We know it’s all too easy to get stressed out during the summer months. With the threat of boredom always lurking around the corner, it’s hard not to end up feeling the heat from restless little ones eager for something new to do during their long break from the classroom routine. But never fret, fear or feel frazzled, the holiday season offers up a great chance to enjoy some precious family time and, luckily for us, we live in a city that’s jam-packed with activities and attractions that will appeal to all of the kids in your brood (big and small).
Whether you want to make a splash at the water park, learn about the planet at an indoor rainforest or even hit the open road to check out the excellent attractions in another emirate, you won’t be short of things to do while school is out. So take a load off and let us help you to create your very own sizzling summer schedule that is sure to keep the whole family enthralled.
Get active Adventure HQ Youngsters with a real sense of adventure can take fun to fresh heights at this massive indoor attraction. Get the adrenaline pumping by clambering up the nine metre-high climbing pinnacle, made to resemble a real rock face, or try out the cable climb course before tackling one of a dozen themed climbing walls, featuring an array of dazzling designs such as a fireman’s wall, two techno walls and a dinosaur skeleton and a castle façade. With a zip line, skate park and a caving zone to dive into, this action-packed spot is a hub of thrilling activity. From Dhs65 (30 minute session), Dhs250 (all-day pass). Various locations, including: Open Sat-Wed 10am-10pm, Thu-Fri 10am-midnight. Times Square Center, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 346 6909).
Aventura Nature Adventure Park Swing on by to unleash your inner Indiana Jones or leap from tree-to-tree like a modern-day Tarzan. Aventura Nature Adventure Park – which is set in a vast 35,000-square metre forest in the heart of Mushrif Park – is helping to nurture a life-long love of nature that spans the generations. The fun-packed park offers more than 80 exhilarating challenges across five different levels off the ground and between the trees to cater for thrill-seekers of all ages, from zip-lining and wall climbing, through to thrilling tree top surfing and exciting rope course challenges. Dhs150 (general access), Dhs125 (kids under 1.35 metres). Open daily 9.30am-6pm. Mushrif Park, Mirdif (052 178 7616).
Energetic kids will be jumping for joy if you take them for a visit here. The ever-popular venue in Al Quoz mixes plenty of fun with fitness for all ages. The free-jumping space is a great place to try out some tricks, soaring as high as you can with a soft landing assured. There’s also the dodgeball pit, the slam dunk (a blend of trampolining and basketball that’s every bit as cool as it sounds), plus a chance to run up walls after propelling yourself on a super-springy trampoline. Dhs70 (junior jumpers aged three years and over and under 110cm in height), Dhs80 (general access for anyone over 110cm). Open Sun-Wed 10am-10pm, Thu 10am-midnight, Fri 9am-midnight, Sat 9am-8pm. Al Quoz (04 321 1400).
Ski Dubai Okay, so the idea of hitting the slopes in the height of a blazing summer might not immediately make sense, but it’s “snow joke” for the team at Ski Dubai. The world’s largest indoor snow park – and the first indoor ski resort in the Middle East – is a winter wonderland whatever the weather. Taking pride of place in The Mall of the Emirates, in Al Barsha, it is home to a staggering 3,000 square metres of the white stuff, and little ski lovers are able to jump on a chairlift for a bird’s eye view of the entire park before trying out a twin- tracked bobsled run and going snowboarding and tobogganing.The family won’t get cold feet if you put this on the itinerary. Dhs200 (adult ticket), Dhs180 (kids aged two and above). Open Sun-Wed 10am-11pm, Thu 10am-midnight, Fri 9am-midnight, Sat 9am-11pm. The Mall of the Emirates, Al Barsha (800 386).
Love to learn Kidzania Sending your children off to work may seem a bit harsh (especially after a tiring term at school), but they really won’t mind if they’re clocking in at KidZania. The innovative education environment provides role play at its finest, with little worker bees able to try out life as a fireman, a doctor, a policeman and much more, all inside a self-contained city complete with its own hospital, fire station, bank, radio station, pizzeria and beauty salon and even its very own currency, kidZos. From Dhs150. Open Sun-Wed 10am-10pm, Thu-Sat 10am-11pm. The Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai (04 448 5222).
Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo
A day out at the gigantic Dubai Mall is like an adventure all in itself, so throw in an aquarium and underwater zoo and you will really have the makings of a boredom-busting plan. Even if you are just in the market for a spot of retail therapy, you can put down your shopping bags for a minute or two in order to gaze in awe at the ten-million litre aquarium tank, filled with more than 140 colourful sea creatures. But if you want to explore further, try out the underwater zoo which gives you a chance to brush up close with some of nature’s most interesting creations, including otters, piranhas and penguins. There is also a chance to see the zoo’s resident sharks and king crocs, from a safe viewing area. From Dhs100. Sun-Wed 10am-11pm, Thu-Sat 10am-midnight. Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai (04 448 5200).
Dubai Museum Have a blast with the past at this culture spot celebrating the city’s rich heritage. Taking a step back in time at the impressive Al Fahidi Fort is a great way to educate your children about the roots of the city. The building itself is a slice of history having been constructed back in 1787 (making it the oldest existing building in the emirate). The museum boasts a thought-provoking exhibit on the city’s pearl diving past as well as authentic recreations of everyday life in the days before the discovery of oil. A must-visit for those keen to embrace Dubai’s intriguing narrative from desert land to world power. Dhs3. Open daily 10am-8pm. Al Fahidi Fort, Bur Dubai (04 353 1862).
The Green Planet The saying “only in Dubai” was pretty much made for places like this. A tropical rainforest inside a giant 45-metre, cube-like structure isn’t something you see every day. But this is far from being a flashy gimmick. The Green Planet is a living, breathing tool to educate future generations on the importance of caring for the world. The unique enclosed eco-system is home to more than 3,000 plants and animals – from sloths and exotic parrots to swarms of bees, turtles and tarantulas – and has the world’s largest indoor man-made and life-sustaining tree at its heart. This is educational and entertaining for all ages. Dhs95 (adults), Dhs70 (kids aged three-12). Open Sat-Wed 10am-10pm, Thu-Fri 10am-midnight. City Walk, Al Safa (800 637 227).
Mattel Play! Town
The City Walk attraction is centred around the concept of eduplay, a play-based education theory that focuses on the importance of stimulating children’s imaginations and encouraging their flair for fantasy. Plus, to cut to the chase, Barney, Bob the Builder, Thomas the Tank Engine, Fireman Sam and Angelina Ballerina are involved. Each beloved Mattel character has its own themed-zone. The Bob the Builder zone features interactive games that instil in kids the importance of problem solving and team work, while the Barney zone has its own reading corner for children and there is more fun at your feet in the form of interactive flooring, as well as access to tricks and crafts and musical instruments. Dhs95 (kids aged 2-10), Dhs55 (adults). Open Sat-Wed 10am-10pm, Thu-Fri 10am-midnight. City Walk, Al Safa (04 317 3999).
Theme park fun IMG Worlds of Adventure The little superheroes in your life will marvel at the attractions on offer at this larger-than-life theme park. Launched last year, IMG Worlds of Adventure is home to a host of rides based around Marvel’s most iconic characters, including Captain America, Spider-Man, The Hulk, Iron Man and Thor. Visitors can also get up close and personal with prehistoric dinosaurs brought roaring back to life in the Lost Valley and catch up with the colourful stars of the Cartoon Network. This is sure-fire fun for all of the family. Dhs245 (general admission), Dhs225 (kids under 1.2m in height), Dhs150 (visitors over 60), free (kids under 1.05m in height). Open Sun-Wed 1pm-10pm, Thu-Sat 1pm-11pm. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road (04 403 8888).
LEGOLAND Dubai and LEGOLAND Water Park Let’s be honest, this will be just as much fun for the parents as it is for the kids. The beloved building block has provided countless hours of fun for several generations and has proved such a global hit that it has spawned its own series of blockbuster movies. The LEGOLAND extravaganza at the city’s Dubai Parks and Resorts has successfully brought LEGO to life with more than 40 rides, shows and attractions on six themed lands crammed with 15,000 LEGO models and more than 60,000 LEGO bricks. Dhs335 (LEGOLAND Dubai and Water Park pass). Open daily 10am-6pm. Dubai Parks and Resorts, Jebel Ali (04 820 0000).
