A true Yuletide shopping spree wouldn’t be complete without a festive foodie pit-stop, says Lucinda O’Sullivan, and, with so much great food and drink to choose from these days, December’s diners are sure to be merry
The toy, treat and turkey frenzy is on! Christmas lights are sparkling, and shop windows are extravagantly dressed, as we head into the shop-till-you-drop period from next Thursday, December 8, onwards. The internet is awash with gifts, but you don’t get the same touchy-feely buzz that comes with in-store shopping. A trip to Santa Claus is essential too — memories are made on these days — but an outing has to be fuelled, so here are some pit-stop ideas.
In Dublin, The Restaurant by Johnnie Cooke in Brown Thomas, Grafton Street, has a Cal-Med menu, with small and large plates €10.50€28.50, including a great burger with Gruyere, and ‘the works’ at €15.95. ‘Little Shoppers’ can feast on spaghetti and meatballs, chicken goujons or savoury pancakes, all €7.50.
Cornucopia on Wicklow Street is great for vegetarian grub such as sweet potato, butter bean and roast garlic soup, which is available in two portion sizes, €4.35/€5.50. Mixed salad plates come in three sizes, €5.50/€8.95/€10.95; or mains €12.50€13.95.
Nearby, the French-style Green Hen bistro, has a 1/2/3 course lunch menu at €15/€18/€20, featuring
duck leg, Puy lentils and mustard mash. There’s also a Christmas lunch menu at €28, with stuffed quail, venison shank, and Christmas pudding trifle (subject to change).
If Italian is your bag, have a cocktail in the new Farrier & Draper in Powerscourt Townhouse Centre, before adjourning downstairs to La Cucina, which does pizza, pastas and risottos at €12, including crab linguine; plus small and large
confit See brownthomas.com. See cornucopia.ie. See thegreenhen.ie. stuzzichini insalata See farrieranddraper.ie.
The new Eatokyo on Wellington Quay in Dublin has a great lunch special from noon to 5pm, with Japanese bento boxes at €9.50, as well as noodles and curries at €8.50.
The uber-cool new Hang Dai Chinese eatery on Camden Street opens at 5pm, with sharing dishes from €5, to a half/whole woodfired cooked duck, Beijing style, at €40/€80.
Across the Liffey, Bar Italia on Ormond Quay has a three-course
menu at €25, as well as pastas.
On Wolfe Tone Square, off Mary Street, check out The Tram Cafe, a fantastic old tram carriage that has been converted. It does great soups, salads, cakes, curries, stews and posh sambos.
The Church on Mary Street has something to suit everyone, from light bites through beef and Guinness stew, posh sandwiches and salads, to pasta and daily lunch specials.
On Talbot Street, the legendary 101 Talbot always has interesting, eclectic food (€8-€14) from squid and chorizo salad to venison burgers; chargrilled halloumi to fish pie.
In Cork, street food, from Mexican to Thai to American barbecue, has really taken off, not to mention the fantastic fare available at the English Market, which also has the legendary Farmgate upstairs.
See baritalia.ie. See thetramcafe.com. See thechurch.ie. See 101 talbot.ie. See farmgate.ie. cicchetti,
pizzas and Look out for The Meatball Place ( on Carey’s Lane,
which will have you licking your lips, as will O’Flynn’s Gourmet Sausages, which is on Winthrop Street.
Quinlan’s Seafood Bar on Princes Street ( is also a good spot, as is Ali’s Kitchen on Paul Street.
The Sultan Cafe restaurant on Penrose Quay does great Moroccan and Lebanese tagines, moussakas and shawarmas, from €7.95-€12.90; as well as a two-course lunch at €14.95.
see seafoodbar.ie) See aliskitchencork.com. See facebook.com/Sultan.Cork.
Also in Cork, La Dolce Vita on Proby’s Quay have opened Tiramisu next door, a cafe with omelettes, eggs Benedict (€6.50), and lovely Italian sandwiches at just €4.
Greene’s Restaurant on MacCurtain Street does a superb 2/3-course lunch menu at €26/€29.90.
In Limerick, Thomas and Deirdre Fialon’s French Table offers great value, with French onion soup at €7; and at €8; as well as a
See ladolcevitacork.ie/tiramisu. See greenesrestaurant.com. croque monsieur tartiflettes
1/2/3 course menu, €12.50/€16/€20, including
of duck leg
de campagne, confit cassoulet mousse au chocolat. See frenchtable.ie.
See absolutehotel.com. pate
La Cucina has spread its wings from Castletroy, opening the new, industrial-cool La Cucina Centro on Henry Street. It has them rolling in.
Kaya on O’Connell Street does excellent Thai food, with mains around the €10 mark, and three courses for €15.
Down near the Hunt Museum on Rutland Street, the Bubble Tea Paradise Healthy Cafe, is a vegetarian/vegan Mecca, serving an all-day brunch, plus lunchtime vegan curries, quinoa burgers, wraps, veggie quiches and spinach gnocchi, in the €3.95€8.95 range.
See realitalianfoodies.com. See kaya.ie. See facebook.com/ bubbleteaparadise.
Overlooking the Shannon, the Absolute Bar & Grill does a roast-turkey club sandwich at €8.50; and mains at €10/€11, including bangers and mash, a 6oz beefburger and fish ’n’ fries.
In Galway, the very popular Asian Tea House in Galway has just opened the new Quay Noodle on Quay Street. In line with trends, it is serving street food from China, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia. Think Thai red beef curry made with rib-eye steak at €12.50, and reams of noodles.
Tribeton, the vast bar venue on Merchant’s Road, is hot. It does casual food, with
at €10; posh sambos €8.95/€9.95; and plates, including a turkey burger topped with brie, cranberry mayo and the trimmings, at €11.95.
Boss Doyles Bar in the Park House Hotel on Forster Street, just off Eyre Square, is a great place to revive tired feet and spirits with excellent bar food. John Keoghs
The Lock Keeper is the newest gastropub to hit Galway’s West End of Upper Dominick Street. There’s a wonderful old-world atmosphere here, and some great gastro grub, including braised lamb shoulder with garlic and chive risotto at €17; and crispy, sticky barbecue pork ribs at €8.
Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good bite!
quaynoodle.com. plats du jour See tribeton.ie. confit table d’hote See johnkeoghs.ie. lucindaosullivan.com See