It's becoming easier and easier to go vegan in Dubai, with the city rapidly becoming more friendly towards plant-based eaters.
It means cutting out meat, dairy and all other animal by-products to eat a wholly plant-based diet.
From new dishes in your favourite restaurants to a wider variety of meat-free options in supermarkets, plus animal-friendly beauty products, going vegan has never been better.
Tasty vegan eats around town
77 Veggie Boutique
The vegan chickpea flour mufellatas are the house speciality here, and they’re super tasty. The vegan herb-based chickpea flour omelette is cut and stuffed with baked aubergine, asparagus, tomatoes and lime, and at just 189 calories you can leave room for the selection of vegan desserts.
Dhs29. Open Sun-Thu 7.30am-9pm; Fri-Sat 11am-9pm. Tiffany Tower, Cluster W, JLT (04 422 4116).
This burger joint is a great all-rounder if you’re in a mixed group of eaters. Its menu is packed with vegan, gluten-free and meaty options so everyone can have their fill (with juicy loaded burgers, no less). The Beyond Burger contains a fake meat patty that’s so realistic it even ‘bleeds’ beetroot blood. There’s also the Guadalupe burger, which is a black bean and rice patty with guacamole, pickled jalapeños, tomatoes and alfalfa in a multi-grain bun.
Dhs42 (Farmstead), Dhs45 (Guadalupe). Various locations including Dubai Festival City Mall, www.bareburger.com.
Another place to get a cracking burger is Black Tap – as you’ll see from this issue’s cover. The vegan offering consists of a black bean patty, pickled onions, salsa verde, cilantro and vegan mayo. You can also make the falafel burger vegan by taking out the feta cheese, making it a falafel patty, tahini, pickled onions and hummus. Splendid.
Dhs95 (The Vegan Burger), Dhs84 (The Falafel Burger). Sat-Wed, 11am-midnight; Thu-Fri, 11am-12.30am. Jumeirah Al Naseem, Madinat Jumeirah, Umm Suqeim (04 422 9904); Rixos Premium Dubai, JBR The Walk (04 339 9076).
The ancient grain bowl at Bombay Bungalow is packed full of lentils, greens, quinoa and orange chutney dressing. It looks so bright and colourful that you’re bound to add it to one of those 50-odd million vegan food pics already on Instagram.
Dhs40. Open daily noon-midnight. The Beach, opposite JBR (800 692 8779).
This Thai eatery in JLT is a favourite among vegans in the city with any number of stir-fries, Thai curries and soups available. The kitchen is more than happy to make modifications to dishes on the menu to make them vegan, and best of all, it won’t cost you an arm and a leg.
Main courses from Dhs28. Open Mon-Sat noon-10pm. Waterfront, Cluster M, JLT (04 513 5289).
This café is a favourite with Dubai Media City office workers. It has a dedicated vegan section on its menu featuring a cauliflower and barbecue chickpea flatbread, brown rice noodles with edamame, and apple and cinnamon tacos with coconut cream to satisfy any sweet tooth. Healthy and tasty.
From Dhs36 (roasted pumpkin). Open Sat-Wed, 8am-11pm; Thu-Fri, 8am-midnight. Dubai Media City (04 3915170).
For sugar-free and dairy-free dishes with a good range of vegan options, head to Comptoir 102. It serves some cracking smoothies and juices, all vitamin-packed, using locally sourced fruits and veg, organic super-foods and home-made nut milks. The vegan nut and cheese plate comes with home-made vegan cheeses, home-made fig paste, almonds and home-made organic bread. Enjoy the Jumeirah 1 café’s fancy décor (think spindly chairs and cute crockery), but it’s also on Deliveroo if you fancy chilling out at home. Don’t miss the vegan ice cream, either.
Dhs52.50 (nut and cheese plate). Open daily 7.30am-9pm. Jumeirah Beach Road, Jumeirah 1 (04 385 4555).
The coffee shop chain has recently introduced coconut milk to its repertoire, so you can add a delicious splash to your latte, mocha, cappuccino or any of your favourite hot drinks for an extra Dhs3.25. There’s also a brand-new vanilla and coconut latte from Dhs22.
Prices vary. Various locations including The Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai, www.costacoffee.ae.
The Free-Gan pizza is topped with orange peppers, jalapeños, cherry tomatoes, onions, caramelised onions, coriander and a scattering of vegan cheese. We’re massive fans of bread and cheese in any capacity, but this is off the charts.
FromDhs35 (small Free-Gan). Locations include Dubai Marina and Downtown Dubai, www.freedompizza.ae.
The offering here is entirely plant-based, wholesome and nutritious, without the hassle of dissecting the entire menu for traces of dairy. It caters for every meal of the day, but we’re particular fans of the jivamukti burger, made up of a sweet potato, wild rice and black-eyed pea patty with tomato chutney, sautéed kale and caramelised onions in a wholewheat bun served with a side hippy salad. The spag and neat balls are also worth a mention/shout from the rooftops.
Dhs58 (jivamukti burger). Available on Deliveroo, www.deliveroo.ae.
This is a special little place in JLT where you can nibble (gorge) on vegan doughnuts to your heart’s content. Flavours such as vegan apple-glazed, tangerine and peanut butter will see all decorum go out the window, and with prices starting from Dhs7 for the vegan range, it’ll be no holds barred.
