From bowls to burgers, discover how Dubai's vegan wave is making greens the new gourmet.
With Dubai's burgeoning health scene birthing a new wellness concept almost every month, sticking to your preconceived notions about healthy food has become impossible. Even if you were once skeptical about vegan dishes, likening them more to "rabbit food" than anything else, the city's new wave of animal product-free restaurants has forced us all to accept one simple fact: vegan food can be just as delicious.
With menus featuring everything from bowls bursting with goodness to burgers, lasagnas, and even ice cream, Dubai's top vegan restaurants, along with those accommodating vegan guests, deserve a spot at the top of your must-try list.
Avatara Restaurant, Dubai’s only completely vegetarian fine-dining degustation experience, is a must for those of you who prefer your meals death-free. They easily adapt for vegans and gluten-free diners and come from the same culinary masterminds behind Trèsind and Trèsind Studio. Unsurprisingly, they also earned themselves a spot on Michelin Dubai‘s inaugural list in 2022. Chef Rahul Rana is purposeful in his selection of ingredients that are “pure, clean, natural, and energy-containing.” Trust us when we say, it is not just a meal. It is a journey.
The new plant-based menu introduced by Bounty Beets is just as creative, fun, and vibrant as the Instagram hotspot’s dining room. Even the avid foodie will want to flirt with veganism after trying some of these delicious new menu items.
Anyone who can find a way to create taco shells from zucchinis, and fill it with spiced vegan meat, slaw, and guacamole, has our undying devotion. Even the vegan burger with the BBQ mayo, vegan cheddar, and sweet potato fries is enough to start dreaming of food. If you happen to be there with venturesome omnivores, start them off slowly with V’lox, which is a bagel topped with marinated carrot, cream cheese, avocado, tomato, cucumber, and onions, and then bring them to the ‘dark side’ with the V’treats – cakes of yummy goodness with cashew cream cake topped with vegan caramel, dark chocolate, black berries, and figs.
Cozy little Parisian cafe tucked into a corner of The Courtyard in Al Quoz, Cassette has a dedicated vegan and vegetarian menu that we insist you try. For breakfast, we love to order the Pitaya Bowl, a vegan Breakfast Skillet, or the miraculous vegan pancakes made without gluten or dairy and topped with a raspberry compote, silky coconut cream, and fresh raspberries. You can also take a look at the vegan Sweet Potato Hash or our personal favorite, the Vegan French Toast.
Those who lunch have the option of a tasty vegan Lobster Roll, Caesar The Vegan Salad, a Lemony Chickpea Salad, or the absolutely diving Wild Mushroom Quinotto. Not to mention a few favorite desserts like Vegan Lemon Meringue, Chocolate Mousse, Carrot Cake, and Apple Tartin.
Dubai’s first organic, plant-based café, Comptoir 102 has been one of our top healthy hangouts since it opened its doors in 2012. Bringing together the best of fashion, homeware, jewelry, and natural beauty, it’s a seriously chic concept store and healthy food heaven.
Not only are the interiors here seriously dreamy (you’ll want to move in within minutes), but the food is simply phenomenal. Comptoir 102 has just launched a new menu that includes the likes of homemade bread topped with house-made cashew cream cheese, vegan bowls bursting with crunchy veg and protein-packed quinoa, and a vegan nut-cheese plate that will blow your mind. It’s also the only place to serve homemade vegan ice cream that’s not only guilt-free (it’s made sans sugar) but also packed with superfoods like matcha, curcuma, and black sesame.
For a fine-dining experience with no animal by-products in sight, book a spot at Folia at the Four Seasons Jumeirah. Drawing from the Latin word folia, meaning “from the leaves”, it follows the success of similar plant-based menus at the Four Seasons Beverly Hills and Bahrain and was brought to Dubai in partnership with Saudi Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal and American chef Matthew Kenney, who is known for his creative gourmet vegan dishes.
Nestled in its own lush garden oasis, you can enjoy 12 fresh and healthy but seriously tasty plant-based dishes that range from light gazpacho soups and heart of palm niçoise salads to king oyster “scallops”, tacos filled with roasted squash, and sweet coconut cream pies with macadamia crust. The only problem is your plate will look so pretty (think edible flowers and vivid, natural colors), that you almost won’t want to ruin it. Almost…
We checked out the new Just Vegan location in Jumeirah and couldn’t believe it was a vegan restaurant. You know those restaurants your friends feel comfortable taking you to because they have decent vegan options? Well Just Vegan is the vegan restaurant you take your omnivorous friends to because the options – all vegan – are definitely all tasty. The popcorn “chikn” was finger-licking good, and the chickn sandwich was…well, it tasted like chicken. The sauces were perfect and flavorful, and the texture was not too chewy, not too mushy as you can sometimes get with vegan food. Honestly, my BBQ-loving pal couldn’t believe it, and Just Vegan might have just scored themselves another convert for a plant-based diet.
