Whether whiling away the morning over pastries and a pot of tea or taking a quick coffee break from discovering Galway’s colourful, winding streets, you’ll find a plethora of options for caffeine and sugar – in all their delightful forms – in this ever-charming city.
Provenance is paramount in Kai, an idyllic café-restaurant owned and run by husband-and-wife team David and Jessica Murphy. Using ingredients from local producers like Lough Boora Farm and Connemara Smokehouse, they specialise in simple recipes exceptionally well executed, letting the quality of these seasonal, organic ingredients sing. If you’re popping in for lunch, menus change daily based on what’s available locally, but you can expect fresh, punchy dishes like Ardsallagh goat’s cheese salad with blood orange, tomato and toasted seeds. Coffee, cakes and pastries are available until noon.
Goya’s is a treat of a café tucked away on the charming Kirwan’s Lane, a historic narrow passage just off Galway’s main thoroughfare. This little haven of sugar has a perfect version of whatever your sweet tooth is craving – Galwegians and visitors alike love their lemon meringue pie and chocolate fudge cake especially. If you don’t have a sweet tooth (really?), the light lunch options of sandwiches, quiches and salads are also worth a visit. Even if you don’t have time to stop, follow the locals and treat yourself to a box of takeaway treats for later.
Caprice is the ultimate all-day venue for relaxed and elegant eating and drinking. Flooded with natural light, the interior feels like stepping into a Pinterest board, whether you snuggle into a velvet-textured upholstered chair by the windows or take a stool at the marble bar. Their range of menus (Breakfast, Brunch, Day and Night) tailor choices to bring you through the day, and you can grab a coffee anytime, along with tempting treats from the dessert cart. If you feel like you’ve gone overboard on these little morsels, you can wash them down with ‘Skinny Prosecco’ – with half the sugar of regular bubbles – sourced from Farra di Soligo in North East Italy.
Coffeewerk + Press is a one-stop shop for those who take design and coffee equally seriously. This impressively well-stocked hybrid space offers pieces from both Irish and international designers alongside their speciality coffee, sourced from an ever-growing list of artisan roasters. Try to resist temptations like luxury Tuscan leather-ware made by Il Busetto or the ever-popular pastel hues of Arran Street East’s hand-thrown ceramics while convincing yourself you’re just popping in for a flat white. Their to-go cups come decorated with a cute illustration of the café exterior, which looks out over vibrant Shop Street, making the very aesthetic of the city one of the designs this shop showcases.
‘This is our happy place’ is emblazoned across the top of 37 West’s menu, and it may well become your happy place too. Health is foregrounded here, promising delicious food that will ‘make your body bounce’ but without being evangelical about it: superfood salads and vitamin-charged smoothies share menu space with beef burgers and fish-and-chips (mind you, with gluten-free batter), making it a great option for groups with different preferences. 37 West’s community-centred ethos is reflected throughout, from the fresh, rustic interior designed by local artisans to the delicious and virtuous sweet treats brought in from local healthy bakers Bliss Bites.
The Secret Garden definitely hasn’t been kept under wraps as well as the name would suggest. This beloved café is indignantly wifi-free, and those willing to unplug are rewarded with a remarkably relaxed ambience perfect for playing board games, doodling or just old-fashioned chatting in this bright and cosy space. There is an abundance of loose-leaf tea options alongside vegan-friendly wedges of cake, like chocolate coconut or orange and polenta. The interior mixes well-worn mismatched vintage chairs with floor seating for shisha smokers, all unified under a rainbow of bunting, while the leafy backyard has plenty of seating for Galway’s rare but magical sunny days.