Dublin has a wide range of good quality restaurants, most of which are, however, horribly overpriced by European standards. Main course prices range from €10 at the lower end up to around €40 at the higher end. Wine in restaurants is generally marked up from its already expensive retail price by a factor of at least two and three times retail price would not be uncommon.
There are many excellent value Indian restaurants around the South William Street area, parallel to Grafton Street. These often have reasonable priced lunch and 'early bird' deals, offering three course meals for around €10. Quality is high but not on a par with UK. Particularly to be recommended are the Khyber Tandoori on South William Street and Shalimar on South Great Georges Street. Also excellent is Surma on Camden St and "Govindas" on Augnier Street for very cheap Hare-Krishna vegetarian food. all are in Dublin 2.
A similar multi-cultural hotspot is Parnell Street in Dublin 1 (O'Connell Street-Gardiner Street), which has a dense concentration of Chinese and Asian restaurants extensively frequented by the ex-pat communities.
Don't forget to try Leo Burdock Fish and Chips (2 Werburgh St). There is no eating in, so I have taken my fish to Christ Church Cathedral and ate it on a bench. About 10 Euro for way too much food (share it with someone).
BewleysGrafton St, Dublin 2. Dublin's most famous coffee shop. This has been a hang-out over the years for U2, Bob Geldof, and James Joyce.
Bar ItaliaReal Italian coffee with mostly Italian staff. Excellent panini and antipasto. Good value place with great atmosphere.
Butlers Chocolate Cafstwo branches on South William St (Dublin 2) and one at Dublin AirportGood coffee with a free chocolate of your choice (except at Dublin Airport, where you still get a chocolate but without a choice.) The airport branch is well stocked and generally runs special offers on boxes of chocolates not available in the city branches.
Zaytoon14/15 Parliament StTemple Bar, Dublin 2 (opposite The Porterhouse); also Camden St, (Dublin 2), (opposite Bleeding Horse Pub). This is a kebab shop (eat in or take out), very different from a street vendor kebab.
SPAR or Eurospar, is a leading convenience store group. They have several locations in Dublin and is the perfect place to go to grab drinks, breakfast, lunch, snacks, and basic toiletries that you may have forgotten to pack.
Idlewilde Cafe20 Patrick StDalkey, County Dublin. A charming caf in this pretty heritage town on Dublin's southside coastline. Easily reached by train (Dart) or bus. The Cafe is set in a leafy courtyard and offers great breakfast and lunch as well as excellent coffee and smoothies. Great place to spot the local celeb's.
Madina60 Mary StDublin 1, County Dublin. Incredibly tasty Indian & Pakistani food. The sauces are excellent and the dishes full of flavor. If you're into spicy dishes try the "Chicken Tikka Massala" or "Chicken Korma". They also prepare delicious Mango Lassi.
Elephant and Castle, Temple Bar, Dublin 2. Nationally-famous chicken wings, extremely busy lunchtime on Saturdays (you could be waiting for up to 2 h), only order a basket of chicken wings to yourself if you're very hungry!
Lemon Crèpe Company, South William St, Dublin 2. Good value filled crèpes for around €4 (American style rather than French) and some of the best coffee in Dublin. There is a larger branch with canteen-style bench seating on Dawson St, close to Trinity College.
BBs22 Wexford StDublin 2. Delicious gourmet burger restaurants. Serves a wide variety of tasty burgers (beef, chicken, fish and vegetarian) sides and desserts. Also serves a great breakfast. Burgers 7-10, sides 4-5.
Dunne & Crescenzi, South Frederick St, Dublin 2. Delightful Italian lunch spot, open until around 8PM, but arrive early if you want to get a seat - or be prepared for a long wait. Antipasto Misto €6.50, Paninis from €4. Glass of house wine €3.50.
Unicorn Food Company, Merrion Row, Dublin 2. Take-away deli with eat-in cafe next door. Sandwiches €4-5 or a range of Italian delights - pasta, lasagna, pizza, salads. Sometimes good cakes €2.50-€2.85. The deli is attached to the well-respected Unicorn Italian restaurant down the lane beside the deli (open for lunch and dinner).
M J O'Neills, Suffolk St, D-2. Great Pub Food. Carvery served 12 till 4 most days and till late weekends. Also has a good salad and sandwich bar. Price around €10 for carvery.
T.P. Smiths, Jervis St, Dublin 1. very good pub food, also handy to stop in if you're shopping around the Henry Street area. Food served until 21:00.
Govinda's4 Aungier StAt Middle Abbey St, just off O'Connell St, Dublin 2, +353 1 475 0309. Krishna run vegetarian restaurant. The Govindas special (only order large if you're very hungry) is a taste of nearly everything from the hot counter.
Caf FreshTop floor, Powerscourt Townhouse Centre, Dublin 2, +353 1 6719669. One of the best known vegetarian cafes in the city and offers a great range at reasonable prices. As the name suggests the food is all "fresh" and is made on the premises that morning, and much of it is organic. If you're after a healthy meat-free meal, it's well worth a look.
