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Great-value Irish restaurants: 23 new places to eat

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

A Fianco

Unit 6, Norseman Court, Manor Street, Stoneybatter, Dublin 7; 01-4452691,

A Fianco literally means ‘next to’ and you will find this little gem right next door to its older sibling, the ever popular Grano. It’s a vineria, or wine bar, and this cosy 16-seater serves up a range of casual small plates designed to make the Italian wine selection shine. Order anchovies, tuna tartare or charcuterie and cheese, then choose from the wine list full of organic, small producers. One warning: there’s no pasta here, you’ll have to go next door for that. Joanne Cronin

Aperitivo Cicchetti

47 Nassau Street, Dublin 2; 01-5392919,

Who knew we were so much in need of 1950s glamour? Raffaele Celentano’s famous Campari pendant lights, fashioned from 10 small bottles, cast jewelled red light across the dark wooden bar in this teal coloured room. There is cocktail action, which could set you back a bit, but there’s plenty of value to be had on the small plates menu, particularly the fritto misto and the pasta. There’s so much choice, you’ll want to come back. Just as well it’s open daily. Corinna Hardgrave

Big Mike’s and Mini Mike’s

Upper Rock Hill, Blackrock, Co Dublin;

The unstoppable force of nature that is chef/restaurateur Gaz Smith teased us for months with the promise of a new Michael’s location in Blackrock. The result is still Michael’s but on a grander scale, with a series of beautiful dining spaces geared towards different types of diners. With chef Peter Byrne leading the kitchen, you can expect all the Michael’s classics, including premium aged steaks and their legendary seafood platter, as well as some new dishes. Dogs welcome. JC

Cafe Lisboa

28 Mary Street Little, Dublin 7; 087-2845920,

Ever since Sergio and Jussiane Fernandes opened up their little coffee shop, they have been running to keep up with demand. The reason for their success lies in their pastel de nata or Portuguese custard tart. These little tarts have achieved cult-like status in recent years thanks to their crispy flaky pastry and sweet filling. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to enjoy one fresh from the oven, and for just a little while, you can pretend you’re back in Portugal. JC


CN Duck

12 Ranelagh, Dublin 6; 01-5552222,

Where can you eat in Dublin on a Tuesday? CN Duck is not just the answer to that question but also a cool place to enjoy a meal. Gather your gang and take over one of the communal tables in this smart, industrial room. Top-tier dumplings and spring rolls are made fresh every day and the meats cooked in the bullet oven are off the scale, particularly the duck. It’s BYOB, so perfect really. Closed Monday. CH


Unit 2, Kilrainey Shopping Center, Moycullen, Co Galway; 089-2497696,

Two doors down from their speciality coffee shop, Tree Bark Store, Jeffrey Warde and his wife Yvonne have opened an 18-seater, daytime cafe, serving food to soothe the soul. Everything revolves around seasonal availability and local produce, meaning this is a menu that changes regularly. Core items include an interesting selection of sandwiches, farmers’ fare bowls, kimchi and cheese toasties, plus plenty for vegans, including vegan banh mi. CH


10 George’s Street, Newbridge, Co Kildare; 085-7667911,

Derelict pubs make great restaurants, it turns out, and the smart, green, tile-clad walls of the recently opened Dubh restaurant are evidence of how much a revamped establishment can transform a street corner. The refurbed bar counter sets the boundary for the open kitchen under a line of copper lamps, where Brian McCafferty brings his skill to cooking char-gilled octopus with tapenade, miso glazed aubergine and a range of fish and meat dishes. A clever menu that covers all bases. CH

Ella’s Heaven

95A Talbot Street, Dublin 1; 01-5573224,

Dark green tiles, ornate coffee pots and a marble countertop act as a showcase for the cuisine of Caucasia and Turkey. Owner Amirkhan Hasanov grew up in Georgia, coming to Dublin via Azerbaijan, and the menu reflects this diversity. The little diningroom fills up quickly with diners looking for a taste of home and some strong Turkish coffee with baklava. Ella’s Heaven make their own cheese which is used in the khachapuri adjaruli, a traditional Georgian pie with cheese and egg. JC

