Travelling around Ireland and hotel hopping around Dublin for a month certainly has it’s pros and cons, and eating out is both a pro and a con; while it’s great to be able to try all the city has to offer, it can be very costly – particularly if you don’t enjoy your meal.
With that in mind, I thought it’d be helpful to put together a list of some of my favourite cafes and restaurants in Dublin, all of which are vegetarian/vegan biased for obvious reasons. I’m a vegetarian, and mildly lactose intolerant, just in case you’re new around here – but I have a carnivore husband, so this isn’t a list of just vegan or vegetarian restaurants only.
Tara Street, Dublin 2
This cafe is every blogger/instagrammer/health conscious/vegan’s dream and if you read this post, you’ll know just how obsessed I am with this place. On my first trip to Dublin, I was here pretty much every day; either having breakfast with Jass, lunch on my own, or simply working away with a coffee in hand.
Not only is the decor incredibly aesthetically pleasing and staff super friendly, the food is simply divine. They cater for everyone here; with a menu full of açai bowls, paleo eggs and vegan protein pancakes, they also serve brekkie essentials for the fish/meat eaters out there; smoked salmon and bacon.
When given the option, I will always chose breakfast over a lunch menu, regardless of the time of day, so I haven’t tried any of their soups and sandwiches, however it’s safe to say that I’ve almost worked my way through their entire vegan breakfast menu! The açai bowl and ‘toast two ways’ are my faves. I genuinely can’t decide whether I prefer the spicy hummus on toast to the more traditional avo toast – whoever created this menu is a genius!
I’ve been to both of their branches, but find the Tara Street branch is just that little bit cosier. The staff are friendlier and though both places tend to get very busy around lunchtime, this one just feels a little less touristy and has a more relaxed vibe.
13 Dame Street, Dublin 2
This contemporary Middle Eastern restaurant was actually recommended to me by one of my Instagram followers (so thank you, if you’re reading this!)
The decor is dark, sleek, modern and very hipster – and it’s a hybrid between a fast-food takeaway (the long counter at the entrance) and a restaurant with table service, which is tucked away in a large open space at the back.
The entire menu is vegetarian (lots of it is vegan friendly too, obvs) and though they specialise in falafel, together with the traditional mezze and salads, there are sandwiches, meal deals, sides and a platter to choose from. The drinks list is pretty extensive too and includes a range freshly squeezed juices which is always a nice touch!
We ordered some mezze; hummus, baba ghanoush, batata hara, breaded halloumi sticks, a Fatoush salad and a side of olives to share. Aside from having to send the olives back (the oil was rancid and it all tasted a bit funky), everything else we’d chosen was divine. The batata hara were actually just potato wedges, which were fine- they just weren’t what we expected. The breaded halloumi sticks and the mango dip they’re served with however, were definitely the star of the show for us! Stupidly, we didn’t order any falafel this time, but we’ll definitely be back here before we leave Dublin, so watch this space.
The words ‘affordable’ and ‘Dublin’ aren’t often used in one sentence together, but it’s worth noting that this is one of the most affordable restaurants we’ve come across here – together with big portions, great service and a lovely ambience, it’s one not to miss!
160 Parnell Street, Dublin 1
With delicious, authentic Korean food, great options for vegetarians and vegans and brilliant service, I have nothing negative to say about this place.
We went with our friends and between the four of us, we ordered (and loved) everything; Hansik Jeyuk (pork marinated in Korean chilli sauce), Bibimbap with tofu & mushroom – my personal fave, U-dong prawn tempura noodle soup and Tempura vegetable donburi. We even ordered a glass of So Mac (a mix of Soju – traditional Korean rice wine and beer) to try for the first time, which was interesting.
The food was so great that we went back a few days later – it was the best bibimbap I’ve had outside of Toronto!
51 Wellington Quay, Dublin 2
This is a trendy Japanese noodle and sushi bar is perfectly located on the edge of Temple Bar, beside the Ha’penny Bridge.
We stumbled upon this gem on our first night in Dublin after walking around for an hour trying to decide where to eat. The restaurant looked quite busy, and eager to get out of the cold, we decided to chance it without checking out the reviews in advance – I know!
