It’s almost hard to imagine that not too long ago eating out as a vegan or vegetarian in Dublin equated to ordering a ‘veggie-side-as-main-course’ or begging your skeptical friends to join you at one of the few dedicated vegetarian restaurants in the city.
Ease of eating for vegetarians has come hand in hand with a jump in the number these vegetable-centric eateries but also the influx of veggie-friendly ethnic restaurants and the trend for chefs across the board to make vegetables just as delicious as their meaty main course counterparts.
So whether you’re a vegan, vegetarian, or just aspire to eat less meat (which makes you a reducetarian FYI) here are 18 vegetarian and vegan restaurants in Dublin city that will keep every type of hungry herbivore happy.
Cornucopia Restaurant Dublin
Located in the heart of the city centre, on Wicklow Street, since 1986, no list of vegetarian restaurants in Dublin would be complete without Dublin’s original veggie mecca, Cornucopia. A cornucopia is a mythical horn that symbolises food and abundance and the eatery has always stayed true to its name serving hearty portions of home cooked salads and hot dishes, and a range of breads, cakes and desserts. There’s always raw/living options on the menu too. Despite a recent makeover Cornucopia hasn’t lost the cosy charm fans have come to know and love.
Set up by sisters Pamela and Lorraine Fitzmaurice, this compact day time only deli on Drury Street has been serving wholesome vegetarian and vegan food since 2000. Pick a box size that suits your appetite and fill as you fancy from the salad bar and hot food counter. At the till there’s spelt base pizza slices, filo pastry turnovers and their signature veggie burgers as well as a vegan, and often gluten free, cakes and bakes, all homemade. Fridges are packed with soups, curries and stews that you can take home for dinner too. Strictly takeaweay, on sunny days there’s a scramble for the benches outside or take yours to the steps of Powerscourt Townhouse and watch the world go by.
Serving authentic Thai and Vietnamese food, Saba on both Clarendon Street and Lower Baggot Street has plenty on offer to spice up a vegetarian’s life, from curries and salads, to noodles and stir fries. If you’re strictly vegetarian just be sure to ask for no fish sauce. Serving the kind of food that tastes too good to be healthy, Saba even partnered up with nutritionist Erika Doolan to create an innovative menu which offers symbols that suggest the calorie count, and highlights coeliac options and paleo dishes, which are all dairy, wheat, soya, and legume free. The best bit? Regardless of what you order, or how fussy you are, the friendly team at Saba will always go the extra mile to make sure you have a memorable dining experience. After all, Saba in Thai does mean ‘happy meeting place’.
Hidden away off the bustling thoroughfare of Camden Street, situated within YogaHub yoga studio Happy Food is an all vegan cafe that is worth seeking out. Taking their food as seriously as they do their yoga, signature dishes include a foodporn-equse Sloppy Joe Burger, falafel which have earned a reputation as being some of the tastiest in the city and Vegan ‘Fish and Chips’, a regular special. Fueling yogis and office workers alike, Happy Food serves breakfast and lunch Monday to Friday and brunch on Saturday, but you can also pre-order dinner to pick up on your way home from work. No reason not to Nama-stay on the veggie bandwagon.
Sova Vegan Butcher
Polish Chef Bart Sova first trialed his ‘vegan butcher’ as a vegan pop-up and market stall, which then evolved into a month-long pop up in Rathmines. The project proved so popular that in 2016 he opened Sova Food Vegan Butcher on a permanent basis on Pleasant Street, just off Camden Street. True to its butcher title many dishes on the menu mimic classically carnivorous fare like burgers, steaks, and schnitzel using faux-meat substitutes like tofu, tempeh and seitan. The dining room is humble and informal, and operates a BYOB policy, but the atmosphere is buzzy and the food aspires to elevate the usual vegan offering with a emphasis on presentation.
