For too long vegetarians in our lives have gotten a raw deal – always the afterthought of the menu, with an unimaginative risotto or vegetable curry thrown onto the page to fill the gap. But the times they are a-changing, and like a lot of people we've made a conscious move to more of a plant-based diet, leading to more creative cooking at home and a whole new world of options when eating out. Whether you're vegan, vegetarian, flexitarian, or simply curious about integrating more plant-based meals into your diet, these are what we consider to be the best places for vegans and vegetarians to eat in Dublin, starting with more casual cafés and ending with the places for going 'out out'.
Little Bird Café and Yoga, Dublin 8
No prizes for guessing the two activities taking place in this spot - yoga and food, a winning combo. Little Bird is a neighbourhood café in the heart of Dublin 8, with all food made on site using seasonal, mostly organic ingredients. Their menu is all vegetarian with plenty of vegan options so you can enjoy a feast after you’ve worked through your sun salutations. Our pick is the wild mushroom toast with artichoke puree and toasted hazelnuts.
It's A Trap, Dublin 1
It's A Trap is a dog-friendly coffee shop on the northside of the city serving cakes, toasties and wraps which we can hardly believe are all vegan. They also have a retail arm so you can pop in here to get vegan essentials for your home cooking and treat yourself to lunch while you’re at it. Unfortunately, they recently announced plans to leave these premises sometime during 2022 due to increased anti-social behaviour in the area, but are hoping to line somewhere new up in the meantime.
Kale + Coco, Stoneybatter
This was one of the first places we came across smoothie bowls, and while they are more in vogue these days and popping up on loads of menus, Kale + Coco are still serving the best around. Their menu is completely plant based and also has porridges, nourishing buddha bowls and sweet treats. You can even pick up some frozen Açaí pulp to make your own at home.
Veggie Vibe Café, Blackrock
Blackrock Market seems to be a little veggie paradise at the moment with 3 Leaves, Shaka Poke and Veggie Vibe Café all catering to the market. In this case, Veggie Vibe is totally vegan and open seven days with vegan bowls, cakes, and even a full Irish on offer.
Woke Cup Café, Smithfield
In the heart of Smithfield you’ll find Woke Cup Café serving up vegetarian and vegan fare, including breakfast baps, sausage rolls and toasties, with the option of making everything vegan.
Brother Hubbard, various locations
Brother Hubbard was one of the first cafes to fill the brunch gap that foodies were crying out for in Dublin when it opened in 2012. Since then, many others have opened but Brother Hubbard have always kept their loyal following and reputation. Their bread and (dairy-free) butter is breakfast and lunch, but they also branched out to dinner in their Capel Street location. There are tons of vegetarian and vegan options on all of their menus (like these Turkish eggs menemen), so you won’t be short of choice.
Urbanity in Smithfield has one of the best brunches around with both indoor and outdoor seating available for your weekend meet-ups. The menu isn’t exclusively vegetarian, but they have some really creative options for the veggies in the party such as salt and chili grilled halloumi with scallion pancake and edamame ginger spread – this one might even sway the carnivores in your group.
Pho Kim, Dublin 1
Parnell Street restaurant Pho Kim changed their name from Pho Viet but is still run by the same family who have been serving up some of the best Vietnamese food in Dublin since 2012. They have a full vegan menu to cater to their customers, from spring and summer rolls to a veggie Bun Cha.
The Fumbally, Dublin 8
The Fumbally café is a true community of food lovers coming together to make delicious things. As well as a café and shop, the premises hosts classes, workshops, supper clubs - you name it, they’re probably doing it. The menu is always creative and chefs are generally given free reign, which has led to a number of our favourite products coming out of their kitchen (looking at you Harry’s Nut Butter). It’s not totally vegetarian but has a nice mix of meaty and vegetarian dishes with options to veganise some menu items.
Govinda's, Dublin 1
Longstanding restaurant Govinda's on Middle Abbey Street is part of the Hare Krishna centre upstairs, but has long been an attraction for non-Hare Krishna followers. Their vegetarian and vegan Indian-inspired food is served buffet style and is some of the best value around with very generous portions.
Greenshot, Aungier Street
A new, totally vegan bakery is a welcome sight, especially when it's in such a central location, perfect for a coffee and cake fix after a morning browsing the shops. Greenshot only opened in 2021 and have since added sandwiches, meatless sausage rolls and tartines to their menu.
Vegan Sandwich Co, Smithfield
Guys we've found all the vegans - they're in Smithfield, or so it seems with the amount of vegan places popping up between here and Stoneybatter. You may recognise the Vegan Sandwich Co. from their meat-alternative range stocked in SuperValu, Nourish and other stores, but their core business is their sandwich shop which owner Sam Pearson opened in 2020 after years operating a market stall. Their sandwiches look like the standard you might see on any lunch menu - BLT, Chick*n Fillet Roll, Chilli Cheeze Bites, but they're all made using meat alternatives. Definitely one to visit after a big night out.