Wild Wadi Waterpark Ride the crest of a wave at Wild Wadi water park. The exciting spot has 30 rides and attractions, themed around the tale of Juha, a character from Arabian folklore. Thrilling rides to enjoy include the 120-metre Jumeirah Sceirah, which reaches speeds of 80 kilometres, and the adrenaline-pumping Burj Surge, to toddler-friendly activities in Breakers Bay. It’s not just the kids who will go wild here, there are hours of fun for all ages. Dhs295 (1.1m in height and above), Dhs230 (below 1.1m in height). Open daily 10am-7pm. Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Umm Suqeim (04 348 4444).
Road trip Al Ain Zoo No summer holiday is complete without a day out at the zoo. Travel over to the beautiful Garden City of Al Ain to brush up close with nature at this 900 hectare park, which is home to more than 4,000 animals and 180 species (around 30 percent of which are considered endangered). Conservation and animal welfare is taking seriously here , too, so this is a top destination for little animal-lovers. The wide variety of attractions include giraffe feeding, camel riding and a petting zoo featuring llamas, chickens, ducks, sheep and goats. The popular zoo is complemented by the Al Ain Safari, one of the world’s largest man-made African safaris, which is host to a range of native African animals and more than 2,500 diverse plants. From Dhs80 (adult), Dhs40 (kids aged three-12), free (kids under three). Open daily 9am-8pm (5pm-11pm during Ramadan). Nahyan The First Street, Al Ain (03 799 2000).
Make a big splash at one of the best water parks in the world over the road in Abu Dhabi. With tornado waterslides, high-intensity freefall drops and hydromagnetic rollercoasters, dry land will never be the same again.With its snake fang exit pools, LED light shows, lazy rivers and children’s pools, there are rides for all thrill levels, plus regular promotions and temporary attractions to get stuck into. From Dhs250 (adults), Dhs210 (children, under 1.1m), free (children under three years old). Yas Island (02 414 2000).
Ferrari World Despite already having the world’s fastest roller coaster as a star attraction, Ferrari World shows no sign of slowing down. A new thrill ride, Turbo Track, opened this year, making Abu Dhabi’s premier theme park even bigger and better than ever. The fantastic Ferrari museum is another hugely popular spot in this terrific tribute to one of the most enduring names in the automotive industry. Whether you are into red cars or white-knuckle rides, you will find plenty to keep you entertained here. It is also fully air-conditioned, making this an all-year-round mega-attraction. Live life in the fast lane by taking an exhilarating trip to the UAE capital. From Dhs275 (adults), Dhs230 (children under 1.1m), free (children under three years old). Yas Island, www.ferrariworldabudhabi.com (02 496 8000).
Need to entertain the offspring? Kid-friendly attraction Magic Planet is spread over two floors at Mall of the Emirates, and houses rides and activities for all ages. Famously, it’s home to the XD Theatre, which was the first 4D cinema in the UAE. There’s also a massive soft-play area for the little ones, and pool tables for the not-so-little ones (hello, mum and dad). Fancy some bowling? There are 12 ten-pin lanes for that, too, plus plenty of food outlets to refuel in, after some arcade games. Gravity, a trampolining area, is ideal for budding acrobats, plus there’s a merry-go-round, bumper cars and more. Phew. From Dhs55. Open daily 10am-2am (until Jul 1); Sun-Wed 10am-10pm; Thu-Fri 10am-midnight (thereafter). Magic Planet, Mall of the Emirates, www.theplaymania.com/magicplanet
2 Play some retro arcades
Admittedly, Stereo Arcade isn’t exactly on the scale of some of the big-hitters on this list, nor is it as family-friendly, but it does house some pretty decent arcade games. Sonic the Hedgehog while you have a chat with your mates? Sounds okay to us. Free entry. Open daily 6pm-3am. Stereo Arcade, DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Dubai – Jumeirah Beach, JBR (052 618 2424).
3 Take a road trip…
If hair-raising rides and fast cars are your thing, head to Abu Dhabi. Ferrari World on Yas Island is mostly housed inside a striking red dome, with rides, cafés and, of course, Ferraris. As well as learning more about these supercars, you’ll also find the world’s fastest roller coaster, the Formula Rossa. Modelled on a real Ferrari F1 car, put on your goggles and get ready to reach a speed of 240kph in just 4.9 seconds. Meanwhile, Flying Aces has the highest roller coaster loop on the planet. The brand-new Turbo Track is open now, too, which has zero gravity falls. There are karting and simulator rides, too. Free entry and pay per ride (throughout Ramadan; from Dhs275 (thereafter). Formula Rossa re-opens on Sun Jun 18. Open Sun-Wed 11am-6pm; Thu-Fri 11am-midnight; Sat 11am-11pm. Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, www.ferrariworldabudhabi.com.
