Lindsay Nygren is a PhD student at University of Limerick. Check out her survival guide to eating out in Limerick City with dietary restrictions!
I’ve been in Ireland long enough now to know that sometimes it can be hard to find places to eat a decent meal, or even buying groceries, if you have certain dietary restrictions. Being allergic to dairy can make going out an interesting and sometimes frustrating experience but I’ve found a few places in Limerick that are more aware and can cater to the needs of those with certain allergies.
The Sage Café was one of my first finds for brunch when I came to Limerick. They offer a small, dedicated breakfast menu with sweet and savory options. These ranges from egg dishes – a favorite of my friend is their smoked salmon and basil eggs served with their homemade brown bread, waffles, an Irish fry (vegetarian and meat options), and my favorite their homemade granola with berries and honey. It’s usually served with yogurt but with my allergy they happily substituted almond or soy milk.
They also offer a wide selection of homemade fruit, plain or whole meal scones, croissants and muffins served with their homemade jams – raspberry, strawberry or marmalade. They even offer celiac scones and allergy-friendly muffin options! For more of a sweet treat there are a variety of cakes, pies, and cheesecake all served with fresh cream.
Hook & Ladder
Hook & Ladder offers the most extensive menu I’ve seen for allergy-friendly options, ranging from dairy-free yogurt parfaits, smoothie bowls – (the acai bowl is great with a side of their homemade nut and seed granola!) eggs benedict and soldiers, and juices for breakfast as well as sweeter waffles, French toast, baked goods, scones and cakes. For later in the day there are an array sandwiches, full meal dishes, fish, salads, and vegetarian options – my favorite of this is their superfood salad, which I sub with goat’s cheese in lieu of feta. For coffees and teas, there are the options of coconut, almond or soy milk making this a great option for breakfast, brunch, lunch or an afternoon tea.
The staff are always helpful and knowledgeable about the menu and will happily find substitutions or inform of possible allergens in a dish. And what I enjoy about H&K is they are often changing the menu, updating and giving new creative options.
La Cucina (Castletroy and Centro)
La Cucina is a great Italian place offering pastas, pizza and panini which can seem like it’d be hard to find something without cheese. But to my surprise they were willing to work with me to make my pasta without any cream or cheese, which was great! I would imagine for their other menu options they’d be willing to do the same. For dessert they have a delicious selection of sweet treats, and for a vegan option they have a selection available from the Nut Shed such as bars and truffles.
Castletroy Park Hotel: Afternoon Tea
Afternoon tea can be a limiting experience for dietary restrictions but I decided to try out going to the Castletroy Park Hotel for their tea. I called ahead, as per their website, to inform of specific allergies and was assured the pastry chef would make a suitable, special menu. When we arrived, we were seated and our trays brought out.
Of course the traditional tray was filled with a variety of pastries and finger-sandwiches, looking full and decadent. Mine on the other hand was layered with nothing more than cold cuts, carrot sticks and fruit. It was pretty sad in comparison to the other stand as I had expected more since I had called ahead. After speaking with our waitress she took it back to the chef to spruce it up a bit more. The stand that came back was more creative: prosciutto wrapped asparagus and mango sorbet – the best part of the stand! They were nice enough to discount the price too since it didn’t come equal to the standard of the traditional tea offerings. Overall it was an enjoyable experience and I appreciated their attentiveness.
Just a quick tidbit about ordering – restaurants are getting better at identifying allergens in their dishes on their websites. This makes it so much easier to be able to choose options without guessing if they may or may not be allergy friendly. I’ve found that allergies to milk/dairy, wheat, crustaceans, eggs, nuts, and meat identification are becoming more common. You can even leave a comment on your order that identifies your allergies or specifications – which are great strides for online fast food!
Thanks to Lindsay for sharing this with us! Find out why she chose to study a Master’s and beyond at University of Limerick.
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