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Underground Restaurants

Maria Reidy, home restauranteur (Photo: Brenda Fitzsimons, The Irish Times)

Maria Reidy, home restauranteur (Photo: Brenda Fitzsimons, The Irish Times)

Since the economy plummeted, secret “underground” restaurants have really taken off in the UK, especially in London. For a set price, an amateur cook will prepare an evening meal for you and other paying guests in their own home. It looks like a really interesting, intimate, and affordable night out; a quality dinner party with a sense of occasion.

They’re not strictly legal – health and safety, labour regulations, and licensing laws see to that – so people hear about them through word of mouth or through Facebook. One of the first to spring up in Ireland was organised by 29-year-old events manager Maria Reidy, profiled in last Saturday’s Irish Times Magazine. Her guests paid €35 for a four-course meal made from fresh, locally sourced ingredients, with all profits going to the ISPCC.

I’d love to eat in an underground restaurant, but a quick flick through various Irish sites suggest that there’s nothing like this here. Not yet, at least. Perhaps some CheapEats readers can alert me otherwise. Have you eaten in an underground restaurant, either in Ireland or elsewhere? Or would you like to?


  1. Ooooh, sounds great. Anyone know of one in Cork?

  2. Ooh I think I’d hate that! Sitting in someone’s living room and ordering food off them would feel weird.

  3. I was at the one mentioned in the blog above and i would highly reccommend going to one if you ever have a chance. Great fun, great food, the personal touch and something totally different !

  4. Perhaps a Cheap Eats underground restaurant?!

  5. I can’t get my head around the idea at all, I’m sure it is far from it but it’s like food swinging or something. Car keys in the bowl anybody?

  6. I know of one in Glaslough, Co. Monaghan. This enterprising individual takes bookings for Friday and Saturday evenings. It’s BYO and he charges a few quid corkage. He’s also an antique dealer so you’re likely to sitting on a chair with a price tag on it! From what I hear the food is fine but the crack is great.

  7. Bref … I would be interested to know about this .. any chance you could give me more details ?

  8. Soooo intriguing… keep peering at the apartments visible from Maria’s windows to see if I can recognise where it is… A underground restaurant is a fantastic idea

  9. between kenmare and sneem there is a place called strawberry fields

    run by 2 folks from holland

    a few years back it was exactly this – you dine in their living room

    now it turned into a tea rooms

    it was wonderful before

    their kids going to bed chatting with the people at the 3 tables only

    think the props name was Pater

    ate ther 5 or 6 times

    a great experience and the food was super

    apple pie was killer

    anyone else know it?

  10. There is one in Laragh Wicklow which is meant to be great

  11. Our venture is slightly different, in that we provide the venue too. We’re in Belfast.

    Recommended donation of £20 for three courses plus tea/coffee.

  12. There is one starting at Coolanowle House near Carlow. Organic Food. Try it! DELICIOus…….. and so relaxing 🙂

  13. Went to a brilliant one in Dublin, hostess is indian irish from england (!) & was witty adn welcoming. Food amazing – 1 of us was vegan and said its the best food shes ever eaten out. Bought our own rioja, no corkage. she said she’s doing a website, so will look out for it and post the link.
    Sceptics should try them, good fun and cheaper than restuarants.

  14. Hi – this is interesting. I want to try this in Mayo but really don’t think Mayo is ready for it. It has been rattling around in my head for 12 months or more. I regularly have dinner parties and everyone always rave over my food, but I don’t think people would pay for it especially now with the recession. I think I would have to charge €30 for 3 courses to cover the cost. Anyone in Mayo interested in trying me out?

  15. I heard there is a new fancy one opening now in Cork.

    A friend who knows a friend was told the site which shows now:
    “This site is still a secret until 23rd of January 2013. Check back soon to be one of the first to experience a unique foodie fantasy !”
    Wonder what this is about ?