4 …Then tackle The Big One
Head back to Dubai to take on the world’s largest indoor theme park. The 1.5-million-square-foot IMG Worlds of Adventure opened in summer last year, and is fully temperature-controlled. It’s also home to some pretty epic rides and is certainly not just for kids (although there is a dedicated area for the sprogs, too, with some tamer attractions). Even the seemingly innocuous Powerpuff Girls – Mojo’s Robot Rampage ride packs a punch. Highlights of the park include the high-speed Velociraptor roller coaster in the Lost Valley Dinosaur Adventure Zone, which reaches 100kph in 2.5 seconds. Also in this zone – which is home to 69 animatronic dinosaurs – is the gravity-defying Predator, featuring a 35-metre “beyond vertical” drop. Two more stomach-churners are the Spider-Man Doc Ock’s Revenge and Thor, which are both high-intensity, spinny, rides. Take a breather on the Dino Carousel or grab a snack at one of the 28 food outlets. If you’re feeling brave enough there’s also The Haunted Hotel. Don’t say we didn’t warn you… Dhs245 (adults), Dhs225 (kids under 1.2m), free (kids under 1.05m). Open daily 7am-11pm. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road, www.imgworlds.com.
5 Take on a gamer’s dream
The 18,000-square-metre Hub Zero is fully state-of-the-art, using the latest technologies. Set up in collaboration with gaming companies Electronic Arts, Capcom, Konami, Microsoft and Square Enix Space, this centre has activities for all ages. It houses 3D and 4D cinema experiences, and for a retro take on things, you can even indulge in some pinball. Or there’s a full-on laser tag battle to take part in if you’re feeling active. For more serious gamers there’s a LAN (or Local Area Network to novices) gaming area, with 70 stations. If you’re more into Pac-Man and Space Invaders, don’t worry, you’ll be well-catered for, too. From Dhs160. Open Sun-Thu 5pm-midnight, Fri-Sat 3pm-midnight. City Walk, Al Safa Street, www.hubzerodubai.com.
6 Try out three theme parks in one
Billed as “the coolest place this summer”, Dubai Parks And Resorts has more than 40 indoor rides and attractions across its motiongate Dubai, Bollywood Parks Dubai and Legoland Dubai complexes. motiongate, which is based on Hollywood motion picture companies DreamWorks Animation, Columbia Pictures and Lionsgate, has plenty of high-octane rides and attractions include Madagascar Mad Pursuit, Hotel Transylvania and Underworld 4D cinema show. Legoland’s indoor draws include factory tours and 4D cinemas, while Bollywood Parks has live action shows. From Dhs85. Open daily 4pm-midnight. Jebel Ali, www.dubaiparksandresorts.com.
7 Unearth The Void
Put on your ghost-busting backpack and get on down to The Beach. US “hyper-reality” company The Void has teamed up with Meraas to set up a full-on virtual reality experience allowing you to bust some ghosts. Dubai is the first city outside of the US to have this attraction, which uses real-time effects to wow you. As well as the backpack, you’ll pop on a vest with haptic feedback, which simulates the feeling and velocity of force, so you’ll be totally immersed in the experience. (You just have to try it.) Dhs110. Open daily noon-midnight. The Beach, JBR, www.thevoid.com/dubai.
If you think a meal isn’t a meal unless it involves some sort of meat, you’re missing out on some seriously good food. Forget spiralised vegetable noodles. Those are for vegan amateurs. We’ve got the lowdown on where you can find raw veggie burger sliders, fragrant pumpkin curries, smoking tandoori broccoli and far more besides. Plus some decadently creamy cacio e pepe, because sometimes you do just need to eat cheese. Dig in.
