What I Ate In Dublin
We’re officially back in the states! This is the first time I’ve returned from a trip and not had a house to come home to. It’s not fun, just in case you were wondering. On the bright side, we’re reunited with Lucy which automatically makes everything better. :)
Because Brandon’s free time was fairly limited during this trip, we didn’t have a chance to do and see a lot but I did make a point to visit as many restaurants as possible. You know, for research. Outside of exploring Dublin and eating all the things, we also took a half day trip to Howth and Wicklow. The scenery was absolutely gorgeous; so green and lush. It made me yearn to see even more of Ireland’s countryside, but I guess I’ll have to be patient until we have a chance to return one day.
Scenes from Dublin
For some reason I expected Dublin to be much smaller than it was. I think it’s because I’ve always imagined Ireland to be quaint but in reality Dublin is actually larger than Paris by 4 square miles.
The population, however, is actually smaller than Paris but you would never guess that by how crowded it was. I would often get lunch on my own while Brandon was at the conference and as much as I wanted to walk around and explore, I found it stressful to navigate by myself through hordes of people. This could also just be a side effect of traveling during the summer.
For what the city lacked in serenity, it made up for in delicious food, lively pubs and talented musicians. There were many times we found ourselves stopping to listen to a local street musician because they were so incredibly gifted. If I were a music producer, I would definitely be hunting for talent in Dublin.
Where we ate
If you’ve picked anything up from my travel posts it’s probably that I’m a sucker for donuts. With 5 locations throughout Dublin, you’re bound to stumble upon the Rolling Donut at some point. Lucky for us they had a nice selection of vegan donuts, including pistachio and vanilla glaze.
It might just be our tastebuds but we found the donuts to be a little too sweet. I felt like they could have used a bit of salt to balance the sugar. But overall they made for a tasty treat.
Known as one of the oldest vegetarian restaurants in Ireland, Cornucopia has mastered that art of serving up flavorful dishes mades from whole foods. This was actually our first meal of the trip and it turned out to be one of the best.
They offer a full veggie-inspired Irish breakfast which includes roasted tomatoes, beans, hash browns, vegan sausages, portobello mushrooms and grilled onions. Paired with their vegan muffins and fresh scones, you are bound to leave with a full belly and a happy heart.
We loved this place so much that we went back for lunch and it was just as good. We had a squash pie made with cashew cream, two side salads, and locally brewed kombucha.
I really wish we had a place like this at home!
Tucked away on a secret alleyway, Happy Food is a yoga center and plant-based cafe rolled into one. They also offer a full breakfast with chickpea scramble, homemade sausages and tofu bacon.
This was another spot that we enjoyed so much we had to back for lunch. We both had the signature black bean & sweet potato burger with all the fixings.
It was scrumptious but a little messy and difficult to eat. I would probably get it as a burger bowl next time which comes on top of a mixed green salad with guacamole. Yum.
We stayed in the financial district to be close to the conference venue and this was the nearest plant-based restaurant. The decor felt modern and trendy, and I would describe the cuisine as bowl food. In the morning they offer porridge (aka oatmeal) including a PB + J version with chia seeds, granola, almonds, raspberry jam, peanut butter and blueberries. I thoroughly enjoyed starting my day with that deliciousness.
Another very trendy and super busy spot, this cafe is located on the North side of the River Liffey. We ordered the vegan avocado toast which came with lentils, tomato, red onion and smoky maple coconut bacon.
We were also pumped to try the romesco bravas (roasted potatoes with vegan aioli, red pepper and almond sauce) but unfortunately for us they were sold out. I had a feeling those would have been incredible.
Rated number one on TripAdvisor, this cozy little restaurant serves up locally sourced cuisine with a Middle Eastern twist. We didn’t discover it until one of the last days otherwise I definitely would have gone back. With healthy options like stuffed buckwheat pancakes with almond butter and pomegranate or avocado toast with za’atar and fermented beets, you’re sure to leave satisfied.
This was hands down the best vegan pizza I’ve ever had. The toppings were so creative and flavorful and I thought the amount of thinly shaved parmesan ‘cheese’ was just enough to make it satisfying. I would go back here in a heartbeat.
