We’ve seen a big surge recently in the Irish mind-set as people seem to be taking their health more seriously. Some of it arguably comes from a weight conscious perspective but there is a definite concern now about what we are putting in our body and where our food comes from. This journey back to simplicity means consumers are shunning processed, sugary products for organic, preservative free and locally sourced produce that they can trust.
When it comes to eating out however, many people have an all or nothing mentality; if you are dining in a restaurant you can’t control the menu so you might as well throw the healthy eating effort out the window. It doesn’t have to be like that now as there are a growing number of quality establishments in Dublin, with a few popping up nationwide, that are increasingly catering for diners’ dietary preferences. Healthy eating isn’t just lettuce any more…
19/20 Wicklow Street, Dublin 2
Long held as the Vegetarian Mecca of Dublin, Cornucopia has been providing health conscious diners with quality home produced food since 1986. This award-winning wholefood vegetarian restaurant places emphasis on locally grown & organic ingredients to increase the quality and nutritional benefits of their food. With that focus on nutrition they cater for a variety of diets – vegan, dairy-free, coeliac, yeast-free, gluten free, sugar free, coeliac & raw/living. You can even get your food to go. Perfect for a balanced night out as everything is good for you, even the wines are organic so you can enjoy an almost guilt-free tipple.
13a Baggot Street Upper, Dublin 4
Eathos is a new family run daytime eatery situated on Baggot Street between Donnybrook Fair and Baggot Street Wines. The premises have a clean and simple design and the counter is packed full of delicious salads and patisserie treats. The Eathos ethos (sorry!) promotes quality ingredients and food provenance, tracing your produce from field to plate in order to guarantee fresh, local and preservative free ingredients. As they themselves put it, they are serving up “thoughtful food” that will keep your waistline and your conscience happy.
9 Baggot Street Upper, Dublin 4
Slightly older neighbours of Eathos, Cocu was the original healthy eatery on Baggot Street. The name derives from ‘counter culture’ referring to the fact that they serve up fast, over the counter food but using local, seasonal and healthy ingredients. They’ve even brought a dietician on board to create a nutritionally balanced, calorie counted menu for you that caters to all dietary requirements. Their 3-step approach to lunchtime means you get what you want, how you want it in a speedy, fast food manner without the side serving of guilt!
Curved Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2
This café/restaurant operates in the heart of Temple Bar. As such it caters to a whole range of Irish dietary requirements and a load of tourist ones too. Their “Staple Foods” are balanced, unprocessed foods that are fundamentally good for you. The current focus is on paleo eating and the vegan diet, making these approaches more accessible to the masses. Seasonality is also very important here and that is reflected in the ever changing menu; you are always guaranteed a surprise.
Excise Walk, IFSC, Dublin 1 & Baggot Street Upper, Dublin 4
“We are the sum of what foods we consume” and Borlottie are striving to deliver good core, fresh produce every day. They focus on Paleo eating: Proteins, Good fats, Low carbs, lots of green and nutrient dense ingredients and stay away from the processed, pre-made, pre-packed refined foods. This protein/salad system suits most people’s lunch cravings without going to excess and the efficient team make sure you are fed and watered with time left over in your lunch break. Daily specials keep it interesting, pots and boxes keep it convenient for you.
Kai Café and Restaurant
20 Sea Road, Galway
The healthiest food has to have the freshest ingredients and nobody understands that better than Jessica Murphy, head chef at Kai. Jess creates her menu anew every day based on the goodies that her suppliers bring to her kitchen door each morning. All her ingredients are fresh, organic and preservative free which means all of her dishes have been balanced and prepared with your nutrition and enjoyment in mind. If you’re lucky you might even get an edible flower on your plate!
Whether you are having dinner or treating yourself to a midweek lunch, dining out doesn’t have to mean the end of your commitment to eating a healthier, balanced diet.