Sangria, Latin cuisine in the heart of Galway

We are told by TripAdviser that there are about 450 restaurants in Galway city and no sign of new openings stopping just yet. Here is one more 'must visit' for your list. Sangria has just moved from a small space on the corner of Buttermilk Walk to a new culinary oasis around the corner on Middle Street, not a stone’s throw from the bustle of Quay Street. Brilliant splashes of turquoise enliven the walls of this restaurant which has a dining room full of character, casual wooden tables, and interesting upholstered chairs. It is a dark, restful, space punctuated with dramatic pops of colour.

Since its opening, this restaurant has quickly made a name for itself in Galway and beyond. Owned by husband and wife team, Guatemalan native and head chef Byron Godoy and New Jersey born Mary Carroll (no relation ) pulled up their Latin roots and moved to Galway and found a location for a new restaurant. There is no doubt that Guatemala's loss is Galway's gain, this warm and welcoming restaurant fits right in to our diverse food scene. Sangria has nailed the unusual tapas list, less formal than a traditional restaurant and with a simpler menu and wine list. The menu has ingredients sourced from Irish suppliers and reflects well-informed care and enough adventure to make it stand out from most of its peers in Galway city.

The wine list is short and to the point, all available by the bottle, carafe, or glass, and of course there is an interesting selection of sangrias. This kitchen specialises in hearty, full-flavoured dishes with plenty of Central and South American flavours. The menu showcases vegetarian and seafood tapas and some perfectly cooked beef or pork dishes. We tried a stunning Guatemalan ceviche, lemon cured prawn or mixed seafood in a salad of chopped tomato, red onion, and coriander, served with homemade squid ink corn tortilla chips. Jalapenos rellenos are stuffed with pineapple, prawns, cheese, and smoked bacon. There are excellent patatas bravas, wedges of fingerling potatoes with brava salsa and garlic aioli. Tostones feature plantain chips topped with a perfectly rare beef fillet and a blue cheese foam. Chicharron is slow roasted tender pork belly with crispy skin, avocado, and pico de gallo salsa.

Hearty platters of cured meats are good value, and you really should try to keep some room for dessert or 'postres', they are delicious. Choose from gossamer thin sliced pineapple carpaccio marinated in a sugared cinnamon topped with coconut foam and sorbet, or a traditional Latin flan — a three milk set custard served in its own caramel sauce, a perfect ending for a lovely meal.

Sangria follows the trend in recent years which has seen many new openings pitch their prices low and produce simple, well-made, food focused on seasonality and local produce. The team bring this casual and affordable model to the city centre with high quality food and wine and efficient staff to create true authenticity — a treat for all who cannot go to Latin America this year. Another win for the melting pot of Galway's cuisine.

Sangria, 19 Middle Street, Galway. Tel: 083 878 5155. Email: [email protected].


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