Posted by: susanjcaldwell28 | May 20, 2011


Heading back to Salamanca this week as it is time to re-visit some of the brilliant restaurants I have been to in the last few weeks.  I set out to find the above titled abodes, cheap but good restaurants, no greasy spoons or brightly lit fast food hovels.  No, its about ambience, atmosphere, service, food, fun and romance.  The setting has to be right.  It dawned on me one day as I was walking down to Chez Max (beside Dublin Castle) for a same said lunch, and passed by a “chipper” offering a deal of 6.50 for a take-away burger and chips, that you can get really good food, wine and service in Dublin for such a good price at the moment, so why would anyone grab a greasy meal to go?.  For me these lunches are as much about ambience and time out as they are about gastronomy, an hour to forget the recession, the hole in my ceiling that is still awaiting the go ahead from the insurance and the worry about bills etc. We have usually followed up these lunches with a trip to a free art or photography exhibition and a coffee somewhere nice afterwards, a real afternoon away, so today Im just going to summarise some of the haunts of the last few months:

First of all restaurants that offer lunch for tenner and under with wine:

Salamanca, Parliament Street – Opposite City Hall. Main Course, wine and coffee for a tenner (dont bother with the tapas menu, there are two menus on offer, the tapas one is very polite and coffee is not incuded). The food is fab and there is a huge array of dishes to choose from.

Chex Max, Right beside Dublin Castle, quick access via the lane in Georges St beside the George Pub. Mains, wine and coffee for a tenner. Gorgeous tartines with an abundance of salad on the side.  They also do dish of the day with wine for 11 euro.

Juice Vegetarian Restaurant Georges Street. Mains and wine for 7.99 (passed by today, its gone up to 8.95!)

La Taverna Italian Quarter, just over the Millenium Bridge. Any small pasta (though it was big enough), pizza or rissotto with wine for a tenner. Love this part of town, lovely atmosphere here, owned by Mick Wallace, its got a winning combination.

Mexico to Rome, Temple Bar.  2 courses with wine for 8.95 . Pleasantly surprised by this place.  Food was lovely and service was excellent.

Restaurants that are slightly over a tenner with lunch and wine:

Fallon and Byrne, upstairs restaurant, Wicklow Street, their lunches start at 6.00 euro and lunch size pasta dishes at 7, with wine starting at 5, so slightly over but well worth it.

Coppinger Row, again prices starting at 6.00 euro and fiver for wine.


Juice Vegetarian Restaurant, Georges Street at 7.99 for main course and wine.


Salamanca in Parliament Street, a very buzzy lively restaurant, with great colours on the walls, so lively but cosy at the same time.


Chez Max beside Dublin Castle with its French waiters, French music in the background, small cosy restaurant with delicious food and perfect for hand holding and eye gazing!!.


I would have to say Mexico to room with its 2 courses and a glass of wine, both courses were very filling but really tasty, only go here if you are hungry rather than peckish. There is also a choice of 15 main courses to choose from.


No contest here, Fallon and Byrne.

BEST OVERALL (So far, cos this is an ongoing experiment!).

Taking into account, food, ambience, atmosphere, decor and service, Salamanca is the winner.  Changed my mind, Salamanca was gone down last time I went. The Porthouse South William St is now the winner!!



  1. Great overview Susan. Long may you reign and do the legwork for me! I’m a Dubliner and tend to go to the same old places all the time. Some of them have beome very expensive so I welcome this blog. Not only will I eat cheaper but it’ll get me out to those places that I know – but never visit! xx

    • Yes Frances, I have a few old reliables that I do go back to time and time again like La Gondola and Ciao Bella, but I love trying new places and there are so many good deals in Dublin at the moment, its very exciting. We actually managed to both eat out for a tenner today in Salamanca because I had a loyalty card and got one meal free. I love city life, I love the fact that I have gone to loads of different restaurants and there are still more to try and the amount of places that do good lunches with wine for a tenner at the moment is phenomenal. Great time to dversify. x

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