We started with a portion of edamame to share; these were ok, but definitely under-salted which meant that they didn’t taste of anything really. We asked for extra salt, which the waitress gladly provided. I was quite excited to see a veggie option under the ‘Grill’ section, which is extremely rare in any restaurant of any cuisine and to my delight, it was tofu ‘steak’ in teryaki sauce (my favourite) – and it certainly didn’t disappoint.
Prices are average, the atmosphere is lovely and cosy and the service is brilliant. We’ll definitely be back at some point on our travels to sample their sushi.
72 South Great Georges Street, Dublin 2
Another Japanese restaurant that we stumbled upon near the Grafton street area with some great reviews. I spotted my favourite tofu ‘steak’ on the menu and couldn’t resist ordering it again to compare the two, while Jass went for a more traditional bento box which he loved.
On first impressions, I noticed that the portion was huge – far too big for one person. They were quite stingy with the tofu; it seemed like a side to the mountain of vegetables on my platter. I’d asked for no aubergine as I’m not the biggest fan, and I had almost two large sweet potatoes chopped up, along with some peppers and courgettes. The dish was served with a bowl of wild black rice which was delicious!
While we both loved our meals, if I was to do a side-by-side comparison of mine compared to the same dish I ordered at Eatokyo, it’s worth noting that this cost just over €7 more than the other; priced at just under €20, this restaurant certainly isn’t cheap. The tofu is served with black rice as opposed to regular steamed rice and this was a larger portion; far too vegetable heavy – and that’s coming from somebody that loves vegetables!
The ambience is a bit fancier here than at Eatokyo, which is reflected in the prices they charge, but we did enjoy our meals and would recommend it for a nice meal in the city – I’d just order a different dish next time though.
153 Capel Street, Dublin 1
With the hype surrounding this place, I’ll be honest and admit that my expectations were pretty high and so I was disappointed that the food and atmosphere was a bit flat – In all honesty, I was expecting 11/10 but feel like 7.5/10 is more appropriate.. which is still good.
There are a couple of solid vegan/veggie options on the brunch menu, I ordered a mocha with oat milk and the vegan avo special – described as smashed avocado & chickpea on sourdough, topped with sautéed green lentils, red onion, plum tomato, crispy smoked maple coconut crisps & peashoots with romesco bravas.
The coffee wasn’t strong enough for my liking and there was no chocolate in the mocha which was disappointing; it just tasted like a latte. My meal was lovely, but there were far too many lentils piled up on the toast for my liking. Not only are they extremely filling, but I got a bit sick of them half way through my meal, which just put me off – I mean, it is a bit of a weird combination, don’t you think? The smoked maple coconut chips and romesco bravas however, were delightful.
My friend ordered the halloumi sabiche, which not only looked better, it tasted much better too and he loved it! To be fair, I think I just ordered badly. I wouldn’t rush to go back a second time, but I would recommend going for the vibe – just skip the coffee and grab it elsewhere beforehand!
Clondalkin Cafe, Dublin 22
Ridiculous location for a tourist, but similarly to Brother Hubbard, I’d been dying to visit The Happy Pear for a while because of all the hype. There isn’t an easy way of getting to either restaurant location by Luas (tram) from the city centre, though I established that this branch is the closest, so we took a bit of a detour on our way back from Cork to Dublin.
Their opening hours are quite limited, and the food is all vegetarian (mostly vegan) and pre-made; which means that if you visit later in the day, you may not have a lot of choice – this was the case with us. I assume the menu changes regularly as it’s written on the board as opposed to being printed anywhere. We arrived at around 4pm, a couple of hours before closing time and had a choice of soup of the day with half a sandwich, one pre-made sandwich, a selection of salads, new potatoes and lasagne.
We both went for the lasagne with a side salad and potatoes; it was nice but not amazing and again, I have to say I was very underwhelmed. Their breakfast/brunch menu looked great though, but I’d say unless you have a car while travelling in Dublin and you can get there earlier in the day, I wouldn’t go out of my way to visit.
I’m planning to go back to Dublin in a couple of weeks’ time so I’ll update this post as I when I find new eateries I love. In the meantime, I’d love some recommendations please – what are your favourite restaurants in Dublin? Please leave them in the comments below!