It seems unlikely, on the face of it. Dublin has been rated the most vegan-friendly city in the world, according to an analysis of TripAdvisor listings. For sure, the number and quality of eateries serving vegan food has improved enormously in recent years, but best in the world? Really? Those who bemoan the standard of the vegetarian "option", never mind vegan, on some menus – notwithstanding great quality on others – might find it hard to believe. But statistics never lie, right?
The cuisine of restaurants in the 50 most visited cities in the world, as listed on TripAdvisor, was analysed by Hayes & Jarvis (who tailor-make luxury holidays), and they came up with a league table of vegan-friendly cities, topped by Dublin. According to this, Dublin has the highest percentage of vegan-friendly restaurants, with a fifth (21.2 per cent) of the city's eating spots classified as vegan-friendly, which is more than any other city they looked at.
The health warning here, presumably, is that restaurants describe their own cuisine on TripAdvisor, so they can designate themselves as vegan-friendly. (And in Dublin a fifth of them do.)
In the vegan-friendly stakes, Dublin is followed by Phuket (20.1 per cent) and Amsterdam (19.8 per cent). Then London (19 per cent), Venice (18.6 per cent), Florence (18.4 per cent), Orlando (17.3 per cent), Athens (17.2 per cent), New York (16.4 per cent) and Johannesburg (15.5 per cent).
Scepticism aside about the proportion of vegan-friendly restaurants in Dublin, there are some excellent quality vegan eateries in the city. Asian, Middle Eastern and Indian places generally figure strongly in the best reviews of vegan places in Dublin.
The Hayes & Jarvis analysis came up with a list of 266 restaurants rated 4.5-plus on TripAdvisor. Of those, eleven have five stars: Assassination Custard on Kevin Street; Glovers Alley in the Fitzwilliam Hotel; Hot Bubble Cafe on Capel Street; The Jar on Wexford Street; Marrakesh by Mindo on Capel Street; Morocco Gate on Cork Street; Restaurant SIX on Cavendish Row; Tadka House takeaway in Rathmines; Tang Cafe on Dawson and Lr Abbey Streets; Three Monks Asian Street Food To Go and the Thursday Cafe - both on Clanbrassil Street.
Interestingly, if you do a search for restaurants in Dublin on TripAdvisor, and filter under dietary restrictions for "vegan options", you are presented with a quite different list to Hayes & Jarvis's analysis, with Umi Falafel's Lebanese fast food on Dame St top of the heap.
The discrepancy is down to TripAdvisor’s algorithm. Counter-intuitively, though TripAdvisor says it ranks by “highest-rating”, it’s not strictly ordered by the stars but takes other factors, including the quantity of reviews and how recently they were made, into account, so four and four-and-a-half star reviews can rank higher than fives.