Michelin meals for €30? How to lunch in style on a budget

Fine dining at home and abroad that will not break the bank

Forest Avenue on Sussex Terrace in Dublin: three-course lunch for €32. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Forest Avenue on Sussex Terrace in Dublin: three-course lunch for €32. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

 

Certainly not for wimps, lunch is the time to feast like a prince without taking too big of a hit on your wallet. And during the summer it can be an opportune time to avail of quieter dining rooms, with business lunches tending to be on hold until autumn. It also means that it can be easier to get a reservation at much-coveted venues.

Some of the country’s most illustrious restaurants do not open for lunch, with Michelin-starred restaurants such as Kilkenny’s Lady Helen at Mount Juliet, or Cliff House in Ardmore, Co Waterford, and new kid on the block Heron & Grey, in Blackrock, Co Dublin, serving dinner only.

But that doesn’t mean that summer does not bring opportunities to dine in style at many others. When you consider that you could easily spend €18 on fish and chips in an everyday restaurant, splashing out a little bit more for a Michelin-starred dining experience – which as our survey shows may only cost you the bones of €23 for a two-course meal – is something to consider.

If you’re travelling with young children this summer, it may be safest to stick with the casual option; but for older children and diners à deux, there is great value to be had.

Just watch out for summer dining hours, too. Kilkenny’s Campagne for example is closed between July 4th and 11th, while Dublin’s Greenhouse is closed between July 16th and 31st and Forest Avenue is closed from August 21st to September 6th.

Michelin-starred restaurants at home:

All of these restaurants have one Michelin star, except for Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud, which has two.

Ox

Oxford Street, Belfast

It must be the cheapest Michelin-starred meal you can have on the island of Ireland; and thanks to the decline of sterling it has become cheaper for those converting from euro. Yes at Belfast’s Ox, where emphasis is placed on the seasonality of the produce, you can enjoy a two-course lunch for the princely sum of less than €23. Offering relaxed dining overlooking the river Lagan, Ox could tempt Irish visitors travelling north to visit Titanic Belfast or the W5 science museum.

Two courses: £20

Three courses: £30

The Greenhouse

Dawson Street, Dublin

Eating at chef Mickael Viljanen’s Dawson Street restaurant may be an experience that will linger in the mind as well as on your palate, but it can also severely dent your wallet. So why not consider swapping a €79 or €85 evening menu for something a little less pricey – and you can still get to eat your foie gras and smoked eel at lunch time.

Two courses: €35

Three courses: €39.50

Five-course tasting menu: €65

Campagne

The Arches, Kilkenny

Its two-course lunch was recently described by our food critic as offering “some of the best value in the country”. Kilkenny’s Campagne earned its first star back in 2013, offering diners a classic French experience, and today serves lunch on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

If you fancy eating a bit later in the day, then the restaurant’s lunch menu is also available as an early-bird option from 6pm-7pm on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, and 5.30pm-6pm on Friday and Saturday.

Two courses: €30

Three courses: €34

L’Ecrivain

Lower Baggot Street, Dublin

Open for some 27 years now, if you haven’t yet made it to this classic of the Dublin dining scene, then lunch, available on a Friday, at this Michelin-starred delight is a chance to experience it.

Two courses: €35

Three courses: €45

Tasting menu: €60

Aniar

Lower Dominick Street, Galway

Lunch comes just once a week to this Galway restaurant. It’s a five-course gastronomic delight every Saturday, offering a five-course tasting menu (plus three snacks) and changes weekly. But you can expect a somewhat unusual approach to dining, with sample courses including “potato, ham” and “beef, gooseberry, pepper dulse”.

Five courses: €55

Chapter One

Parnell Square, Dublin

It’s one of Dublin’s best known restaurants – and one of the trickiest to get a table in – but opting for lunch can smooth the reservation hurdle, as well as putting less pressure on your wallet. The savings are considerable and represent very good value, with two courses on offer for €32.50.

Two courses: €32.50

Three courses: €39.50

Tasting menu: €60

Eipic

Howard Street, Belfast

Visit the Giant’s Causeway in the morning and stop by Eipic in Belfast for lunch, to enjoy a meal cooked by Danni Barry, Ireland’s first female Michelin-starred chef since Myrtle Allen.