Shouk will disprove any notion that vegetarian food is unsatisfying or leaves you wanting. They serve up their truly authentic Middle Eastern food in a gorgeously relaxed space, and while they do have meat on the menu, the vegetarian and vegan offerings are the star here. Bring some friends and ask for the 'Middle East Feast’ (vegetarian and vegan options available) so you can try a bit of everything – a steal at €34 per person when you see the amount of food that arrives.
Umi Falafel, various locations
Umi Falafel is a mainstay of unfussy Dublin eateries at this stage, consistently delivering top quality food at very good prices. Their main offering is (you guessed it) falafel, and apart from a bit of cheese (halloumi cheese fries anyone?) the menu is predominantly vegan. It’s always a great option for a quick bite and they now have five locations in Dublin - three in the city centre, one in Rathmines and one in Ballsbridge.
Nutbutter, Grand Canal Dock
A Californian-inspired menu made with local Irish ingredients is right up our street, and Nutbutter gave us just that. Largely plant-based, their menu will make your mouth water with fresh and healthy tacos, rice bowls and salads on offer. Plus they have a plant-based soft serve for dessert.
Cornucopia, Dublin 2
An institution since 1986, we can’t imagine a list of vegetarian restaurants without the only decent option for Dublin’s non-meat eaters for many years. Cornucopia operates cafeteria style serving plentiful hot dishes and salads in their spacious yet cosy restaurant. They also offer Leamhain ice cream sandwiches – a vegan dessert created by one of their former chefs.
Kerb was opened by owner Shona McCabe after years of working in restaurants across Australia and New Zealand, picking up inspiration from their diverse cuisine. On her return she decided to focus on giving Middle Eastern food a modern twist - this is definitely not the greasy late night kebab that we all know and love. Sure there is a time (very late) and place (Aungier Street) for that style, but Shona wanted to give it a healthy twist that would enable customers to eat it every day, using the best of Irish ingredients. Kerb opens for breakfast and lunch (takeaway only right now) with plenty of options for both veggies and vegans, and they have some of the best coffee in the locality.
A longtime favourite of ours, street food truck Vietnom is based in the the back of the Glimmerman in Stoneybatter and always has a great variety of vegetarian and vegan food alongside some meat-based dishes. They serve predominantly Vietnamese dishes such as banh mi but have been known to step out into more of a fusion zone with tostadas, and you'll always find creative specials on the menu. They're taking a break until March 2022 and until then Bahay (below) will operate in their place.
Former Clanbrassil House chef Richie Castillo and girlfriend Alex O'Neill created their Filipino food concept Bahay using Richie's Dad's recipesm, and premiered the offering during summer 2021 at the Roe & Co D-8te pop-ups. We were lucky enough to score a ticket and were not let down by the flavour packed food - read our once over here. Since that ended they've been looking for somewhere more permanent to set themselves up, but in the interim they've nabbed the coveted spot at the back of the Glimmerman while Vietnom take a break. The meat-filled and meat-free food is fantastic, with a weekly changing menu based on what's in season, but we're eyeing up their veggie Longganisa hot dog, with a side of garlic rice.
Dosa Dosa, Grand Canal
Dosa Dosa started as a food truck in January 2020, possibly the worst timing in history, but they made it work touring around Dublin serving Southern Indian dosas to the masses, and they did so well they're now operating from a permanent container in Grand Canal alongside Griolladh and Bites by Kwanghi. They have a great variety of both vegetarian and vegan food at excellent value, and we love their vegan potato masala dosa which will set you back under a tenner.
Eatyard is generally a treasure trove for vegetarians and vegans and Janet's is no different. Within their small range of dumpling and bao buns they've included some very tasty vegan options so no one will be left out. Their vegan gyoza are always a winner, as are the tofu bao.
Shaka Poke, Blackrock
We've been big fans of Shaka Poké since their festival and food market stall days, and we were thrilled when they set up a permanent shop in Blackrock Market. Somewhere specialising in Hawaiian raw fish might not be the obvious place to look out for vegan food, but their ‘No Catch’ menu item omits any fishy additions, and they also have beetroot and marinated hoisin tofu if you want to bulk out your bowl.
This might not be somewhere you’d expect to see such an extensive vegan menu, but this arcade restaurant does its best to cater for everyone. Token have created a menu where pretty much everything that's available for meat-eaters is also available for vegans, including their nuggs, mac and cheese and even the garlic mayo, so you can feast freely before you work it all off on the dance machine.
The Saucy Cow, Eatyard
We love the story behind The Saucy Cow and totally understand where owner Roisin Lawlor got her inspiration – on her return from New York she was pleased to see an array of new vegan items on menus but nothing with sauce which can be tricky to ‘veganise’. She took matters into her own hands, creating a range of sauces and from there a vegan fast-food stand serving burgers, fries and desserts, in Eatyard, Dublin 9 and Beach Park in Bray.
