Even non-vegan places can be vegan-friendly!
I love eating out. It’s just a cool thing to do with friends, and sometimes you might even encounter places that you want to visit more frequently in the future. In my previous post, I’ve covered all the vegan restaurants that are worthy of your time. What can you do when there’s a “not quite vegan place” your peers would prefer? In the past three years, many things have changed on the vegan scene in Dublin. There are more and more eateries that offer at least some, if not an entire menu of options. They’re not all there yet though, such as Dublin’s gem, Five Guys which is said to be looking intensively into plant-based options. They will definitely be worth a try when they find something decent though.
Let’s face it, we’re still far from an entirely plant-based street even, let alone a city!
With that being said, it’s great that nowadays we can find more alternatives and it’s also good to know where you can go and get them. Because, otherwise you’ll end up as the poor sod from the vegan meme here. And, let’s be honest, we’ve all been there at least once. A wedding where there’s supposed to be a plant-based option, a restaurant that’s supposed to “expect your needs”, and give you an underwhelming tragedy of sides. The list could go on. So it’s good to be prepared and ready for everything.
What to ask before you eat
A couple of questions you should run by the waiter before you order anything (remember, these are not at all vegan restaurants):
- Is the fryer used for only chips (fries in Ireland) or some other products too? Such as fish, cookies, breading (egg coating) on stuff, etc.? If yes, avoid fried products altogether.
- If the fryer’s only used for chips, is it filled with plant oils, or tallow / other animal derivatives as well? (some restaurants use cow fat to make their products crispier)
- Does the foodstuff contain eggs / dairy? (That doesn’t make it vegan.)
- If you can’t find anything decent, ask if they can veganize something for you (somebody lectured me recently that it’s not a real word. Argument challenged here).
Vegetarian pizza without cheese, veggie salads, falafel wraps without sour cream, an abundance of Mexican, Thai, and Vietnamese dishes, the list goes on and on. Be creative. Also, what worked best for me: be super nice to the waiter. Apologize for being difficult. The good ones (most of them!) will be super helpful and point out what you can and cannot eat, and help you have a good time. Find allies, not enemies <3
- Beers, cider and wines; you should research this in advance. Barnivore.com is a great site showing most of the booze out there, if it’s vegan or not. 70-80% of the bigger brands in Ireland, for instance, are vegan-friendly. Some of the examples that are confirmed to be good for us around here, are:
- Guinness (stout)
- Heineken (lager)
- Peroni (most of their varieties, lager is most common around here)
- Orchard Thieves
- Bulmers Pear, and Berry
- Guinness (stout)
A general rule of thumb is that if something is uncertain, you should avoid it. Except for fully vegan restaurants, of course. In Ireland you’ll find a lot of places that feel like you’re at home, and a loved one just wants you to have a good time. So feel free to ask about ingredients and content. You’ll get what you need in the end.
List Of Hidden Wonders – Places That Cater For Us
Below you can find a list of options, in Dublin, that I personally found amazing. It’s far from perfect. For more information, or a broader variety, you should always check out a vegan’s best friend, Happy Cow. These folks created a platform similar to Yelp, or Google’s Reviews, where you can post, and rate local alternatives, and even fully committed, vegan joints.
Some of these foods might be quite obvious for some of you; a salad bar, falafel joint or an Indian restaurant might be self-explanatory on plant-based choices. I’ll still include everything here in hope that those, for whom the journey has just begun, I can bring more interesting ideas and open the world up a little bit more. After all, my belief is that veganism is not a test. It’s a journey towards a more sustainable, happy existence. And, the “not yet vegan restaurants” I describe below are doing their fair share in assisting the change.
Enjoy the list, and let me know what you think in the comments down below! I’m happy to hear what you think of these places and if you have another favorite spot that I’ve not yet mentioned. As usual, if you like any of them, click on their names and you’ll land on their website.
Besides having a couple of prepared recipes for vegans, Akaka is one of those places that are hard not to try. The poké bowl originally comes from Hawaii and contains a type of fish. In Akaka however they replace it, for us vegans, with amazingly marinated, firm tofu. You can choose to go health-conscious with an entire spinach base, or be like me, and ask for half-and-half with white or brown rice.
Make sure to add some of these amazing toppings to yours to make it even more of a feast: edamame (green soy beans), pineapple, wakame (seaweed), burned corn, marinated ginger (such as on sushi). Fills you up good, taste and service is amazing. Cannot recommend Akaka enough!
The best thing about this place is convenience. Boojum is usually close to anyone living in the heart of Dublin. Not even close to wholly vegan restaurants, Boojum offers on-the-go Mexican food, like burritos, tacos, and the like. They are super careful about vegan options though, so don’t be afraid to let them know in advance what you need.
