Just a couple of minutes’ walk across the bridge and away from the bustle of Galway’s Spanish Arch area, this theatrical restaurant was set up by husband and wife team Michael O’Meara and Sinead Hughes in 2000.
Since then it has earned a loyal following of diners who love Michael’s originality and verve – and who appreciate that this Euro-Toques chef’s adventurous cooking is always based on the best of ingredients.
This Galway Restaurants menus offer a wide range of dishes that invariably amaze and delight, with the common denominator that they are based on local seasonal foods as far as possible.
Michael is proud to credit his chosen suppliers – in speciality dishes ranging from starters such as Clare Island salmon tartare; local seafoo); and Barbecued Collerans pork ribs – to mains like rack of Connemara lamb; and unusual fish dishes like steamed blue ling with black kale. “You never know what seafood will be best on the day, so at Oscars we will always have a selection of seafood specials available which depends on what’s best at market.”
An impressive roll call of suppliers includes two ACBI (Associated Craft Butchers of Ireland) members, Collerans Butchers of Galway and McGeough’s of Oughterard, the famous Connemara butchers/speciality meats producer; beef is from the Irish Hereford Society and the free range chicken is supplied by The Friendly Farmer, Athenry.
While menus offer a wide enough choice to ensure that there is something for everybody, the emphasis is now very much on local fish and seafood, which comes from Gannet Fishmongers (who source most of their fish locally from the Galway and Aran Fishermen's Co-op in Rossaveal).
Michael O’Meara also visits both the Moycullen and Galway farmers’ markets to take advantage of the best possible seasonal ingredients – and regularly supports outstanding local products, including Killeen Cheese (CAIS member Marion Roeleveld’s gouda-style cheese, made near Portumna; www.irishcheese.ie) and the multi-award winning Clare Island organic salmon (www.marineharvest.com), which is widely regarded as Ireland’s best alternative to wild salmon.
The wine list is extensive, strong on European wines and with a well chosen New World selection.
Michael O’Meara’s personality and wide-ranging interests add a lot to the pleasure of a visit to Oscars, which is a friendly place where good service goes hand-in-hand with exciting food and an inventive interior.
He was one of the local Euro-Toques chefs (members of the non-elitist international chefs’ organisation dedicated to safeguarding culinary heritage) who got together to celebrate the food of the area - and the first very successful Volvo Ocean Race stopover - in a DIY recipe book, The Galway Ingredient.
It was edited by the late Gerry Galvin (former chef-patron of the famous Moycullen restaurant Drimcong House, later a food writer, consultant chef and poet) with photography by Michael O’Meara, who is as handy with a camera as a set of knives (www.foodandwinephotography.com). Limited availability from local tourist offices.