review of the town's eateries on the McKennas' Guides food blog this week.
In spite of Athlone's recent plight at the hands of the Shannon, the authors John and Sally McKenna say the town has "loads of good places whose food gives you just the comfort you need after a brush with the elements".
Highlights in the review, which was written after a recent tour of the town, include Bastion Kitchen, The Left Bank Bistro, The Fatted Calf, and Kin Khao Thai.
Sean's Bar gets a mention as one of the busiest pubs in the Midlands - "so jammers that just raising your pint of Galway Hooker to your lips can involve yogic contortions" - while the Bastion B&B is praised for having just the right sort of "Rive Gauche vibe" for the weary traveller.
The authors say that Bastion Kitchen offers one of the best breakfasts in the Midlands: "We would walk all the way to Athlone just to have that Castlemine Farm sausage bap, which is pretty much the tastiest bite in town".
Kin Khao Thai is described as one of the best ethnic restaurants in the region, while the move into the centre of town for The Fatted Calf enriches Athlone’s food culture.
The Lebanese restaurant Al Mezza offers "excellent vegetarian choices and great value", while they say The Left Bank Bistro has been "the standard bearer for good food in Athlone, thanks to Annie and Mary’s inspired and inspiring leadership".
There is high praise for Thyme, where they say chef John Coffey offers "superlative sourcing and confident excellence... [and] even conjures up his own Thousand Island Dressing to serve with salt beef, Coolea cheese and Beechlawn Farm leaves".
Finally, for those looking for all the good things from the region under one roof, Fine Wine and Food Co offers Westmeath artisan products such as An Olivia chocolates and Bell Lane in "a bright and welcoming space on the main street".