Beetnik pizza at Freedom Pizza A veggie pizza bursting with interesting flavours, this pie comes topped with white sauce instead of red, mozzarella, goat’s cheese, beetroot and caramelised onion. It’s sweet and creamy, but there are waves of punchy herbs, too, such as spring onion, parsley, fennel seeds and thyme. All of Freedom’s signature veggie pizzas can be customised to use vegan cheese, too, or you can build your own to have everything from a gluten-free vegan crust to vegan sausages. And round the whole thing off with a vegan ice-cream or cheesecake for dessert. You can even set your online profile to “vegetarian” or “vegan” to make things easier. From Dhs33. www.freedompizza.ae.
Billie the Kid veggie burger at Gourmet Burger Kitchen If you think burgers need to have meat in them to be worth eating, we suggest you try this towering creation. gbk is taking veggie burgers to a whole new level. Think gooey fried goat’s cheese, grilled aubergine, fresh rocket, pesto, pickled baby onions and harissa mayo to give it all a kick. Dhs36. Times vary. Various locations including Dubai Marina Mall (04 399 7705).
Burrito Box at Taqado If you go for the build-your-own burrito box, you can easily make it veggie by piling on black beans and guacamole, rather than pulled meats. Add some lime rice, stewed peppers, pickled cabbage (for an extra Dhs5) and salsa verde, then slather on the sour cream and add some cheese (seriously, always add the cheese). Not exactly guilt-free, but so satisfying. From Dhs35. Various locations including The Dubai Mall, www.taqado.com.
This new opening has been making waves for its rustic, creative menu. Portions are small – the idea is that you build your own tasting menu, of sorts – and there are plenty of veggie dishes on offer, including a smoked tofu main and a mushroom cashew nut curry. Absolutely standout, however, is the butterhead lettuce. Served as a pretty disc of smooth crème fraîche topped with mustard and perfect little crunchy leaves, it’s a superb example of how to elevate a simple ingredient to something unique, and just a little bit indulgent. Dhs45. Open Sun-Thu noon-2.30pm, 5pm-11pm; Fri-Sat noon-3.30pm, 5pm-11pm. Souk Madinat Jumeirah, Umm Suqeim (04 430 8535).
Chit chat aur chaat at Rang Mahal This elaborate version of the Indian veggie street food snack comes served in various jars for you to mix yourself at the table. It’s served with three different kinds of chaat (one with spiced potato, one with sprouted green moong and the other with crisp samosa and chana masala), two kinds of chutney and yoghurt. Dhs85. Open daily 6.30pm-11.30pm. JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai, Business Bay (04 414 3000).
This South Indian street food snack is perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner (or any time in between). They’re some of the best dosas in the city – thinner than paper-thin, crisp, golden pancakes wrapped around richly spiced potatoes and served with a selection of coconut sauce, chutney, chilli and more. From Dhs8.25. Times vary. Karama (04 334 5252). Other location: Al Barsha (04 427 6682).
An entirely vegetarian menu is available at Tong Thai on request (they’ll even bring you a veggie versions of prawn crackers if you ask). It features vegetarian versions of the all classics (tom yum soup, papaya salad, pad Thai noodles) as well as this vibrant green curry of mixed veg, coconut shoots, tofu, Thai aubergine and sweet basil. Dhs85. Open Fri-Wed 6pm-midnight; Thu 6pm-1am. JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai, Business Bay (04 414 3000).
Nestled in the Greens, this little café tops our list of morning spots for veggies thanks to two plates: the green breakfast with smoked yoghurt and the local breakfast. The former comes piled high with kale, asparagus, quinoa, avocado, and halloumi. Chopped almonds and crispy strips of saj bread give it some crunch, and it all sits on top of a light, smoked yoghurt base. The latter stars two poached eggs on toast with homemade hummus, caramelised cauliflower, beetroot tahini, guacamole, preserved lemon and smoked baba ganoush. Two absolute standouts, as far as we’re concerned. Dhs39. Open daily 8am-10pm. Emaar Business Park, Building 4, The Greens (04 558 8141).
Hazelnut and mushroom tart at Be Super Natural Kitchen This raw, vegan café is the kind of place where you can find courgetti puttanesca and smoothie bowls galore, alongside exciting salads featuring combinations such as fennel, pear and avocado. Its desserts are positively dreamy, too. Try the banoffee pie made with peanut caramel, banana and whipped coconut cream. Its produce is locally sourced (and really shines in, for example, the vegetable coconut curry with cauliflower rice), but the hazelnut tart is something special. It’s filled with an earthy shiitake cream and topped with huge slices of marinated Portobello mushrooms. Dhs32. Open daily 11am-10pm. Galleries Lafayette, The Dubai Mall (04 339 9933).
