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Eating out is often the first thing to be struck off your to do list as soon as you decide to adopt a healthier diet. Preparing nutritious and balanced meals at home is key to eating well for your overall health, but many restaurants have picked up on the demand for lighter bites and virtuous options and now cater to those seeking out healthy dining across Ireland.
In addition to this, there are plenty of grab and go spots, a built in excuse to have a picnic, which have been designed to satisfy the appetite and cravings of the health conscious foodie. Whether you’re out for a special dinner, lazy breakfast, or a light and lovely lunch, these restaurants will ensure your meal is both healthy and delicious. Eating out doesn’t have to be expensive either – you can enjoy a delicious meal for two in each of these restaurants for under €100.
Picking up on the fact that healthier eating is more than a fad, Nutbutter opened its doors this year on Forbes Street in the ever stylish Grand Canal Dock area of Dublin and it hasn’t seen a quiet day since. With jaw-dropping interiors, it has become the scene of many an Insta snap, but not just for the hanging egg shaped wicker seats and rose gold cutlery.
Nutbutter offers “sexy, healthy food” and every item on their menu seduces the tastebuds, from breakfast Acaí Bowls brimming with bee pollen and granola to fantastically fresh Poké Bowls with in-house kimchi and juicy sashimi grade tuna, I have yet to have a less than luscious bite at Nutbutter. They also serve late plates until 9.30pm, with excellent plant-based options like Jackfruit Tacos (trust me, jackfruit is a revelation) and Chorizo Tempeh, so Nutbutter has you covered morning, noon and night!
There’s not a soggy sambo in sight in Baggot Street’s Eathos, but rather a buffet style line up of salads piled high and proudly on display, the very picture of abundance. It has been well documented that Eathos is more than a little Ottolenghi-Esque, with more than a few nods to his minimalist white wash decor, Middle Eastern cuisine and eye-poppingly colourful dish displays.
However, the menu here is far from an imposter and is grounded firmly in provenance. An extensive suppliers list is displayed proudly on the wall, anchoring Eathos in Irishness, and they use these high quality ingredients to craft healthful and hearty dishes. From blushing seared tuna, hand-crafted falafel, slaws and salads to composed brunch plates like “Eathos Greens”, with spinach waffles and homemade labneh, Eathos is a saintly stop which always feels like an indulgent treat.
This little café on Pleasants Street, just off Camden Street in Dublin, has steadily gained a cult following. This is the perfect spot for a nourishing breakfast with friends, as the offerings here are simply based on organic wholefoods rather than being hit-you-over-the-head health-focused, meaning everyone will be able to order happily here.
Many dishes on the menu at Meet Me in the Morning make up the stuff of beautifying brekkie dreams, such as mounds of Eggs and Greens, oozing poached eggs with collard greens, kale and all the smug stuff and Rice Bowls with soy pickled mushrooms, wakame and shaved avocado.
When dining in the Rebel County, it isn’t always necessary to rebel against your healthy eating plan. If your lifestyle revolves around packing as much plant-based goodness in to your diet as possible, 143V is the spot for you.
Cork’s only fully vegan restaurant offers everything from fantastic Falafel Bowls full to the brim with crunchy veggies and hummus to Seitan “Bacon” Topped Salads – saintly despite the name. They also serve the full rainbow of Instagrammable dairy free lattes, from turmeric to matcha and even pea! Located just beside Kent train station, this is your first stop in Cork city for a healthful feast.
Not to be confused with the celebrated Kildare eatery of the same name, Canteen in Limerick city is a fast casual spot serving up seriously nutritious breakfast options and lunch boxes, all with fresh local ingredients and affordability in mind.
Reclaim your lunch-hour with virtuous dishes like Tzatziki Poached Salmon or Sunshine Curry, or start your day the right way with an Egg Pot or Aztec’s Porridge topped with Willie’s cacao and banana – this is one spot that makes healthy choices irresistible.
Dylan McGrath’s Rustic Stone in Dublin 2 was ahead of the trend offering health-conscious options yet to this day very few come close to competing with the phenomenally flavourful, nutritionally-aware creations served up here. Each and every dish is focused on packing an intense flavour punch brimming with goodness and spiked with super foods. Dylan McGrath is one chef you can trust to design a health-focused menu with no weak links.
Personal favourites for a light but immensely satisfying dinner at Rustic Stone include Seared Tuna with Langoustine Oil and Apple Watercress Salad or a giant bowl of Outrageous Orange Salad. How can a salad be outrageous I hear you sigh? Zesty orange, shaved fennel and caramelised pecan, a trifecta of tastiness puts many salads to shame and always makes for a delicious dinner.
If you’re looking for an indulgent yet nutritious seafood treat, then Fishbone in Clontarf should be on your foodie bucket list. While they do offer calorie counts on their menu, the real draw for those looking for a healthy and tasty meal is the freshness of the ingredients in Fishbone.
As the name suggests, their seafood offering is the star attraction, so order yourself Lambay Crab Canneloni, cleverly swapping pasta sheets for wafer thin canteloupe melon or some Korean Style Healthy ‘Tacos’, packed with monkfish and kimchi, all the while overlooking the sea. Perfect.
One of Dublin’s most stylish five star spots doesn’t just cater for mega indulgence, Chef Gareth Mullins is keen to ensure that those dining at The Marker can avail of dishes as nutritionally balanced as they are beautiful.
Embracing the mantra “It’s all about ME”, The Equilibrium option achieves this goal by dotting the menus of The Brasserie and The Marker Bar with dishes like The Nutri Burger, Refuel Salad and Seared Tuna Loin, all of which pack a serious flavour punch and when you eat well, your mental health and wellbeing also reap the benefits. Dining options like Le Drunch, where lunch meets dinner for a lazy Sunday, needn’t destroy your saintly intentions after all!
When all ingredients on a plate are organic, freshly delivered to the door that morning and treated with the utmost respect, happy food is made. Galway restaurant Kai’s Jess Murphy utilises fantastic ingredients from the West’s rich larder, as well as delicious raw milk cheeses like Young Buck (your tastebuds and gut will be delighted!) to create natural food brimming with goodness.
Expect tempting lunchtime treats like Green Goddess Soup and salad plates of perfect pairings of seasonal treats like blood oranges with Ardsallagh goat’s cheese and evening options like Quinoa Cakes with Ricotta and Asparagus in this Galwegian gem.
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Growing up with the name Darina, I was constantly asked if I could cook like my namesake. I am the only person to have contested both Masterchef and the Great Irish Bake Off and am passionate about discovering and creating delicious things – I can sometimes be caught in the act on TV3’s Six O’Clock Show or RTE Today. Working with TheTaste allows me to satisfy this craving and marries my food fascination with my love of writing and ranting. Follow me on my pursuit of deliciousness.