Review of 56 Central, Galway – Published Food and Wine Magazine, August 2015

56 Central

5 Shop Street


Tel: +353(091)569511


Tucked behind a storefront on Galway’s Shop Street, lies a set of stairs.  At the top, the entranceway opens to reveal 56 Central; an expansive, well-lit space with a covered outdoor patio.  The décor is largely upcycled, in an urban industrial style, featuring rusty scaffolding, distressed wood and bare bulbs strung along the ceiling.  The friendly staff wear t-shirts bearing the word ‘grateful’ – apparently something of a reminder to think positively.  The menu features a rather breathless explanation of the ‘vision’ behind the restaurant.  It’s heavy on passions, raising the bar and somebody thinking outside of the box.  It’s also thoroughly littered with hashtags, obvs.

This busy restaurant couldn’t be more hipster if it somehow sported a plaid shirt, heavy-framed glasses and a rugged beard.  Old enough to remember Bosco, I brought reinforcements, in the shape of a twenty-two year old brother.

The menu is extensive, with a fabulous-sounding breakfast served from 8am.  There’s a smattering of traditional dishes such as cabbage and bacon, alongside more modern choices, like the street food salad.  Almost every dietary requirement is well catered for (I even spotted vegan wine) and the ingredients are both local and intriguing: The Lodge Barna prosecco and tarragon mustard, for example.

Inspired by the emphasis on wholesome food, I ordered a colourful superfood salad, generously filled with Cajun chicken, grilled baby broccoli, quinoa, sundried tomato, mixed leaves, cubes of pink beetroot and the most delectably creamy Galway Farm goat’s cheese (€11).   I had to check – such a riotous and thoroughly gratifying combination of flavours can’t possibly be ‘healthy’.  And yet it is.

My student brother opted for a more robust lunch, choosing a moist and tender beef burger.  It was served with jalapeños, cheese and the usual salad, alongside a pail of chunky hand-cut fries, with a light and delicately-seasoned garlic mayonnaise (€12.80).  A side of nachos (€7) proved a hugely satisfying dish, although the chips were almost superfluous, so enjoyable were the home-made toppings. A heavenly pairing of chunky, fresh avocado and spicy, roughly-chopped salsa perfected a base of melted cheese, sour cream, jalapeños and rocket.

We finished by sharing a slice of luscious chocolate torte with white chocolate shavings and fresh cream.  Together with a frothy cappuccino, the price was just €5, confirming the astonishing value, especially at a central tourist location.   On our way out, I spied a formidable wine collection and there’s a champagne brunch with DJ on Sundays: no doubt an enjoyable way to pass an afternoon in Galway’s lively city centre.

The atmosphere is vibrant, the menu appealing, and the ‘vision’ certainly admirable.  There’s an intense focus on local, high-quality ingredients, which, in the hands of an imaginative chef, come together in memorably fresh and flavoursome dishes.  In getting the basics right, 56 Central have ensured they will be around much longer than any fashionable fad.



Open:  Weekdays 8am – 6pm / 9.15pm, Sunday 10am – 6pm

We loved the central location, great value and locally-sourced ingredients

We spent €43.10 on two mains, a side, dessert, soda and coffees

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