This hipster haven is so cool that they can’t even be found on social media, but that doesn’t stop food lovers finding their way here meaning there’s almost always a queue. The menu is spiked with the results of their fermentation experimentation, which also informs a quirky collection of drinks, and there’s plenty on offer for vegetarians and vegans. Early risers are treated to their signature Fumbally Eggs, scrambled with Gubbeen cheese, garlic and tomatoes served on toasted brioche, and ‘Self Service’ porridge that comes with a selection of toppings and an invitation to come again if you please. For lunch you’ll be tempted by their falafel, an ever changing array of flavoursome salads and there’s always a daily veggie special. They’re open for dinner on Wednesdays too.
Sprout & Co
Sprout & Co Kitchens have really taken root in Dublin since first opening on Dawson Street in 2015, branching out to open three other standalone stores and sprouting up in Avoca Dunboyne too. With their genuine commitment to seasonal and local produce, fresh and flavoursome food, sleek branding and even slicker service, it’s little wonder why Sprout has seduced so many, vegans and non vegans alike. Plant based eaters have plenty of choice for breakfast with the likes of avo on toast, smoothies and chia pudding. For lunch their falafel is a favourite, and you can’t pass the dazzling display of NutShed‘s nutritious treats to finish. Didn’t get your Sprout fix during the day? The Dawson Street and Ballsbridge stores are open late for dinner on Thursdays and Fridays on too.
Thursday Cafe Dublin
Despite it’s name, The Thursday Cafe, an entirely vegetarian cafe is located within the humble surrounds of The Dublin Food Co-op, is now open Wednesday to Sunday. The hearty menu is made with local, organic ingredients and includes multiple riffs on eggs, pancakes, sandwiches, quiche, veggie lasagne, and pizza is a speciality. They always have vegan soup, mains and cakes on offer too. When the market truly comes to life at the weekend the cafe comes into its own, situated at the heart of the action it’s the perfect spot to while away the off-duty hours absorbing the diversity of sights, sounds and smells.
One of the original vegetarian eateries in the city, Govindas harks back to the classic approach of catering to veggies; serving deli-style huge portions of colourful food in a casual setting that lifts the spirit and satisfies the hunger. Operating from two outlets in the city centre, Middle Abbey Street and Aungier Street, the menu has a strong Indian influence but includes a diverse mix of European foods too. All food is made in house and often with fruit, vegetables and nuts from their farm in Fermangh, where they have polytunnels, 70 fruit trees and 15 nut trees.
Two Pups Cafe Dublin
Now open seven days a week, Two Pups cafe is part of the 74 Francis Street Collective located in Dublin’s antiques quarter. Along with great coffee, they have a small but considered food menu that aside from option to add ham to their Tasty Toastie is entirely vegetarian. Alongside all day breakfast-style dishes like sourdough toast topped with jazzed up eggs or avocado, there’s a ‘Daily Dahl’ and a veggie salad or noodle bowl. Plant food lovers are by nature animal lovers too, so will be happy to hear Two Pups is dog friendly.
While most would associate Japanese cuisine with the likes of salmon sushi rolls and tuna sashimi, vegans and vegetarians will have plenty of options at any one of Yamamori’s city centre locations. Try hot dishes like roast vegetable curry, tofu steak and vegetable ramen at Yamamori Noodles on South Great George’s Street, vegetable gyoza and agedashi tofu at Yamamori Izakaya across the road, or sushi nigiri and norimaki skillfully prepared with vegetables at Yamaori Sushi on Ormond Quay. At all three venues there’s a generous daily veggie bento box that will satisfy any Japanese food lover’s appetite.
When chef Dylan McGrath opened Rustic Stone in 2011 many people were skeptical of the forward thinking, nutritionally-aware menu that showcased raw food and promoted cooking on the stone. But the restaurant on South Great George’s Street proved it was ahead of the health conscious curve and still to this day is innovative in its offering. Vegans will delight in the menu, created with the help of nutritionist Erika Doolan, that includes giant bowls of salads and light broths have been carefully constructed to be both intensely flavoursome and nutrient dense, vegetarians will crave courgette linguini, and both will salivate over the quirky sides like crunchy cauliflower florets in a creamy coconut puree and succulent roast fennel confit.
