- a blog about food and value

Review: Marble City Bar, Kilkenny (plus: any cheap eats in Kilkenny?)

The Marble City Bar's burger

The Marble City Bar’s burger

Twitter is only brilliant, did you know that?  It’s great for jokes, for inspiration, for taking the piss out of the RTE Guide, for seeing what your heros are thinking about at random given moments, and for getting tips and recommendations on all kinds of stuff.  Twitter is great for when you need a maddeningly specific restaurant recommendation – such as, ‘somewhere good for vegetarians that also has a nice smoking area and will take our group of 28 two days before Christmas for no more than €20 a head’.

So you can imagine my surprise when I asked for tips for cheap places to eat in Kilkenny, only to be met with silence. Tumbleweeds.  Crickets.  A second tweet just asking for the best places in Kilkenny got a stream of recommendations from a load of helpful Twitterers.  They included Italian restaurant Rinuccini, Cafe Sol, Yindees Downtown and Zuni.  They all looked very appealing and came with many glowing recommendations online, but also all seemed to be charging over €20 for main courses.  We were visiting with a small child and weren’t really in the market for fine dining.

We ended up going to the Marble City Bar, which is part of Langton’s Hotel.  Langton’s is a Kilkenny institution, a normal looking hotel that is of Tardis-like proportions on the inside and capable of seating thousands.  I’ve had good food at Langton’s in the past; have I imagined that their prices have gone up quite a bit?  We didn’t feel like paying €17.50 for fish and chips, so opted for the more reasonably priced gastropub menu at the Marble City Bar.  It also turned out to be more expensive than we expected; the prices have gone up since they published their website so you’ll need to add a couple of euro to the price of each main as they’re listed here.

I went for the Red Curry with Chicken (€15.50).  I don’t normally order curries in pubs but felt the need for food with colours and spice.  It was very tasty and properly hot, and I liked the layer of fresh coriander leaves in the tower of rice.  Peter had a Bacon and Cheese Burger (also €15.50) with skinny fries, which he liked. There’s no kid’s menu, but they provide chicken goujons and chips for €5.50, or half portions of the main menu dishes.

Everything was tasty and the service was very good.  We came away happy enough, but feeling that the food would have been more fairly priced at around the €12 mark. The basic prices in Kilkenny seem to be set at quite a high level;  I suppose the fact that it’s both a very popular tourist destination and a small city with not much competition have kept prices up.  And of course we could have overlooked some gems – any locals who know of great cheap eats, please let us know.  I’d love to be wrong about this one for the next time we visit!



  1. Italian Connection, Parliament Street.
    Good value, especially at lunchtime.

  2. Personally, Ive always felt that Langtons is vastly overpriced for what is essentially pub grub. You are paying for the experience of dining in the famous ‘ Langtons of Kilkenny’!
    Key Largo, beside John’s Bridge, offers brilliant value for money, in my opinion, with their €10 two-course early bird menu, and judging by the hordes of people dining alfresco, lots of others do too. Its not fine dining by any means, lots of tortilla chips, bruschetta, salads and pizzas on the menu, but hey, what can u expect for €10! And you still get that dining out experience!
    And before anyone thinks that I’ve a vested interest, I don’t.

  3. Little Italy on John Street do a great early bird menu

  4. Italian connection, kids menu, early bird/pre theatre menu, introducing authentic Italian dishes (not just irish versions). Matt the Millers supper for breakfast, pancakes for kids and great pub grub (wild mushroom tartlets are my favourite), trad sessions start at 6pm. Early bird in Campagne. Chez Pierres (my veggie friend loves it), la Trattoria, Ripleys Steakhouse has the best steak/prawn fajita towers. Breakfast & lunch in Zunis very reasonably priced and evening Tapas menu is brill value. The Pembroke, the Hibernian. The Ormonde hotel serves yummy free lemon cake with their coffee/tea. Royal Spice.
    Obviously I love eating out in Kilkenny! For your next visit to Kilkenny go to the Kilkenny Tourism website where they have all the special offers or come back for our food festival over the October bank holiday weekend

  5. Kilkenny is quite expensive for eating out- mid priced. I also said when I moved to Dublin KK was really lacking somewhere you could grab a main course for a tenner. I personally am always let down by Marble City Bar. Key Largo is a great option. I think one of the nicest restaurants is La Rivista on parliament st, the service is really second to none, The Royal Spice for Indian. Food works on parliament st also a good mid priced option. For Pub grub nothing fancy just hearty I really recommend Bollards or Paris Texas.

    For somewhere fancier Zuni, Lautrecs or Campagne (Very fancy)