Food critic Tom Doorley had a large feature in the Irish Times magazine last weekend, all about eating well in restaurants in Ireland while times are tough. What a great idea! Anyway, he posits that restaurants are pulling out all the stops to get customers through the door, and the problem is not poor value from restaurants, but that people aren’t yet fully aware of the good value available.
He undermines his case slightly by quoting the owner of Shebeen Chic in Dublin, which is not particularly good value at all, and which in fact could be a poster child for boom-time style over substance (watch out for a review here later in the week, although you can probably already guess how I feel about it!).
A food critic’s idea of good value, unsurprisingly, is slightly different to that of a regular punter. But there was some useful information in the piece and Doorley mentions the following deals:
- Town Bar & Grill in Dublin has a set lunch, three courses for €26.95. This price has apparently been the same since 2006.
- Locks in Portobello, Dublin, has a plat du jour for €17.50 which includes a glass of wine.
- Mao (as mentioned here on CheapEats) is doing a two course lunch for €12.95.
- Isaac’s in Cork now offer a takeaway service: a main meal, salad and bread for €15.
Doorley also offers some good advice in the form of a list of suggestions. He says restaurants can become more attractive by offering cheaper house wines, friendlier service, and tap water on every table. I would agree with his suggestions (especially the one about cheaper wines!) and have a few more of my own: all-day specials (not just early birds), and an end to charging separately for basic sides such as chips or rice.
What do restaurants need to do to get you through their doors?