Umi Falafel’s formula of serving great value, fresh falafel, Middle Eastern mezze and salad dishes, in a modern, informal cafe setting has proved so popular that they claim that they roll enough falafel each week that if laid side by side they would stretch from their Dame Street cafe all the way to new suburban store in Rathmines. Owners say their secret is making the falafel to order and sticking to a family recipes for salads, sauces and pickles. The relaxing environment makes it a perfect place to catch up with friends over a shared mezze, lingering a little longer with some loose leaf mint teas to complete the authentic Middle Eastern experience.
Formerly located in Temple Bar, the mandate of this Grattan Street gem is to cater for two of the main modern food tribes; paleoism and veganism. Located nearby the Grand Canal Dock, just a short stroll from the city centre, healthy eaters won’t leave hungry with their menu of heaving salads, generous grain bowls, plentiful bowls of pasta and heartwarming hotpots inspired by the flavours of Mexico, the Middle East, Japan and India, most of which come with the option of vegan falafel. Staple foods can also be found mid week at local city markets at Grand Canal Dock, the park at Merrion Square and by the river at Percy Place.
Cocu’s founder and executive chef Emilia Rowan took inspiration from the diverse health food concepts she encountered while travelling and working abroad and put them together to form what is now a chain of three eateries in Dublin. Emilia worked side by side with dietician Orla Walsh to create a nutritionally balanced menu that caters to all dietary needs. It’s hard to keep track of the constantly involving menu, but veggies can count on dishes like buckwheat granola and tofu or falafel salad boxes during the week, and green pea pancakes and buddha bowls for weekend brunch. The health hubs can be found at Chatham Street, Baggot Street Upper and under the arches of the Station Building at Hatch Street.
Veginity Restaurant Dublin
This plant based street food truck operates on a permanent basis from inside a warehouse on a lane way off Richmond street South from Thursday to Saturday. There, and at Eatyard where they can also be found from Thursday to Sunday, vegans and non vegans alike have popped their veginity with their tempting and imaginative dishes created by founder Australian Chef Mark Senn, who worked in the famous Mildred’s in London and was Head Chef of Soul Mama in Melbourne. The frequently changing menu includes quirky creations like marinated tofu burger with wasbai mayo, plant based ‘F!&h and Chips’ and plantain tostones.
A popular dining destination since opening on Capel Street in 2012, Brother Hubbard’s reputation for feel-good food that doesn’t compromise on flavour saw them open Sister Sadie in 2014, now rebranded as Brother Hubbard South. All with their signature Middle Eastern twist, for lunch Brother Hubbard offers vegans open hummus sandwiches, smashed avo and cannellini beans on toasted sourdough, and their daily soups and salads are often vegan too. Vegetarians have their pick of brunch dishes like turkish eggs menemen and beans baked in a rich tomato sauce, served with a fried egg, feta and olive yogurt. Open seven days a week for breakfast, brunch and lunch, Brother Hubbard North also serves dinner from Tuesday to Saturday, for which the menu is over 50% vegan. Keep an eye on their social media channels for word on their regular Vegan Supperclub too.
Prepared to be whisked off to Bali as you step off the main thoroughfare of Temple Bar and into Chameleon, a long-established Indonesian inspired hideaway. The menu allows you to choose from a number of Indonesian Rijst-Tafel set menus (perfect for groups), or from a selection of Asian tapas and their speciality steamed buns. Of the three Rijst-Tafels options one is vegetarian, and entirely vegan if you omit the pickled aubergine mayonnaise that accompanies the Potato and Chickpea Fritter. Elsewhere on the menu there’s colourful array of curries, stir fries, salads, pickles and more that that all hum with the fragrant aromatics of ‘The Spice Islands’.
FEATURE BY ERICA BRACKEN
Erica grew up with a baker and confectioner for a father and a mother with an instinct and love for good food. It is little wonder then that, after completing a law degree, she went on to do a Masters in Food Business at UCC. With a consuming passion for all things food, nutrition and wellness, working with TheTaste is a perfect fit for Erica; allowing her to learn and experience every aspect of the food world meeting its characters and influencers along the way.