Budget Dublin – Dining on a Budget

July 7, 2011 | By | Add a Comment

Have you ever been hungry in a city? Have you ever been immersed in culture and history but your stomach just won’t quit rumbling? 

Christ Church Cathedral Dublin

Christ Church Cathedral in the heart of medieval Dublin

Let’s take a for instance – you’re in Dublin, slowly creeping around the inner sanctum of , the smell of

incense lingers in the quiet air, and the only sounds are respectful feet shuffling on the tiles and little gasps when a new arrival sets eyes on the stained glass windows. Amid all of this awed silence, this reverential calm, your stomach makes the kind of rumble that could well be mistaken for the beginning of a very serious thunderstorm. You’re hungry – it’s time to eat and it’s time to eat cheap.

PUB GRUB

Bacon and Cabbage at The Exchequer

How does the Exchequer make food look so good? Bacon and Cabbage, mmmmm

As if Dublin pubs weren’t inviting enough, their owners have gone and thrown delicious food into the mix. Gastro pubs are popping up over the city like mushrooms in a field and as well as being tasty, they’re cheap. Premier among these little taste-bud-tempters is , a laid-back, moodily-lit gastro pub just off the shopaholic nirvana of Grafton Street. Pangs of hunger will be banished with a super serving of bacon and cabbage – all just over €10. Another bar/café/restaurant serving cracking eats at almost unbelievable prices is the very trendy Green 19. All mains here are €10 on the nose and count among them Pot Roast Chicken, Corned Beef and Mash and possibly the best cup of coffee in the city.

PICNIC PICKS

Thanks to some very smart town planner and some green fingered influences, Dublin’s city centre is jammed with pretty parks.

Fallon and Byrne

The food hall at Fallon and Byrne – Foodie Heaven

And as we all know, parks are to picnics what Prince William is to Kate – perfect partners. Now, to make your blanket chow-fest into one that will make your friends jealous you’ll need to source a quality delicatessen. Thankfully, Dublin is home to the dual deli delights of the quirky cool of Liston’s Deli and the fine food emporium, . Pop in to F&B for fabulously flaky sausage rolls and pastries that are almost too pretty to eat (we said almost…) or rock up to the uber friendly staff at Liston’s and choose from a majestic array of salads including an amazingly fresh coleslaw with apple or risotto with cashew nuts. With picnic basket packed you’re ready to indulge your inner Yogi Bear at either the Iveagh Gardens, Merrion Square or St Stephen’s Green.

CHEAP TREATS

The mere mention of a meal at a five-star restaurant is enough to make our wallet tremble and induce flashbacks of waiters

The Cellar Restaurant in the Merrion Hotel

Three course lunch, here, for €23? You must be kidding…

handing us bills that bear more relation to our phone number than an amount of money. Should you be stalked by such experiences than let us introduce you to at . Not only does The Cellar boast a sumptuous interior with vaulted ceilings, crisp white tablecloths and fine furniture, but it also happens to provide a stunning three-course lunch menu with tea or coffee for an astounding €23! Could we perhaps interest you in Confit of Galway Salmon, Slow Cooked Pork with mustard onion and roast potato followed by a Guinness Toffee Pudding and all washed down by a pot of tea or Merrion blend coffee? We could? Oh, that’s good.

MARKET MUNCHING

What’s not to like about food markets, eh? Pottering in and out of stalls laden with fresh bread and farmers brandishing huge

Temple Bar Food Market

Saying and eating cheese at the Temple Bar Food Market

chunks of cheese, asking if you fancy a taste, is one of life’s little pleasures. is a rollicking riot of shellfish, flowers, cheeses and coffee – and that’s just the very start! This is the kind of place where you gather the ingredients for a massive meal with mates and proudly proclaim to all of them – ‘By the way, I got all the food at this cool food market in Temple Bar…’ and proceed to tell them about all the folks you met, the grub you sampled and how it was all splendidly affordable. Everyone likes a story with a happy ending.

CAFÉ COOL

Cute cafés abound in Dublin and the Pepper Pot Café (below) is so cute it’s all you’ll beThe Pepper Pot Café in Dublin's Powerscourt Shopping Centre able to do from squeezing its cheeks. Housed in the stunning Powerscourt Townhouse Shopping Centre, the Pepper Pot serves up incredible baked treats without the incredible price tag (Fresh baked scone with jam and cream for €2.50). Also registering high on the cuteness scale is the Alice in Wonderland style Cake Café, hidden behind an environmentally friendly paper shop on Dublin’s Camden Street. Pop in and chow down on a mammoth serving of beans on toast for around €6 and wash it down with a cup of tea served in cool/kitsch china cups. Delightful isn’t the word.

You may also like to know that Dublin isn’t the only frugal food city on the island of Ireland. Belfast knows how to do it cheap, too

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