I think I’ve found the best cheap eat in Dublin. It’s Hilan Chinese and Korean restaurant on Capel Street, and it’s the only restaurant I’ve ever visited five times.
Looking at the prices on the menu, you’d expect cheap tasting food. Far from it: the meat, chicken and fish are all high-grade and full of flavour. No strings of beef held together by clumps of fat here.
On seperate occasions, I’ve plumped for a deliciously spicy, utterly ungloopy Kong Po chicken; the astonishingly beautiful Sizzling Fish Hunan, a whole sea bass with spices and a magical broth; and the well-presented, perfectly seasoned ribs.
But it’s the Korean barbeques that really shine here. For the damn unbelievable sum of €39.80, the BBQ for two will easily provide a sumptous banquet for three complete pigs.
It’s a wonderfully simple idea. The food arrives at your table with a lot of sauces and some potato or sweet potato, and you slowly grill it in your own time. It’s not a gimmick like the Mongolian BBQ in Temple Bar, but a great way of slowly savouring your food. Three can easily spend an entire evening here, have a few beers, and still spend less than €60. They won’t rush you out.
Hilan is becoming increasingly popular so it can be hard to get a table here. The restaurant has a buzzy, lively interior and you’ll find many Koreans eating here: always a good sign. They’re drawn not just by the outstanding food and excellent value, but also by the impeccable service. The staff here are genuinely friendly, helpful, and accommodating: definitely the best service I’ve ever encountered in Dublin.
As you might be able to tell, I can’t recommend this place highly enough. I might regret it though, because once word spreads, it’s going to be nigh on impossible getting a table here.
- Hilan, 45 Capel St., Dublin City North. Tel: 018748677