home Food Valentines Special: Quick, easy and cheap dates

Valentines Special: Quick, easy and cheap dates

Welcome to the Valentines food section! Now because valentines falls on RAG week this year, on top of the normal fact that we’re all poor students here, this week’s article is going to be about nice, cute, and most importantly cheap places to take your significant other (or even just your newest Tinder fling). There’s a wide range featuring options for cute or chic, meat lover or vegetarian, and everything in-between.

  1. Alright so Amicus isn’t on the cheaper end of the scale, although they do have a pretty reasonable student midweek lunch deal. But they have a great range of dishes and use local suppliers. The food there is so good, and the portions aren’t tiny either, which is also important. The décor and vibe of the place is kinda hipster loft, but it’s a nice setting. It’s the kind of place where I’d say to dress a little fancy, and could also be used for introducing your S.O. to the parents because it’s nice but not so posh that it adds to their nerves.
  2. So this next one isn’t a restaurant or a café, it’s a bar. It’s a nice bar and I like the thought of a bar for of a more casual date because it’s not as formal as a restaurant. That being said, the food in the Silly Goose is still restaurant quality, not just your usual Irish bar food – anywhere that serves towers of nachos is a definite place to go in my book, even if sharing a nacho tower isn’t quite as romantic as the bowl of spaghetti from Lady and the Tramp. Its got the traditional low lighting and booths of a normal Irish bar, but with a bit of silliness to it, which helps lighten the atmosphere. So handy for a nervous date.
  3. O’Conaills is a Cork dating scene staple, so much so that finding space can be hard. However, with the bone chilling cold and wind that we’ve been getting recently, a hot chocolate date is something I would (nearly) kill for. And O’Conaills do the best hot chocolate. The atmosphere in their shop is semi-saturated in cute love and affection, which is good as long as who you’re taking there won’t get sick at all the cuteness, so not the best for dark and cynical hipsters. If we’re lucky, and they’re on campus for RAG again, you can always just grab a hot chocolate and stroll down to the Glucksman and along the river as a more casual date.
  4. Milanos is nice and open with a rustic, yet modern, atmosphere. I’m quite fond of the food, mainly because I love pasta, but also because it’s tasty and their chocolate fondant desert is just ‘oozy yum’. The main advantage of Milanos is that even though it’s only mid-range cost wise, there are discount codes abound for it on their website, and through various promotional things like 3+. This means that you can get it for even cheaper, which is important as a poor student, and because its Italian food you can have the Lady & The Tramp moment if you’re so inclined.
  5. If you’re looking for an alternative to bars and restaurants, brunch or breakfast may be for you. Perry Street Market Café is our pick for brunch, beating out the yuppie favourite Liberty Grill by a strong margin. You can go for anything from a traditional fry-up to chocolate-covered waffles to some healthy granola, washing it down with some coffee, hot chocolate or freshly squeezed orange juice. Pricing is pretty okay, but you may want to let your date pick their order first – not great for you to pick waffles smothered in cream and a large mocha when your date’s eating a banana with a glass of tap water (and vice-versa).
  6. Umi Falafel is an underrated foodery in this city. Despite its decor and, let’s be honest, that it kinda looks like the knock-off McDonald’s in Merchants Quay used to, Umi presents authentic middle-eastern cuisine in the middle of Cork City. A good variety (provided you like chickpeas) on the menu for a decent price, Umi also has the air of being healthy, even though it’s super not. If you want good vegetarian-friendly fast food, Umi may be the place for you.
  7. Coqbull is almost the perfect antithesis to Umi in that it seems almost horrifically unhealthy, and just chock-full of meat…but it’s so good. A menu consisting of chicken and beef, Coqbull is maybe best saved for a later date down the line (top tip: wings smothered in BBQ sauce are delicious, but not ideal first date food). Not overly expensive, but not everyday snacking for a student on a budget.


If you want to write a review of your favourite date spot, or give us your recipe for chilli con carne, you can send them to food@uccexpress.ie.