Five eats for a fiver

Keeping up appearances on a student budget


Finding something to eat between lectures that won’t break the bank and is also close to college is a struggle for many freshers. In the middle of Dublin city centre, grabbing a cheap yet decent lunch can prove a challenge. However, seasoned second years like myself have done the dirty work and researched the restaurants. Here are five eats for a fiver:

1.KC Peaches

If you’re new to Dublin, these cafes dotted around the city centre are likely to be your new favourite spot. They offer a range of delicious and healthy salads, hot dishes and sandwiches as well as a vast array of sweet treats and great coffees. Combine their fresh and affordable food with the fact that they offer a student discount and have a location directly opposite Trinity’s Nassau Street entrance, and you’ve found yourself a firm favourite of many Trinity students. There’s also usually plenty of seating, with three levels in the Nassau Street cafe.  

What to get: Pick up one of the small salad boxes and fill it up with as many types of salad as you like. You can also choose to fill your box with a selection of hot dishes such as pies, curries, stir-fries, vegetables, rice dishes, pastas and potatoes. This will be guaranteed to keep you full for your afternoon lectures and will come in at under €5 with a student card.


What will probably become one of your most frequented nightclubs during first year, Dicey’s also doubles up as a restaurant and beer garden during the day, serving €2 pints and €5 carvery lunches. The location on Harcourt Street is a bit further from college than other spots but it’s definitely worth it if you’re looking for a big feed. There is usually a choice of three or four different options for the carvery lunch, as well as a bar menu throughout the day.

What to get: Bring your student card with you, arrive between 12pm and 2.30pm and queue up for the carvery lunch. For a fiver you’ll get as much food as you could eat and you’ll be full for the day, with your lunch doubling up as a cheap daytime dinner. The food may not be fancy but it’s fresh, tasty and excellent value.

3.Mongolian BBQ

This restaurant set in the heart of Temple Bar is just a five minute walk from campus. The idea here is pretty simple: grab a bowl, fill it with your choice of raw meats and fresh veg, throw in some herbs and spices, and top off your creation with the specially selected sauces. Then just hand your bowl to one of the grillers and they will stir-fry it to perfection right in front of your eyes. Fresh food, fast.

What to get: Call in between 12pm and 4.30pm to avail of their lunch special and grab a bowl. The choice of what to get is up to you, just don’t forget to present your student card when you’re paying!

4.The Buttery

This is the handiest place to grab lunch as it’s Trinity’s on-campus student cafe. The food is fast, good quality and filling. There are always plenty of seats, even during peak times, and for the best spot head into the ‘cave’ which is to the left as you walk in. As Trinity’s main restaurant, students flock here during lunchtime and you’ll more than likely see a familiar face.

What to get: If you’re looking for a big feed, go for one of the daily specials. Dishes include Thai chicken curry and spaghetti bolognaise, among others. These will cost you a fiver and will keep you fed for the day. For a lighter option, the soup is always good and comes with your choice of bread.

5. Cornucopia

This wholefood, vegetarian restaurant is situated on Wicklow Street, just a five minute walk from Trinity. This casual dining restaurant is well known not only for its fresh and healthy lunch and dinner options but also for its award-winning cookbook, Cornucopia at Home. Their soups, salads and breads are prepared fresh in-house every day.

What to get: A small mixed salad plate costs €5.50 and, as Cornucopia offer a 10% student discount on all dishes apart from their daily specials, this healthy lunch comes in at just under a fiver. Their salad selection includes ‘garlic potatoes with roast hazelnuts in vegan mayonnaise’, ‘bulgur, fennel, chard and cherry vine in green chilli vinaigrette’ as well as ‘beetroot, pear and rocket with crème fraiche and herbs’. They also serve excellent homemade soups which come with freshly baked bread.

Mary Hartnett

Mary Hartnett is the current Managing Editor of Trinity News. She is a Senior Sophister BESS student, and a former Trinity Life Editor.