Fish + Bean Seafood Cafe

Sligo Yacht Club, Deadman’s Point, Rosses Point, Co Sligo; 087-24800706,

Located next to the outdoor swimming pool and seaweed baths, Fish + Bean combines daily changing menus, the freshest of Irish seafood from local fisherman and guaranteed sea views from every table. Enjoy whole Donegal langoustines with garlic and herb butter or “posh fish & chips” with saffron aioli, along with a local beer. Outdoor seats are available, weather permitting, with dogs welcome outside. JC

Flower & Bean

113 Cork Street, Dublin 8; 089-6057178,

In a city awash with cute coffee shops, Flower & Bean stands out. On the counter, you’ll find the deliciously creative baking of Marta Wincenty-Cichy, aka The Cake Box, who daily serves a range of beautiful bakes and treats, often featuring foraged ingredients. Nothing goes to waste here, with left-over croissants recycled into a pudding. Marta’s husband and coffee guru Greg will keep you chatting while he turns out the coffees. Kids have a dedicated play area and pets are warmly welcomed. JC

Korean Table

50 Manor St, Stoneybatter, Dublin 7;

The sound of K-pop music playing outside leaves you in no doubt about what to expect in this smart narrow stretch of hipster aesthetic, with raw plaster walls and green foliage tumbling from high shelves. Vivian Cho has kept things simple, with a limited menu that does an exceptionally good bibimbap – go for the tofu option – and a warming hotpot. Prices are incredibly keen. CH


306 Upper Newtownards Road, Belfast; +44 28 9065 5539,

A bright and industrial-style diningroom with gleaming white subway tiles and exposed air ducts welcomes the diner to Lottie. The cuisine here has a particular emphasis on French and Italian, executed using local ingredients in a modern manner across small and large plates. Think pan-fried scallops with white bean and Toulouse sausage ragu, cured sea trout or vitello tonnato made with beef fillet. On Sunday there are two roasts to choose from, and dogs are welcome during lunch service. JC


Main Street, Ballydehob, Cork; 028-48152,

Ballydehob has always been the edgier neighbour of Schull, so it should be no surprise that it is now ticking the low-intervention wine bar box with the opening of this new restaurant in July. Davitt Conroy brings his experience from below-deck and private cheffing, with a range of Mediterranean-influenced dishes. It’s more of a traditional rather than a small plates format, but prices are in tune with the mood, and the lunch with two courses for €25 and three courses for €32 is worth a punt. CH

Nell’s Wine Bar

39A MacCurtain Street, Cork; 021-4501190,

Provenance applies to chefs as well as produce, and Epi Rogan, who worked in Paradiso and Pilgrim’s before taking up the position of head chef in Nell’s Wine Bar, has the sort of credentials that immediately translate into magic on the plate. Organic producers are namechecked on the small plates menu, which runs in the evening. Seared Gort Na Nain courgette and Mealagulla beetroot romesco, and braised pork masa flatbreads with burnt Gort Na Nain sweetcorn are just some of the dishes that will pair happily with the impressive list of low-intervention wines, 45 of them by the glass. CH

OHK Cafe

The Glen, Kinsale, Co Cork; 083-8802425,

Sisters Carol and Sarah O’Brien are the duo behind OHK, turning their grandmother’s pub into a modern daytime cafe, serving simple dishes that use a wide range of local produce. Carol’s partner Jane is the force behind a delicious menu, featuring dishes such as Andalusian toast or Turkish eggs flatbread, with fresh baked treats from in-house baker Evanna. Coffee is from Cork-based roasters, The Golden Bean, and the takeaway hatch does a brisk trade. JC