Healthy red rice noodles at 77 Veggie Boutique The veggie-friendly food service offers both daily and one-off meals. For a quick lunch or dinner, we recommend this tasty dish. The gluten-free rice noodles are smothered in a delicious veggie chilli sauce that’s well balanced and delivers a good kick of heat. Strips of fresh, crunchy vegetables complete the dish, which you’ll find in the Dining Designers section, making it a great side or sharing plate to enjoy with the rest of 77 Veggie Boutique’s vegan- and vegetarian-friendly menu. Dhs34. Open Sun-Thu 8.30am-10pm; Fri 12.30pm-10pm; Sat 10am-10pm. Tiffany Tower, Cluster W, JLT (04 422 4116).
The inspired flavour combinations are as intriguing as the setting at this colourful fusion restaurant. The dish plays on the North Indian speciality of mushroom keema matar (mushrooms and minced meat) and this version is made with tandoori portobello mushroom and topped with chimichurri chutney, green peas, a creamy malai sauce and more. Dhs130. Open daily noon-3.30pm, 7pm-11.30pm. Burj Daman, DIFC (04 421 8665).
Japanese eggplant with aka miso at Zuma Who said vegan and vegetarian food couldn’t be found in one of the city’s most fine-dining spots? Even meat-eaters can’t get enough of this perfectly prepared and moreish dish at this multi-award-winning Japanese restaurant, known for its incredible food, excellent atmosphere and spot-on service. The aubergine has been well cooked – it doesn’t suffer from the usual mushy texture, nor is it overly watery – and the miso dressing is sweet, salty and full of umami flavour that’ll have you polishing off the dish in minutes. Dhs48. Open Sat-Wed 12.30pm-3.30pm, 7pm-12.45am; Thu-Fri 12.30pm-3.30pm, 7pm-1.45am. Gate Village 6, DIFC (04 425 5660).
Koshari at Zaroob The ultimate comfort food, koshari is a carby Egyptian dish that layers rice and lentils, pasta, chickpeas cooked in a tomato sauce and crispy fried onions. It’s simple, and certainly not fine dining, but it’s the perfect thing to tuck into after a long day at work or over a lazy weekend lunch. Dhs28. Open daily 24 hours. Various locations including Jumeirah Tower, Sheikh Zayed Road (800 927 662).
Mother Earth pizza at Pinza It’s pizza without the guilt. Pinza dough is lighter, crispier and lower in calories, with minimal yeast and gluten in the recipe, while this vegan variety boasts a potato base, topped with courgette, cherry tomatoes, plenty of onion and a sprinkling of oregano. Add extras, including sauces and more fresh, GMO-free vegetables and herbs. Sorted. Dhs35. Open Sun-Wed 10.30am-11.30pm, Thu and Sat 10.30am-1am. Sobha Ivory 1, Business Bay (800 74692). Other location: Mar Residence, Jumeirah Village Circle. Noodle soup at Freshii This is an excellent spot for vegetarian and vegan food (the kitchen does a mean vegan chilli), but we can’t get enough of its light, fragrant noodle soup. It’s available with vegetable broth on request, and you can substitute the chicken for tofu. It’s stuffed full of rice noodles, tomatoes, coriander and bean sprouts. Perfect for lunch. Dhs27. Open Sun-Thu 8am-10pm; Fri 11am-9pm; Sat 10am-7pm. Various locations including Bay Square, Business Bay (04 551 5123).
One of the key members of the healthy eating community in Dubai, Silvena Rowe – the chef behind Omnia Gourmet – prides herself on whipping up some of the most inventive and healthy vegan dishes in town. In this one, creamed cauliflower is topped with roasted organic veggies and crunchy cauliflower. It includes local produce, too, and is as healthy as it is delicious coming in at less than 200 calories. 159, to be precise. Dhs59. Open daily 9am-11pm. Jumeirah Fishing Harbour, Jumeirah 1 (04 343 7181).
Heinz Beck’s Italian restaurant might be located on the far reaches of the Palm, but it’s worth travelling for. The menu here is a combination of homey, classic Italian recipes with fine-dining flourishes (think foams and the like). This pasta dish is a prime example. It’s decadent and creamy, and the gnocchi is that perfect, light, doughy consistency. It’s topped with green pea foam. Dhs90. Open Mon-Sat 7pm-11.30pm. Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah (04 818 2222).
