Words: Shamim de Brún
Images: Instagram & George Voronov
Words: Shamim de Brún
Images: Instagram & George Voronov
Look, we all know a DiFontaine’s and Bambino slice, the Eurosaver menu at MacDonald’s or a bag of chips. So, at CHAR, we’ve sought out some spots and dishes and tips that will help you navigate Dublin when you’ve only got a tenner in your pocket.
It has to be porridge most of the time. If you wanna go out for breakfast and you’ve only got a tenner, then porridge is your best friend. If you’re lucky, you can opt for granola, but sometimes those roasted oats and nuts push you over the tenner. So here are four places to eat porridge and get a coffee for a tenner. The dream.
If you want more of a full Irish brekkie, then you have Anne’s Bakery giving a proper feed from seven euros or Flanagans on O’Connell street still coming in at nine ninety-five for a small full Irish.
If you want to eat out in a twosome for breakfast and only spend a tenner between you, you’ll have to sacrifice the coffee.
I don’t really think a croissant and a coffee count as breakfast. But, if you do, then more power to you. It’s getting harder and harder to find the coffee and pastry combo deal, but places like Insomnia still do them.
Sausage rolls are the true hero of the fiver breakfast, however. I’m sure the odd Centra or Spar is still doing a breakfast roll for a fiver, but the average spot is not. Sausage rolls, while they may be coming up, are still comfortably less than a fiver in most places. Even posh sausage rolls tend to only hit four-something. So here is a list of places to get a sausage roll for less than a fiver if you want to treat your mate to a hot breakfast but don’t want to go over budget.
Lunch is the deceptive one. One day you were able to get lunch everywhere for less than a tenner, and then somewhat overnight, it started coming in at thirteen quid. No one knows how it happened, but all the lunch spots conspired against us. Okay, so what actually happened was the increase in the cost of rent, ingredients and staff. Inflation has hit food businesses with a slap across the face. But still, lunch for the average joe should be less than an hour’s minimum wage.
If you want to try to feed two people for a tenner for lunch, I pray for you. It is the most arduous slog. However, you can get Korean Corndogs in Pocha for a fiver each, which are surprisingly filling – especially if you opt for one covered in chips.
Think soup. it’s the porridge of lunchtime, and there’s always a cheap soup to be had. Soup Dragon is slightly over with soup starting at five-thirty. But it’s exceptionally tasty and does come with bread. Oxmantown has soup with homemade bread for bang on a fiver, though if you’re hardline, sticking to lunch for two on a tenner.
If you’re vegetarian or veggie food friendly, this is your time to shine. Most veggie food is by its nature cheaper, especially at lunch. Sumaki has only one whole dish for under a tenner (all their small snacks come comfortably in under nine), and it’s the exceptionally tasty Sesame Tofu Sushi Burrito. It’s a hearty and healthy feed. If you have the self-control of a saint, you can try to build a poke bowl. They start at eight ninety-five and go up, but I find the temptation hard to avoid when I am budget conscious and always seem to over-order.
The best solo lunch deal for less than a tenner was Umi Falafel, but it recently went up to eleven. They do, however, have all their classic sandwiches for less than a tenner. The Lebanese is my personal favourite, just in case you were wondering.
You also have Little Dumpling doing a lovely plate of mixed dumplings with a drink and a miso soup for bang on a tenner. Camile Thai also have an eat-in lunch special for eight quid, which is good all across the city. You can also get noodles in Aobaba for bang on a tenner that would fill the famished and soothe the hangry breast within till dinner time rolls around.
Opting for a veggie carvery keeps it under a tenner in most places, and you still get all the best bits – potatoes. Perfect for those weekend hangover lunches.
Chicken fillet roll deals are mostly over a fiver these days, but the Dunnes Stores on Georges Street still has everyone’s OG fave for less than a fiver, including a drink. Bonus points because the chicken is higher quality than the average chicken fillet roll. You can also pick up a pack of crisps for a euro and head to Stephen’s Green for a lovely lunch.
