I love traveling. In Europe, I enjoy historic cities and nature walks. I've visited Scotland, Ireland, and France, among other countries.
Sightseeing can work up quite an appetite. If you’re traveling in Dublin, you can’t survive on your hostel’s €2.5 breakfast alone. You need something filling, and you probably want to enjoy some Irish classics. The good news is that Dublin is full of restaurants, cafes, and pubs. There are definitely some highly expensive restaurants, but that’s true of almost any European city.
With all of the variety, there are many places where you can get a great meal for less than the cost of a shamrock souvenir. Whether you’re looking for a full Irish breakfast, a classic pub lunch, or a great curry, you can do it without breaking the bank. Check out our list below for five suggestions of great places to eat on almost any budget.
- Gerry's Coffee Shop and Restaurant
- Blazing Salads
- Café Sofia
- Bison Bar
Gerry’s Coffee Shop and Restaurant
Address: 6 Montague Street, Dublin
If you want to start the day with a full Irish breakfast and leave plenty of cash in your wallet, try Gerry’s. The restaurant’s Yelp page is full of stellar reviews from tourists and locals alike, who praise the food, prices, and staff. And the crowd wasn't wrong in this case.
You can get a full Irish breakfast for just €6.50. Other filling options, such as omelets and porridge, are also reasonably priced. If you need some caffeine to kick-start your day, you’ll appreciate free refills on coffee. Gerry’s also serves classic Irish options for lunch and dinner, so if you love the breakfast, you can come back later in the day.
Address: 42 Drury Street, Dublin
If you like to stay healthy while you travel, Blazing Salads is a great option. This is a takeaway-style restaurant where you pick what you want and serve yourself. The restaurant offers a range of fresh soups, salads, hummus, and hot items. You can also find pastries and baked goods. You take a box, fill it up with whatever you want, and then pay by the weight.
A typical full box will cost about €10, but you can get less (or more) depending on your budget and how hungry you are. The restaurant is particularly great for vegetarians and vegans; they always have a lot of filling meat-free and dairy-free items. You’ll also be able to find plenty of options if you’re gluten-free. Non-vegetarians will undoubtedly find plenty that they like, too. There’s no seating, so you’ll want to take your box with you and eat as you walk or find a scenic seat in a nearby park.
Address: 17 Camden Street, Dublin
There are lots of great Asian restaurants around Dublin, but Neon stands out for its fast service, filling meals, and free ice cream. Yes, I did just say free ice cream. This is a casual dining establishment. You order at the till and receive your meal in a takeout container. You can take it with you or grab a seat at one of the long tables shared with other customers.
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There are bowls and silverware available to use, or you can eat straight out of your takeout container. Appetizers range from about €5–8, salads from €6–8, noodles from €10–12, and curries €12–14. It’s not the absolute cheapest option around, but you’ll likely have some leftovers. In any case, you’ll want to leave some room for free soft-serve ice cream at the end of the meal. Who can say no to free ice cream?
Address: 5A Wexford Street, Dublin
If you’re looking for a solid meal any time of the day, give Café Sofia a shot. It's close to Stephen’s Green, so it’s a convenient place to stop into while you’re sightseeing. This place has a reputation for having a pleasant atmosphere, friendly service, and great value. Most of the meals are simple but higher-quality than what you might expect for the price. If you’re looking for breakfast, you can get a filling meal starting at just €5.
If you want a full Irish breakfast complete with tea or coffee, it will cost you €8.50. If you were out enjoying Dublin’s nightlife the night before, this is the perfect place to recover with piping hot toast, bacon, eggs, sausage, mushrooms, and tomato. This is a great place for lunch and dinner, too, with all entrees priced at €10 or less. You can find great classic meals such as fish and chips, lasagna, chicken salad, and even steak.
If you’re traveling with a family, they have a kids’ menu with all meals at €5. Café Sofia is also known for its little extras: the servers will often bring over a couple of chocolate digestives at the end of the meal. Biscuits on the house are always a great addition to an already solid meal.
Address: 11 Wellington Quay, Dublin
For meat lovers, Bison Bar is the place to go. They have a great selection of barbecue, not to mention a fantastic bar with lots of whiskey choices. The bar has a cool, laid-back atmosphere, with saddles for bar seats and food served on metal trays. There’s plenty of extra barbecue sauce around the bar and tables, so a dash of extra spice is always within reach.
If you’re looking for a budget-friendly option for lunch or dinner, your best bet is the Bison Sandwich, available with pulled pork, beef brisket, or sausage. It’s just €5 to take away or €7.95 if you want to eat in.
Barbecue will cost you a bit more, but it’s still reasonable. You can get half a chicken, brisket, pulled pork, or half a rack of ribs for €13.95. You can also get chicken wings for €9.95. All of their main plates come with 2 sides, so rest assured that you’ll have more than enough food. Bison Bar has a reputation as the best barbecue place in Dublin, and with reasonable prices, you really can’t go wrong if you’re a barbecue fan.
There’s a lot to see in Dublin, so make sure you fuel up at one of these restaurants or one of the other great places around the city. If you can’t find one of the five places we’ve recommended, don’t despair. You can find a simple sausage roll at most pubs, cafes, and even convenience shops for just a few euros. Or you can stop into a deli counter for a fresh sandwich without spending much. As long as you’re willing to look a little, you can find plenty of affordable and delicious options around the city.
Dublin is a great European city offering a lot of variety without losing its authenticity. You can stroll the street and visit some great historical places. After those walks, you can have an excellent drink in one of the many bars. Finish your day with a great meal.
© 2019 Sam Shepards