From adopting 100% organic diets to drinking smoothies out of jars, food trends have come and gone. But in recent years, a new fad has hit the streets of almost every city worldwide and doesn’t show any signs of stopping. Move over Paleo diet, the vegetarian diet is here to stay.
In 2017, international delivery giant Just Eat revealed that there was a 987% increase in the demand for vegetarian options. The percentage of vegans in various countries including Israel, Canada and the UK has reached fascinating heights, with this percentage increasing by as much as 600% in places like the US in recent years. This is incredible progress, considering that if more people went meat-free, 8 million lives could be saved by 2050, according to researchers at Oxford Martin School, University of Oxford. Closer to home, there is no dearth of meat-free places here in Dublin. Craving a particular cuisine but don’t know where to find its plant-based fare? Read on.
Cornucopia (European/Mixed cuisine)
This gem on Wicklow Street shouldn’t come as a surprise at all, having earned its place with a history of over 30 years! Their menu changes every day, but they have affordable breakfast, lunch and tea-time deals along with a selection of homemade baked goods – 100% vegetarian and mostly vegan. It is highly recommended to grab a table on their first-floor dining room! It’s always buzzing with people young and old, so it’s a great place to have a meal with friends or family!
Govinda’s (Indian-European fusion)
Vegetarian food being the heart of Indian cuisine, it is nearly impossible for any Indian place not to have meatless options. But Govinda’s is Dublin’s only 100% meat-free eatery with two branches in the city (on Aungier Street and Abbey Street). Other than serving Indian staples like dal and chickpea curry, there is always least one European dish like lasagne or Shepherd’s pie available. Fares (incredibly cheap!) are based on plate size. From personal experience, the small plate alone makes a hearty lunch!
Takara Ramen and Deli Sushi Bar (Japanese)
With many Japanese establishments providing cutthroat competition, Takara on Upper Abbey Street might seem like one among them all. But once you look at their efforts to whip up a vegan bento (weekdays only), vegan ramen or vegan sushi set, it will feature on any vegetarian/vegan’s list. You can enjoy a delicious vegan meal under a tenner in a cosy, compact shack. Perfect for rainy days!
Umi Falafel (Middle Eastern)
With restaurants across the city and country, Umi Falafel is a favourite of many Dubliners, vegetarian or meat-lover. There is almost always a queue on any day during the peak hours, so be sure to get in there early! Scrumptious tabbouleh, falafel sandwiches, mezzes among many other Middle Eastern classics are served in an appetising and healthy manner. Also, did I mention the set deals and unbelievably affordable prices?
Brothers Dosirak (Korean)
Though there is liberal use of vegetables, Korean dishes are traditionally laden with meat. However, many dishes can be easily made meat-free. While Kimchi Hophouse on Parnell Street serves vegetarian versions of Korean classics, my vote goes to Brothers Dosirak on Capel Street. A small shack at the back of an Asian supermarket, this eatery owned by a pair of brothers makes lovely vegetarian dosirak (Korea’s answer to the Japanese bento) as well as popular dishes like bibimbap (mixed rice) and jjajangmyeon (black bean noodles). I think there is a trend here; this place also boasts low prices for delicious food and huge portions!
This eatery on Parliament Street makes the most creative and unique vegan pizzas in the city! One look at their Instagram page alone should convince you. On most days, they have a meal deal. They also make hearty salads and mouth-watering vegan cakes and muffins. Their menu changes weekly; a cannot-miss if you’re a pizza lover!
This new Vietnamese place on Kevin Street Lower has a vegan option for most of its dishes and is especially famous for its rice paper rolls. One could also get a comforting bowl of vegan pho. This brightly-decorated and welcoming eatery is sure to gain popularity in the coming years. If you have never tried Vietnamese food before, it’s a great place, to begin with!
Blazing Salads (Salad bar)
Salad bars are aplenty, but Blazing Salads on Drury Street takes salads to a whole different level. The best part is – it’s entirely vegetarian and mostly vegan! With a generous selection of healthy and unique salads with influences from several cuisines, it’s a great place for a grab-and-go meal. Payment is by weight of your salad box. Customise your salad box as you fancy, or if you’re anything like me, take a little bit of each! Other than salads, this place also makes burgers, soups and vegan cakes!
Now you know where to get your meat-free fix!
By Mallika Venkatramani – Lifestyle Writer