How to get more munch during the crunch
Eating out is a luxury we all deserve now and again, and there are some great bargains to chew on around town, discovers Katie Byrne
Eating out in Dublin has never been better value as restaurants slash their prices and chalk up all manner of dining incentives.
We've sampled the best deals on meals currently on offer in the capital. Knives and forks at the ready . . .
1 Eat for Free:
'Pop-up' restaurant Crackbird (referring to the "addictive" chicken on offer) on Crane Lane, Temple Bar, has launched with a novel e-marketing campaign. They're offering six free tables a day to people who reserve by Twitter. Of course, you're not guaranteed to eat for free, but at €10 for dishes such as buttermilk-marinated and skillet-fried chicken, it's not going to break the bank either.
The restaurant, which will be open for the next 12 weeks, is the brainchild of Joe Macken of Jo'Burger, who is hoping his homecooked-style chicken will find as many fans as his award-winning burgers.
Follow @CrackBirdDublin on Twitter and book a reservation using the hash tag #tweetseats. Those who bag a free table (in groups of six) will enjoy a main course, shared side and shared dip.
2 Double Up:
Dozens of tasty 2-for-1 offers await on the recently launched My Lunch website (mylunch.ie). The website has teamed up with some of Dublin's best lunch restaurants to offer exclusive deals for its members.
Current offers include 2-for-1 on any Classic Pizza at Miller's Pizza Kitchen between 2.30 and 4.30pm, Monday to Friday; buy one main course and get a second free at Sweeney's Bar, and get two main courses for the price of one at the Beacon Hotel (right), Monday to Wednesday.
You'd be foolish not to check out this website before you organise your next lunch date.
3 All You Can Drink:
Roly's Bistro in Ballsbridge is currently running a superb offer for wine lovers. The 'Wine Dinner' comprises a three-course meal with unlimited wine (seriously -- we checked) for €45 plus 10pc service charge. Better still, the wines have been specially chosen to complement the extensive menu.
If your vino consumption is inflating the bill when you dine, why not try Dublin's BYOB options? Seagrass on Richmond Street, Cafe Bliss on Montague Street and Khan's Balti House in Donnybrook all invite diners to bring their own bottles, with no charge on corkage.
4 All You Can Eat:
These deals often come with cheap and nasty connotations, particularly for those who have visited the unlimited buffet's ancestral home of Las Vegas. Thankfully, Irish AYCEs tend to be more pared-back affairs and, rest assured, you won't have to elbow jostle for the last morsels.
China Buffet King is a relatively new addition to the Dundrum Town Centre dining selection. For €15, diners can eat Asian cuisine to their heart's content.
Typical dishes include honeyed chicken, lime and pepper roast pork and aromatic crispy duck, with mainstays such as springrolls and chicken and sweetcorn soup for starters.
There's also a pretty good dessert station, should your appetite go the distance.
Elsewhere, Hell Pizza on Camden Street hosts an All You Can Eat event on Monday and Tuesday, 6-9pm. For just €10, diners can eat unlimited amounts of the pizzeria's experimental creations.
5 Kids Eat Free:
Dining out doesn't have to become more expensive as your brood expands. Some savvy Irish restaurateurs have proved their child-friendly credentials by feeding little ones completely free of charge. The much-lauded Cruzzo on the Malahide Marina offers a complimentary main course and dessert from their children's menu to all children aged 12 or under every Sunday.
Casa Pasta in Donnybrook also invites children to eat for free on Sundays from 12 noon-4pm. Venturing into the city centre, the Thunder Road Cafe (left) is popular with families on Saturdays and Sundays when they offer one free child's menu with every a la carte main dish ordered (from 1-7pm).
6 Luxury for Less:
Even before the recession, the owners of Moloughney's in Clontarf set out to provide value-for-money fare that is sourced locally and seasonally wherever possible. 'The Deal' is yet another incentive to eat there: two courses for €19.90; three courses for €24.90 and two courses for two people with a bottle of selected house wine (always good) for just €55. From Tuesday-Thursday, all evening from 5.30pm and Friday, Saturday and Sunday until 7pm. Elsewhere, Dublin's often prohibitively priced, top-tier restaurants have brought down their prices by adding recession-friendly lunchtime deals to their offerings.
Notable examples include the €25 three-course lunch menu at L'Ecrivain and the €25 three-course lunch menu (Tuesday to Saturday) at Thornton's.