Words: Emily Mullen
After much racking of brains, trawling of the internet and broken down email threads we are proud to present, The Ultimate Dublin Food Guide, Vegan and Vegetarian food edition! A guide that cuts through the mire of food reviews made by every Tom, Dick and Harry, with opposable thumbs and access to 3G.
The ante of vegan and veggie food in Dublin has well and truly been upped over the last few years. For decades the scene was filled with a handful of solitary renegades, ploughing their own furrows serving up delicious, healthy fare amidst the backdrop of meat and potatoes. Places like Govinda’s, Cornucopia and Blazing Salads (which are all of course on the list) have been going for decades, beating out a steady trade out of the masses of Dublin.
This growth has seen vegan and vegetarian cuisine move into new areas like Michelin-list worthy dining to reproductions of beloved meat-eater classics. While there are still restaurants in Dublin that offer up chips as a vegan or vegetarian alternative, the food scene in Dublin has a long way. Restauranteurs with cop on, understand that offering the same old portobello mushroom burger or risotto with some veg thrown on top, to vegans and vegetarians just won’t cut it now.
People of all diets want vibrant and exciting food, and if a dish is just that few will cock a snook at the lack of meat anymore.
A positive sign that more room will be created for vegan and vegetarian cuisine in this city, was how many meat-eaters and pescatarians we spoke to included so many favourite plant-based and veggie food establishments in their lists. While veganism or vegetarianism might not be for everyone, it’s important that our meat consumption is reduced by the many to aid the hard work of the few.
All the answers have been stripped of flesh, peeled, stewed, chopped and presented in a harm-free manner, into your waiting paws let us place The Ultimate Food Guide to Dublin’s best Vegan and Vegetarian food:
Not to be mistaken for the spread made by a man called Harry, Nutbutter have a mix of flexitarian and vegan dishes that centre around tacos and bowls. Each ingredient on the menu has been the subject of “several meetings” that emphasise using seasonal locally sourced predominately Irish ingredients. A man who knows his way around a cafe, proprietor of 3FE Colin Harmon credits Nutbutter with getting him through the pandemic, he said, “I love vegetarian food but very few nail the flavour/texture balance. Nutbutter is untouched in the city, the Pad Thai is my go-to.”
Location: Grand Canal Dock’s Gallery Quay
For more information visit the Nutbutter website
Anyone who follows Veginity on Instagram will know that they consistently come up with exciting and unusual vegan dishes. Beginning as a food truck in a warehouse in Portobello, Veginity has grown into a much-lauded restaurant. Each month the plant-based restaurant takes a different country and creates a menu inspired by the chosen country’s cuisine. Describing themselves as a place where street food meets fine dining, the team headed up by leading vegan chef Mark Senn works with culinary cuisines from the likes of Ethiopia, Brazil and Spain. Chef and director of Conbini Condiments Holly Dalton listed Veginity in her top vegan and veggie restaurants.
Location: Inns Quay’s Dorset Street Upper
Wednesday-Saturday 10.00-16.00, 17.30-22.00 and 10.00-16.00, 17.00-22.00
For more information visit the Veginity website
From its beginnings as a market stall, Vegan Sandwich Co has grown into a contender of a business. With a buzzing sandwich shop in Smithfield the team also have some of their vegan-alternative products like Roast Chick*n Pieces and Bac*n Strips on the shelves of major supermarkets. Offering the people of Dublin a brand new concept is part of the secret, the team have taken traditionally meat-centric staples like breakfast muffins and chicken rolls and transformed them into vegan and vegetarian-friendly versions. Holly Dalton was a fan alongside the owner of the Filipino inspired food truck Bahay, Riggz Castillo.
Location: Smithfield’s Queen Street
For more information visit the Vegan Sandwich Co website
A walk down Wicklow Street would be incomplete without looking in at Cornucopia’s big windows. The plant-based restaurant has been operating at that site since 1986. In that time they have become a pioneer of conscious food consumption in the city with their cookbook Cornucopia at Home one of the first of its kind on many Irish shelves. Their hearty fare was appreciated by serial restauranteur Niall Sabongi, who gave Cornucopia his coveted number one vote.
