For an excellent and cheap evening treat, try Wagamama on nearby South King's Street [map O 51], opposite the Gaiety theatre. This Japanese restaurant is truly hidden since it is underneath the Stephen's Green shopping centre. I tried the cha han (rice dish with additional soup, etc) at 7.95 Euro and it was wholesome and filling. The service is very good (good mixture of staff) and it is totally non-smoking (23.9.02).
A highly recommended restaurant for a special meal is the Trocadero at 3 St. Andrew's Street. The service is extremely good and more than warrants the price tag. Expect a main course to total somewhere around 24 Euro. Booking is advisable (01-677 5545) and it is very near the Tourist Information office.
Cornucopia at 19 Wicklow Street (off the bottom/north end of Grafton Street) is well worth a visit if you are vegetarian or like wholesome food. In winter they always do a good broth (soup) and in summer I would recommend their salads.
One of the most famous cafes in Dublin is Bewleys Oriental Cafe on Grafton Street [see map O 50]. It is famous for its ambiance and many well known folks met there in the past. The Bewley family sold the business some years ago and the quality of their food is variable. However, certainly worth a quick tea, coffee or glass of milk.
The Cafe Kylemore [see map O 46] is on O'Connell Street and handy when visiting the north side of the river. The food is quite basic but reasonable value. The Metro [see map N 51] is very near Clarendon's and may be found at the junction of South William's Street and Chatham Row. It has good service and plenty of room. A must-do is a take-away from the famous (at least to Dubs) chip shop, Burdocks. ['chips' are small pieces of potato deep fried]. It is located on Werburg Street [see map L 50] and just across the road from Christ Church Cathedral. The best time to go is in the evening when the chips are cooked thick and fast. You'll also see and meet all kinds of people in the queue, which sometimes stretches way down the street. Ask for a fresh or smoked cod and chips - great for those chilly evenings!
Fish and Chip shop terminology: or the "Chipper" as they're usually known. You will hear DUbs asking for a "single"; it's not a statement of their relationship status but means chips only. Chips are long-cut sections of potato deep fried. A "one and one" means a fish with chips. When you ask for fish you are given fresh cod - try a smoked cod for somthing different. Finally what Irish people call "Ray" is what British people refer to as "Skate".
The National Gallery on Merrion Street [see map R 51] has a good cafe and is reasonably priced. It is well worth the effort if you are visiting the Gallery or other attractions such as Greene's bookshop, the Dail or the Doors of Dublin around Merrion Square.
If you are on a very tight budget and are young(ish), it is sometimes possible to slip into the student restaurant in Trinity College, the Buttery. The food here is cheap and cheerful, but be prepared to queue during term time (October - beginning of December, January - mid March and mid April - May). You will find the entrance off Trinity's Botany Bay, which nestles towards the left of the dining hall as you face the Campanile from Front gate.
It is extremely difficult to find restaurants or cafes selling 'Irish' food in Dublin. The current trend is for the more exotic (give the increasingly cosmopolitan nature of Dublin); meat and veg thrown together in the same pot for hours on end masquerading as Irish stew is not very popular with Dublin chefs at the moment.