In my post-Guinness/Dublin hangover post, I managed to exclusively talk about how to get slightly inebriated on a Dubliner’s dime. In this haze, however, I forgot to tell you how to enjoy some of Dublin’s hidden culinary secrets on your own dime. So here goes…
Itching to avoid only eating “meat and potatoes” while in Ireland, Elise and I set out walking/exploring, hoping to stumble upon our culinary pot of gold hidden between all of the lucky and charming pubs. Finding a good place to eat while surrounded by constant reminders to quench your thirst with frothy pints is quite distracting. After walking around for a good hour or so, our patience wearing thin, hanger (a deadly relationship killer comprised of hunger and anger) became imminent.
Walking down a sketchy side street in a hangry stupor, Elise spotted a bright pink sign that said “The Cake Café”. Talk about a higher power answering our hanger prayers in the nick of time.
The Cake Café is a small but inviting bakery serving freshly made sweets to famished locals. If you are more in the mood for staving off future bouts of hanger, delicious savory lunches can also be had. I had a smoked chicken, basil mayonnaise, and roasted red pepper sandwich and Elise tucked into a roasted vegetable and goat’s cheese tart. High quality ingredients served simply but elegantly. Delicious. Exactly what Two Burners is about. We rounded out our meal with homemade carrot cake and chocolate cake and plenty of coffee/tea to wash it all down. Since this restaurant is tucked away in Dublin’s vast network of streets, it’s a little hard to find, but it keeps away the tourists. The decor is quite pink, so bring your girlfriend/lady-friend/mom, not clients for a power lunch.
Another high quality restaurant on the cheap is Café Bar Deli. Their motto is that great food can be served with style at a reasonable price. They delivered on all accounts. We started with grilled pizzette served with garlic, sea salt, rosemary, and plenty of olive oil. What is pizzette you might ask? Imagine the brilliant threesome love child of focaccia, nann, and pizza dough–yes all in the same family but without the funky genetic defects. Then we wolfed down roasted butternut squash, red onion, walnut salad served over a bed of sage cracked wheat and cannellini leek dip. It blew my mind to the wonders of cracked wheat–on par, if not better than quinoa. Throw in a couple glasses of wine and a little dessert and you’re looking at late lunch/dinner with wine for under 30 euros. Perfect.
Elephant & Castle–Great place for brunch on Saturday morning before hitting the Temple Bar Food Market. Slow service, especially when you’re starving.
Temple Bar Food Market–Handmade chocolates, cheeses, quiches, jams, breads, tapas, vegetables. Small market but makes up for in variety and quality.
Juice–Really Dublin’s only vegetarian restaurant. I can’t speak for dinner, but brunch was phenomenal. All local produce, cheap, delicious. 15% off with a valid student ID too.
airbnb–Looking to travel like a real adult but not ready to pay real adult prices? airbnb is a great option. They connect you with locals with spare bedrooms, apartments, etc. Like CouchSurfing, only better. We stayed in Dublin for $30 a night. Boom.