We’ve all noticed it – heavy traffic, bigger queues for your favourite coffee pitstop in town, increased sightings of workwear paired with Asics runners. There’s no way to avoid it any longer … it’s time to return to the office.
After a long 18 months, there are mixed feelings about it – nerves, dread, trepidation, a bit of elation to get some headspace from the kids. However there are a host of business owners and hospitality staff delighted with the recent changes after over a year of *just* hanging on. It’s time to give old favourites and some new faces some love and treat yourself to a delicious meal in the process – it’s your civic duty. There are dozens of amazing establishments to visit, but here are some of our favourite city-centre options for under a tenner.
147 Deli, Parnell Street
Starting strong with possibly the best sandwiches in all of Dublin - 147 Deli. This is not somewhere to go for a light lunch or when you’re trying to ‘be good’, but life is too short for that kind of thinking anyway. These sambos are full to the brim and you will probably be much the same when you’re leaving, but you’ll be very, very happy. Keep an eye on their Instagram for their weekly specials which are always something, well, special! Lunch sandwiches are all €7.95 and the weekly special can be closer to a tenner but is always worth it.
Green Bench Café, Montague Street
A favourite of the Harcourt Street corporates (no, we’re not talking about Coppers), Green Bench Café is small but mighty and have operated on a takeaway-only basis for years, long before the pandemic. They have a limited menu of sandwiches, wraps and usually a soup or hotpot for regulars to take with them and enjoy in the Iveagh Gardens. The beef brisket is the priciest at €8.
Meltdown, Leeson Street & Montague Street
Whoever is running Meltdown's socials deserves a raise – every time they pop a picture up we immediately start craving melted cheese, it's like magic. These sandwiches are glorious so it’s no surprise that they grew from an initial pop-up in 2018 to having two permanent locations on Leeson Street and Montague Street (which moonlights as Winedown in the evening). You can pick one up with a coffee for €10. Don’t sleep on their hot sauce which they are now bottling and selling nationwide.
Dosa Dosa, Grand Canal Street Lower
Dosa Dosa started as a food truck in January 2020, possibly the worst timing in history, but they made it work touring around Dublin serving Southern Indian dosas to the masses, and they did so well they're now operating from a permanent container in Grand Canal. We love their Paneer Dosa, which will set you back €10, but have no doubt that everything on this menu is a winner. They only open from Wednesday to Sunday right now but here’s hoping that changes as town gets busier midweek.
The Commons Café at MoLI
Perfect for the person who’s not quite ready to delve into the outside world, The Commons at MoLI is a little hidden oasis right in the centre of town. Their indoor area is bright and spacious, and they also have a lovely outdoor terrace overlooking their courtyard garden. You could even have a wander around the museum, or if you’re like us, just head straight to the gift shop for a browse. Their toasties range from €8.50 to €9.90 but they also have a hearty bowl of soup with Guinness bread available for €5.50
Honey Truffle, Pearse Street
Gone are the days when salads were an afterthought at the side of your plate, a limp piece of lettuce and some flavourless tomato and cucumber (for the most part anyway). Nowadays Dublin has a great selection of eateries offering healthy options that don’t leave you feeling wanting, and Honey Truffle is at the forefront of this, serving varied and nourishing salads at a great price. Top this off with a great coffee and irresistible cake selection and you have a perfect lunch. A medium salad box is €7 with the option to add on extra protein.
Tiller + Grain, Frederick Street South
Colourful Tiller + Grain is serving hearty salads for a tenner with an option to add on meat or fish at an extra cost, but trust us when we say that the extra is not needed (but happily welcomed if you have cash to spare). There is no scabbiness to be found here, as they pile beautiful beetroot, squash, freekeh, cauliflower and much more into your bowl. The salads are stunning with a distinct whiff of Ottolenghi – no coincidence as owner and chef Clair Dowling worked for the Israeli chef during her time in London and clearly picked up some lessons in flavour from him. While salads are their speciality, they also have sandwiches and beautiful cakes.
Tang, Dawson Street & Abbey Street
Tang were dishing out one of the best dinner boxes over lockdown, but now we’re ready for the real thing. One of our favourite spots for breakfast, lunch and now dinner, we can't wait to get back for a feast. While the food is phenomenal, these guys are also committed to reducing their environmental impact and using their reach to do good. Recently they were giving out free flatbreads for every email sent to local representatives calling for climate action and they’ve invested in an electric cargo bike to ferry their goods around town. Flatbreads come in at around €7.50.
Tir, Baggot Street Upper
A new face for many people coming back to the office, Tír Deli only opened in April 2021 but have already made their mark on Baggot Street. They have a simple menu, and they admit themselves that they’re not the cheapest around (ranging from €8-€10) but they're committed to using only the best quality ingredients around, and doing lots of foraging, fermenting and curing in house. They also put crisps in their smoke-roasted beef sandwich which we can really get behind.