Best affordable eats in Dublin

  1. Pho Ta – I’m pretty picky about my pho, as it is one of my favourite foods; Pho Ta does not disappoint. The noodle soup here is really delicious as are the spring rolls but if you’re not in the mood for soup, they have a variety of noodle and rice dishes and a great selection of appetizers. Located away from the crowds on Cope Street in Temple Bar area, Pho Ta is a breath of fresh air. The service is excellent and the soup is sure to warm you up on one of Dublin’s rainy days!
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Chicken Noodle Soup.

2. Neon – Located on Camden Street (also one of my favourite streets; great pubs along here), Neon is an Asian street food inspired restaurant with a diverse menu. Try one of their fabulous curries or wok dishes – the portions are quite large so make sure to share or save it for a meal the next day. If you have room, there’s free ice cream after your meal – what more can you ask for? This is one restaurant you won’t want to miss in Dublin.

3. Pitt Bros – There’s a reason they keep paper towel on the table at Pitt Bros – things can get messy (in a good way of course). I had the burger and fries and it really hit the spot. They also have ribs, pulled pork, chicken and other delicious items to choose from. Definitely not a place for vegetarians but meat lovers can rejoice – you will leave satisfied and still have money left in your pocket. Check them out at South Great George’s Street in Dublin 2.

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Pitt Bro Burger & Fries.

4. Yamamori – Sushi is one of my favourite foods; I could definitely eat it everyday. I’m used to going to all you can eat sushi in Canada so when I came here and realised there is no such thing, my heart broke a little. But then, I found the award-winning restaurant Yamamori. It’s not all you can eat but it is absolutely delicious sushi all the same. The prices are a little higher than I’m used to but I’m willing to spend a little more to eat something that I really enjoy. Their spider roll with black rice is incredible as is their ramen. If you’re a sushi lover like me, you must try Yamamori. They have several locations around the city serving a variety of Japanese cuisine. Check out their website for more information https://yamamori.ie/.

5. Musashi – Of course I had to include another one of my favourite sushi spots. Musashi has a few locations; I’ve been to the one on Capel Street and it is superb. It can get quite busy so it’s best to book ahead or show up right at noon if you’d like to have lunch.

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Vegetarian Bento Box with Salmon Nigiri.

6. My Meat Wagon – Another great place for meat lovers. Located in Smithfield Square, beside the Lighthouse Cinema and Oscar’s bar, this is a great place to have dinner before seeing a show or heading out for a drink. You can choose from ‘Meat in a box‘, ‘Meat in bread‘ or ‘Meat on a board‘ and all their meat is 100% Irish. Their sides are quite good as well, you can choose from fries, coleslaw, mash, beans, sausage or corn. Yum!

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“MEAT IN BREAD” – Burger & chips.

7. Bunsen – With the tagline ‘Straight up burgers,’ Bunsen does one thing really well – make a delicious burger. Their menu is extremely simple which I love; they have a regular burger, cheeseburger and doubles of each as well as a choice of hand cut, shoestring and sweet potato fries. Their fries are also really delicious – I always go for the shoestring but they’re all great. Because of its popularity, Bunsen often has a queue but you can pop out for a beverage or a walk and they will give you a ring on your mobile when your table is ready. There are two locations; one in Temple Bar area and the other on Wexford Street. I have no idea why I’m writing this near lunchtime…I’m really craving a burger now!

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Bunsen, Temple Bar.

8. Umi Falafel – This is one of my go-to spots for delicious food at a great price. You can either take it away or sit in. It’s a pretty relaxed environment with great service. They have a variety of tasty falafels, salads and an assortment of appetizers. Make sure to try their minted lemonade! They have two locations in Dublin; one on Dame Street and the other in Rathmines.

9. Kimchi – Just tried Kimchi recently and had to add it to the list. The food is delicious, service is quick and the prices are very reasonable. There’s a bar right beside the restaurant which is great for meeting up for a drink before your meal (160-161 Parnell Street). I’ve tried the Chicken Katsu, beef, calamari, salmon sushi/sashimi and a few other kinds of sushi and all were fantastic. If you’re a fan of Japanese & Korean food, Kimchi is not to be missed.

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The delicious Korean dish Bulgogi.

10. Leo Burdock – ‘Burdock’s’ has been around for over 100 years and there’s a reason for that – their fish & chips are delicious! Great prices for the portion sizes; you will definitely leave here satisfied. They have several locations in and around Dublin that have attracted a variety of celebrities over the years such as Snoop Dogg, members of Metallica and Hilary Swank. This is the place to get your fill of fish & chips while in Ireland.