One of the worst things about trying to get a value lunch is that oftentimes they don’t come with somewhere to sit. All about the grab-and-go lifestyle. But if you want to pop a squat somewhere that isn’t your office and still grab lunch for two without breaking the tenner in your pocket, your surprising saviour is Fallon and Byrne. Their proper high-end Irish ingredient-filled sambos kick off at four fifty, and they are also home to an under-five euro sausage roll.
If you are a student, it has to be Dash Burger their student meal deal comes in at nine ninety-five, and it is all you could ever want. The Capel Street branch always has a spot to sit in comfortably – without much of a wait time.
If you’ve finished your academic journey and want a good meal deal at dinner time, then Xian Street Food is a good one for the under tenner dinner. Think three in one, chicken fried rice or dumplings. Taco Libre does three tacos for nine euros which are actually pretty filling. Perfect for if you want a little solo dinner, it’s quick and tasty.
Dinner for two is the hardest thing to do on this list. Sharing large portions is the key to dining out for two on a tenner. You have the classic sharing a dinner box from your local chipper. You can also share a margarita pizza in Sano or split a spice bag in Kimchi/Hothouse/Shakespeare.
Short of saying there are no treat yourselves dinners for two on a tenner budget, I would recommend you hit up your local fromagerie, Loose Cannon is my fave, give them your budget, get the cheapest breadstick from Tesco first and have yizzerselves a bit of a cheeseboard.
Most people don’t go out for a drink by themselves. They go for a social one. The only place everyone knows you can still get two pints for a tenner that I know is Wetherspoons. I just can’t tell you enough how much that breaks my heart. There are a few spots that have fiver pints left in the city, The Wind Jammer, The Clock, and The Lark Inn. They have a locals-only atmosphere that can be intimidating. But they’re no worse than Weatherspoons and have been loyally serving their community for many years.
Luckily pints are still comfortably less than a tenner in most places that aren’t Temple Bar. But if you want a glass of wine or a cocktail, it is more of a struggle. If you’re looking for a glass of vino, I’d hit up Franks for a glass. While their menu is always changing, they usually have at least one glass of decent quality juice around a fiver.
Cocktails are up everyone’s street these days. So if you’ve only got a tenner and a friend, you can hit up Capitol and grab two for fifteen quid. Or pick up PygTails for two for twenty. If you feelin’ fancy and just fancy a cocktail tout-seul, then Soup/Soup 2 is the place for you, but only on a Tuesday. Capitol have a few cocktails at a tenner too, but they’re not as swanky. If you want a fancy cocktail for a tenner of a Friday, then you’ll have to make it yourself.
Elsewhere on CHAR: Why I Hate The Word Foodie
If you’ve only got a tenner and want a full day out, then Dun Laoghaire is the day out for you. It’s two euros on the Dart to get there. You grab a coffee from Shoe Lane for about three, depending on your caffeinated beverage of choice. Grab a swim at the forty-foot if you’re brave enough. Then you walk down the pier and get a Teddies 99 for two fifty. Afterwards, you stroll back towards the dart via the public library, which has a stunning view of the whole pier and is entirely free to pop into and walk around.
The coffee and ice cream should tide you over till dinner. If not, the Centra does five sausage rolls for two blips. And it’s much more glamorous to eat deli food beside the sea than you would first think.
The dart line doesn’t work for everyone, so if you want a big day out on the Northside, you have Phoenix Park. Always start with your hearty homemade breakfast if you’re trying to have a budget day out. It will keep you going and stop you from blowing too much on lunch.
Two quid for the bus to Park Gate Street. Grab a coffee from a Provender there, or walk down to the coffeeshop by the Zoo – called the Tea Rooms for about three quid. Then, walk down to the Pope’s Cross where most of the time, you can get ice cream from a man in a van. If they’re not there, you can hit up Phoenix Café beside Ashtown House for a slice of their phenomenal homemade bread and house jam for two yoyos.
Go forth, and budget treat yourself.
Elsewhere on CHAR: Why I Hate the Word Foodie