Pumpkin curry at Organic Foods & Café The selection of veggie and vegan options here isn’t huge, but we can wholeheartedly recommend the comforting and filling pumpkin curry with fresh spinach and brown rice. It’s worth visiting for this alone. Dhs38. Open daily 7.45am-10pm. Various locations including Sheikh Zayed Road, next to Oasis Mall (04 338 2911).
Vegans and veggies alike will be in their element at this idyllic outdoor garden café. Vegetarian ramen, spiralised veggie noodles and vibrant salads all feature on the menu, but visit for the breakfasts. Everything feels extra healthy (chunky monkey rawnola with probiotic almond milk, for example) but we can’t get over the stunning purple açai bowl. And yes, that has everything to do with the fact that it comes served in a coconut. Dhs43. Open daily 8am-7pm. Villa 5/1b, Street 27b, off Jumeirah Beach Road (04 343 6676).
Rainbow power salad at Urban Bistro Exactly as the name suggests, this salad is a riot of colour, with the added benefit of a creamy avocado dressing and Gruyère cheese so you don’t feel too bad about the fact that the person next to you ordered a burger. This bright plate comes piled with courgette, carrots, beets and roasted chick peas. Sweet, nutty and just a tiny bit creamy. Dhs46. Open Sun-Thu 8.30am-6pm; Fri-Sat 8.30am-6pm. CNN Building, Dubai Media City (04 362 4330). Raw burger sliders at Urth by Nabz & G
As pretty as it is healthy, Urth by Nabz & G is all about nutritious food, much of which is vegan and raw (though there are plenty of meat options, too). Of the meat-free options, the lemongrass panang stew is beautifully fragrant, while the cute raw veggie sliders – made from mushrooms, celery, walnuts, sunflower seeds and flax seeds – come with home-made mustard and ketchup, and an edible flower. Dhs30. Open Sat-Thu noon-10pm. J2 Building, Cluster J, JLT (04 276 7287). Soba noodle super bowl at Wild & the Moon
Nestled in Al Quoz, this industrial garden-style café is extra healthy, serving cold pressed juices, raw, vegan food and an excellent coffee menu featuring ingredients such as coconut oil, sprouted almond milk, black pepper and even turmeric. Its nutritious bowls are a little less adventurous, but still healthy and filling, like this combo of buckwheat noodles with plenty of veg, sunflower seeds, avocado, lemon juice and sesame oil. Dhs46. Open daily 8am-7pm. Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz (04 343 3392). Tandoori Broccoli at Mint Leaf of London
Mint Leaf caters to vegans and vegetarians perfectly. One of the chefs will come to ask you about your preferences at the start of the meal, and they’ll even tailor its set menus to be completely vegan. From the à la carte menu, tuck into dishes such as tarragon roasted paneer tikka, or the smoking tandoori broccoli, marinated in saffron and cream cheese. Dhs70 (excluding DIFC tax). Open Mon, Thu and Fri noon-2am; Tue, Wed and Sat-Sun noon-1am. Emirates Financial Towers, DIFC (04 706 0900). The Sum of Us bowl at The Sum of Us
Tom&Serg, The Sum of Us and Common Grounds all have menus packed with vegan and veggie-friendly dishes. This salad bowl from The Sum of Us is made with roasted cauliflower, sweet potato pickle, black rice, spinach, marinated feta, pumpkin seeds, freekeh, beetroot hummus, tahini and zaatar. Dhs45. Open daily 8am-midnight. Burj Al Salam, 6th Street, off Sheikh Zayed Road (056 445 7526).
Vegan bean chilli at Le Pain Quotidien This popular little café has locations in most malls around the city and does a decent selection of vegetarian and vegan dishes. Top of our list is its hearty three-bean vegan chilli, which is served with crusty slices of white bread. Dhs50. Open daily 7.30pm-11pm. Various locations including The Dubai Mall (04 419 0375).
