Dublin’s Healthy Counter Culture

I had the pleasure of meeting a lady last week from Austin, Texas, which she informed me was the birthplace of ‘Wholefoods’, ‘Americas’s Healthiest Grocery Store’. She was visiting with her family and claimed they were all suffering from a bit of ‘Delly Belly’ for want of a better word. In Ireland, I thought? Never. But they aren’t used to the richness of the butter or the creaminess of our cheese and milk, she explained.

She asked if could I give her a handful of recommendations of eateries that served healthy, raw, clean, organic and whole foods. Funny, I have an abundance of suggestions when it comes to the place where you can get the juiciest burgers or the spiciest curries in town but I had to put my thinking cap on  to offer up the healthy bite options. I did come up with these four gems that you could try Monday through Thursday, leaving Friday for the Chicken Katsu Curry:

Blazing Salads: Well established Blazing Salads on Drury Street is absolutely top notch when it comes to the whole foods scene. This deli is the brainchild of sisters Pamela and Lorraine  Fitzmaurice who were ahead of their time as children, with seaweed being one of the wholesome goodies to be found in their school lunch boxes, about 40 years ago. Blazing Salads has no sugar policy which they strictly adhere to and use substitutes like agave syrup when absolutely necessary. Choose from a variety of  cold salads, hot curried cauliflower, miso soup with daikon, Moroccan veggie bake and finish with a sweet fig, pear and cardamon roll for example. It is take-out only so bring a blanket and make a picnic of it. Convenient, fast, healthy and totally delectable. A winning formula which has proven the test of time as they head into their 17th year in business.

Sprout & Co – Set up by brothers Jack and Theo Kirwan, this is relatively new to the wholefood scene in Dublin but I have a hunch that this one is around for the long haul. Originally set up as a juice company in 2013 they have quickly expanded to cater for breakfast and lunches and they have successfully opened their second store this summer. If you are fortunate enough to get a seat you can perch yourself on their tall stools at shared benches for your healthy pitstop – this is clean, fresh, quality cuisine and very tasty. Popularity justified after my first encounter with the guacabowle salad. Guilt-free deliciousness. Find them on Dawson Street and Lower Mount Street.

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The Guacabowle

Cornucopia – This delightful counter-service restaurant is another veteran in the industry, situated on Wicklow Street. With a keen interest in health and wellbeing, vegetarianism and veganism, Deirdre McCafferty set up this restaurant 30 years ago this year. Lots of variety and choice be it for breakfast, lunch or dinner and at a reasonable price too. They even serve organic wine. Cornucopia allows the diner to linger a little longer but you may still find you are waiting for a table in this two-story city-centre haunt. Butternut squash and cashew cannelloni sound good to you?

The Fumbally – The owners describe The Fumbally as a community cafe serving an eclectic menu of health conscious dishes and locally roasted coffee and they are true to their word. They serve up healthy food with influences from Asia, the Middle East, South and Central America, and so on. I regularly enjoy their falafel plate which is a generous serving of nutritiousness. Again it is a case of queuing to place your order but the staff bring you your meal which you can savour in this lovely airy space. As well as breakfast and lunch, on Wednesdays you can eat your dinner too where there is a focus on a particular theme or dish, such as, Keralan Thali or Brazilian Feijoada. The Fumbally caters for meat eaters too.  Located in Fumbally Lane, Dublin 8, near Teelings and the Dublin Co-op, it is not quite as central as the others but very much worth the short walk.

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Falafel Plate

If you are reading, lovely American lady, I hope you managed to try some of these. This list is certainly not exhaustive and I continue on my quest for the healthier options.  Please feel free to comment on any of your own favourite healthy spots.

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