Maxwells Bistro

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Serving the best of local and home made food in casual surroundings, with a team of professionals out front and in the kitchen, is the ethos here. Maxwell’s has reached the modern day in a very organic way.

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Our Review of Maxwells Bistro

Galway city and it’s buzz attracts thousands of visitors each year. This west coast city has everything going for it. Architecture, art, trad bars and trendy cafes. None more trendy than Maxwell’s Bistro. This hotspot has a prime corner slot on a busy thoroughfare off Eyre Square, in the heart of the city’s historic centre. Owner Paul O’Meara jumped at the chance to start a bistro style casual dining restaurant here two years ago. And he’s not regretting it. But how does a man from Mallow in Co Cork find himself in Galway? ‘When you fall in love with a West Coast of Ireland woman, you go to her, she doesn’t follow you!’ he laughs. So it was love that brought him here, and here he now lives and works. 

Ownership of Maxwell’s comes at the pinnacle of an established career in the hospitality industry. Paul has been part of this sector since he was sixteen years of age. His first experience was in Waterville Co Kerry where he did restaurant jobs during school summer holidays. He trained at hotel school in Shannon, then went cheffing in Geneva. Lead roles for the prestigious Trust House Forte Group, Ashford Castle and The Connemara Coast Hotel for six years are part of his CV, so he’s no stranger to the hard work involved in his chosen career. His wife also has connection to the industry; her mother owned a café in Cong, where she was born and raised. So she can always be called upon to help out if needs be!

Maxwell’s, located in an old building of architectural splendour, has history in spades. It dates back to 1866, originally the site of a whiskey, tobacco and wine importers. It had a restaurant back then too. In fact Maxwell’s, named after the original owner’s wife Elizabeth Maxwell, is hailed as Galway’s longest serving restaurant. Paul aims to continue that service with the kind of food he enjoys himself. Local produce is very much on the agenda. ‘We have realised the importance of featuring local, and welcome the chance to offer a local food experience to our regulars and visitors’, he says. Serving the best of local and home made food in casual surroundings, with a team of professionals out front and in the kitchen, is the ethos here. Maxwell’s has reached the modern day in a very organic way. With this dynamic expert at it’s helm, and enthusiastic Head Chef Colette Grealish in the kitchens, the well established reputation here is set to soar.  

Paul’s ethos is to keep things as local as possible. Not surprisingly for it’s location, fresh fish features highly, sourced from Rossaveal Port and delivered daily. Meat comes from a butcher in Mervue. Traditional Irish vegetables are supplied by a local distributor, with some smaller growers for the seasonal aspect. Every single plateful looks amazing – from the good value lunchtime sandwich and soup combo deals to the starters, mains and desserts that come whizzing from the kitchens. The chips are something else – hand cut and twice cooked in the proper way. We highly recommend the house fish and chips – fresh fish of the day in crisp golden batter, with a bowl of chunkiest chips and mushy peas. Maxwell’s House special is the Galway Bay Fish Pie, and we really loved the Galway Fish Stew Provencal. This Mediterranean style bowlful in its rich tomato based sauce is packed with cod, salmon and mussels in the shell.

Well aged Galway beef is used for Grilled Rib Eye steak, Gourmet Steak Burgers or meatballs made to Collette’s own recipe. Silverhill Duck Legs are slow cooked for confit, St Tola Goat’s Cheese made into a divine savoury Tart Tatin. Menus change daily according to what’s available, but some firm favourites remain. All this served in an open plan dining space full of light, with funky red formica topped tables and café chairs, groovy sounds in the background, and plenty of lively ambience from the mixed clientele of city professionals, shoppers and tourists. Very child friendly too, kids get their own menu of freshly made favourites, or can choose a ‘Grown Up Half Portion’ of whatever is best on the daily menu. A Gluten Free menu is also available and the wine list has a good choice of Old and New world wines and plenty by the glass. Also browse the World Beer Menu which features a few unusual beers from Europe and America.    

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