Fresh basics, baked beans, all the great veggies in the world, wrapped in an amazing tortilla blanket. Oh, and make sure to ask if they have some vegan sour cream too!
While more like a traditional pub, the Black Sheep offers a variety of vegan options, like their burgers, and some of the chips. Make sure to ask in advance what they recommend.
Their pubs are also well known for the craft lagers and ales, so make sure you have barnivore.com opened. Super friendly staff and a charming atmosphere.
More and more of these amazing Thai joints pop up in Ireland. And for good reason. Fresh ingredients, amazing staff and cool flavors are what describe Camile to everybody. I especially love that you can order takeaway from them as well, and the delivery is always a bit more space-smart than I would have expected.
If you’ve been needing a good Pad Thai for some time now, this is definitely the place you can go to, or order from on Deliveroo.
Chopped is one of those salad bars that you can find almost anywhere in the city center of Dublin. Not a chain of vegan restaurants by any measure, and yet, they are worth every word. Huge variety of green bases, 20-40 different options to choose from, including great tofu! When you ask them to make it vegan, they actually take the time to replace the blades and working table for a clean one, to make sure they avoid cross-contamination. You can really not be cooler than that!
Ask ahead what they recommend and what vegan options they have. Some of the pre-made orders on the wall are quite good, but you might need to decide to tweak it up a little for your preference.
We all love a certain type of pizza. My personal favorite(s) are: the Chicago-style, deep-dish, thick crusted pie filled with all the goods one could ever dream of and the homemade, all-veg wonder, that just hits all the spots, every time. And then comes DiFontaine’s, that just cannot be placed anywhere.
They are a vegan legend as well, really. They’ve been making slices for us for several years now, and the quality has never diminished. A bit pricey for a slice, one could say, but considering the fresh ingredients and homemade cashew cream, it’s fair, and lovely-tasting.
Make sure to give it a try when you feel you need to get your pizza fix!
Sushi is something you could get away with at most places. Avocado, cucumber, some fancy places even have pickled radish sushi which is amazing. But what about the rest of your favorite dishes? What about ramens, edamame, wakame, or even a roast tofu or eggplant steak? Yup – you found the spot. Not just any spot. This is the best sushi place I’ve tried so far.
Besides the fact that their miso soup feels like a tiny, salty piece of heaven, the avocado sushi is like a green (vegan) butter, melting on your tongue. I honestly have not tried any better sushi in any, even somewhat vegan restaurants so far. This is by far the best experience I’ve ever had, and believe me, with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as my main sport / art, my fellow competitor friends and I always hit the biggest places where we could eat as much of the good stuff as we can.
This, however, is quality. Eatokyo is not the cheapest place in town, but it’s well worth every cent. Make sure to tell them you need advice on the vegan options so they can point out which ones have no animal derivatives in it. I’m yet to try their udon noodle soup. I’m fairly certain I’m not in for a disappointment.
You can find two other places; one on Talbot street and another on Capel street. Both are more into noodles and have restaurant-like atmospheres. The original place on the Quays is a more traditional, Japanese-style eatery.
Each city in Ireland has a local legend where kids like going to. In Cork it’s KC’s, in Limerick it’s Rockin’ Joe’s. In the rest of Ireland, it’s mostly Eddie Rocket’s. The classic, American drive-in feel of the place has its certain charm, with the working music players to give it an extra, nice touch.
Besides the atmosphere however, Eddie has kicked up the speed of things by introducing a sort of “hidden element”, which is their vegan variety, the Beyond Burger from the USA. Obviously this wouldn’t turn Eddie’s chain into flourishing, vegan restaurants by this tiny gesture only. However, if you really want to get a good burger and be certain it’s not getting cross-contaminated, Eddie’s is a good choice. Be wary, the fries are not vegan, since other animal products are fried in the same oil as well.
I have to confess, I’m kind of a falafel freak. I love freshly made chickpea patties, with tahini sauce, and I can crave baba ganoush (eggplant cream made with fresh, baked eggplant and amazing spices) every day of the year. If you’re like me, or would like to dabble in Middle-Eastern culture food (which, as a v-curious person, or someone already on the journey, you should!), Falafel is the best place to go to for that.
Happily for us, they know what veganism is about, and their menu is up-to-date. Their hummus is always fresh and exciting, the falafel is top notch, and the baba ganoush is by far the best in the city. Umi gets close, but not yet close enough. Just like many, vegan restaurants, they have an amazing attention to detail, and customer care.
You can even order takeaway from them. I’d call ahead and ask what they would recommend that is 100% vegan. Super friendly staff, surprisingly low prices for Temple Bar.
