This is the year veganism finally hit the mainstream on a global scale, as people everywhere began to see the benefits of a plant-based diet for the welfare of animals, as well as their own health and that of the planet. And while the UAE still has a long way catering properly to for diners who spurn meat and dairy, more eateries are embracing the change with new menu options, while some are vegan through and through. All of which means, when it comes to breaking the fast during Ramadan, you don't have to test your resolve or eat unhealthily. Here are some of the region's best options:
According to its co-founders, Khalid bin Hadher and Pascal Moser, this extremely cool joint in Dar Wasl Mall in Al Safa is named after the hinterlands of Byron Bay in Australia where the two first met. It's a real hidden gem where Aussie cuisine is served with a twist and a focus on high quality ingredients. Myocum has also very quickly established itself as one of the finest coffee purveyors in the UAE. During Ramadan it is open until 1am during the week and 2am at the weekend, and there's a vegan menu available, including a dairy-free cheese board that could convert even the most ardent enthusiast. It's pet friendly, too.
Myocum is located at Unit 43 in Dubai's Al Wasl Mall, Al Safa. Call 04 222 4131 for reservations.
Now with three locations in the capital and seven in Dubai, Circle Café is growing and so is its menu, with a vegan selection having been recently introduced. Only four options are available at the moment but what they lack in quantity is more than made up by taste and quality, with the Cauliflower and BBQ Chickpea Flatbread and the Vegan Sandwich with sweet potato fries coming highly recommended. The restaurants are sociable spaces, too, meaning you can dine with large groups of friends without feeling like you’re the odd one out.
For more details about Circle and its various outlets, call 800 247 253 or visit www.circle-cafe.com
With a special three-course Dh120 vegan iftar menu including two starters, three mains, two desserts and a choice of smoothies, Common Grounds has definitely ramped things up for plant eaters this Ramadan. Located on the second floor of Mall of the Emirates, this is a very cool and open place to hang out, with bright white tiles contrasted by warm, earthy wooden surfaces and lush green plants, although there’s a delivery service available too, if you can’t leave home and don’t want to miss out. Like Myocum, Common Grounds serves Australia-inspired dishes that are big on flavour and quality, and the vibe is truly welcoming to all.
Common Grounds can be found on Floor 2, Mall of the Emirates, Al Barsha, Dubai. Contact by phone on 050 478 1094 or visit www.commongroundsdubai.com
Super Natural Kitchen
A unique establishment in Dubai, in as much as it's a 100 per cent raw vegan, gluten-, sugar- and preservative-free restaurant, Super Natural Kitchen is definitely ahead of the curve when it comes to guilt-free dining in the UAE. Healthy, locally grown and sourced ingredients are prepared and served with no plastic involved at all. The drinking straws are stainless steel and even the containers used for delivery are plant based and compostable. As for the menu, it's a smorgasbord of tempting items ranging from Crispy "Non-Duck" Rolls with hoisin sauce to Truffle Mushroom Pizza and delicious cheesecake – none of which is made with any animal products. Super Natural Kitchen is located on the second floor of Galeries Lafayette at Dubai Mall.
Visit Super Natural Kitchen at Floor 2, Galeries Lafayette, Dubai Mall, and is open daily from 11am to 9pm. Call 050 242 9408 or visit www.snkitchen.com
Wild & The Moon
Currently operating from two locations in Dubai (Al Serkal Avenue and Robinsons Department Store) with a third on the way, Wild & The Moon appears to be expanding with the rise in demand for vegan food and, this Ramadan, it’s putting on a Dh155-per-head iftar that runs from sunset to 10pm nightly. You can break your fast in the most time-honoured way with a date and organic juice before moving on to a surprisingly varied and absolutely delicious selection of plant-based dishes that won’t have you bloated and heading for A&E before suhoor. The emphasis here is on goodness and nutrition but, as any vegan will attest, that doesn’t mean any sacrifice when it comes to flavour – head for this iftar and taste for yourself.
Based in Dubai's Alserkal Avenue, Street 8 (04 343 3392) and Wild Bar Robinsons in Festival City (04 385 5120) See www.wildandthemoon.ae for further details and menus.
Located in Cluster J, in Dubai’s Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Urth is a haven for vegans who believe quality and taste shouldn’t break the bank. At Dh89 per head, its vegan iftar offering has been going down a storm with health conscious foodies – a five-course Arabic style meal of soup, salad, starter, main and dessert.
Vegan dishes include Mulukhieh, Okra stew and stuffed vegetables but there’s more to Urth than catering for those abstaining from meat and dairy. If you’re intolerant of gluten and wheat, you’ll still find plenty to tuck into here.
Urth by Nabz & G is located at lake level, Shop 34, Building J2, Jumeirah Lakes Towers. Call 04 453 5412 - table reservations are not available but home delivery is.
Other vegan-friendly options in Abu Dhabi
The restaurant in The Galleria Mall and Al Bandar has plenty of vegan-friendly options. They include the superfood bowl with tofu, quinoa burger and a vegan brownie. For more, call 800 66587 or visit www.nolusrestaurant.com
Located in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah, the restaurant is a favourite because of their many vegan options. They have the vegan pizza but also options for vegan salads, sides and desserts as well including ice cream sandwiches and cheesecakes. For more, call 02 641 0029 or visit www.freedompizza.ae
The restaurant, just behind Marina Mall in Abu Dhabi, has some vegan-friendly items on their menu including vegan primavera, vegan kibbeh (stuffed with sauteed spinach and toasted walnuts) and a Tex-Mex Portobello Burito. They also have gluten-free banana muffins. For more, call 02 681 0090 or visit www.partiperfect.ae
Located in Khalifa City, the gourmet grocer and cafe offers vegan friendly options including wrapped falafel with zataar, organic avocado toast and vegan pancakes. Call 02 304 8186