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Lucinda's 20 BEST Festive Shopping Lunches

Lucinda's 20 BEST Festive Shopping Lunches

Wednesday 12 December 2018


The smart-casual Balfe’s on Clarendon St, part of the 5-Star Westbury Hotel, has an extensive all-day menu with seafood platters, Josper grilled steaks and gorgeous grilled gambas with harissa. Daily lunch specials, 12pm-6pm at €17.50, include a main and a fruit fool dessert pot.

On Dame Street, Corfu, with its brilliant colours and Greek food, will transport you immediately to the Aegean. It has a wide selection of a la carte faves (€3.95-€21.95) ranging from moussaka to delicious saganaki (fried cheese), stifado (stewed meat), souvlaki, and baklava. There is also a 2-course lunch menu at €12.95 from 12.30pm-5pm.

A Hong Kong style BBQ deli on Fade St, where pork, chicken, and of course the old quacker are cooked in a torpedo-shaped ‘Bullet Oven’. Pop up at the counter and try the duck spring rolls (€3.95), followed by char siu - sticky BBQ pork with rice/noodles (regular/large €7.45/€9.45).

At the Fitzwilliam Hotel on St. Stephen’s Green, Andy McFadden is serving up some of the most elegant French-style food in the city. A 4-course Festive Menu is €80 at both lunch and dinner and includes canapes, petit fours and coffee.

In Dundrum Town Centre, lunch at L’Officina delivers an authentic Italian experience, with antipasti and pasta dishes, plus a slow-cooked casserole of Tuscan sausage, salami, tomato and borlotti beans with rosemary roast potatoes (€14.50).

One of Dublin’s best bistros, Barry Canny’s Peploe’s on St. Stephen’s Green, is sophisticated, warm and buzzy, with great food from chef Graeme Dodrill. 2/3 courses (€31.50/€37.50) from 12pm-4pm.

If pizza is your thing, the new hip PiPizza – Wood Fired Pizza Fundamentalists – on South George’s St has all the pizza heads ranting on Twitter about it’s kissable dough base and just the right amount of burn. Pizzas are €9-€16 and they serve beer, cider and wine.

Superb cocktails are a given at Saba on Clarendon St, along with delicious Thai & Vietnamese food at great prices. I love its Pho Bo (€14.50), Vietnamese rice noodle soup. Mon-Fri, it does a 2 course Express Lunch menu (€14.95).

With a bar on one side and restaurant on the other, Ireland’s oldest Korean restaurant, on Parnell St, has lunch mains at €9-€13. Try the bibimbap – steamed rice, veg, egg yolk, in a hot stone bowl with beef, tofu, salmon or tuna (€10.50).

Across the river, The Legal Eagle at Chancery Place is the hottest gastropub in town. Think pies, puddings and roasts; big and small plates; plus variable roasts in a roll. You can even have a pickled egg (€2) or a 1kg Chateaubriand for 2/3 people (€79).


In Waterford, Everett’s on High St is a real treat. Chef patron Peter Everett, who is ex Chapter One and Residence, has a superb 3 course lunch at just €27.50.

Set in the Kikenny Hibernian Hotel with its lush Belle Epoque decor plus plenty of buzz and good food, Harpers has a great 2/3 course festive lunch menu (€20.95/€25.95), plus a la carte options. A perfect escape from the madding crowd.

In the shadow of Kilkenny Castle, Rinuccini’s is the spot for sublime Italian food and wines. 2/3 course lunch €24/€29 every day plus quick lunch specials (€14-€17.50). Oh, oh, and Antonio’s raviolo...

Overlooking the Shannon, Harry’s On The River in the Absolute Hotel in Limerick, is a lovely place to chill after a hard morning’s shopping. Its casual menu (€5.50-€12.50) includes seafood chowder, open prawn sandwiches, and burgers.

On Limerick’s Henry Street, The Hamptons Grill at the Savoy Hotel, has a great selection of a la carte dishes with mains (€11-€15) including roast rib of Limerick bacon, and lobster (market price) with truffled fries.

Sligo’s hottest restaurant does great all-day food (€8.95-€24.95) in a rustic atmosphere. From prawn cocktail to southern-fried chicken burgers, there is also a Little Nippers Menu (2/3 course €10/€13.50), which includes a Knickerbocker Glory.

The Bookshelf, on South Mall in Cork, do all-day small bites plus small and large plates (€4.95-€16.95), including garlic-roasted Portobello mushrooms or moussaka with roasted veg. It also has a new branch at the Elysium.

Have a cocktail first in Cask bar on MacCurtain Street, Cork then cross the courtyard, with its rippling waterfall, into Greenes restaurant for Head Chef Brian McCarthy’s sublime contemporary food. 2/3 course lunch menu €29/€34.50.

If you fancy a pizza, you can’t do better than the brilliant Dough Bros on Galway’s Middle Street; it does great pizzas at really good prices (€9-€12.50).

In Galway, a great refuge from the crowds is The Gaslight Bar & Brasserie at The Meyrick on Eyre Square. It does great cocktails, sharing platters (€22 for 2), sambos (€7.95-€8.50) and mains (€13.50-€14.95).

First Published In The Sunday Independent