One of the best Indian places in Dublin is Kerala Kitchen. You can find all sorts of foods that will be to your liking, but if you want some advice, do try their chana saag, which is a curry made of spinach and chickpeas. My favorite dish from these folks.
Their papadams are also vegan. I haven’t been to their restaurant, I met them at a food market one day and never looked back again. Super friendly staff, very tasty, healthy, hearty food! Give them a go!
One of the biggest doozies for vegans is cheese. More precisely: mac n’ cheese, pizzas, and the rest of the amazing foods we all like to munch on during a Netflix marathon, or a cheat meal.
One part of this something’s-missing-boggle is La Caverna, which is more like an elegant, fine dining restaurant in the heart of Temple Bar. What stands out more is their willingness to adapt and improve their menu to cater for a wider audience. I’ve been in their place three times and so far the verdict is positive. The vegan lasagna is convincing and tasty, and their brownie was also head-and-shoulders above what I expected.
They have many more options to offer. By all means, if you’re looking for a romantic date and prefer a bit more of an elegant touch to it, La Caverna has your back.
Owning and maintaining a chipper in Ireland can be a quite profitable business, if you know what you’re doing. McGuinness’ have this knowledge for quite some time now. They’ve been in the business for at least twenty years and they’ve also updated their menu to include quite a lot of vegan options. Some of them are very unique, like the battered tofu chunks, or their vegan-famous ‘Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich’. I’m yet to try it out, but also the vegan feedback is overwhelmingly positive.
I’d urge you to give them a shot, their prices are reasonable and the food is amazing. If I were to rate both list of (almost, and not just almost) vegan restaurants based on kindness and service, McGuinness’ would definitely get to the top!
I know it’s just me, but I call Offbeat the Vans of donuts. Maybe it’s their logo, maybe it’s how cool they look in happy people’s hands. Or, maybe because they are, indeed, awesome.
Recently Offbeat has partnered with one of the best vegan chocolate makers around (Vego) and made 3 insanely delicious vegan donuts. Suffice to say, they all are worth every cent you’ll spend on them. Because you will. And you should. And, as usual, they will thank you for it. Super nice service, amazing desserts.
A pretty stylish burger joint on the north side, close to CineWorld. Even though not entirely vegan, their plant-based burger gave me the biggest satisfaction so far, after Take A Veg (more on them below).
Their fries are also vegan. Make sure to ask them about more options, they may surprise us again! You can order from them through Deliveroo too and they are a pretty good choice altogether. Highly recommended!
A Mexican immigrant family’s son, Pablo established his first place in the USA. Vegan restaurants were scarce back in the day. Today it’s also one of the most frequently enjoyed burrito places in Dublin currently. The typical lutador outfit and orange-red neon signs mark them well for anyone to find.
Pablo Picante has put a lot of effort into their vegan game, which is really good to see. They might not be my personal go-to joint, but you can’t argue with their fair prices and amazing flavors. Give them a go if you need to soothe your Mexican food-ache.
If you read up on what cuisines would suit vegans best, usually Thai, and Vietnamese come up amongst the first few options. Pho Kim is a family owned Vietnamese restaurant close to O’Connell street (the center of Dublin).
Very friendly service and super helpful waiters. I loved the spring rolls with peanut butter dip, and I think this is the first place I tried real pho at. Make sure to give it a try, great flavors all over!
Sounds like another donut stall. But it isn’t. Trust me. Rolling Donut is the current king of vegan donuts. Vanilla Glaze. Bailey’s. Raspberry Jam with sugar powder. Peanut Butter. These are only a few of the amazing flavors you can try. If you love yourself (which I hope), you need to treat yourself to one of these donuts. Believe me, you won’t be disappointed.
The dough also contains a small amount of poppyseeds which makes it surprisingly balanced and flavorful. Their website also gives you the option to pre-order boxes which are delivered to your door.
Yup, I’m a devout donut roller, and I’m not ashamed to say it.
Yeah, another burrito place, but these guys are fast and almost everywhere as well. If you don’t find a Boojum, you’ll definitely have a Saburritos around your area. These cool little joints give you exactly what they market: fast food, great taste. Budget friendly too. Entirely what all vegan restaurants market for as well. And yet, they are not entirely vegan.
They also are stepping up quite well in the vegan game, allowing more interesting options to meet a hungry plant-based mouth, like the falafel wrap they have. Try them out as well, and make sure to try some of their exotic juice bottles!
One would think this is exactly one of the vegan restaurants I must have been writing about in the previous blog post of mine. But no! Not vegan. Has great vegan options though. So far I’ve tried Sprout & Co. twice, and both experiences were on a different level. It’s like a salad bar on a conveyor belt, on the highest level of quality and satisfaction.
