Irish stew, fish and chips, black and white pudding – the Irish cuisine does not offer a great range of vegetarian and vegan meals. While vegetarians mostly have to resort to side dishes in traditional establishments, there are by now a lot of options in the following eight vegetarian restaurants in Dublin to get some tasty and nutritious food when abstaining from meat.
“Vegetarian Food is now getting very popular in Irish Cuisine as people try and make at least two meals a week vegetarian”, says Pamela Fitzmaurice, the owner of Blazing Salads. However, she also knows that “Irish people love stews and grains”, she says. That’s why Fitzmaurice tries to pick that up in her own restaurant:
Blazing Salads is located in Drury Street in Dublin 2 and was established in 1982. They serve wholefoods and source their ingredients from small, and if possible organic, producers. “We are a socially conscious company and use sustainable ingredients in their whole form”, says Fitzmaurice.
Customers can select different kinds of salads and mix their own box. They also offer sugar-free cakes and organic sourdough breads. Fitzmaurice doesn’t really know what their customers favorite is because there are simply too many. “Our fresh soups are very popular and our delicious fresh curries in our take home section.” But also the fresh burgers, red lentil, and Basmati Rice with coriander pesto with a salad of choice, are often the first choice. For the time being Blazing Salads offer Click and Collect as well as delivery service. That is how the restaurant copes with the pandemic.
“Covid has had a significant effect on our business”, says Fitzmaurice. After they had to initially close the store physically for three months, they now offer walk-ins and Click and Collect from 9.30am to 5pm, Wednesday to Saturday. “We are extremely lucky to have a great, loyal customer base who have supported us through these months.”
That is also how Cornucopia gets through the time of Covid. The wholefood and vegetarian restaurant in 19-29 Wicklow Street, Dublin 2 is currently open Monday to Sunday, 10.30am until 5.30 pm for takeaway, and there is a special collection and delivery menu on Saturdays. Cornucopia (Latin: Cornu Copia) represents food and abundance, and the mission of the restaurant is to “produce great-tasting, healthy, vegan and vegetarian food in a friendly and relaxed environment.”
A vegan moussaka made of mushrooms, aubergine, and red lentils is just one of the mouth-watering meals the company has to offer. Customers are welcomed for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. With their meal, they can also have coffee, wine, and craft-bottled beer. Not only does Cornucopia specialise in vegan and gluten-free cuisine with a daily changing menu selection, they’ve even created their own cookbook, which is available in the restaurant as well as online.
Sova Vegan Butcher
The third restaurant worth mentioning is the Sova Vegan Butcher, which opened its doors in May 2015, in 51 Pleasants Street. At the moment, it’s open from Wednesday to Saturday, 1pm-9pm for drop in and ordering online. With “tasty, healthy, happy, sexy” food, the owner is not only promoting vegan food but also a healthy lifestyle in general.
“We are composing vegan dishes that taste excellent while providing all the essential nutrients with the benefit for your body and soul”, is what the Vegan Butcher says on its website. From Kebab and Sushi to Gnocchi they transform traditional meals into meat-free food – perfect for anyone who’s stopped eating meat but still misses it sometimes.
Vegan Sandwich Co
Sourdough baguettes with plant-based chicken, breakfast muffins with vegan sausages, and vegetarian burgers and kebabs. That is just a small sample of what Vegan Sandwich Co has to offer. “We would describe the food we make as plant based food without compromise”, says Sian Pearson, marketing executive of Vegan Sandwich Co. Based at 6 Queen Street in Smithfield, a restaurant that noticed a huge increase in customers in the past years.
“As veganism has gained traction over here, it’s becoming a lot easier for Irish people to adapt to a vegan diet”, says Pearson. According to him, the all-time favourite of their customers is the Chick*n Fillet Roll, “partly because it’s a veganised version of the deli chicken fillet roll, which is a very important institution in Ireland.” It’s a baguette with a choice of vegan sauce, salad fillings and seitan Chick*n. “People go mad for them”, says Pearson. Because of Covid the business turned entirely into a delivery operation.
“It’s been a whirlwind of a journey, but we’re so lucky we’ve been able to keep trading and stay busy!”
This is a place you can find, no matter where you are in Dublin. “Umi is the Arabic word for mother which explains why our falafel are handmade with care”, is what the restaurant states on their website. And you can taste that everything they prepare is made with love. To make the falafel as fresh and crispy tasting as possible, the chefs at Umi soak fresh chickpeas in water for 24 hours, then combine up to 15 different ingredients such as onions, garlic, parsley, and coriander. This recipe is 100% vegetarian and even a good source of protein. Customers can have their Falafel in a sandwich, with salad or just plain with some Hummus and bread.
Baes in a Yoga Studio, HappyFood offers gluten-free, dairy-free and plant-based food. It’s home-made daily and customers can enjoy everything from breakfast, lunch, brunch, treats, snacks, smoothies to teas and coffees. Usually you have to go right through Yoga Hub in 5-8 Camden Court in Dublin 2 to enter the restaurant. However, at the moment, because of Covid, HappyFood is only offering takeaway and delivery services. But the menu is various nonetheless. Falafel Buddha Bowl, Pad Thai, Vegan chicken caesar salad, vegetarian burger with black beans, and sweet potato pattie: there is something for every veggie out there.
“We take our inspiration from world cuisine and give it our own unique plant based twist”, says Mark Senn, chef of Veginity in 101 Dorset Street Upper in Dublin 1. “This allows our chefs to experiment and use unusual or uncommon ingredients and techniques.” Therefore, they use them as a “library of plant based ideas.” Starting in a small food truck five years ago, Senn now feels like people are getting more interested in plant-based eating. And for that, Veginity offers a constantly changing menu, based on a different country or idea each month.
“My personal favorite dish that we had on the menu was a fermented tofu with black bean dish,” says Senn. It was served with pickled choi sum, mushrooms, and noodles. “I think I ate that dish five times a week for the month it was on.” Adjusting to the Covid situation, Veginity is still offering pick-up and delivery service. According to Senn, they have had to modify their offering to cater more for at home eating. “The chefs have been totally onboard and created some amazing new things for people to eat at home that will definitely stay on the menu once everything gets back to some sort of normal.”
The last one of eight delicious vegetarian restaurants in Dublin is Shouk in 40 Drumcondra Road Lower in Dublin 9. Similar to Umi they serve Middle Eastern food and a menu with a variety of gluten-free and vegan options. And just to give you an example, there is the “Middle East Feast”: A taster menu of all the favourite dishes, which includes roasted cauliflower covered with Tahini and tomato salsa; and baked sweet potato with onion sumac labneh sauce. Both are also available during Covid with Click and Collect as well as delivery services.
If vegetarian, vegan, or omnivore – nowadays there are many options to eat out without having to eat meat or just the sides. And even for the more traditional Irish meals like stew or fish and chips there are vegetarian offers in some places by now.