Cork is the largest county in the Emerald Isle and is undeniably one of the greatest spots in the entire country. With its fascinating historical roots, vibrant nightlife, and music festivals such as Townlands, it is little wonder that Corkonians fondly defend their county as “the real capital”. The culinary scene in Cork is undoubtedly at its peak, and the vegan food scene, in particular, holds its own against the vegan dining options in Dublin and the rest of the country. We’ve rounded up the top 5 vegan-friendly cafes and restaurants in Cork City, including the best falafel joint in town and a plant-powered café!
5. Loving Salads
Loving Salads is an excellent salad and juice bar located on Academy Street. Though they cater for vegetarians and even meat-eaters, the majority of the menu is suitable for vegans. Their salads are made from fresh ingredients from local farmers and are packed full of flavour – their salads stretch far beyond a standard lettuce/tomato/cucumber concoction.
Small tubs of salad are €3.50, while the large containers are €5.50. We recommend their wild black rice, roasted squash, black pepper and date syrup salad, which has the added bonus of being gluten-free! There is a massive range of smoothies and sweet treats such as energy bites to round off your lunch in style.
Address: 15, 16 Academy St, Cork, Ireland
4. Umi Falafel
With branches in both Dublin and Belfast, if you’re looking for an authentic falafel experience then look no further than Umi Falafel. Umi is Arabic for “mother” and thus gives an indication of the care put into each order placed in the restaurant. Falafels are freshly made before your eyes and are made from a combination of 15 healthy and natural ingredients.
A huge proportion of the menu is vegan-friendly and so those on a plant-based diet are spoiled for choice upon visiting the establishment. Our lunch of choice is the “Palestinian Falafel” – a pita with falafel, homemade hummus, salad, fried aubergine and a delicious chilli and tahini sauce. For €8 you can enjoy the “Palestinian Falafel” with spiced potato wedges and a drink of choice. Umi Falafel also offers a takeaway service so is perfect for an on-the-go lunch!
Address: 11/12 Academy St, Centre, Cork, Ireland
3. The Quay Co-Op
The Quay Co-Op is an impressive vegan-friendly café that also caters for those who have to avoid yeast, gluten, sugar, and nuts. The atmosphere is casual and welcoming with stunning views of the river from the first and second-floor windows. The Quay Co-Op also acts as a store selling health foods and other eco-friendly products, so be sure to have a quick look and pick up some vegan essentials after you enjoy your lunch!
The menu itself is continually changing but whatever dish you choose it is guaranteed to be rich in flavour and of supreme quality. Their Tofu Dish of the Day is always a winner at €10.95 – it is gluten-free as well as vegan and is often a curry or stir-fry bursting with authentic flavours. The Quay Co-Op is a sure winner and will provide you with a fab vegan dining experience.
Address: 24 Sullivan’s Quay, Ballintemple, Cork, T12 X867, Ireland
2. Earth Café
Earth Café is a plant-powered micro-café in the city centre. Each dish in the café is vegan-friendly – making it perhaps the only establishment of its kind in the city. Earth Café specialises in sweet treats, plant-milk based hot drinks and fantastic breakfasts. Staff are friendly and passionate about veganism and will ensure you have a positive dining experience.
Their breakfast wrap is currently proving extremely popular – vegan sausage, aubergine bacon, guacamole, spinach and crunchy veg is all encased in a fresh wrap to truly set you up for the day. Earth Café doesn’t offer current prices on their social media pages but rest assured prices are definitely reasonable for the food you receive. A very cool feature of Earth Café is their discounts on all hot drinks if you bring your own cup – it is clear that staff are an ethical bunch and this makes their café all the more attractive!
Address: Centre, Cork, Ireland
1. The Rocket Man
Since their establishment in 2012, The Rocket Man have made it their aim to bring fresh, healthy, and convenient food to the people of Cork through farmers markets and their shop headquarters. All their ingredients are top quality and staff are friendly, helpful and eager to chat about their dishes and ingredients.
The Rocket Man has a selection of soups, sandwiches, and salads but their hearty stews are the standout. Their butterbean, roasted red pepper, and aubergine stew is packed with vitamins and protein and makes for a satisfying vegan lunch. Their Indian style coconut curry with carrot and potato is also a firm favourite and is rich and flavourful without being overwhelmingly heavy. Both dishes are a reasonable €6.50 and will ensure you are full for hours.
Address: 38 Princes St, Centre, Cork, T12 V594, Ireland