Their portion sizes are also considerable, so your hunger will definitely diminish with them. They might be a bit more on the pricey side, but I can also guarantee you that Sprout will make you appreciate your salads better.
Originally called Aperitivo, Stoned Pizza is one of the landmarks of vegan society. Since the remodeling, about 50% of Aperitivo’s menu is looking like most, proper vegan restaurants’. A small pizzeria with great variety! They offer a lot of desserts and vegan, packaged products too, just like their sister company, V – Temple bar. Great atmosphere, and lovely staff.
It might be a good idea to order out though, if you like to give yourself a treat and watch another Star Wars movie, or would like to catch up at home on something. Deliveroo is going to be your friend on this.
I know this one might surprise some of you, but Subway is on the vegan scene. And it’s not even with a strange compromise of a veg-load with ketchup (unless of course that is your preference). There have been two options recently that were released with a high success rate:
- Vegan pattie sambo
A long slab of meat-like, chunky filling made of textured pea protein, and some colorful vegetables like corn. Add some salad base, jalapeno, olives, tomato, and vegan aioli, and you’re done! Best deal out there for a quick vegan grab. Also this is a super flavorful, surprisingly well made product, I must say. The current name might change soon, so stay tuned and ask them to be sure where the “vegan patty” can be added.
- Vegan meatball marinara
This was the last sub I got from them and I’m overwhelmed. Surreal tasting “meatballs”, and amazing combination with tomato sauce and vegan cheese. If you feel you need something to remind you of the “good old days”, this is definitely it.
One thing to keep in mind is that only some of the breads are for us. Make sure to let them know in advance you’d like a vegan sub, and ask for advice. I have a feeling that we ‘ve not seen the last from Subway on this front. So make sure to check them out regularly if you’re into their offers.
This is far from any of the classic vegan restaurants you would expect. The Counter is one of those classic burger places you can fall in love with in Dublin. With that being said, they are aware of what the current demand is and have introduced a vegan pattie as well. I’ve only encountered this place by a happy coincidence, after my competitor friend and I went around here to try some Irish whiskey (strictly with e!).
Despite all the counter-vegan sounding foods, I actually was accommodated quite well, so please, if you need to find a classy restaurant on the south side of Dublin and most of the guests will prefer burgers, choose the Counter. You won’t regret it.
Did you grow up in the arcade? Do you still remember your favorite games from when you were a child? Or even better, do you still play in a way? Token will have you covered. Catering service was never mixed in a more fun way than at Token. Vegan restaurants could learn a thing or two. Or, just rent their Donkey Kong machine?
Half pub, half arcade and pinball empire, Token is a cornerstone of fun in Dublin for everybody. They made their own “tokens” that resemble the 50 cent coins, and you can only use the local machines with them. Original Mario Kart, Donkey Kong, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Tekken, House of the Dead, the list goes on and on.
The best part is, in my opinion though, besides the amazing atmosphere is their food. Besides offering Dublin’s hottest vegan wings, their vegan Big Mac is the best imitation I’ve tasted so far. Let that sink in. They have their own vegan Big Mac, and it’s one of the best there is. Oh yeah, they have hot dogs, vegan wings, and mini burgers too, along with a few other options.
If you leave out Token, you’ll be missing out. Make sure to make a reservation before going there. But after that, you won’t have to worry about anything.
Falafel is just one of those vegan things nobody would assume is okay. But it is, and usually, everything that comes with it is okay too. Umi knows. Their wraps are fresh and tasty, the salads and dips are all vegan, and they sell plant-based baklava, which is super sweet, but worth the kick in the tastebuds.
A word of caution: Umi Falafel’s joints are not entirely vegan restaurants. Please make sure to ask in advance what is and isn’t for us!
They have a lot of places around Dublin now, so make sure to give them a go. Their baba ganoush is my solid second choice. If Falafel in Temple Bar wouldn’t exist, they would, without question, claim first place. Nobody else has vegan baklava though. And their color pattern is the best!
As I’ve mentioned before, Middle-Eastern cuisines are quite close to veganism; fresh vegetables, fruits, and legumes. What’s not to like? It turns out the Persian Zaytoon is not an exception.
Take a look at their website, you’ll find an entire arsenal of items, designed just for us vegans. While I personally haven’t tried them out yet, Zaytoon is another cornerstone in eating out in Dublin. They have opened more than 20 years ago and still flourish. No wonder! Those dishes look amazing, even in the photos!
Do you have a favorite spot I might have left out? Do you love any of the ones above? Let me know in the comment below. Share this post with your friends, let them see how awesome Dublin is becoming!
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