Pro tip: Don’t skip the shots of goodness. You can feel the juice and vitamins run through your body in healing and satisfactory ways.
Little Erth by Nabz&G
Within the bustling health-food scene in JLT, Little Erth by Nabz&G definitely tops our list. With a holistic approach to eating and a focus on vegetarian, vegan, and raw cuisine, the menu is bursting with healthy, wholesome food that nourishes from the inside out.
From truffle mushroom risotto balls and vegan burritos to Buddha mini burgers with sweet-potato fries and Prana Bowls brimming with beans and greens, there’s an impressive array of options to choose from. Not to mention the delicious desserts, which include the must-have vegan kunafa.
Little Erth by Nabz&G also offers daily meal plans and at-home catering if you want to treat your guests to some good-for-you grub.
Not only is Menagerie one of the chicest casual eateries in town (the light and bright interiors are seriously on point), but it also serves up vegan food good enough to hook even the most committed meat-eater. Once sat at your sleek table, you’ll be treated to a vegan feast of dreams. The menu is brimming with mouth-watering creations that aren’t only artfully presented but also bursting with fresh, wholesome flavors so tasty it’s hard to believe they’re free from animal products or processed sugars.
Some of our favorites include matcha and vanilla pancakes with cashew dip, figs, and maple syrup, raw falafel on dehydrated crisp bread drizzled with tahini, raw pad thai, Mac No Cheese, and spiced lentils on toast with smashed avo, crispy kale, and homemade macadamia-nut cheese. One dish that is definitely not to be missed is the vegan chili tacos. Or the bread pudding with vegan ice cream. Or the raw salted-caramel brownies. We could go on…
Neat Burger, the plant-based burger joint backed by Leonardo DiCaprio and Lewis Hamilton, finally made its debut in Dubai at the end of 2022 — just in time for Veganuary. Delicious ‘Chik’n and Waffles’ dripping with maple syrup, burgers that taste so real it’s almost wrong, and loaded fries of goodness that are completely void of GMOs, carbon emissions, and cruelty. Neat Burger plants a tree for every burger bought through its partnership with One Tree Planted, and from the trays, cutlery, wrapping paper, and cardboard to the ingredients used in your food, everything is ethically sourced and recycled, so we’re basically saving the planet one burger at a time.
There are a few things we love about the French-Mediterranean inspired Parlour Boutique. We love the specialty coffee, laid-back lounge area, and the all-day breakfast options for one. With their new lineup of vegan (and vegetarian) offerings, we might just have to join our omnivorous friends in Parlour Boutique’s beautiful library for some shared eats at the long communal table.
Try the vegan tacos breakfast — a vegan “tortilla” full of juicy black eyed beans, a playful tomato salsa, vegan mozzarella cheese, a crispy corn salad, and topped off with a smooth avocado cream. Or for the sweet tooth, try the local favorite, L’açai, which features mouth-watering berries, banana, crunchy granola, and freshly grated coconut. If you’re a vegetarian, you’ll want to sample the vegetarian menu. L’Italien is heaven itself with homemade burrata, pesto, olives, and fresh-from-the-farm cherry tomatoes atop toasted ciabatta. Le Levantine, with its perfect amalgamation of umami flavors, mashed avo, beetroot hummus, halloumi, pomegranate seeds, and pistachios, sits prettily on a slice of rye and will leave you saying, “Mais oui, merci.”
Dubai's vegan scene just got a major player in Planet Terra, spreading its plant-based roots across the city with multiple chic locations. This family-run haven serves up guilt-free pleasures like tofish and chips, matcha pancakes, and the crown jewel, terramisu, all organic and non-processed. The ambiance is a blend of zen and boho-chic, offering a tranquil spot under an olive tree centerpiece to enjoy anything from a quick organic coffee to a full vegan spread. Planet Terra is where the city's green hearts beat the strongest, offering a refreshing, plant-based breath of air in Dubai's bustling food scene.
This hippy hotspot in the heart of Jumeirah oozes ‘omm’. Focusing on the spiritual side of wellbeing, Seva is all about holistic living, from the amazing array of yoga and meditation classes on offer to the chakra-reading sessions and holistic life coaching. There’s a gorgeous garden, a chill-out area, and a sunny rooftop you can relax on – and, to top it all off (rather deliciously), there’s the Seva Table.