11. Xico – If you love Mexican food like I do, you will love Xico. They serve a variety of Mexican inspired dishes and offer a range of unique cocktails. As soon as I walked into this underground cavern, I knew it would become one of my favourite places. On Tuesdays, they offer a choice of 6 Taquitos or Tostadas for €15 or you can add 2 drinks for €25. Xico is located on Lower Baggot Street in Dublin 2.

12. Smokin Bones – I realise that this list is heavy on the meat but it seems that BBQ joints are all the rage in Dublin. The ‘Pitt Nachos’ and ‘Dirty Fries’ are to die for. They also have Mac n’ Cheese (suitable for vegetarians), Beef Brisket, Burgers, Ribs and a variety of tasty side dishes. Smokin Bones is located in the heart of the city at 34 Dame Street.

Dublin Nightlife: Best Bars & Pubs

1. Whelan’s – By far my favourite place to have a drink in Dublin. I saw the American folk band Joseph here and it was a night I won’t soon forget. (By the way, if you haven’t heard of them – do yourself a favour and check them out. They are three incredibly talented sisters from Portland, Oregon). Whelan’s has incredible live music events. You can check out their website for upcoming shows here http://www.whelanslive.com/. There’s something for everyone at Whelan’s whether you like to get up and dance or just sit back and relax with a pint. In a city filled with great pubs, Whelan’s is not to be missed.

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Joseph at Whelan’s, Dublin.

2. The Brazen Head – Ireland’s oldest pub; established in 1198. Definitely a touristy place because of its history but a great pub all the same. Many locals still head to The Brazen Head as it has great food, reasonably priced drinks and it’s away from Temple Bar area so it doesn’t get as crammed. I highly recommend checking out The Brazen Head if you find yourself in Dublin and want to visit a classic Irish pub.

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3. The Liquor Rooms – Really cool cocktail bar in the city with great decor (very retro) and a fun atmosphere. It’s a perfect place for an after dinner cocktail or two – have anymore and you’ll be bringing out your inner Beyoncé on the dancefloor. If you’re not a big dancer, settle in on one of their cozy vintage chairs and people watch until your hearts content. The bartenders are seriously amazing at what they do – I watched one of them prepare several of these gorgeous cocktails in a matter of moments.

4. The Grand Social The Grand Social hosts a variety of music gigs and is an all around great place to have a drink or two (maybe more – I’m not here to judge). They even host the Ha’Penny Flea Market every Saturday from 12pm-6pm. There are a variety of vendors selling everything from jewelry to records and it’s indoors so you can enjoy it rain or shine (this is Dublin we’re talking about so that’s definitely a plus!).

5. The Dawson Lounge“Probably the smallest pub in the world” is what the signage says out front and it is probably correct. It is a very tiny bar with room for no more than 50-60 people at capacity. It’s quite a cute little spot, very cozy and laid back – definitely a must see if you’re visiting Dublin. I’d recommend popping in on a weekday if possible, as it can get quite busy on the weekends with all the tourists.

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“Probably the smallest pub in the world” – The Dawson Lounge.

6. Against The Grain – Located across from Whelan’s on Camden Street, Against the Grain is owned and operated by Galway Bay Brewery and has a tremendous selection of craft beers. They also have a delicious menu consisting of fish and chips, stews, burgers and so on. The staff is also really friendly and knowledgeable which is a bonus.

7. Thomas House – This is my local as it is not too far from my neighbourhood and I love everything about this place. The music is fab and it reminds me exactly of my regular back in Canada. Reasonably priced drinks and a variety of craft beers, good music and a rockabilly vibe – what more can you ask for?

8. Hogan’s – This is a pretty popular spot, especially on the weekends. It gets quite busy but it’s a fun atmosphere and the service is usually pretty quick even when it’s rammed. Fun place to spend the night with some friends, have a laugh and do some serious people watching.

9. The Foggy Dew – Another one of my favourite places to head for a pint and a chat. I’m not a big fan of going to clubs or bars that are so busy and loud that you can’t hear yourself think, let alone hear the person you’re chatting to. This is a great place to grab a seat, enjoy a drink and watch a match or just chill out – especially after a long day of exploring.

10. The Beer Market – Another one of my locals. It’s very inviting and cozy and on weeknights it’s usually not too busy. They have plenty of places to sit on multiple levels and there’s even a pool table downstairs if you’re so inclined. It’s a very chill atmosphere a little outside the city away from the crowds and they have a great variety of craft beers. Can’t go wrong with that.

