We choose our favourite veggie-friendly dining spots...
Magnolia: While there’s plenty of fine meat-free fare in town, there aren’t many fine-dining options for the city’s herbivores. Step forward Magnolia, which fills the gap nicely. A fantastic restaurant by any standards, Magnolia offers high-end food with a stellar – and strictly organic – wine list to boot. Our favourite eats include the creamy spinach risotto, which pairs nicely with a decadent chocolate parfait at evening’s end. Al Qasr Hotel, Madinat Jumeirah (04 366 6730).
Baker & Spice: Okay, we recognise that this exceptionally expansive deli counter and restaurant isn’t strictly vegetarian, but given the scope of meat-free options, those that shun meat are well catered for. There are easily a dozen salad choices available at any time, and everything is made fresh that day. Whenever possible, the chefs use local, seasonal and organic produce, ensuring that the quality is also top notch. Souk Al Bahar (04 425 2240).
Organic Foods & Café: Again, this is not a full-on vegetarian venture, but you’ll still find a number of meat-free, purely organic choices on offer. It doesn’t matter that the setting, a tag-on to the organic supermarket, isn’t the most glam. The food here speaks for itself, and the owners’ passion for healthy, organic chow shines through in the vegetarian dishes, which come packed with real taste. The Greens, Sheikh Zayed Road, (04 361 7974). Other location: The Dubai Mall (04 434 0577).
Kamat: If there’s one thing Dubai has no shortage of, it’s vegetarian Indian food. Most of the options in town are excellent and Kamat is no exception. So why do we single it out? Because it’s a steal, the food is amazing and because the menu has a Jain section (for those not in the know, Jainism is a religion with strict dietary requirements). Pretty much everything sings, though we’re partial to the chana masala (chickpea curry) as an opener. Kuwait Street, Bur Dubai (04 359 5441).
Reem al Bawadi: Sure, one tends to associate Lebanese fare with sweaty, meaty kebabs, but for every skewer pulled out of the fire there are many more wholesome veggie mezze options plopped down at the table. Tabbouleh, falafel, baba ganoush, houmous… the list of tasty meatless dishes is unending. And personally, we think Reem al Bawadi – a firm favourite among Arabs and expats alike – serves these staples with extra panache. As well as a generally convivial atmosphere; the huge, leafy den has a great shisha selection, and board games to keep you occupied. Jumeirah Beach Road, Jumeirah (04 394 7444).
Haji Ali Juice Center: While many folks know about Bombay Chowpatty, few have visited its next-door neighbour, the Haji Ali Juice Center (try saying that five times, fast). What we like about this place is that it’s open late and serves a plethora of vegetarian fast food. That’s right – there’s not an ounce of meat in the entire restaurant. The mozzarella and veg grilled cheese sandwich, stuffed with tomato, capsicum and potato is particularly excellent. Veggie burgers and fries are also top notch, and there’s a range of fresh juices, ice creams and milk shakes. Plus, they deliver. Karama, opposite Spinneys (04 397 8844). Other location: Oud Metha, between Al Nasr Cinema and Lamcy Plaza (04 337 8078).
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Claire Watson Jan 03, 2015 08:35 am
Looks like Johnny Rockets in Dubai doesn't do the vegetarian streamliner burger!? Why oh why??
chantelle lan Apr 22, 2012 03:59 am
I am a vegan about to visit Dubai for the first time - but only for 4 days.
I do hope there is plenty for me to eat - thank you for the list of restaurants and cafes which I have noted down!
I shall definitely take some almond milk, teabags, marmite and soy cheese!!!
I shall let you know of my vegan experiences there!
Swati Pant Oct 29, 2009 05:37 am
I think there is a string of Indian Veggie joints that deserve a mention in this classification. Some of them like Bikanerwala, Sarvana Bhavan have been mentioned, but in the south indian section I feel compelled to add Sri Krishna Sweets ( which is not just a sweet shop dishing out excellent fare) & Sangeetha ( something called mini tiffin gives u small portions of idli, dosa, vada, upma, mini dessert & a mini coffee. In addition to this there is Rajdhani which gives u amazing gujarati/ rajasthani thali (for those unfamiliar with thali it is a sort of a set menu concept where they come and dish out the food on to your plate ) & the food is divine. They also do a Jain thali . Manvaar is a rajasthani restaurant which has some very good veggie food.
All these are not high end restaurants , but taste wise they are divine & even for someone like me who loves meat & a non indian fare usually - I love all the above.I would not agree with Kamat though where the food at best is average .
Further 800 Pizza has some very nice veggie options & the Buffala Pizza is so divine. I also like GBK a lot cos I think it is awesome that @ a burger place u are able to get veggie options.
jyoti menon Oct 26, 2009 11:38 am
for good veg food , one must try Puranmals @ Oud Metha, Amrutha restaurant @ Qusais - it has the most yummy south indian veg food. For Chinese , Chinese Treasure - opp American Hospital is superb - for both non veg and veg.
Mark French Oct 24, 2009 05:07 pm
As a longstanding, epicurious Dubai veggie. the 'crowdsourced' suggestions seem to be right on the money (Time Out take note).
One point to bear in mind is that the eateries at the bottom end of the price range will have been hit particularly hard by the world rise in commodity prices (and the totally explicable localized tendency for prices to remain higher for longer after they decline). In such times, people might be advised to seek out the established places with a longstanding clientele that they are working hard to retain. Two examples that come to mind, both in Karama, are the Ajanta, which serves excellent Gujarati thali and takeaway finger food, opposite the veg market, and Woodlands, which is on or around 12D Street over toward the Kuwait St boundary.
And while I love Indian food and adore creativity, such as the dosa tepanyaki concept at Sukh Sagar At The Beach, mentioned above, where in the UAE does a confirmed samosa-hugger need to go to get an old-fashioned VEGGIEBURGER that is as good as homemade?