By Jessica Colley—
Dining in Dublin can put a dent in your budget. While this city is full of opportunities to spend big on food, you can utilize a few simple strategies to keep prices down. Plan ahead and you will taste the best of the local dining scene without emptying your wallet.
1. Seek out Markets and Street Food
Staying away from restaurants is one of the best ways to keep your euros. Several markets offer great value (and large portions) such as the Temple Bar Market (Saturdays), the Mespil Road Market (Thursdays), and the Christ Church Market (Thursdays and Saturdays). Browse through the market options for price and portion size.
2. Plan a Picnic
There’s great value in grocery stores, bakeries, and specialty shops. One of the best ways to enjoy a gourmet meal without the price tag is to stock up on products straight from the stores. Grab a sandwich, cheese, and charcuterie from Listons, duck into the basement shop at Avoca for a loaf of fresh Irish brown soda bread, or stop into the grocery store Tesco to gather picnic supplies.
3. Take Advantage of the Early Bird
Show up early to experience the best Dublin restaurants for reasonable prices. If you eat a light lunch, you might be ready for an affordable pre-theater dinner. For example, at The Pigs Ear between 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. you can enjoy a 2-course dinner for €19.95 with options such as citrus cured salmon or slow cooked duck leg. Other restaurants with great early bird offers include Odessa and Hugo’s.
4. Eat Your Biggest Meal at Lunchtime
Many restaurants have a similar prix-fixe menu for lunch. You can save a few euros by eating your bigger meal at lunchtime. To use the same example of the Pigs Ear, the lunch menu costs €15.95 for two courses or €19.95 for three courses. Tempting options include beef and Guinness stew and a warm chocolate tart. Other restaurants with great lunch specials include The Winding Stair and Pichet.
5. Ethnic Eats
Dublin doesn’t have the widest range of ethnic eats, especially in comparison to other European capitals. These restaurants do offer great value, both in the food and drink department. Stop into Hop House for affordable Korean and Japanese, Govindas for huge helpings of Indian-influenced vegetarian food, and Thai Spice for tasty Thai dishes.