It’s nearly twenty years since Joel d’Anjou opened this long single storey whitewashed building on a hill overlooking Galway Bay as a hostel and restaurant, and it is still the most talked about place on the Aran islands.
Despite the hostel atmosphere, Mainistir House generally provides more comfort than expected at a hostel rate.
But the food is the main attraction, and you don’t even have to be staying here to experience it. Lovingly cooked by a well-travelled foodie, Joel’s famous ‘Vaguely Vegetarian Buffet’ (changes daily) is served nightly and written on a blackboard.
Six large glass-topped tables with checked cloths underneath are set up with candles and everyone is served a starter - say a delicious bean & vegetable soup - then there are half a dozen dishes displayed on a big round table: Ground pork ragout seasoned with herbs, tomato, garlic and ginger and sesame oil; mung beans with scallions and Cajun seasoning; cucumber with mint aioli; courgettes, lettuce, coriander, and chives with his own Aran pesto are all possible, and delicious desserts are offered as extra - Joel’s delicious chocolate ice cream perhaps - and amazing hot coffee. Recent travels to Morocco have influenced the style somewhat, but whatever Joel offers it is always interesting.
Service is prompt (and colourful), this is great food - and this fun and funky restaurant continues to give amazing value.
Bring your own wine. Christmas and New Year packages available.