Ireland: Dublin Eats (part 2)

I saved the best part of my Ireland trip for last:  the Vegetarian Restaurants in Dublin!  

I did my research before the trip, and as it turns out, Dublin has quite a bounty of vegetarian restaurants, though I was only able to try a couple of them.  Before departing for Ireland, I printed out a lengthy list of vegetarian restaurants from HappyCow.  I also tried out Mygola’s free service where I tweeted them my destination and preferences (healthy, vegetarian) and they tweeted back a list of personalized recommendations!

Upon arriving at our hotel, the first thing I did was show our concierge my HappyCow listing, asking which of the restaurants was closest to our hotel.  Coincidentally, the concierge on duty just so happened to be a Vegetarian and he gave a rave review to the restaurant Cornucopia, which was just a few blocks away and on both the Happy Cow and Mygola listings.

So Cornucopia was the choice for my first dinner in Dublin and it turned out to be exactly my kind of place – so much so that I ate here 3 times in 3 days.  

  

The cafeteria-style menu changes every day so I’m pretty sure I’d never get tired of this place.  I also loved that each entree comes with the choice of two side salads – otherwise I’m not sure I would have been able to make up my mind.

Seeing all the delicious food as I stood in line only proved to make the decision more difficult.  I talked Mike into letting me order for both of us so that we were able to share 2 entrees and a few salads.

  

We each had a fresh Leafy Green Salad with the house Mustard Vinaigrette, and we shared the following:

On the plate on the left:

Soaked Barley with Carrot & Ruby Chard

Mushroom & Puy Lentil Moussaka

On the plate on the right:

Daikon, Carrot & Spring Onion Salad

Seitan, Courgette (Zucchini) & Cauliflower Stifado 

Our plates might not be beautiful, but the food sure was delicious, nutritious  and comforting.

And we washed it all down with a shared glass of  Green Juice.

               

The very next morning, we were back again for Breakfast.  The concierge who had recommended the restaurant told us that they are best known for their breakfasts.  Unlike their lunch and dinner menus which change daily, the breakfast menu is a set list of classic breakfast fare with a vegetarian twist.

The Scrambled Tofu with Roasted Peppers, Onions & Tamari that I ordered was delicious, as was the hearty, seed-filled bread.

  

But the stand-out of the table was Mike’s breakfast of two homemade vegetarian sausages, a roasted portabello, breakfast beans, and roasted red onion.  Every single component on that plate wowed us.  The sesame-encrusted sausages were incredible, the beans were perfectly seasoned, and the sweet roasted onions were the perfect complement.  I’m now regretting that I didn’t purchase the restaurant’s cookbook – the book would surely be worth every Euro, even if it included only these recipes!

My third and final visit here was on the very last night of our trip.  This time, I was by myself.  Mike was grabbing dinner and drinks with some friends at a Pub, but I had wanted to do some more shopping and have a quieter evening.  Cornucopia was the perfect place to come for a quick and casual solo meal.
 
A bowl of soup with a slice of Olive Bread and two salads hit the spot.  I chose the Split Pea and Roast Garlic Soup, the Garden Salad, and a salad of Chickpeas, Aubergine (Eggplant), and Sundried Tomatoes.  I grabbed a seat at the counter, and before long I was back out shopping for souvenirs – grocery shopping, that is!

While I adored Cornucopia, it has some very good company from other great veggie spots in Dublin.  

One of my favorite discoveries in Dublin was the Powerscourt Centre.  Just a block away from bustling Grafton Street, tourists who step off of the main drag are certainly rewarded.  In the 1700’s this mansion was home to the 3rd Viscount Powerscourt, but it has since been converted into the most unique of shopping plazas with a stunning courtyard filled with restaurants and with very unique gift shops filling the rooms of the house.

  

We discovered Powerscourt Centre while trying to find Cafe Fresh, another vegetarian restaurant that was recommended on my personalized Mygola listing.  I knew from Mygola that the restaurant was only open for breakfast and lunch (though by looking at their website it appears they may now be serving dinner), but we took our chances in search of a late lunch.  We were too late and the restaurant was closed, but I’m so glad our search led to our discovery of this special building!

 

After browsing Powerscourt, we went again in search of our late lunch, this time choosing Blazing Salads which was just a few blocks away.  

This little hole-in-the-wall deli was such a great find!  It’s an independent, family-run deli focused on whole foods, and the food couldn’t be any fresher – everything is made on the premises daily, except for the breads which come from their bakery.  Everything in the restaurant is vegetarian, with a huge focus on vegan and gluten-free items.

We each chose to order from their Vegan Salad Bar which was an excellent decision since it allowed us to try so many of their delicious prepared salads.

I loved that this wasn’t your basic lettuce-tomato-cucumber-and-croutons salad bar.  Almost all of the items on this salad bar were complex labors of love – healthfully prepared with such a variety of flavors! 

For example there was a Chickpea Salad with Tahini-Mustard Dressing, Roasted Squash with Bulgar & Adzuki, and Noodles with Spicy Balsamic-Shoyu Dressing.

 

I’m pretty sure I tried a little bit of everything.  It was all so delicious and fresh!

But their amazing baked goods blew their wonderful salad bar out of the water.  Mike suggested we share a dessert and he picked out one of their Date, Oat and Orange Squares for us to share.  

This was one of the most perfect desserts I’ve ever eaten –  Chewy with the right amount of sweetness and a bright and sunny orange flavor.  And believe it or not, these magical squares were Gluten Free and Vegan too!   I’m now seriously regretting that I also didn’t buy the Blazing Saddles cookbook !

And on that delicious note, my Ireland series ends, but I hope to return one day!

I’d love to hear from you!

What resources do you use to find restaurants when you travel?

Have you  ever bought a restaurant’s cookbook? Which one?