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 the time 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 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 along the way you came. 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 granddaddy of all Galway restaurants, had been doing a steady trade there for half a century, and of course there is 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 and for ages, that was the extent of it.
Recently the Salthill menu has expanded to include some decent pub grub and craft beer, new openings include Asian street food, traditional and quirky cafes. Gourmet Food Parlour is the latest addition to one Ireland’s best-loved coastal destinations — light, bright, and airy, this restaurant is already an established mini-chain in some of the best parts of Dublin. The Galway reinvention is notable first of all by the most upbeat staff I have ever encountered, these guys are all having the best time.
During the day it specialises in breakfast and lunch dishes, in the evening you will find bottomless prosecco and a range of crowd pleasers from chicken wings to sliders. There is seriously good value in the early bird dinner menu, and the desserts are not to be missed.
The menu also features firm favourites, from a good steak with all the trimmings to a salt caramel doughnut. There are various large platters such as the mezze, charcuterie, or a hot seafood platter for sharing. It is very child friendly with plenty of space to manoeuvre a buggy, and a nice children's menu also.
Gourmet Food Parlour is more than just another restaurant, it has been a fixture in The Village 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 nicely decorated with great food and pleasant, helpful staff, it is exactly the type of restaurant that this area needed. If you were looking for a nice dinner in Salthill, this would be the place to go.
Gourmet Food Parlour, 14 Lenaboy Gardens, Salthill, Galway, H91 A37N, Tel: 091 393330.