11. Garage Bar – Great little dive bar located in Temple Bar area. It does have a garage feel complete with sawdust on the floor, petrol pumps and tires. The staff here is great, the prices are good and they place some great music (punk, grunge, soul, ska). It’s definitely one of a kind and worth checking out.

12. The Bowery – This place is deadly! It’s like stepping inside the interior of a ship; complete with port holes, wood paneling and floorboards. The Bowery is an incredibly unique musical venue and rum bar that’s definitely work checking out. See their upcoming shows here http://thebowery.ie/calander/.

13. Frank Ryan’s Bar – Reminds me of a place I would frequent back home in Toronto (it even has the same street name). Great beer, pool tables, live music and a resident dog (my favourite part of course) – what’s not to love?

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Frank Ryan’s Bar, 5 Queen Street.

Best cafés in Dublin

  1. The Fumbally – Finding a café that I can set up shop in for a couple of hours is, at times a difficult task. Many of them are quite busy throughout the day and don’t have a lot of seating options. The Fumbally is quite a popular spot but I am usually able to find a place to settle in for a while, as their seating is communal. Everything on their menu is incredibly fresh and they use local and organic products whenever possible. They have both daily specials and permanent breakfast and lunch menus. Whether you’re looking for your caffeine fix for the day (they have great coffee too by the way) or something that is both nutritious and delicious, The Fumbally is not to be missed. Check out their menu here http://thefumbally.ie/food/current-menu/.
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Avocado on toast with beetroot & fresh chilli.

2. Taste Food Co – The staff here are very friendly and they have excellent coffee and a diverse menu. This was the first place I had breakfast after arriving in Dublin and they made me feel right at home. I had the smashed avocado on poached eggs (one of my favourites) and it did not disappoint. I’ve been back several times since and have always had a positive experience. They also have a lunch and dinner menu as well as a fabulous array of desserts made in-house daily by their pastry chefs.

3. The Bagel Bar – Bagels aren’t as much of a big deal over here as they are back home. The Bagel Bar is great because they have a wonderful selection of bagels ranging from your basic bagel and cream cheese to the ‘Beef Philly’ bagel and everything in between. They also have wraps, sandwiches, salads and an array of desserts if you’re so inclined. Prices are very reasonable, leaving you feeling satisfied without breaking the bank. Great place to stop in before a day of exploring in the city.

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Spinach bagel with bacon, cheese, chive cream cheese & guac.

4. Brother Hubbard – Middle Eastern inspired menu, excellent coffee and friendly staff – what more can you ask for? Brother Hubbard has two locations: Dublin North: 153 Capel Street, Dublin 1 & Dublin South: 46 Harrington Street, Dublin 8. If you’re looking for something light or if you’re in the mood for Sunday brunch, this is the place. They even have an evening menu from Wednesday to Saturday where you can build your own meal choosing from individual plates. You can also select from their set menu; take a look on their website here https://brotherhubbard.ie/evenings. I will definitely be back to give it a try.

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Mocha & 7-seed & oat scone at Brother Hubbard North.

5. Brick Alley Cafe – Located in touristy Temple Bar area, the Brick Alley Cafe is a great place to take a break from sightseeing. Most places in this part of the city are quite expensive and usually quite busy. The Brick Alley Cafe is a breath of fresh air in that prices are reasonable and the food is tasty. The staff is also quite friendly which is a bonus.

6. Kaph – This trendy café is my go-to spot when I want to get some work done. It’s a busy place but they have extra seating upstairs so I’m usually able to find a spot. They have great coffee and an array of treats if you have a sweet tooth. It’s a great spot to catch up with friends or get lost in a great book. Bonus: they play great music (Queens of the Stone Age, The Smiths & Kurt Vile to name a few).

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Kaph, 31 Drury Street. Dublin 2.

7. Queen Of Tarts – Located on Cow’s Lane, this café and tearoom serves the most exquisite desserts. I tried the lemon meringue tart and it was absolutely delicious – not too bitter and the meringue melted in my mouth. I am also in love with their vintage teacups (I have a collection of them back in Canada). If you’re not into sweets, they also have savoury items to choose from such as soups, sandwiches and salads. Love this little gem!

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Lemon meringue tart & green tea.

8. Cracked Nut – Both healthy and delicious, the Cracked Nut is a real gem. In addition to having excellent coffee, they serve a variety of gorgeous breakfast items including pastries, granola, porridge and french toast. Sandwiches, soups and salads are on offer at lunch – perfect if you’re busy at work but need a nutritious and filling meal to keep you going. They even have a catering service and offer an array of platters, fruit and the like.

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Cracked Nut, Camden Street.