Everybody wants a unique selling point these days. Small plates, tapas, gourmet burgers, Mexican food, whatever it is, you need to specialise it seems. But there is at least one place in the middle of Galway that is bucking the trend and that is Cookes.
Do you want a good old fashioned three course dinner? Yes please. Do you like chowder and Irish stew? Yes, I really do. Well then folks, this is where you go. A medieval building with a modern kitchen churning out the classics over three floors - it does not get much better than this.
I will admit that I have walked past this building for two decades without going inside the door more than once. I thought it was only for tourists. How wrong I was. Inside is the warmest of welcomes, the chirpiest staff and some of the most comforting food to be found in the city. Do get a window seat if you are by yourself, the views over Market Street are very engaging. There is a lovely children's menu that I would recommend very highly, and the wine menu is something special if you are celebrating.
We had a lovely lunch of crab claws and fish and chips, the staff are very fit from running up and down three flights of stairs, but are still more than cheerful. The apple crumble might bring you to tears, but the strawberry pavlova will cheer you back up. The medieval walls, the height of the ceiling, everything about it it speaks of Galway. If you have visitors this summer, send them here. Not only is it charming, the food is exemplary and the Irish stew is the real deal.