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“Food was good, beer selection better, entertainment best”

Frank O'Dowd's Irish Pub
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Ranked #9 of 65 Restaurants in Galena
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $12 - $21
Cuisines: American
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Large groups, Special occasions, Families with children, Bar scene
Dining options: Breakfast, Late Night, Dinner, Lunch, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Dining
Cross street: HWY 20 (3/4 mi from Main Street)
Description: Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day every day at Frank O’Dowd’s Irish Pub & Grill. The beating heart of The Irish Cottage Boutique Hotel, the Pub’s rich ornate interior, designed and handcrafted in Ireland, embraces an earlier time.The menu includes American favorites mixed with several iconic Irish dishes. Start with an expanded selection of appetizers. Meat and potatoes lovers will enjoy selecting entrees featuring fish, chicken and beef. While those seeking a taste of the “Old Sod” will delight in homemade Shepherd’s Pie or Hand Breaded Fish ‘N’ Chips.
Reviewed May 8, 2013

As a Chicagoan, I'm spoiled by the quality of Irish pubs that I'm used to, but while Frank O'Dowd's might have a hard time here, it was definitely high-quality by itself.

The interior design / furnishings were very well done and menu selections worthwhile. I liked that they had a decent beer selection, but the real treat is the live entertainment on the weekends, which included Celtic dancers and traditional bands.

A great choice if you are staying at the attached Irish Cottage, and not a bad choice if you venture outside of downtown Galena / Main Street for some food and entertainment.

Thank Tayan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed May 8, 2013

We had reservations at 7:30 so we could listen to Ian Gourd. We arrived a little bit early was showed to a table with no wait. My husband had the steak which had a great sauce on it, I had the fish and chips. The fish and chips were good but I just got back from London no comparison :( We stayed until Ian was done playing for the night. He really got the crowd going we would have went back the next night if we didn't have other plans. Highly suggest you try this place, great service for the money.

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Thank tammyb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 4, 2013

On a recent trip to Galena with three other girl friends, we ate an evening meal at this restaurant. We chose it because It was within walking distance to our motel. The food was fine, but nothing special. The decor is interesting. In summary, we had a good evening, but expected a larger menu of choices.

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Thank maoflandr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 3, 2013

We spent our 21st aniversary in Galena and had supper here. I love English pub culture and the setting for that is great...however not the greatest beer selection, fish and chips were ok (not even sure if it was cod). My wife's Shepard pie was good but not great. Maybe ok if your staying at the hotel...however I think next time we will take the shopkeepers opinion and eat at some of their recommendations.

Thank Jeff K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 21, 2013

Background: My wife and I decided, on a whim, to make the trip up to Galena on Saturday, April 20, 2013. We had planned on having a late lunch around 2 to 3 p.m. in the town, but made a U-turn after we passed this restaurant. We had been to Galena many times, but had never stopped to eat here. We live 1 1/2 hours away. We were giddy and excited to try someplace new.

Initial observations:

Before entering the restaurant, I saw a 2010 Trip Advisor sticker placed near the doorway. I took it as a good sign. There was an Open Table high user rating as well. We walked in and were immediately surprised and impressed by the décor, the restaurant's authentic feel and its cleanliness. The restaurant was nearly empty, aside from a family of five or six, and a couple at the bar.

The walk in:

We stood at the entrance for a few minutes because it wasn't clear whether we should wait to be seated or seat ourselves. There was one waitress on the floor at the time of our arrival. She hadn't noticed us waiting to be seated because she was working a table. It was just a bit awkward standing there while everyone looked on.


The dining area is pretty snug. The chairs are made of wood, so please consider that if you have any back or leg issues. During the day, there is a row of windows opposite the entertainment area that lack blinds or shading. With the room's super-dark ambiance, it was a bit distracting and, at times, headache-inducing, to sit facing the windows.

Food: Take the most expensive diner food, dress it up, and throw it on a plate.

We had cheese curds as an appetizer. I felt like they were tough, and fried a bit too much, however, my wife liked them. They were the best thing we ate this day. The experience went downhill shortly after.

I ordered the "Gaelic steak." It was one of the most expensive items on the menu. The steak was grey and ash-y. The vegetables weren't cooked enough. The only food seasoned properly was the sauce and mushrooms smothering the steak. The sauce quickly thickened a few minutes after delivery to the table because the plates were cold! Who sends out a hot steak on a cold plate? Diners. The mashed potatoes were bland. Really bland and flavorless. The only interesting item that was decent was the pretzel roll. My wife ordered Shepherd's pie. She couldn't finish the meal because "it tasted like beef stew out of a can with potatoes on top."

Service: Our waitress was pleasant, accurate and friendly. She was prompt and fast. At the end, when she saw our half-eaten plates, she asked if everything went OK. We've never been ones to criticize because our troubles were mainly with the food. She did a great job, though.

All in all, we felt like the experience would have been a better had the food quality matched the pricing. It was too expensive for poor- to average-tasting food. Stuff that should be pretty easy to get right. We gave it a chance based on other great reviews, but our visit just wasn't that great.

We left with a strong sense of disappointment, having had high hopes for this area icon.

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1  Thank Angel S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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