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Great-value Irish restaurants: 15 places to go for a quick bite

Part of the Irish Times guide to 100 great-value restaurants, cafes and places to eat in Ireland 2022


46a Capel Street, Dublin 1; 01-8788555

Head to Aobaba on your own and enjoy the slurpy pleasure of a bowl of steaming pho and handmade Vietnamese noodles as you watch the fascinating slice of life that is Capel Street from a high stool by the window. Or grab some friends, add a few beers from the Centra across the road and dig deeper into the menu. Either way, you’ll be tucking into some of the best Vietnamese food in the city. Cash only. Corinna Hardgrave


8 The Arches, Barrack Street, Kilkenny, Co Kilkenny; 056-7756297,

Having recently been crowned Supreme Winners at the 2022 Blas na hÉireann awards, Bart Pawlukojć and wife Nicole can look forward to a very bright future. They’ve built up a reputation for real sourdough using flour from local millers The Little Mill, and seasonal brunch and lunch. With incredible pastries, evening dinners, and dishes such as Green Shakshuka or Bibimbap (a Buddha bowl with a Korean twist), it’s clear to see why they’re so successful. Dogs welcome. Joanne Cronin


43 Meath Street, Dublin 8;

Owner and Argentinian Florencia used to make cakes for cafes around Dublin, and took the chance to open the first Argentinian bakery in Ireland, bang in the heart of the Liberties. Bakeology operates mostly as a takeaway, with just a few spaces for on-site dining. Grab a traditional empanada filled with smoked bacon, cheese and prunes, a sausage roll with Argentinian chorizo and chimichurri, or for a sweet treat, the alfajores filled with dulce de leche. Pet friendly with treats and water available. JC

Grangecon Kitchen

Main Street, Grangecon, Co Wicklow; 087-7478863,

Wicklow people are well used to the great outdoors, and the marquee in Grangecon Kitchen’s garden is here to stay. The original restaurant now houses a wood-fired pizza oven, a coffee counter and bakery. Outside, it’s hay bales, flowers and festoon lighting with gas heaters, blankets and sheepskin rugs. Brunch is on every day except Tuesday, the Turkish eggs with ‘nduja are particularly good, and pizza is Friday and Saturday. CH


Maison Gourmet & Le Bar à Vin

6 Henry Street, Kenmare, Co Kerry; 064-6641857,

Patrick Puech is a Boulanger who brings a true taste of France to Kenmare – baguettes with jambon, goat’s cheese and walnuts on focaccia, croque-monsieur, quiche Lorraine, pear amandine, Paris-Brest, coffee eclair, choux and tartlets. All of these will tantalise you as you wait in the queue to be served. In the evening, it transforms into a cosy wine bar. CH


14-15 Main Street, Tramore, Co Waterford; 085-2635555,

Mezze is the love story of Nicola, a Waterford woman, and Dvir, an Israeli, who met on a glacier in New Zealand. Having lived in Tel Aviv, they moved their family to Ireland, and Mezze was born, first in a farmers’ market and then in a permanent location. The menu is mostly vegetarian, featuring fresh local produce mixed with Middle Eastern magic. Sit in to eat, or grab some delicacies or even their new cookbook to enjoy at home. JC


1a Evergreen Street, Cork, Co Cork; 021-4312716,

A favourite ever since its opening, this small Japanese eatery and takeaway is easily located thanks to the beautiful mural outside. Takashi Miyazaki now cooks in his Michelin-starred restaurant Ichigo Ichie, leaving the kitchen here in the hands of Michael McGrath. Visit for classics like the lemon ramen with pork belly and tori tatsuta don, or a daily special like beef curry udon or hake nanban don. JC

No Messin’ Bakery

Proper Order Coffee, 7 Haymarket, Smithfield, Dublin 7; 087-2855704,

Several years ago, pictures of a cardamom flavoured pastry, the Cardi B, exploded on social media. The culprit was baker Hilary Quinn, the creative force behind No Messin’ bakery, who along with owners Niall and Ali Wynn, has built a reputation for seasonal and distinctive baking, available to order at sister business, Proper Order coffee. Enjoy a savoury Danish with caramelised onions, chives and goats cheese, or get your festive order in for their spectacular mince pies and brandy butter. JC