This eatery is known for its vegan, raw delights that include everything from juicy veggie burgers to loaded Baja cauliflower tacos to chocolate fudge (yes, really), and turmeric lattes. After just one visit here, you’ll feel like a better, calmer, healthier version of yourself.
Single Fin Cafe
Situated in the cool Surf House Dubai just a stone’s throw away from the beach is the Single Fin Café. Step off the sand and into this cool hangout to dine on a vegan feast of delights, including dishes like avo toast, vegan Buddha bowls (complete with cauliflower rice and edible flowers), waffles with berries, vegan tacos, and creamy smoothies loaded with superfoods and vegan protein. Don’t miss the best vegan grilled-cheese sandwich you’ll ever try.
While you’re there, book a surfboard, sign up for a yoga class, or catch some waves with a surf or SUP lesson.
Where do we go for gluten-free, sugar-free, and completely vegan deliciousness with a hit of coffee? Soul Santé. The cutest little vegan place you’ve ever seen serves up some of our favorite dishes and treats in a small corner of Al Barsha just a short walk from Dubai Miracle Garden. Where else can you work on a laptop, enjoy your coffee and cake, while cycling on a stationary bike at the bar? Bonus: It’s not just a cafe. The owner, health and fitness expert Manisha Advani, also offers meal plans to help anyone willing to make the switch to a plant-based diet easy, affordable, and so tasty that they’ll never go back.
Opt for the eggless omelettes, the protein bites, the salads and quinoa, and the donuts – oh, the donuts. They’re so delicious they should be sinful. Except they’re not. Because they’re void of all the bad stuff, meaning you can indulge and not feel guilty afterwards.
Because of the intricacy of flavors and textures used in Thai cuisine, vegans can usually find themselves delicious thoroughfare at any Thai restaurant. Head over to Sukhothai, one of Dubai’s longest-serving Thai restaurants. The atmosphere and ambience, inspired by an emperor’s palace, give it an authentic feel when you walk in, and the traditional Thai dishes served up, including the several vegan options, give it just that little edge. Our go-to favorites would have to be the Phad Thai Je – traditionally wok fried rice noodles with mixed vegetables, tofu, and peanuts – or the Geang Dand Pak – a yummy red curry filled tofu, veggies, and basil. They also offer vegan vegetable tempura with broccoli, baby corn, and carrots with plum sauce as well as a green papaya salad with nuts, carrots, long beans and tossed in a lime dressing that is positively to die for.
The Raw Place
You can have your cake and eat it too thanks to this raw-vegan eatery. If images of bowls filled with rabbit food come to mind, think again: at The Raw Place, you can expect delicious and wholesome dishes that range from savory meals and sweet treats to organic cold-pressed juices, chocolate almond milks, and everything in between.
The light and bright café is home to some of our favorite lunchtime go-tos, like the creamy-pesto kelp noodles, the brown rice and mushroom arancini balls with marinara dipping sauce, and the Balila Salad with chickpeas and tahini dressing. Don’t forget to save room for dessert because the coconut parfait and raw chocolate truffles are heaven. Oh, and so is the Lemonerry Cheesecake. And the gluten-free banana bread. And the almond fudge.
A handy tip: Get there early to get your hands on the Avo-Qua Bowl. It sells out fast!
Wild & The Moon
We are wild for Wild & The Moon. This cool café tucked away on the trendy streets of Alserkal Avenue is all high ceilings, hanging plants, and white walls with wooden accents. Here, every healthy creation is 100 percent vegan, with a strong focus on locally sourced, ethically produced, and organic-whenever-possible ingredients. The team is incredibly eco-conscious, not only by using recycled materials and promoting healthy agriculture and biodiversity, but by doing little things like using leftover pulp from juices and nut milks to make raw crackers. Clever.
The breakfast menu is bursting with bright, beautiful bowls, like the famous açai bowl with homemade granola, the pretty pink dragon-fruit bowl, and the hearty ‘Moon Porridge’ made with activated buckwheat, millet, and sprouted almond milk. For lunch, there’s everything from soups of the day and lentil salads to cauliflower tabbouleh and loaded rice noodles, perfectly accompanied by wild guac and a vegan cream cheese of dreams. Sweeten the deal with chocolate pudding or a raw apple tart, and wash it all down with a lavender latte, a matcha milk, or any one of the dozens of fresh juices stocked in the fridge.