Vegan lasagne at The Cycle Bistro
You won’t miss either the pasta or the white sauce in this decadent-tasting dish made from layers of sweet potato, green and yellow courgette and eggplant covered in a cashew crème. It’s topped with bell peppers and served with a rocket salad. Dhs54. Open Sun-Tue and Thu 8am-8pm; Wed 8am-9pm; Fri-Sat 8am-5pm. Motor City (04 425 3000). Vegan paella at BOCA
BOCA regularly tops our shortlists at the Time Out Dubai Restaurant Awards. This year it walked away with a Highly Commended accolade in the European category. Its food is creative, modern and perfectly executed, and nothing epitomises that more than this stunning vegan paella. It’s big enough for two to share and it’s full of baby veggies and bomba rice. Dhs140. Open daily noon-1am. Gate Village 6, DIFC (04 323 1833).
Vegan stew at Gursha There are only a handful of restaurants in the city serving Ethiopian cuisine, and this new spot down at Club Vista Mare is the perfect place to try it out. There are plenty of vegan options on the menu, from appetisers such as azifa (lentils soaked in vinegar and served with a garlic herb cream) to the hearty vegan stew that you can mop-up with gluten-free, traditional injera bread. Dhs80. Open Sun-Thu noon-midnight, Fri-Sat noon-1.30am. Club Vista Mare, Palm Jumeirah (04 554 2665).
Vegan Thali at Govinda’s
Indian restaurants are generally excellent for vegetarians, but for something a little healthier, Govinda’s is an excellent option. It serves a quinoa biryani, tofu curries, decadent (and perhaps slightly less healthy) paneer curries and a variety of thalis including a vegan option that comes with dahl, two veg curries, rice and naan. Dhs48. Open daily noon-midnight. Near Dubai London Hospital, Jumeirah Beach Road, Umm Suqeim 2 (04 321 1884). Other location: Street 4a, Karama. Vegan Zucchini carpaccio at Comptoir 102
This café has long been known for its healthy, all-sorts-of-diets-friendly dishes, but this eye-catching plate of bright green courgette “carpaccio” comes topped with fragrant basic and pine nuts. It’s fresh, light and perfect for sharing as an extra side dish. Dhs35. Open daily 7.30am-9pm. Jumeirah Beach Road, Jumeirah 1 (04 385 4555).
Guilt-free vegan treats
Coco Yogo This local brand makes milks, yoghurts, ice cream (try the matcha mint chip), cream cheeses (in flavours like spicy paprika), flavoured butters and more out of coconut and nuts. Its website stocks everything from chia puddings to raw banoffee pies. From Dhs20. Available online or from the Ripe Organic Farm shop. www.coco-yogo.com.
According to home-grown brand Muncherie, dairy is “so ’80s”. Instead, its raw, cold-pressed “mylk” shakes are made from almond and come in flavours such as karak, iced vanilla coffee latte and creamy chocolate maca’chino, which is made with Peruvian superfood maca. You can also pick up its vegan ice cream sandwiches from pop-ups at Ripe Market. Try flavours such as salted toffee gelato or pistachio. They’re so creamy and indulgent it’s near-impossible to believe they’re actually healthy. Prices from Dhs20. Available at selected Waitrose, Spinneys and Choithrams supermarkets. www.muncherie.ae.
Nobó This little Irish brand has developed an incredible range of award-winning vegan ice creams. If they aren’t in a store near you, they’re worth travelling for. Flavours range from chocolate and toasted almond to vanilla and coconut, and Irish salted caramel. Dhs26.75. Available at Waitrose supermarkets, www.nobo.ie.
Pana Chocolate Dark chocolate fans won’t be able to get enough of these fudgy little bars, which come in flavours such as mint, sour cherry and vanilla, and fig and orange. They’re free from dairy, soy, gluten and refined sugar, which means they’re totally vegan. Oh and raw and organic, too. Dhs18. Available at Wild & The Moon, Pret to Go, the Ripe Organic Farm Shop and more. www.panachocolate.com.
Sugar Moo It may be known for its super-sugary, not particularly healthy creations, but Sugar Moo does have a “healthy” range, including a chocolatey Crazy Cake, which is free from egg, dairy and butter. It’s sold as a bar, but can be made into a cake on request. Dhs15. www.sugarmoo.com.
Cool off with these easy, freezable ice lollies made from all-natural ingredients such as coconut and fruit purées. Flavours include coconut and banana, and coconut and mango. Dhs22 (per box). Available at the Ripe Organic Farm Shop. www.smoozeusa.com.