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Jun 12, 2010 11:31 AM

SF ChowHound in London and Dublin

Hey Mates,

I am traveling to London and Dublin for 3 days each and need some help from my European peers. I am on a budget, so high end is out unfortunately. I have been to London before, but with questionable food company :) I basically ended up at expensive "gastro-pubs." I want the real deal in both London and Dublin. I am willing to travel to different parts of the city so send me it all!

I will be sure to report back on my experience. I work in food here in SF and can't wait to eat it up in Europe.

Thanks and Cheers!

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  1. What style of food do you want and what's your budget? Gastro-pubs (well, good ones, anyway) are probably the most representative and affordable example of modern British cooking. Ethnic places do run a bit cheaper, though.

    7 Replies
    1. re: deansa

      I want to keep eating to about 40-50 pounds a day. Is that doable? If I go over that I will really be hurting on the next leg of my trip.

      1. re: sheilanyazdi

        Oh, you shouldn't have a problem doing that in London, and can eat quite well too. Assuming you have a fairly frugal breakfast, check out some of the recent posts about Chinese, Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Japanese, Vietnamese, pizza etc restaurants for lunch, which you should be able to get for about £8-15 pounds. Around the west end, very many of the high-end places also do pre-theatre meals or lunch menus quite cheaply. E.g. arbutus and Bocca di Lupo's pre-theatre or lunch menus would fit within your budget if you were reasonably restrained for your other meals, and the first has a michelin star! And if you really wanted to push the boat out, you could have a two-star Michelin lunch at hibiscus (recently nominated in the world's top 50 restaurants) for £33, pho in kingsland road for under £10 and still have a few pounds left for breakfast.

        So, with some care about what time of day you attend, you could fit in a visit to most of the restaurants listed on this board. Note though that the higher-end places will generally need bookings. Pretty much all the restaurants have websites, so you can do research in advance.

        N.b., I'm assuming no alcohol here, as that will obviously push the price up a lot. Also note that there's normally a 10-12.5% service charge on top of listed prices. Oh, and one way to lose money over here is water. When you ask for water they will normally try "still or sparkling?" Either of these will lead to expensive bottled water, so the "correct" answer for cheap dining is "tap water please", which is almost always free.

        1. re: deansa

          Thank you so much for the tips. Alas, here in the states the old "still or sparkling" is pretty common and can really push the bill.

          I love this new wave of high-end restaurants offering lunch. I have ended up eating quite well in all the cities I have traveled to using this method. Hibiscus sounds delicious. Any tips on the real-deal fish and chips. I know this sounds corny, but since my last visit was disappointing in that regard, I feel I need to make it up the next go around.

          1. re: sheilanyazdi

            There's a long thread on here about F&C in London that was updated quite recently - most people here (me included) rate Masters Superfish near Waterloo station. Not glamorous, but cheap and good. And not a long walk if you're having a look around the South Bank of the thames and the London Eye.

            1. re: deansa

              I just checked it out and then went straight to the pictures. Masters Superfish it is! Let me know if there is anything else I have to eat before leaving London!

              1. re: deansa

                Hey all, I know you are London experts, but anything for Dublin?
                I know this sounds provincial, but I am a serious scone lover and wondering where I should go in either London or Dublin...

              2. re: sheilanyazdi

                A large bottle of sparkling is only going to cost you around four quid, even in up-market places. Not a deal breaker if you enjoy it, as I do.

        2. Hey Sheila,
          I've listed a few recommendations for Dublin below.

          1. Cheap Eats:

          Gruel, Dame Street - Good Home Cooking, Modest Surroundings
          Dunne & Crescenzi, South Frederick St - Italian anti pasti, panini, pasta etc
          Yamamori Noodles, Georges St-Decent sushi and good noodle dishes
          The Exchequer Gastro Pub, Excehquer St - All the usual gastropub staples
          Camden Market, Camden Street - Brand new bistro serving decent quality bistro classics
          Green 19, Wexford Street - Excellent burgers, cocktails and inexpensive mains. Very cool crowd.

          2 Mid Level Lunch/Dinner:

          Pichet, Trinity Street - Contemporary bistro - very popular
          Winding Stair, Ormonde Quay-Modern Irish Cooking, great wine list
          La Maison, Castlemarket St - Classic French bistro cooking in bright, modern room
          L'Gueleuton, Fade St - French style brasserie with an Irish twist
          Pig's Ear, Nassau St- Good quality Irish cooking with nice views of Trinity College

          3. High End - Relative Good Value Lunch/Expensive Dinner:

          Thorntons, St. Stephens Green - my personal favourite in Dublin. Great lunch deal at the moment for stellar cooking. 1 Michelin Star but tipped to win back second.
          Chapter One, Parnell Square - Very popular, high end Irish cooking and service. 1 Michelin Star.
          Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud, Merrion Hotel. Currently Ireland's only 2 Michelin Star. Sublime service, very good food, very expensive.
          One Pico, Schoolhouse Lane. So far overlooked by Michelin but excellent lunch deal for the standard of food and service.
          Pearl Brasserie, Merrion St. Stunning room with great service and excellent quality cooking.

          For cocktails try The Clarence Hotel in Temple Bar, The Dylan off Baggott Street, The Sectret Bar, Fade Street.
          Have a great time and be sure to report back and tell us about it!

          3 Replies
          1. re: Patricko


            Thanks so much! Quick question: Where to go for (1) breakfast pastries and (2) the best artisanal Irish cheese? I will be staying at a hostel in the center of town, but will travel for food :)

            1. re: sheilanyazdi

              A personal favourite of mine for breakfast pastries is a tiny little place called Panem on Ormonde Quay. It is very central so shouldn't be too far to walk from where you're staying. I also like Queen of Tarts ( on Dame Street and The Cake Cafe ( off Camden Street.
              The best place to buy artisanal Irish cheese in Dublin is Sheridan's
              ( Most of the top restaurants will have a lot of the cheeses which Sheridans sell in the shop. The wine cellar in Fallon & Byrne ( is a great spot to pass a couple of hours and they serve many of Sheridans cheeses and plates of good charcuterie along with an excellent selection of wines by the glass. They do nice coffee and pastries in their ground floor cafe too.

              1. re: Patricko

                Wow. Perfect! Now lets just hope this stuff is open...just found out I'm traveling during a "Bank Holiday."