- a blog about food and value

Eating out over Christmas

Where are you eating out this Christmas? (Photo: M. Shafi)

A nameless friend – we’ll call her Siún A., or S. Aherne – sent this to us via Facebook at the end of August:

Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way!! Yes my lovely friends it is that time of year again! Time to organise our Christmas dinner… So a couple of suggestions…
Sat 15th, Friday 21st or Saturday 22nd of December!! And yes.. I have no doubt you will all take the piss out of me and bitch behind my back (or to my face) but you know it makes sense and you all secretly are very grateful that I am here to organise you! Xxxxx

We mocked her mercilessly. Now, she’s been vindicated. It’s proving pretty tough to secure a table for eight people on the Friday December 21 – especially somewhere reasonably cheap.

I’m inclined to shun anywhere that has a Christmas menu at all, as they generally tend to be more expensive than at other times of year. I can’t really blame restaurants for trying to make some extra money at Christmas, but the Christmas menu doesn’t tend to offer anything particularly special for the extra money you pay.

I’m going to put together a nationwide list of places where you can get genuinely good value this Christmas, including restaurants both with and without a Christmas menu.

Your tip-offs and advice would be great. PR companies and restaurants: you are very welcome to post your information here, but please identify yourself, or else your comments will have to be removed.

Where are you heading out over Christmas? And will you also be avoiding the Christmas menu?


  1. I assume it’s Dublin suggestions you want but Orso on Pembroke Street in Cork is my new happy place. Why am I telling people?!!

  2. Not at all Claire! Thanks. Nationwide suggestions are especially welcome – I’ve just edited the piece to reflect this.

  3. I had a big group Christmas dinner in the Whitefriar Grill last year and it was really great:

  4. I noticed the other day that Yamamouri (with the cool bar downstairs that i can’t spell) has put up their prices from €25 for 5 tapas to €30 for the same amount. I can kind of understand as they get massive groups in and especially at Christmas when some people are scroogy about the tip, but just thought it was a bit of a leap as the old menu was great value!

  5. Anyone else having to pay a deposit up front per head for a Christmas booking? Admittedly we do have a party of 12 for a Saturday but one establishment has asked for €10 per head deposit a week before we attend. They also provide two different Christmas menus which are just ok in value.

  6. Dublin is ridiculous , wanted a table for 4 on a saturday at 7pm called all the usual suspects no joy, may I remind you I called 3 weeks before the date and NOTHING!! Any tips, mother in law and sister in law on Saturday the 8th!!!

  7. Had a lovely meal last night in Motte & Bailey in Mount Temple near Athlone – €28 Christmas 3-course menu. Good choice on menu & athe restaurant looks lovely & festive! Won’t suit any of you looking for tables in Dublin though 😉

  8. It is very hard to get a reservation now in city centre Dublin at the weekend. Depending on the rest of your schedule and travel plans I’d look to the suburbs. Caviston’s in Glasthule or Greystones, Dali’s in Blackrock, Kinara in Ranelagh, Ananda in Dundrum, Bon Appetit in Malahide, Rasam in Glasthule. Sometimes they are better value than the city centre too, and it can feel like a bit of a day out which is nice.

  9. O’Connells in Donnybrook.