RAW is a sushi / japanese food restaurant on the 4th floor of the Radisson hotel in Galway City, just on the banks of Lough Atalia and about 200 ft from Eyre Square.
I had been wanting to go to RAW since it opened, so my partner and I finally went last Wednesday evening. We heard it was popular, and so we booked a table for 2 at 8pm, expecting it to be faily busy - there was only one other table of people when we arrived, so there was obviously no need to book... there are about 6 tables for 2 or 4 at the window so if you want a window seat maybe that would be reason? But I didn't think the view was great - we got mostly the side of the hotel, the railway track (which is under repair, so lots of scaffolding / works), cars/traffic going down Lough Atalia road, the massive oil tanks by the ship yard, and a glimpse of Lough Atalia, the river than flows out to Galway Bay. Off in the distance, the hills of Clare- but they became covered in fog. Hate to say, it wasn't anyting to write home about - maybe it's nicer when it's dark? (8pm here in June, it's still quite light out)
You could tell they tried their best with the room - it looks like a large meeting/conference room that was converted. But they did a great job with carefully placed bamboo plants, wall decor, and lighting. The music was the type you'd hear in a nightclub (?!) which seemed to jar with the overall atmosphere - just didn't seem to fit. I wasn't expecting Japanese music, but I certainly wasn't expecting dancing club beats either....
Service was excellent - 2 Japanese girls (I think another was Korean?). Very friendly, polite, extremely knowledgeable.
Now for the important part - the food!! I wouldn't pretend to be a sushi aficiondo, but I love sushi and I've had a LOT of it in a lot of different cities around the world. RAW sushi in Galway do a great job at what they do. The sushi, sashimi, and rolls were excellent, portion sizes good, blend of rice vinegar and flavours was perfect for me. Wasabi had a good kick without being JUST a kick - you could get a flavour of the horseradish. PIckled ginger was a little on the sweet side for me, I like it to be more sharp so it really does what it's meant to do and cleanses the palate. I really enjoyed it and, particularly as there's a lack of sushi restaurants in Galway and indeed in Ireland, I will most certainly be back and I might go with the "takeaway" option next time so I can avoid the club rocking beats and eat at home.
The one thing I was a bit disappointed in about the menu was the lack of range. The fish was mostly: salmon, tuna, scallop, eel, seabass and prawn offerings. Oh, and crab in the california roll. I can understand this, seeing as it's the first dedicated sushi restaurant in Galway and so they have to start basic and build up, it would be costly to buy in types of fish that people won't order... but I would have loved to see my favourite Toro (fatty tuna), octopus, squid.... also a bigger range of rolls. I hope if this place keeps going and hopefully has good turnover, that they will increase the range.
One other thing - price. The price for the food I felt was reasonable, the sushi I've had in Dublin by comparison is much more expensive. But the drinks... Over €10 for the cheapest option for a glass of wine?! They have no japanese beers on draught, but will kindly go down to the hotel bar to get one. The saki was OK, not the best I've had, but the basic one was €5.50 for about 175cl so that wasn't too pricey.
One last note - at time of writing, it's only open Tues - Sat.
Look forward to trying again!
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