Sova was easily a contender for one of the best meals we had during the trip. It’s tucked away a little further south from the main touristy areas but the extra walk is worth it.
The environment is cozy and the food is just the right amount of comforting without feeling heavy. The vegan scallops (made with oyster mushrooms) and the creamy mushroom gnocchi were both to-die-for, and the chocolate avocado mousse was the perfect end to a memorable evening.
After running a very successful food truck in Dublin that’s known for it’s vegan fish and chips, Australian chef Mark Senn decided to open a brick and mortar that serves dinner Thursday through Sunday.
I hate to admit this because I’m very passionate about supporting plant-based cuisine, but the food here was just meh. I got the chicken and waffles and Brandon got a mixed mushroom dish. The fried ‘chicken’ was crazy real and tasted good but the waffle wasn’t very flavorful. Overall it felt a little heavy for my preferences. Sadly the mushroom dish was also lackluster. Thankfully the dessert made up for the less than impressive dinner. We had a dark chocolate brownie with chocolate mousse and gelato. If I went back I would probably skip dinner and go straight to dessert.
This probably shouldn’t come as a surprise but authentic Irish food is pretty much the opposite of veganism. Because of the many gluten-free options, I was hoping to get lucky at this restaurant but unfortunately the dumplings and boxtys (potato pancakes) are made with butter and milk.
That said, they did have a tasty vegetable stew and chili that can be served on a baked potato. Paired with a side of beer bread, it made for a pretty good meal.
I had high hopes for this place based on the ratings but the food didn’t blow me away, especially given the price. Perhaps it could have just been what I ordered? I’m not sure. Either way, it’s a nice restaurant with a romantic atmosphere so I’d say it’s worth a try.
This falls more into the grocery store category but it’s a good spot to pick up snacks or hotel-friendly breakfast options. Many of the items we bought are carried in large cities in the U.S. but it was still fun to try things that were hard to find back home.
Located in both the U.K. and Ireland, Zizzi is a chain of Italian restaurants that offers a dedicated vegan menu with a plethora of options. We ordered vegan beetballs in marinara with pizza and they were both delicious.
Serving up cooked-to-order falafel, Umi is another affordable and several vegan-friendly options. The Lebanese falafel was my personal favorite, served in a whole grain pita with fresh herbs, pickles and tahini sauce. I loved it so much that I went back a second time for the same exact thing. SO GOOD.
Mainly a take-out restaurant, Blazing Salads serves offers healthy vegetarian and vegan food on-the-go. I tried a few of their veggie patties and they were scrumptious. This would be a perfect spot to pick up food for a picnic on a nice day.
This is a great spot for a fast and healthy lunch. It’s probably hard to tell from the picture but I ordered a falafel salad made with mixed greens, red cabbage, hummus and guacamole. They definitely don’t skimp on the guacamole and they don’t charge extra either. Take that, Chipotle. (JK I love Chipotle)
This was easily the most expensive meal (if you even want to call it that) we had the entire trip. At $42 euro per person, it’s not for budget travelers. But if you’re like me and enjoy experiencing other cultural traditions then I think it’s worth it.
The Atrium Lounge at the Westin makes for a beautiful setting and the vegan finger foods are both creative and flavorful. My favorite was definitely the scones with homemade jam. I could eat those every afternoon with a cup of tea. :)
Scenes from Howth
If you don’t have time to visit the Cliffs of Moher but still want to see the coast of Ireland, Howth makes for a perfect half-day trip from Dublin. Just a short 20-minute train ride away, this little town is bursting with seaside character.
There are several hiking loops that go over top of the cliffs for a view of Dublin, ranging from 2 to 4 hours in length. Brandon had to be back for a dinner meeting so unfortunately we didn’t have time to make it to the top but I heard it’s stunning.
Scenes from Wicklow
Our second half day trip was organized through the conference to the Powerscourt Estate & Gardens. Voted number 3 in the World’s Top Ten Gardens by National Geographic, the gardens stretch over 47 acres for visitors to stroll through.
The grounds are gorgeous and well cared for. It’s a great way to spend a few hours away from the hustle and bustle of Dublin.