Sleek, modern and very health-conscious, Dubai has given way to a burgeoning vegan and vegetarian culinary scene in recent years. This means, for herbivores on holiday, Dubai as a destination is now firmly placed on the foodie menu. Featuring authentic Middle Eastern mezze, to handmade samosas and eggless Danish pastries at the world’s most luxurious hotel, the list our experts here at Kenwood Travel have put together is an actionable account of irresistible eateries for a clean, green and meat-free meal on your Emirati adventure. Get stuck in:
Breakfast at the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah
Dubbed the most luxurious hotel on the entire planet, it may come as a slight surprise that the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah serves anything other than beluga caviar, Kobe beef, and foie gras (although there is, of course, a fair bit of that). Amidst the gold-plated, saffron-scented, truffle-dusted menu offerings is a rather brilliant selection of meat-free fare. In particular we recommend Sahn Eddar, which based in the world’s largest atrium, provides enlightened eating options in both senses of the word. If this doesn’t confirm that plant-based cuisine has plenty of pulling power, we’re not sure what will.
Step into the sunlit Sahn Eddar and tuck into a variety of colourful raw, vegetarian and vegan salads; fresh fruit sprinkled with super-seeds; practically ambrosial pastries, and a breakfast selection that may actually prove to be life-altering. If you are a vegetarian in Dubai, you have to try the Indian Breakfast at the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah. Enjoy flaky parathas and perfectly puffy poori alongside flavourful chana masala, punchy lime pickles, and a bounty of chutneys. To top it all off, you don’t have to miss out on the fruit, toast and eggless Danish pastries, along with silver service throughout and a breath-taking view of the ocean.
Lunch at Bareburger or the Arabian Tea House
If you, like many of the image-conscious or swimsuit-shy among us, have been limiting your calorie intake in the run-up to your holiday to Dubai, we have an utterly spectacular suggestion: burgers, and lots of them. A fitting reward for your restraint – vegan, vegetarian or straight-up carnivore – is a trip to Bareburger. Along with juicy chicken sandwiches and classic beef burgers, there are a whole host of plant-based options. This casual organic joint even stocks the sensational Impossible Burger, which smells and tastes just like meat (without actually being meat). It’s also good news for Brussels sprouts fans – you can order a portion of these bad boys served crispy with lemon, sea salt, and optional Asiago cheese.
If you’re looking to stick to the straight and narrow with your diet in Dubai, a) we salute you, and b) head straight to the Arabian Tea House Restaurant and Café when the midday hunger pangs kick in. Offering a taste of authentic Arabic hospitality and plenty of vegetarian-friendly Emirati dishes, this is a great place to gather for a vibrant plate of crispy-coated falafel with smooth hummus or deeply-flavoured mutabal. Maximise your spread by adding gently stewed chickpeas, vegetable-stuffed pastries, hard boiled eggs, and plump olives. Take your time under their verdant canopied terrace with a choice of over 100 types of tea; if there’s one place in Dubai for a long lunch, this is it.
Dinner at Coya or Turno Subito
We’d like to encourage you to reach for the (Michelin) stars for a truly unforgettable evening meal. Nestled in the Restaurant Village by Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach, you’ll find Coya, the UAE outpost of the award-winning Peruvian restaurant in London with the same namesake. In a truly sumptuous setting, veggies and vegans have some gorgeous menu options. Don’t miss the avocado and quails egg tacos, the very authentic dried potatoes with black truffle and mushrooms, and the wonderfully fresh quinoa, mint and pomegranate salad.
You’d also be a fool to miss out Torno Subito at the W Hotel Dubai, opened by Michelin Starred Massimo Bottura. Although not a strictly plant-based menu by any means, this list of authentic Italian offerings includes an incredible Robiola cheese and truffle pizza, slow cooked artichoke with garlic, spaghetti with tomato sauce, sautéed spinach with Parmigiano Reggiano, and a vibrant roasted beetroot with balsamic vinegar and cherries.
Obligatory sweet treats at Coco Yogo or Little Erth
What kind of holiday in Dubai would be complete without ice cream? None, which is why we’ve got a few recommendations for sweet spots that will leave even our vegan adventurers salivating. Head to Coco Yogo for a guilt-free scoop of ice cream, slice of cheesecake, or pot of fruity chia pudding parfait. Calorie counters and animal lovers rejoice – their products are all totally vegan, raw, refined-sugar free, and delicious. More familiar brands include Cold Stone Creamery and Jelly Belly, who have also released vegan flavours alongside their sorbets.
The Al Samar Lounge has recently launched its all-vegan afternoon tea which, as well as dainty hummus and avocado sandwiches, and light summer rolls, includes blueberry cheesecake (sans cheese), raw date truffles and scones with beautiful preserves. Alternatively, head to Little Erth by Nabz & G for dessert. Their innovative cakes are unbelievably indulgent without any of the animal products, making this charming spot an instant winner for local vegans with a sweet tooth. Our absolute favourite is the impressively sugar-free vegan brownie, made with sweet potato, dates, oats and cocoa.
Veggie bowl with chickpeas and flatbread: Edgar Castrejon (Unsplash)
Colourful salad: Louis Hansel (Unsplash)
Ice creams in cones: Brooke Lark (Unsplash)