Nomo Ramen

4 Charlotte Way, Dublin 2; 087-3224033,

Devotion to ramen can create a quiet obsession in some people. For Rathfarnham native Kevin Hughes, it became a way of life, culminating in the opening of Nomo Ramen in 2021. Nomo uses mainly Tori Paitan (seven-hour creamy chicken broth) as a base for their ramen, with vegetarian/vegan versions also available. Side dishes such as crunchy oyster mushroom karaage with hoisin mayo or corn tossed in miso butter with a sous-vide egg, round out the menu. JC

Pho Kim

162 Parnell Street, Dublin 1; 01-8783165,

Part of the fun of enjoying a bowl of pho is in pronouncing the name. The easiest way is to enthusiastically say “fuh” and then prepare to dive into a bowl of flavoursome broth, rice noodles and proteins, seasoned with liberal bunches of fresh herbs, lime and chilli. In fact, there is something purifying and wholesome about pho, a feature typical of Vietnamese cuisine in general. Try also the salads, rice wrapper spring rolls or savoury pancakes filled with prawns, pork and veggies. JC

Provender Stores

27b Parkgate Street, Dublin 8; 085-1490887,

Primarily a retail operation, Provender is also all about the wine and nibbles. Think charcuterie and cheese platters, enjoyed with biodynamic wines. With items sourced from Irish stalwarts such as Sheridan’s, Lilliput Stores and Cloudpicker coffee, quality is high and the atmosphere is buzzy on their little terrace. Dog friendly. JC

Scéal Bakery

Fumbally Stables, Fumbally Lane Dublin 8; 087-6956324,

Only open on Thursdays and Saturdays, and it’s not unusual to see queues snaking down Fumbally Lane. But once you taste Scéal you will understand why people return week after week for what is some of the finest sourdough and viennoiserie in the country. Sourdough expert Shane Palmer honed his craft in River Cottage HQ and San Francisco, while pastry maestros Charlotte Leonard-Kane and Cissy Difford weave sweet magic. Try the demerara kouign amann and thank me later. JC

Seagull Bakery

4 Broad Street, Tramore, Co Waterford; 087-6628069,

The real bread movement has proponents all over the country, and in Tramore, Sarah Richards flies the flag. Seagull Bakery produces a range of sourdoughs, pastries, fresh pastas and crackers with a focus on Irish flours. Try Irish einkorn gingerbread with organic crystallised ginger, or a sandwich packed with Macroom fior di latte and pesto, or grab deli items and natural wine to enjoy at home. Dogs welcome with indoor and outdoor seating. JC

This Must Be the Place

High street, Westport, Co Mayo; 098-44871,

A Talking Heads song seems appropriate for this hip cafe in the middle of Westport where most of the food is vegetarian; and vegan dishes are made with care rather than highly processed nods to the cause. The menu, which is chalked on a board, includes dishes such as lentil and chickpea curry with roast vegetables and bhaji; beetroot arancini; and sourdough toasties. At the beginning of the year they added a grocery shop next door, aptly called The Store Next Door. CH


5 Merrion Street Lower, Dublin 2; 01-5610095,

A new arrival, Vice isn’t what you might expect around the rarefied atmosphere of Merrion Street. However with Trinity College just a stone’s throw away, and busy footfall from Pearse Street station, it’s in a prime spot. The menu here is all about popular bedfellows pizza and wings, but from an artisan production line. The pizza uses 48-hour naturally fermented sourdough for fluffy bases, while the chicken is free-range, coming in delicious flavours such as lemon and pepper or spicy Korean gochujang. JC

Follow a link below to read the other sections of this guide

Corinna Hardgrave’s introduction
Twenty-three new places to eat
Fourteen places to go for lunch
Eleven places to go for small plates
Thirteen places to go for dinner
Eight places to go for seafood
Seven places to go for takeaway
Nine places to eat sustainably