Whether you’re a gym bunny or a sporadic sports partaker like myself, one thing’s for sure; when you’ve put that effort into a workout, you’re hungry and usually looking for something with some health food credentials. For me, taste will always be paramount over protein so I will not profess to offer any knowledge on the best workouts or, indeed, what exactly you should be consuming straight after. But what I can offer is a handy guide to some great cafés that offer up fresh, health-conscious menus - exercise optional.
Little Bird, 82 South Circular Road, Dublin 8
Fancy starting your day with a stretch and a coffee? Head to Little Bird, a café-cum-yoga studio on South Circular Road where you’ll find plenty in the way of yoga classes (catering to all levels), and a charming café serving breakfast, lunch and weekend brunch to refuel straight after. Everything is baked and made in-house; breakfast offers coconut milk porridge; avocado toast and poached eggs and lunch covers salads, sandwiches and lots of veggie specials. There’s no air of protein focus overload - just proper, nutritious, home-cooked food to keep that yoga glow going long after your final vinyasa.
Foodie Cafe, IFSC, Mayor Square, Dublin 1
In the heart of the bustling IFSC, you’ll find one of the most fun spots for a health-conscious feed - Foodie Café. All-day breakfast is a hit with gym bunnies, featuring egg pots and packed porridge, granolas and luscious protein shakes. Lunch features bright, tasty, ever-changing salads and puntastic sandwiches like The Pork Star, Getting Figgy With It and Juan in a Million. Vegans, paleo devotees and sweet tooths are all looked after equally well. They often run events with nearby studio Sweaty Soul, so keep an eye on their active social pages for details.
Fuel, 10 Vernon Ave, Dublin 3
Clontarf is an absolute must during this considerable sunshine, with miles of seafront walks and a picturesque promenade just a stone's throw from the city centre. There are definite Aussie vibes around in the summer and this continues into this gem of a spot Fuel. Beyond the retro tiled shop front is a compact, bright café serving up ‘feel good’ food. And it does feel good, and taste good. Breakfast covers granola; eggs; avocado toast and smoothies and lunch is simple but tasty salads and wraps - both are combined for Saturday brunch. For the keen keep fitter, they also organise plenty of workouts combined with food, like beach yoga and TRX brunches.
Two Pups, 74 Francis St, Dublin 8
This buzzy Francis Street café brims with laid-back charm and warm welcomes, with a coffee station constantly on the go, knocking out perfect flat whites. Upstairs, you’ll find the ‘Yoga Kitchen’; a laid-back yoga studio offering chilled out drop-in classes during the week. Settle in after for a tasty breakfast or lunch, with specials scribbled on a chalkboard - wild mushrooms, basil & sorrel pesto; poached eggs & hazelnut or spiced maple banana, peanut cream & candied peanut porridge anyone? This is feel-good done right.
Nut Butter, Forbes Street, Dublin 2
This smart, light-filled restaurant in Grand Canal is an Instagrammer's dream; all muted pastel interiors, geometric tabletop designs and plenty of greenery and raffia. The idea behind Nut Butter is a focus is on bigging up plant-based food, while also offering choice. Vegan favourite jackfruit features along with Irish brisket for protein bowls and tacos. There’s an interesting tempeh chorizo on the menu, sushi-grade tuna and plenty of kale, quinoa and avocado. Simple breakfast staples of porridge and toast are pimped up with plenty of bright, fresh toppings and textures and homemade nut butters, of course. Basically, plenty of fuel food that tastes as good as it looks.
Network Cafe, 39 Aungier St, Dublin 2
Often cited as the best porridge in town, this under-the-radar Aungier Street café is a gem of a find for filling breakfast, perfect for the early birds. The slow cooked oats are loaded with the best tastes and textures, seasonal fruit and lots of crunch. They always have excellent coffee, featuring rotating guest roasters, brilliantly made. Lunch and brunch are a changing menu of thoughtful, filling salads, baps and specials. Decadent Nutshed sweet treats are worth a detour for.