There are still a few days left before the 'Eat Out to Help Out' £10 off meal subsidy scheme expires. If you have been lucky enough to get a table anywhere between Monday and Wednesday to make the most of this initiative then you will know that it's possible to eat well at half price.
But if you want to hit the half price sweet spot then you need to be looking at a potential bill of no more than £20 per head. I have been scouring the streets to find the best versions of the scheme and each time I've tried to book ahead, I've been disappointed as all the better known cafes and restaurants are fully booked Monday to Wednesday.
But if you look a little closer to the lower profile and more modest places, your chance of striking lucky is much greater.
So here are three places which do the job of feeding you well for very little outlay.
The first is Freight on Lisburn Road, the little brother to east Belfast's astonishingly brilliant Freight which is housed in those containers by CS Lewis Square. I can't praise Gerard and Christy McQuillan's team highly enough for the consistency in their ever changing series of sexed up creations and versions of dishes from around the world: dishes such as the Korean fried chicken banh mi, crispy fish tacos and lamb shawarma flatbread are sensational (but be warned, the McQuillans are big chilli fans). Also, their cocktails will take your breath away and they have possibly the most rustic wine list in Ireland.
Freight on the Lisburn Road on a visit last week was slightly misfiring. Expectations were high and front of house as charming and engaging as ever. But what came from the kitchen lacked the door-busting kick which is so reliably powerful in the other restaurant. I've had lamb shawarma in both but this one left me glum.
It was perfectly edible, but it didn't have that McQuillan punch I had come to expect. The Korean fried chicken banh mi, however, did not disappoint the daughter who reported that it was on a par with big brother. Another plus is the outdoor seating where you can admire Lisburn Road's beau monde sporting their perfectly fitting, hand-made, triple layered silk print masks.
Treat Street on the Newtownards Road is a neighbourhood cafe offering sandwiches, paninis, salads, bagels and the like. I rarely go for sandwiches in a sit-down restaurant but the thought of a triple decker with chicken, bacon, rocket and Ballymaloe relish sounded like the perfect answer to a lunch break question.
Enough for three people, this is effectively a club sandwich and comes with a generous bowl of crispy chips.
Toasted white bread and plenty of volume in the middle providing moist, messy, mulchiness, this was a filling and joyful moment. Treat Street also does prawn, smoked salmon and turkey, bacon and cheese triple deckers and I may make a return trip before the end of the scheme.
I finish with the first place I visited on the day the scheme started, District, on the Ormeau Road.
This stylish place, which was created by Richard Stitt who has since left for wider horizons, is a bit cool and just on the bearded side of the hipster movement.
There was no sign of the discount that first day (it's since been sorted).
You pay at the counter at the time of placing your order in District and they bring you your food but it was so cheap to begin with I didn't even notice.
It occurred to me that some of these places have not signed up to the scheme so it may be worth checking before ordering.
District's sausage roll is a thing of flaky beauty made with pork, garlic, chilli and fennel.
With the mango and chilli relish it is memorable. And at £3.75 (before discount), it's one of the city's greatest bargains.
District sausage roll £3.75
Treat Street triple decker £7.25 (£3.75)
Freight Lamb shawarma £11 (£5.50)
423 Lisburn Road, Belfast Tel: 028 9508 1587
300 Ormeau Road, Belfast Tel: 028 90643603
402 Upr Newtownards Road, Belfast
Tel: 028 9065 8369