Another option for when the craving for a dirty burger and fries hit, and another vegan point for Stoneybatter, V-Face describe themselves as "Animal Burgers made with Plants" and we would have to agree with them on this - these burgers are animal and we would easily choose one of these over a traditional meaty burger if we were in the area. They've just added salads including the 'Asian Equation' and the 'Vegano Italiano' to the menu, as well as tiramisu, chocolate and strawberry milkshakes, so every craving is covered.
Flip Burger, George's Street Arcade
Flip Burger (the brainchild of another vegetarian favourite Blazing Salads) opened in January 2020 after they received really positive responses to their vegan and vegetarian burgers at music festivals (sob, remember them?). They have a variety of plant-based patties served on organic seeded buns, and we loved them when we visited - particularly the focus on vegetables as opposed to pretending to be meat. The best news is that they have a €9.95 meal deal running Tuesday to Friday for a burger and handcut fries, so that's as good an excuse as any to try them.
Glas, Dublin 2
If your only experience of vegan food is troughs of courgette curries and squash stews, prepare to be amazed at what they do with vegetables at Glas. The plum and tarragon terrine is positively meaty (jackfruit innit), the flamed kolhrabi smoky and savoury, and the vegan aioli is indistinguishable from one made with egg. There's enough cheese on the menu to keep the non-vegans happy, and it's a beautiful plant-filled space to spend a few hours in.
Fallon & Byrne, Dublin 2
While the Exchequer Street location is home to one of our favourite food halls to roam around and a cosy wine cellar, Fallon & Byrne's upstairs restaurant is where you’ll find their best vegetarian offerings with a full plant-based menu available, using all of the great produce from the supermarket below.
Glovers Alley, Dublin 2
To say we were surprised when we saw that Glovers Alley has both a full vegetarian and full vegan tasting menu was an understatement. With vegan dishes such as ‘jerusalem artichoke, parsley and truffle’ and ‘mango, pineapple, lemon verbena and mint’ we would be tempted to forgo the carnivorous tasting menu for the veggie option ourselves. They have also priced it at €80 per person, which is obviously still eyewatering but lower than the regular tasting menu.
3 Leaves, Blackrock
Indian restaurants are usually a solid option if you're dining with vegetarian friends, and 3 Leaves in Blackrock is one of our most loved. They're only offering lunch right now on a walk-in basis so drop in for their ‘Taster Thali’, which they offer a vegan and vegetarian version of. If you haven't already been it will take about two seconds for you to realise what all the fuss is about.
Gursha, Dublin 2
Gursha started as an Ethiopian supper club, holding intimate evenings in the Cloud Cafe on North Strand Road. The supper clubs were a constant sell out and when the pandemic hit and owner Mel moved to a takeaway model, the demand was as high as ever. Luckily for all of us, Gursha has moved into a permanent premises on Poolbeg Street, and don't expect demand to lapse anytime soon. Ethiopian cooking and curries use very few meat products due to religious practices, so Gursha is naturally vegetarian and mostly vegan.
Sova Vegan Butcher, Dublin 8
No, that is not a typo, but it is two words you don’t usually see together: ‘vegan’ and ‘butcher’. Sova Vega Butcher on Pleasant Street wants to promote healthier lifestyles by offering the usual favourites with a vegan twist, like steak, kebabs and sushi with substitutions like protein rich seitan and tempeh. They've also just opened a new café in the Liberties serving breakfast and lunch.
Veginity + Vish Shop, Dublin 1
Veginity first made their mark with their street food truck serving 'vish and chips', and we were amongst the droves amazed at how fish-like it tasted - some very clever seaweed and vinegar additions in there. Owner Mark Senn opened fully vegan restaurant Veginity on Dorset Street in 2018, with the more casual Vish Shop following down the street. They recently showcased Brazilian, Spanish and Cambodian menus and their current Ethiopian menu looks very interesting. They also offer a brunch menu (including vegan pastries), and their Vish Shop's chipper-style fish substitute is the best we’ve come across.
Big Fan, Dublin 2
Another cuisine that tends to work well for your vegetable loving friends is Chinese, and Big Fan on Aungier Street are really going the extra mile for meat-free dining - so much so that we held a fully vegetarian restaurant takeover there for ATF Insiders in mid-October. Their tofu and edamame bao are every bit as good as the more traditional pork, the kimchi buttered cauliflower is outrageous, and you'll be thinking about the enoki mushrooms with garlic and chili for a long time after you've left.
The Merrion Hotel, Dublin 2
For a fancier occasion, get your glad rags on and head to The Merrion Hotel for a meal in their Garden Room. Best-selling cookbook author Holly White has collaborated with them on a vegan menu and they have just announced some new additions including a portobello mushroom and puy lentil bolognese, and a red berry shortcake “mess” with chia seed jam, soya yoghurt, caramelised almonds and maple syrup.
Did we miss your favourite place for vegan or vegetarian food? Let us know by emailing email@example.com.