Pala Pizza and Trattoria

3 Brighton Rd, Foxrock Village, Dublin;

Everyone will be talking about the calzone fritti, the gigantic deep-fried dessert with stewed apple and caramel sauce, but there’s another reason to visit this new restaurant in the former Bistro One premises, and it’s Rory Shanahan’s ragu. Made with pork, beef and chicken livers, and served over tordelli (half-moon shaped, meat-filled pasta), this dish showcasing the bolder flavours of Tuscany will have you licking the plate shamelessly. There is so much to choose from on this menu, from Roman style al taglio pizza, open-fire grilled fish and meat, and slow cooked Tuscan dishes, but this is one not to miss. CH

Savoir Faire

Bridge Street, Westport, Co Mayo; 098-60095,

An old counter from a bakery in Normandy and tables made from wooden wine boxes give you an idea of what to expect in Alain Morice and Nuria Brisa’s deli, daytime bistro, and wine bar. The weekly changing pâte en croûte is reason enough to visit on a regular basis, there is always soup and a hearty French main dish, and the monthly supper club, with an inclusive price for food and wine, is worth checking out. CH


17 Casement Square, Cobh, Co Cork; 021-4813383,

With a beautiful blue exterior and a view that takes in St Colman’s Cathedral and Cork harbour, this cafe and deli has established itself as a spot for “brunchy-lunchy” in Cobh. Chef Jacquie O’Dea makes use of a wide range of Cork produce in her weekly menus, from Caherbeg pork to Pana sourdough. Try the harissa roast cauliflower flatbread or the burrata and crispy bacon salad. There’s also a strong green agenda with compostable packaging and no drinks sold in plastic. JC


9 Castle Street, Cork; 021-4274216,

If you want to make the world a better place, a charm offensive is what you need; and a Trojan horse helps. Which is exactly what Italians Eugenio Noble and Lorenzo Barba are doing with their vegan food, which is wrapped up in Italian deliciousness. Even the most cynical sceptic will be won over with their home-made focaccia, pasta and classic dishes, and a glass or two of organic or natural wine. CH


7a Poolbeg Street, Dublin 2; 083-3153708,

A €28.50 tasting menu is the rarest of things, and now that Gursha, the Ethiopian restaurant owned by Mel Roddy has found a permanent home, this much loved supper club is set to continue. Injera, the delicious fermented bread made from teff is served with a number of Ethiopian slow cooked dishes, shiro wat, and doro wat, flavoured with onions, chillies, and berbere spice, and served family style in the middle of the table. CH

Union Wine Bar & Kitchen

11 The Mall, Waterford; 051-574519,

As you would expect from Morgan VanderKamer, the president of the Irish Guild of Sommeliers, the wine list here is well constructed, with some organic and biodynamic wines and lesser-known varietals. The food is equally well-handled by her partner, Stephen McArdle. Modern while underpinned with classic technique, it ranges from scallop ceviche to John Dory served French-style with braised lettuce. Opt for the bar menu at lunchtime for a more casual experience. CH

Walled City Brewery

70 Ebrington Square, Derry; +44 28-71343336,

Named after the historic city walls, this brewery and gastropub was opened in 2015 by James and Louise Huey. It’s a family affair, with James’ sisters and parents all playing a part. To date, they’ve brewed over 200 different beers and have launched a gin named after the iconic female aviator Amelia Earhart. In the kitchen, chef Chris Moran oversees dishes such as slow-cooked Foyster beef cheek, using herbs from the family garden. Watch out for their new early bird menu coming late 2022. JC

Waterman Restaurant

Waterman House, 5-33 Hill Street, Belfast; 048-90434310,

Truly grand proportions make the statement here in this light-filled, 50-seater room, and one of the biggest surprises is how keenly priced the menus are. A lunch menu at £18.50 for two courses and £22.50 for three in such stylish surroundings is hard to beat. Grilled broccoli doused with a seaweed pesto is followed by rare hanger steak, everything cooked precisely. If you prefer to go a la carte, there are plenty of small and larger plates to choose from. A very smart new addition to Belfast’s dining scene. CH

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

Corinna Hardgrave’s introduction
Fifteen places to go for a quick bite
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