Epicurean Food Hall, located just yards from the famous Ha'Penny Bridge on Lower Liffety St, Dublin 2, The Epicurean Food Hall is a Mecca for the varied palate. Under one roof are food companies and stalls from Middle Eastern fare to Cornish Pasties and from Bagels to Christophes French cuisine. You can pick and choose your food of choice and sit in the communal seating area with Dublin locals that populate this lunch time must. Recommended in particular is the Italian coffee bar La Corta which probably serves the best cup of coffee in Dublin with all the Italian touches.
Purple Sage RestaurantLocated in the Stillorgan Park Hotel, Stillorgan Rd, Dublin 18. The Purple Sage Restaurant serves a traditional carvery lunch from 12.30PM-2.30PM. Popular with residents and locals alike the Purple Sage Restaurant offers a memorable Irish experience. It has the best value in the city with great weekday lunch deals
In Cahoots Café is small and welcoming place to eat and drink delicious coffee concoctions. In Cahoots Café specializes in wraps, paninis, salads, sandwiches, and gourmet coffee.
Bad Ass Café is a chain that was started in the United States that now has a location in Ireland. The café is located in the heart of Temple Bar and is perfect for the American tourist who is missing a big hamburger. Bad Ass Café still serves traditional Irish beer, like Guinness, to keep the taste of Ireland.
Bella Cuba, 11 Ballsbridge Terrace, Ballsbridge, Dublin 2. Ireland's only Cuban restaurant, where the lack of competition hasn't affected the quality. Excellent food served in a fabulous Cuban atmosphere with great music. Don't forget to try the extensive cocktail list. This restaurant is very small so book in advance.
Ryans FXB, Parkgate St., Dublin 7. Great steaks and seafood in a very friendly and comfortable restaurant upstairs in the beautiful Victorian era pub. 5 minute walk from the Guinness Storehouse and a stop away from Kilmainham Gaol on the Hop-On, Hop-Off bus. Main courses can go for between €15-25 for great quality produce from the legendary Buckleys butchers.
Siam Thai, Andrew St, Dublin 2. This city centre restaurant is part of a group of three, the others being in Malahide and Ballsbridge. Gorgeous Thai cuisine served by staff in traditional Thai costume. The surroundings are nice, if maybe a little on the tacky side. Nonetheless a great Thai gastro experience.
Bang Cafe11 Merrion RowDublin 2. A great cosmopolitan menu in a well established setting. Although a little on the expensive side, the food and presentation is excellent.
Kites, 15-17 Ballsbridge Terrace Ballsbridge, Dublin 4. Great combination of Cantonese (predominant dish), Szechuan, Peking and Thai with an extensive wine list. Excellent choice for the more discerning diner with great attention paid by the friendly, professional waiters in very rich surroundings and decor. Well worth a visit.
Salamanca, St. Andrews St, Dublin 2. Good value, tasty and substantial tapas (sized more like raciones), priced around €4-8. The steak is a particular bargain at €7.50. Also good are the chorizo dishes.
Gallagher's Boxty House20 Temple Bar, Dublin 2. Good traditional Irish fare and not too expensive (mains 10-15). (A boxty is a traditional Irish potato pancake filled and rolled uptry it!). Also try the Irish stew and the chowder. Small, friendly, traditional Irish decor. The Bistro4/5 Castlemarket. Excellent continental cuisine, good atmosphere. Main courses 15-25.
Johnnie Fox's Pub, Glencullen Rd, Glencullen, Dublin Mountains. Dating from the 18th century, the highest pub in Ireland is also one of the best for seafood. Great atmosphere with traditional live Irish bands and friendly staff. Food is excellent, so is the craic. Main courses €15-20. It’s a bit far (15 km) from the city, but you can get a good view of the city by night on your drive up to the restaurant. Unfortunately, this place is a notorious tourist trap - however it has received something or a revival in recent years with dozens of Irish people travelling to the pub for casual drinks / something to do.
Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud21 Upper Merrion StDublin 2. Two Michelin stars, very expensive, superb. Lunch menus are a bargain at 35 euro for two courses. Roly's Bistro7 Ballsbridge Terrace, Dublin 4. One block from Jurys Hotel. Impeccable food and service, reasonable prices. Good atmosphere.
L'Gueuleton, Fade St, Dublin 2 (behind Hogan's Bar). At the time of this writing (Sept 2006) there is no name above the door of this restaurant which has rapidly achieved cult status. It is consistently rated by food critics as one of the top five restaurants in Dublin, but it has a no reservations policy and their low prices makes it hugely popular for lunch and dinner. Three course lunch with wine yesterday was €40 per head. Don't worry about the no-reservations policy - put your name on the list and have a pint in the Market Bar or Hogan's.
Cornucopia19 Wicklow StDublin 2. Just off Grafton St you'll find this vegetarian heaven that serves breakfast, dinner and lunch.
The Purple Sage RestaurantAt The Stillorgan Park Hotel, Stillorgan Rd, Dublin 18. This award winning restaurant serves international cuisine from 5.45PM-9.45PM Monday-Saturday. Easily accessible from all routes. Diep Le Shaker55 Pembroke LaneOff Pembroke St, Dublin 2. Just 5 mins walk from St Stephens Green. A stunningly designed city centre restaurant with wonderful ambience, high-end cocktails and award winning cuisine. An experienced team of Thai chefs prepare authentic Royal Thai Cuisine using only the freshest ingredients. Fresh Thai herbs and spices are imported directly from Bangkok on a weekly basis. Evening value menu 3 courses 25.95.