Being surrounded by the farms that make up Ireland’s west coast, Limerick, might be great for meat, seafood and dairy, but it’s pretty impressive when it comes to north-European, fresh-from-the-farm vegetarian too, and the vegan offerings are growing almost by the minute.
If you’re new to the city, though, it can still be a little too easy to find yourself weighed down with the usual selection of vegetarian pasta dishes and soups. That’s what we’re here for: to introduce a few spots in and around Limerick that outdo themselves when it comes to meat-free cuisine. Dig in!
Limerick’s most noted foodie location has turned into something entirely different in recent years. With its plush new roof, regular live music, variety of stalls and slightly hipster-leaning occupants, you’ll have no trouble whatsoever picking out some imaginative veggie or vegan options. Well Being is a stall to particularly look out for, an artisan, gluten-free bakery with lots of dairy-free options and some great local products. You’ll also find a veggie-loving falafel stand, and heaps of fresh farm produce.
The French Table is a quietly top-class spot overlooking the river, presenting a style of food that can be inferred easily from its name. From a popular French onion soup to rich chocolate mousse, there are plenty of veggie and vegan-friendly stop-offs in every course. Both the spiced couscous and the Pithivier (a kind of enclosed pie, in this case stuffed with cheese and mushroom) are excellent. There’s also the (sometimes lifesaving) option to grab a classy take-out.
A gorgeous café in the heart of the city, Hook and Ladder has gained a national reputation for its varied and enticing menu, despite being heavily focused on the daytime drop-in market. It’s an atmospheric spot where you can snap up almost anything you can see (even some of the furniture is for sale). Their Sarsfield Street store takes in organic porridge, baked eggs, blueberry pancakes, sourdough bread with hummus and a vast range of juices. That’s before you get started on the sandwiches.
It can be difficult for vegetarians (and more so, vegans) to eat in pubs. Tending to lean heavily towards dishes like carveries and ‘meat and two veg’ options, most Irish watering holes will provide the odd option nodding at vegetarian patrons, but you might be stuck with something limited, like salad, or pasta. That might not be such a problem elsewhere, but in Ireland, pubs are essential travel stop-offs. The Glen Tavern is a nice chance to explore, then, with a menu featuring a selection of rice and seafood-based dishes, as well as soda bread sandwiches, a range of soups and other pub grub. The beer’s great too, naturally.
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A total contrast to the pub listed as the previous entry, the Adare Manor Hotel is one of Ireland’s top hotels, a recently renovated five-star with extensive grounds, set in the beautiful thatched-roof village of Adare. The hotel features a spa and a falconry, and the food is every bit as grand as you might expect, with a number of different options from afternoon tea to lush multi-course dinners. The Carriage House, for example, features burrata (buffalo cheese and tomato), mushroom and butternut gnocchi and seared scallops.
Don’t be put off by this gourmet bistro’s much-touted steak dishes – there’s plenty here for the less carnivorous patron, too. Organic and free range are watch-words here, and the reputation is spreading outside of its two city locations of Cork and Limerick. Big menu items – aside from the abundant steak and fish – include pumpkin gnocchi, mushroom tortellini, braised cabbage, asparagus crisps and twice-baked potatoes. The service is excellent, too.