Those who live or are familiar with Dublin know that in spite of its reputation as quite an expensive place to eat out, there are many great budget places to eat.
Certainly there is a fair share of international chains: McDonalds, Burgerking, Kentucky Fried Chicken and more are all here and while they can be a useful port in a budget traveler’s storm it is possible to be far more adventurous than that, even when you are counting the cents.
This is a selection of places where you’ll get something good to eat at a price that won’t break the bank. I’ve tried to include a wide variety of places, places that have something special or different about them and where the food is always reliable, occasionally absolutely excellent.
Its not an exhaustive list by any means, ask anyone in Dublin and they’ll most likely have a recommendation for their favourite bargain eatery. And I mean that – really do ask anyone in Dublin!
Cod & chips by bjaglin
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Where to Eat in Dublin on a Budget
A. Leo Burdocks
If there is a single meal that is quintessentially Dublin, it has to be battered cod and chips eaten from a take-away. This legendary fish and chip shop near Christ Church Cathedral has been feeding Dubliners for almost a century with a menu that has changed little in that time.
The fare on offer is simple – battered fish and thick cut chips, freshly prepared and fried in dripping. It’s certainly not health food, but it is delicious. You will probably have join a queue outside before being served, there is no seating and you eat your food from a paper parcel on the street or take it to a nearby park, but it’s worth it.
Among those who have lined up at Burdocks to eat their dinner from a paper parcel are Bruce Springsteen, Tom Cruise and Mick Jagger.
Website | 01 4540306
B. The HalfMoon Crêpe Company
It was a reader of this site that first brought me to the the Half Moon Crêpe Co and their great value menu of savoury and sweet crêpes, panini and toasted sandwiches. It’s a small and friendly place run by a mother and daughter team open all day and until 2am on weekend nights.
You’ll eat tastily and well here at a great price and the excellent Illy coffee is a real bonus.
C. Cafe Azteca
Cafe Azteca is hands down the best place to go for authentic Mexican food in Dublin, in any price range.
Their huevos rancheros are to die for and they serve proper tacos, not the pale imitations that too often appear on menus that are much more expensive than here. There are also lessons in Mexican cooking available.
Website | 01 6709476
Part of an international chain of Japanese Noodle Houses but much better than the average chain restaurant. You can spend a lot here – it’s definitely the upper end of budget – but equally you can get a tasty and satisfying bowl of noodles for a very reasonable cost.
Website | 01 478 2152
E. Blazing Salads
This deli and bakery on Drury St serve amazing takeaway salads with innovate daily specials and yummy cakes that manage to be vaguely healthy at the same time. Lots of vegetarian options and also a good place to stock up on snacks or picnic ingredients.
There is no seating – if it’s a nice day take your food to nearby Stephen’s green and eat al fresco by the duck pond.
Website | 01 671 9552
This is the best place for bagels in Dublin with a terrific range of fillings and bagels specially baked to their own recipe. While the bagels are substantial – a meal in themselves -there are also excellent freshly made soups and salads and far too tempting to resist cookies and brownies. There are a couple of city centre branches, both marked below.
Website | 01 644 9441
G. The Porthouse
A tapas bar is in an old wine cellar, carefully converted so that it retains its atmosphere. The menu is made up of delicious Basque pintxos and tapas - you can have anything from just a couple of tasty morsels as a snack to a full meal.
There is also decently priced Spanish wine as well an excellent range of ports and sherries available by the glass. In sunny weather there are a few outside tables, while inside it is dark and candlelit and a very good spot for a budget romantic meal. A sister restaurant, Bar Pintxo in Temple Bar, serves similar fare.
Website | 01 677 0298
H. Bleecker Street Cafe Bar
Dorset St is an area not overly supplied with good places to eat so this is a good one to note if you are north of the Liffey. The small cafe serves a typical but very good cafe bar menu – burgers, pastas, salads etc – including a very popular all-day American Brunch. There are also excellent vegetarian options.
01 804 4459
I. Paulie’s Pizza
A relatively new arrival in Dublin this is a small and wildly popular place so long lines are not unusual. And it’s no wonder – the Pizza here is the genuine Neopolitan article and Paulie’s is one of the few places outside Italy to have the official seal of approval from the Assozione Vera Pizza Napoletana.
Expect a crisp base and toppings that include fresh buffalo mozzerela, San Marzano tomatoes and top quality prosciutto. Pizza heaven and worth the wait.
Website | 01 664 3658
J. Cafe Topolis
Another excellent spot for a pizza, this time right in the city centre close to all the major sights. There is not much difference in price, if any, between here and a chain pizza joint and there is a massive improvement in quality. There are excellant pastas also and a very good value earlybird menu.
01 670 4961
K. Madina Desi Curry Co
Owned and run by a family who also run several ethnic groceries and a halal butcher, this Indian restaurant serves halal curry and biryani dishes cooked in an authentic style to family recipes. The decor is basic but portions are huge, everything is freshly prepared and it is extremely good value. There are many vegetarian dishes on the menu. No alcohol is served.
Website | 01 872 6007
L. Sichuan House
This place is always full of Chinese people and you can see why – it is very good indeed. This not the gloopy fare served up in many budget Chinese places, it is Chinese food as it should be – spicy, freshly cooked to order, bursting with flavour and in some cases very hot. Don’t expect fancy surroundings, but service is friendly and it is incredibly good value.
If you are prepared to be adventurous, there are many more chinese and other ethnic restaurants in the Moore St/Parnell St area that are very cheap. They can be a disaster or a triumph so it’s a bit hit and miss but often worth the risk.
This place started life as a pop up restaurant but now has a permanent home. It serves chicken, and that’s basically it. The wine list comprises a red and a white, which change daily.
The chicken is cooked in an American soul food style – your choice is basically Buttermilk Chicken, Soy Garlic Chicken (to die for) or Chicken Brochettes, the portions are huge, it is delicious and it’s cheap – two people will eat well for under €30. Follow @CrackBIRDdublin on Twitter and you can eat for free – - tweet them with
#tweetseats, a time, date and number of people and if they have a ‘tweetseat’ available you eat free. But you need to be quick – they fill these slots a weeks in advance. There is no other way to book. Expect lines outside – it is wildly popular.
N. The Bakehouse
As the name suggests this is primarily a bakery, with a range of really delicious breads and cakes baked every day on the premises. But it’s also an excellent place to eat in both during the day and the evening, with top notch sandwiches and a good range of salads as well as pies, stews and soups. Everything is made in house with obvious care. Sunday (or any day) brunch is particularly good – the sausage sandwich is a wonder and will set you up for a whole day.
Website | 01 873 4279
Map of Dublin Budget Restaurants
Click a map marker for driving or walking directions.
Posted: January 6, 2009 | Updated: July 9, 2014 | Image Credits