Anyone who thinks veganism is a fad is "a dinosaur, living in denial", according to London chef-restaurateur Alexis Gauthier, who's just announced that his fine-dining restaurant Gauthier Soho is to go fully vegan within the next two years. Citing an impending "global environmental catastrophe", and the fact that restaurants need to set an example, it's a bold move, and one that further cements the growth in plant-based eating across the western world.
Dublin tends to follow trends that happen in London (which tends to follow New York), so expect vegan dining options here to grow rapidly over the next 12 months, but there are already some brilliant places to eat plant-based food. While going full-time V might be too restrictive for most of us, sometimes you might just want to up your veggie intake or give your stomach a break from processing meat and dairy, so whether you're vegan or just vegan-curious, here are 12 of the best places in Dublin to eat plant-based food without losing out on flavour...
1. Veginity / Vish Shop
If you haven't tried Australian Mark Senn's vegan food before, either at their old veginity food truck in Portobello or from 'Vish Shop' at Eatyard, you need to sort that out. The vish and chips, made from cassava and seaweed, is the best fish substitution we've had, and the cauliflower 'wings' are a game changer, giving chicken a serious run for its money. They're in the process of opening a permanent site on Dorset Street, just north of the city, and we'll be first in the queue.
Delicious Middle Eastern, purse-friendly food in Drumcondra that's predominantly vegan, with pittas, falafel, mezze and flavour-packed salads. It's BYO too (€4 per bottle) so you can bring along your favourite vegan-friendly wine.
3. Pho Viet
Some of the best Vietnamese food in the city with a whole page on the menu dedicated to vegan and vegetarian dishes. Try the savoury pancake filled with bean sprouts, carrots, onions and peppers with their homemade dipping sauce, or the vegetarian bun (noodle bowl) with spring rolls.
4. Fallon & Byrne
The dining room above the high end food hall recently introduced a vegan-friendly menu, with dishes like roasted globe of artichoke with tomato pesto and pine nuts, and chocolate and peanut parfait. Plenty of vegan friendly wines too.
5. Sova Vegan Butcher
One of the go-to's for vegan's in Dublin for the past few years, Barto Sova's ever changing menu at Sova Vegan Butcher includes things like mac n' cheese, seaweed chowder with samphire and strawberry and cashew nut cheesecake.
Vegetarian/vegan Vietnamese food with touches of Mexican, like Saigon tostadas and bánh mì with honey-basted mushrooms, peanuts and shallots. Find them in a food truck at the back of The Glimmerman pub in Stoneybatter from Thursday to Sunday.
Probably the place most people thing of when you say "vegetarian restaurant", Cornucopia has been feeding Dublin's vegetarian and vegan population for over 30 years. Soups, salads, stews and enchiladas with vegan cheese can usually be found at the counter and portions are generous.
8. Brother Hubbard
One of Dublin's most interesting places to grab breakfast or lunch, you always find vibrant, flavourful vegan salads and sandwiches, and they've organised several vegan supper clubs over the past year. Sign up to their mailing list to get news about the next one.
9. Happy Food by Yoga Hub
A vegan destination since it opened on Camden Place a few years ago, Happy Food now have a second location in Castleknock, and serve up vegan burgers, pad thai and tofu ribs (apparently much better than they sound). A yoga class beforehand will take your health-related zen to a new level.
The swanky bistro opposite Stephen's Green is more known for long business lunches than a focus on sustainable eating, but recently introduced a vegan menu, and it looks good, with dishes like roasted cauliflower with satay chili dressing and miso-glazed aubergine.
Long-standing Temple Bar restaurant serving Indonesian food tapas style in various 'Rijst Tafel', with a vegetarian/vegan option that sounds almost better than the meat. Balinese yellow curry, sesame fried vegetables and Bami Goreng are some of the herb and spice-packed dishes on Chameleon's menu.
12. Umi Falafel
Falafel, mezze plates and salads on Dame Street. A visiting vegan from New York recently told us she visited here twice on her trip to Dublin and thought it was the best Middle Eastern food she's had outside of the Middle East. Nuff said.