From Dhs7. Open Sat-Wed 8am-10.30pm; Thu-Fri 8am-11pm. Damac Lake Terrace Tower, Cluster D, JLT (04 276 7110).
The guys at Joga have been serving the health-conscious folk of Dubai since 2004, and we adore them for it. The vegan brown rice comes with sun-dried tomatoes, dried cranberries, mint leaves, rocca, spring onion, parsley and apple vinegar. It’s so good you’ll want to stick your head straight in the bowl.
Dhs27 (vegan brown rice). Open Sun-Thu 8am-7pm; Fri-Sat closed (available on Deliveroo). Various locations including Gate Precinct 3, DIFC (04 370 0304).
A healthy gourmet food delivery service, MySixPak offers a wide range of meal plans. The menus are created weekly by expert chefs and include a vegan option that’s ideal for newbies who want to give plant-eating a shot without endlessly scouring the back of food labels for information.
Dhs1,880 (two-week trial period). www.mysixpak.com.
This is a little vegan gold mine, most of all for its fiery falafel, a wondrous combination of falafel, hummus, pickles, tahini salad and a choice of pita or saj bread. If you’re not a spice-lover there are plenty of cooler options including the classic falafel and a tasty range of salads. It will be a struggle not to fall to your knees with your falafel raised in triumph upon experiencing your first bite. It’s that good.
From Dhs12 (fiery falafel). Various locations including The Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai, www.operationfalafel.com.
Pinza has a great range of vegan-friendly pizzas with the best vegan cheese we’ve discovered. Offerings include the El Padrino with salsa, garlic, chilli and tomatoes and Oh My Vegan with vegan mozzarella, vegan chipotle sausage and a ton of tasty veggies that taste oh so fresh.
From Dhs30 (El Padrino). Various locations including Business Bay, www.pinza.com.
Pret To Go
We love the quinoa salad with white quinoa, tomatoes, cranberries, spring onions, hazelnuts, green chillies, chives, pickled carrots and a zesty clementine dressing. The corn and avocado salad is also pretty special, as is the organic chia and raspberry pot.
From Dhs30 (sandwiches). Various locations including Dubai Media City, www.prettogo.com.
Super Natural Kitchen
The restaurant say it is Dubai’s first and only 100 percent raw, vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free and preservative-free kitchen and restaurant. Dishes include everything from North Indian curry with lemon cauliflower rice, to Portobello burger, lasagne and a range of raw cakes. The restaurant also provide a catering service, for when you’re throwing your next vegan party. We’ll raise a reishi chocolate antioxidant shake to that.
From Dhs48 (main courses). Open daily, 11am-8.45pm. The Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai, www.snkitchen.com.
If you’re after Mexican it doesn’t get much better than this. Try the burrito with tomato rice, beans, onions and peppers, mushrooms and spicy salsa. Throw on a dollop of guacamole if you’re going all out.
Various locations including The Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai, www.taqado.com.
The Cheesecake Factory
This factory of all things delicious does an excellent vegan cobb salad consisting of crisp lettuce, asparagus, green beans, roasted beets, avocado, cucumber, tomato, garbanzo beans, quinoa, farro, almonds, sunflower seeds and the house vinaigrette. Not only does it taste phenomenal, it will leave you with the complexion of a young Elle Macpherson (maybe, no promises made).
Dhs58. Various locations including The Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai, www.thecheesecakefactory.com.
We love the Black Magic smoothie with activated charcoal ice cream, banas, blueberries and almond milk. Our mouths are watering as we write.
Dhs37 (Black Magic). Open Sun-Thu 8am-4pm; Fri-Sat 8am-6pm. Al Quoz, www.tomandserg.com (056 474 6812).
There’s a whole plant-based section of the menu at Ultra Brasserie including the green poke bowl, with brown rice, baby spinach, broccoli, avocado, green beans and pesto. We also love the smashed avo on sourdough and the pumpkin and breaded tofu. We’re revitalised at the sheer thought of these fresh, healthy dishes.
From Dhs56 (green poke bowl). Open Sun-Thu 7am-8pm; Fri-Sat 7am-9pm. Marina Plaza Building, Next to Dubai Marina Mall, (04 277 5644); Open Sun-Thu 7am-7pm; Fri 9am-4pm. Emaar Square, Downtown Dubai (04 420 4572).
Vegan options here include the loaded sweet potato with five bean chilli con carne, the spicy lentil ragu with puy lentils, garlic, mushrooms, leek and tomato on a bed of wild rice and wild mushroom risotto. It’s all very warm and extremely comforting.
From Dhs42. Various locations including Business Bay, www.under500.com.
Urth by Nabz and G
The vegan brownie at Urth is unbelievable. Mainly in the fact that it’s made from sweet potato, dates and oats, yet tastes just like the real thing. The vegan cheese tartine here is also pretty special – and is made with tofu. We don’t know how they do it.
From Dhs30 (large salads). Open Sun-Wed, noon-10pm; Thu-Fri, noon-11pm. Cluster J, JLT (04 4535412).
Wild and the Moon
This eatery believes that food should be good for you, and the planet. The range of vegan dishes is extensive and everything we’d sampled has been top-notch at this. With juices, super bowls and healthy snacks, there’s plenty to satisfy any vegan’s mood.
From Dhs29 (healthy snacks). Al Quoz and Dubai Festival City, www.wildandthemoon.ae.