Whether for health or ethical reasons, going vegan doesn’t have to be as tough as you think…
In this day and age, with more people becoming conscious of health and nutrition, we’re increasingly thinking about what’s on our plate.
And with pro-vegan campaigns reaching all over the world, veganism has never been more popular.
In a nutshell, veganism is a way of living that aims to minimise harm to animals through diet and lifestyle. That means no meat, no eggs, no dairy and no animal by-products, such as honey or prawn crackers.
While a plant-based diet may sound difficult to keep up, you’d be surprised at how much there still is for vegans to eat – especially now that restaurants are adding more options to their menus.
Here are the best spots to eat vegan in Dubai…
Dubai’s only 100 per cent raw, vegan, gluten-free, and sugar-free restaurant deserves to be first on this list. With all that you’d be surprised at how good the food tastes!
Try the smoked ‘salmon’ made of papaya (AED 69), or our favourite, lasagne (AED 46) made with spirals of beetroot and zucchini, or the portobello burger (AED 52).
If you want to indulge your sweet tooth, great desserts are always available (menu is ever-changing), including various flavours of cheesecake (AED 38) , carrot cake (AED 39), toffee apple pie with cream (AED 41) , and a rich chocolate brownie (AED 38).
11 am- 9 pm. Galleries Lafayette, Dubai Mall. www.snkitchen.com
The Hub 7
Vegan cuisine from around the world, with extensive menus covering Japanese and Filipino meat and dairy-free options.
We adore the mushroom-topped Mario sushi roll and the vegetable adobo is pretty good too. Dishes start from just AED 7, but for vegan who wants to go large, have your teppanyaki cooked live for AED 55. Big into bubble tea? The entire range is dairy-free (even the milk teas) and they’re just AED 15 each. Add mango or lychee popping boba for AED 3.
Comfortable couches, books and board games encourage day-long lounging.
12.30pm-11.30pm daily. Lake level, Cluster M. 04 369 7649
Pinza has been popping up at events all over Dubai, and as soon as we found out they do vegan pizzas – we had to try it out!
Our verdict? Hands-down the best vegan pizza joint in Dubai. We ordered the cheese-less El Padrino pizza, customized with vegan cheese, smoked vegan sausages, mushrooms, basil and chilli flakes on top. So good, it was gone in seconds.
Made from a crunchy dough base made up of 80 per cent water and 20 per cent flour, Pinza’s pizzas are healthy, light and delicious.
*The vegan cheese and sausages are a new addition to the menu, and cannot be ordered online. So just call them up to add to your order!
From AED 25, Business Bay & JVC. pinza.com. 800 PINZA. Got UberEats? Use code: PINZAEATS to get AED 50 off your first order!
For Asian food, Hanoi Naturally is a great option. The vegetarian dishes on the menu are egg- and dairy-free, so you can enjoy tofu pho bowls, green papaya salad and braised aubergine stew, guilt-free.
The café does offer egg noodles in some dishes, so be sure to swap those for rice noodles instead.
12pm-10pm daily, Cluster C, JLT. 04 431 3099.
One Café – Life N One
This hidden gem, tucked away behind Jumeirah Centre, not only has a café with great food, but offers fitness classes, workshops and more!
This little dog-friendly eatery serves up healthy vegan dishes that are all made with home-grown organic produce. Try the Açai, the Orange Ade juice, and the sushi bowl – yum!
8am-7pm daily. 04 343 6676. Jumeirah 1.
The Raw Place
OK, vegans have to work like everyone else. When you’re in need of immediate sustenance and fries and the only option, again, call The Raw Place and they’ve got you covered with an at-desk delivery (they do dine in too).
Cold-pressed juices, salads, healthy cakes and smoothies will plant power you through the day. Lait de Coconut was a creamy slug of goodness (AED 25), while Lemonerry Cheesecake (AED 25) was a sweet afternoon treat without the guilt. Order a tangy Avo-qua Bowl (AED 45) and tuck into a pile of quinoa laced with superfood goji berries and pumpkin seeds, topped with a creamy avocado dressing.
6am-1am Saturday to Thursday and 8am-1am on Fridays. Jumeirah Beach Road. 04 330 0277. www.therawplace.com
Wild & The Moon
Wild and the Moon is probably the most vegan a café can possibly get. All their food is local, plant-based, ethically-sourced and raw, with no processed ingredients, no dairy, no gluten and no chemicals.
From organic cold-press juices and salads to crackers and coffees, everything on the menu is created by chefs and nutritionists. It’s virtuous AND tasty.
8am-7pm daily, Alserkal Avenue. 04 343 3392 / wildandthemoon.com
We know, Kababji Grill sounds like the least vegan restaurant ever, but the Leabnese eatery has just launched its new vegan menu filled with tasty, healthy dishes.
Not many restaurants serve vegan hummus, so we were glad to find out that Kabaji does – and it’s really good too! We also love the Quinoa Tabbouleh salad crafted by nutritionist Sawsan Wazzan Jabri.
Locations around Dubai. kababji.com
This Italian cafe makes it easy for people following plant-based diets by offering a separate menu. Choose from fresh soups, bruschetta and pasta, all guaranteed to be vegan.
Find your nearest branch here: facebook.com/carlucciosme
Because who doesn’t love a good pizza? Another one of our favourites in the city, Freedom Pizza not only offers vegan cheese and vegan sausages, but they do vegan ice cream sandwiches too!
The restaurant also serves gluten-free bases, farm-fresh veggies, and the pizzas are so tasty. Win!
Check to see if they deliver to you: freedompizza.ae
One for the veggies…
If cheese isn’t cheating, that bastion of all things meat, TGI Friday’s has launched a dairy-heavy, meat-free menu.
And we like it. Sizzling cottage cheese (pictured), cottage cheese pasta, cottage cheese burger – it might be that the US chain has bought a new cottage cheese plant.
There’s still a way to go to pure vegan dishes, but the fact that such a huge franchise has started acknowledging the non-meat eating masses in the UAE is a very good thing.
Haroon Siddiqui, Group CEO of Regional Franchise Owner, Americana, said he took over the helm last December and realised TGI’s lacked vegetarian options. “The new menu of lighter, healthy vegetarian options launched today is a reflection of this market’s needs. It’s part of our mission to become the number one casual dining destination in the region.”
First launching in the UAE, Siddiqui plans to launch the new menu – developed here in the UAE – in Saudi Arabia, then the other GCC markets.
New items are priced from AED 31 to 51. Locations around Dubai. www.facebook.com/TGIFMiddleEast/