Three courses: £40-£60

Patrick Guilbaud

Upper Merrion Street, Dublin

It may be the most expensive lunch on our list, but it is also the most dazzling, and Guilbaud’s Ireland’s only restaurant with two Michelin stars. Its dining room beside the chic five-star Merrion Hotel offers contemporary Irish food on the plate and some keen people watching for the eyes.

Two courses: €50

Three courses: €60

No star but they’re still a treat:

It’s not just Michelin-starred restaurants that offer culinary delights and keener prices at lunchtime; many of Ireland’s top restaurants can also be relied upon for better value early in the day.

Forest Avenue

Sussex Terrace, Dublin

It may not (yet) have a Michelin star, but Forest Avenue is fine dining with a difference. Enjoy cured sea trout, kohlrabi, pea, smoked turbot roe, finished off with some pistachio ice cream.

Two courses: €26

Three courses: €32

MacNean House

Blacklion, Co Cavan

It’s not particularly cheap, but opting for a Sunday lunch rather than an evening prestige menu at Neven Maguire’s acclaimed MacNean House in Blacklion, Co Cavan, will help keep the cost down while not sacrificing on flavour. You can tempt your tastebuds over lunch by feasting on guinea fowl supreme and panna cotta for significantly less than an €85 evening meal.

Three courses: €45

Ballymaloe House

Shanagarry, Co Cork

It’s a classic of the Irish culinary world, and is known perhaps as much for its illustrious owners, the Allen family, as it is for its old-school dessert trolley.

Two courses: €32

Three courses: €40

Sunday lunch: €45

One Pico

Molesworth Court, Dublin

Eamonn O’Reilly’s classic restaurant, reached by a lane off Molesworth Street, offers lunch every day, with an extended Sunday lunch sitting until 4pm. Early diners can also avail of a two- course pre-theatre menu for a slightly more expensive €29.

Two courses: €25

Five-course surprise tasting menu: €55

Bastible

South Circular Road, Dublin

Newcomer on the block Bastible is a contemporary neighbourhood bistro on Leonard’s Corner. Lunch is served on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Two courses: €24

Three courses: €28

Chef’s menu: €35

Sunday lunch: €34-€38

Locks Restaurant

Portobello, Dublin

It may have changed hands several times in recent years, but old-favourite Locks Restaurant is still charming diners with its canal-side views.

Two courses: €25

Three courses: €30

InterContinental Dublin

Ballsbridge, Dublin

If the thoughts of scallop and pork belly, or lobster mac and cheese don’t take your fancy, these two words might: “dessert buffet”. Yes, Seasons restaurant at the former Four Seasons in Dublin entices diners with a taste of the classic dessert trolley, allowing you to choose from a selection of desserts.

Three courses: €45

The Tannery

Dungarvan, Co Waterford

Have a morning dip in Guillamene outdoor swimming cove to build an appetite in nearby Tramore, then drive up the coast to The Tannery, where chef Paul Flynn is still delighting diners. The restaurant serves lunch on both Friday and Sunday, but it is Sunday’s set menu that offers perhaps the best value, allowing you to taste the best from the sea and the land.

Three courses: €33

Abroad:

If you’re heading off to some warmer climes this summer, don’t discount foregoing your moules and frites for something a little bit more upmarket – although you’ll have to leave the flip-flops outside. All of the following restaurants have one Michelin star.

Le St Placide

St Malo, Brittany, France

Three courses: €29

Le Carré d’Alethius

Charmes-sur-Rhône, Ardeche

Two courses: €24, or €30 with cheese

Three courses: €30, or €36 with cheese

Murano

Mayfair, London

Two courses: £28

Outlaw’s at The Capital

Chelsea, London

Two courses: £29

Sao Gabriel

Quinta do Lago, Portugal

Three course Sunday lunch: €32

Gardenia

Caluso, Italy

Two courses: €25

Two-course vegetarian €20

Three courses, including glass of wine: €30

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.