Dublin 2’s Wicklow Street
For more information visit the Cornucopia website.
Glas hit the scene with a bang in October 2019, offering a fine dining experience with innovative vegetarian and vegan food. Listed on the Michelin Guide, the place on Chatham Street is a go-to for vegans and vegetarians who want to push the boat out a little. The team behind Glas (which include First Dates Maitre’D Mateo Saina) have also expanded into Rathmines with their concept store, Glas Deli. The high calibre of Glas’s food is something that wasn’t missed by former Chapter One head chef Eric Matthews, who listed it as his number 1.
Dublin 2’s Chatham Street
For more information visit the Glas website.
Another spot whose origin story begins as a market stall, Sova Vegan Butcher lays claim to being Ireland’s first Vegan restaurant (according to its bio). The place in Dublin 8’s Pleasants Street does give everyone a bit of a tickle with the name. The menu is pretty eclectic, which covers a lot of traditionally meaty dishes everything from meat-free donor kababs to soya steak sushi rolls. Holly Dalton included the Butchers on her list alongside influencer and cookery book co-author James Kavanagh.
Dublin 8’s Pleasants Street
For more information visit the Sova Vegan Butcher website.
Opened in 2000, Blazing Salads shop front in Drury Street is heavy with awards. The wholefood deli caters for vegan and vegetarian diets. As the name suggests their salads are pretty varied, with clever dressings, alongside their hot food station and their sweets. Owner of Lil Portie Nico Reynolds said that he “liked Blazing Salads a lot” while Holly Dalton also rated them.
Location: Dublin 2’s Drury Street
For more information visit their Instagram
One of the city’s best known vegetarian restaurants is the Hare Krishna-run Govinda’s. Operating under a Krishna Temple the restaurant runs on a not-for-profit basis in accordance with Krishna teaching. Known for its simple and generously portioned meals, Govinda’s on Middle Abbey Street is a go-to for hungry cash-strapped Dubliners. Eric Matthews and Riggz Castillo both gave Govinda’s their number 2 spots.
Dublin 1’s Middle Abbey Street
For more information visit Govinda’s website
Beginning life as a burg*r van, V-Face opened the doors of their vegan restaurant on a busy corner of Stoneybatter in the summer of 2020. Best known for their burgers, V-Face appeals to those who crave a more meaty taste from their buns. One trick pony they aren’t, since V-Face excel in the chip and sweet departments too. “Everybody loves burgers and that’s what v-face does best, ” said Holly Dalton, “the fact that they’re vegan means you can enjoy them with a clear conscience” who added that she is a big fan of their pesto pinwheels. James Kavanagh also gave V-Face his number one and he told us that his go-to order was the Smoke Show burger.
Stoneybatter’s Brunswick Street
For more information visit the V-Face website
Open up any Dubliners “want to try” list in the notes app and you will probably find Shouk written there. It was voted as the number one spot for vegan and vegetarian food by an overwhelming number of our contributors. While the Middle Eastern restaurant does serve meat, its veggie/vegan salads and mezze platters are where they truly excel. They are a real all-rounder, servicing lunch options, through to dinner, the team also run a pretty affordable tasting menu. Ireland’s patron saint of meat-eating Andy Noonan voted Shouk his top choice, saying “I never miss meat when I’m eating middle-eastern vegetarian food”. “The best vegetarian/vegan food are dishes that are plant-based by default,” said Riggz Castillo, “Shouk’s whole menu is pretty much plant-based, and it’s incredibly balanced and flavourful.” Daniela Carnevali from popup bakery Monamie called it one of her favourite restaurants in town, “the place is lovely, the staff is always accommodating and friendly but most of all, food is always delicious and fresh” she added that her go-to order is either the falafel sandwich or the assortment of veggies and dips (“the aubergine salad is so good!”).
Drumcondra’s Drumcondra Road Lower
Wednesday-Sunday 12.00-22.00 for more information visit the Shouk website.
Honourable mentions: Umi Falafel, Token, Reyna, Happy Food, The Fumbally Café, As One, Assassination Custard and Pacheco Venezuelan Street Food
Not full enough? Check out our Ultimate Dublin Food Guide to Pizzas