All across Dublin, “Pre-Theatre” menus give us the chance to pamper ourselves with a multicourse dinner, at a fraction of the price. Though in many cases, the name is changed (and pre-theatre may be a misnomer anyway), these menus often showcase the best from some of our favourite restaurants, from tried and true classics to newer, but no less welcome, additions.
This New York inspired Italian restaurant is all about handmade pasta and charcoal grilled proteins. Located just below street level the interior at Luna was designed to evoke the Italian restaurants of the 1950s. Their Pre-Theatre menu is set at €30 per person and includes three courses (Primi, Secondi, and Dolce) plus coffee and tea. Oxtail consommé, ricotta gnocchi, and braised beef cheek with truffle polenta are highlights of their well-rounded list of offerings for prix fixe.
Popular for any time of day (afternoon tea included), Cliff Townhouse on St. Stephen’s Green offered a pre-theatre menu from Monday – Saturday 5 – 6:30. This short window means bookings are advisable to be sure you are able to take advantage of the offer. Starting at €30 for two courses and raised to only €35 for three, the menu takes Dublin classics and updates them with perfect execution and serve them in their intimate, classically decorated dining space. The seafood focus of the restaurant is clear in the menu, with starters like lobster bisque and mains like fish pie and fish and chips.
Brasserie Sixty 6
The internationally inspired menu and cocktail menu are designed to please anyone, and they sweeten the deal by offering a prix fixe menu all night Sunday – Wednesday. The special deal (€31.50 for three courses, or two courses and a cocktail if you’re full before dessert) is also available Thursday to Saturday but only on orders before 6:30. Classic appetizers like caesar salad and fried calamari rings lead off for mains like rotisserie chicken, beef sirloin, and an ever-changing Catch of the Day. If you don’t have much of a sweet tooth, swap your dessert for a Brassberry 66, mixed with tequila, or a Rhumba, a blend of rhubarb syrup, vanilla, and prosecco.
While technically 3 Leaves doesn’t have any special pre-theatre menu, their normal three courses for only €30.50 is too good a deal to not include. The cuisine here is inspired by different regions of India, and the name derived from the main spices used in the cooking mint, curry and coriander. Choose from kebab, salad, or for your first course, and from entrees featuring proteins like lamb, chicken thighs, and lentils for your vegan friends. Read our review here.
Howth and seafood go hand in hand, and few places do it as well as King Sitric. Its white-clothed tables have been serving local fish and shellfish for over forty years. They serve crab and lobster caught meters away in the bay, and buy Irish for the other products. A bit pricier, here two courses will run you €39 while three will set you back €45, but the twenty-five years of awards and idyllic setting make it worth it.
The Legal Eagle
They take a different angle on the Pre-Theatre menu at The Legal Eagle on Chancery Place. Here, the Neighborhood menu runs from 12 – close Sunday to Thursday and from 12 – 7 on Fridays and Saturdays. On this menu, two courses will set you back €29 and three will run €35. Cosy gastropub fair like scotch eggs, croquettes, and game take on an Irish tone through local product and inspiration. Dessert is made up of classics like treacle tart, so that the third course may be necessary.
The Winding Stair
Located at the foot of Ha’Penny Bridge on Bachelors Walk above a bookshop bearing the same name sits The Winding Stair, where the pre-theatre menu runs at €29 for two courses or €35 for three, (same as sister restaurant The Legal Eagle). Tables have to be vacated by 8:15, but otherwise you’re free to enjoy a lovely meal of Irish inspired dishes. Irish products reign supreme all the way to dessert, which includes the option of a Guinness cake or an Irish cheese board if you are not wanting something sweet.
Jaipur has locations in both Malahide and Dalkey, and each has its own version of a pre-theatre menu. Both run Sunday to Thursday from 5 to 7, and Friday and Saturday 5 – 6:30. In Malahide, you can also take advantage of the special from 2 on Sundays. The Dalkey “Value Menu” is set at € 25 for two courses, while in Malahide you can choose from one course at €18, two at €21, or three at €24. Mains include options of chicken, seafood, lamb, and vegetarian options of traditional Indian dishes, regardless of which location you head to.
Two locations in Dundrum and Malahide both run Early Bird specials throughout the week. From Monday – Thursday get your fix of Thai food from 3:30 – 6:45, on Fridays and Saturdays from 3:30 – 6:45, and on Sundays from 2 – 6:45. Two courses plus coffee or tea will only set you back €26.95, but unlike other Pre Theatre menus there’s no limit on what you can order – the whole menu is available, though some require an extra charge added. More information here.
One of our favourites for a leisurely lunch, Coppinger Row also offers a pre-theatre early bird with two courses for €28 and three courses €31 (Sister restaurant Charlotte Quay offers a similarly priced pre-theatre menu near Grand Canal Square). The menu at Coppinger Row has a distinctly Mediterranean lilt but focuses on no specific area of that broad culinary area. Dishes inspired by Morocco, France, and Italy sit side by side even on the shortened Early Bird menu, hopefully ensuring everyone in your party finds something they’ll enjoy. Read our review here.
The Marker Hotel
Located conveniently next to the Bord Gais Energy Theatre, The Marker Hotel’s pre-theatre menu is genuinely a pre-theatre menu. The menu is set at two courses for €32 and 3 courses for €36, though opting for steak in your second course or the cheese board for dessert will mean a slight uptick in price. If you’re dead set against paying any more than the set price, don’t worry — there are still plenty of amazing options to choose from. Starters like Smoked Honey Salmon or a Winter Salad are followed with options of Pork Schnitzel, Thornhill Duck, or Walnut Lasagne. Read our review here.
Coda Restaurant @ the gibson hotel
Home of many a televised ‘First Date’, and with a special date menu to go along, Coda offers an energetic, but informal, atmosphere just around the corner from 3 Arena. In addition to that special date menu, they also offer set 2 course meals at €30 per person and 3 course meals €35 per person (a good bit less than that special date offer, by the way). Choose from appetizers featuring crispy pork cheeks, or a salad of black figs and apples, then enjoy mains of short rib, salmon fillets, or pumpkin gnocchi. Read our review here.
The Early Bird menu at Richmond Restaurant is available from 6.30pm Wednesday to Saturday, and all evening Sunday, making it an ideal spot for a Sunday evening dinner. Beginning at two courses at €24.75 and up to €29.75 for three courses, this Michelin bib winning restaurant’s food isn’t inaccessible, in terms of price or flavors and ingredients. Starters include familiar friends like black pudding, ham hock, short rib, and butternut squash, while mains feature mussels, a burger, and pig belly. Round it out with a dessert of white chocolate and rhubarb, or maybe their date pudding. Read our interview with head chef Davey O’Byrne here.
Eliza is a graduate of Boston University, where she studied English Literature and Journalism. Education took her to Sydney and London, but she wasn’t ready to quit travelling with graduation. This brought her to Dublin, where she spends free mornings in cafes and free afternoons wandering museum galleries, all while trying to find even more favourite restaurants.
Though new to the scene, Grano has come out of the gate with an Early Bird menu offered from 5pm to 7pm Tuesday to Thursday and 12pm to 7pm on Sundays. The focus here is on the pasta and high-quality ingredients, many of which they bring in specially from Italy. With two courses starting at €19 and three courses for only €5 more. Head here to fulfil your pasta craving with a classic Tagliatelle Alla Bolognese or a Calabrian inspired Fileja Al Pomodoro, and finish with some amazing tiramisu.
She loves working on new recipes and has more than a few well-loved notebooks full of favourite experiments. You’d be hard pressed to find her without a coffee in hand, and she’s always looking for the next thing to write about.