Ramadan 2019: Vegan and vegetarian iftars to try in the UAE
There’s plenty for plant-based eaters to enjoy throughout the holy month
Every year, large buffets filled with myriad dishes mark iftar throughout Ramadan. This year, many of the restaurants hosting the affairs are considering their plant-based diners, too. Here’s our pick of some of the most exciting-sounding vegan and vegetarian iftars around Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
New Barsha Heights restaurant Beastro is putting on an iftar buffet (pictured above) throughout Ramadan that will be veggie-friendly. Priced at Dh90 per person, for vegetarians and vegans it will include tomato and lentil soups, a sizeable salad bar, falafel, Moroccan-style vegetable couscous and moussaka, as well as a live cooking station that allows you to customise (egg-free) pasta dishes.
This European restaurant is extending its market lunch offer to cover iftar throughout Ramadan. So you’ll find a weekly changing menu of six dishes on offer from 12pm to 8pm every day. This will always include a soup and a vegetarian or vegan option, costing Dh90 for two dishes or Dh125 for three. For iftar, the team will also hand out dates and free water, and cold-pressed juices will be on offer, too.
If you don’t find the plant-based meal you’re looking for on the set menu, you can also order from the a la carte selection, which includes vegan options such as sweet potato hummus and paella roja (pictured to the left in the Instagram post above).
This relatively new healthy cafe at Le Meridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina is a cute little spot in which to break your fast. Not only are the interiors very picture-worthy, but the menu caters to all tastes, including vegans and vegetarians.
The Recharge & Detox menu (pictured above) on offer throughout Ramadan will be served from 6pm to 10pm for a cost of Dh120. You’ll get a lentil soup served with garlic bread, followed by a choice of cold mezze or the Abundance Salad (this contains feta cheese). For the main, there are cauliflower tacos served on a homemade tortilla with vegan garlic sauce. Then, for dessert, there’s a dairy-free hazelnut and oat tart with orange, cashew and cocoa cream topped with dehydrated orange. There’s also a melon and cottage cheese parfait for the veggies. You can wash all this down with one of the healing tonics or smoothies, which cost Dh38 each.
Dubai and Abu Dhabi
This Peruvian hotspot is also catering to cruelty-free diners, with a bunch of options for vegetarians on its special iftar menu this Ramadan.
These include snacks such as edamame, and three soups, as well as maki roll de aguacate, and the popular anticuchos de setas (skewers of forest mushrooms with aji panca and coriander), as well as a trio of corn. For a main, there’s the papa seca coliflor (pictured above), which consists of cauliflower, celeriac and aji Amarillo. While there’s nothing specifically for vegans on there, the chef is able to replace ingredients to meet dietary requirements.
It costs Dh250 per person in Dubai and Dh199 in Abu Dhabi, and is served from sundown until 8.30pm.
Eat Well – Gluten Free Restaurant
This plant-based, gluten-free restaurant will be hosting a vegan iftar every Thursday during Ramadan, on May 9, 16, 23 and 30. We don’t have any information on the dishes available on all dates just yet, but we do of course know they’ll be suitable for plant-eaters. On May 9 specifically, the spread includes starters such as falafel with spicy cauliflower dip, a sweet potato and chickpea wrap, poke rice and vegan tacos. For mains, there's beetroot and quinoa risotto with fennel; enchiladas with tofu and black beans; tofu, pumpkin and spinach curry; and a live dosa station. It’ll be priced at Dh140, and will also be available with discounts on the Entertainer and Zomato Gold.
Jumeirah Emirates Towers Boulevard is where you’ll find this home-grown, healthy eatery. Throughout Ramadan it’ll be serving up an Arabian-style iftar, which coincides with its Ramadan Flow Talk Series, which allows diners to engage with like-minded artists, poets and philanthropists.
The iftar deal costs Dh98 per person, served from sunset to 9pm. There’s plenty for vegans to enjoy on the menu, such as red lentil and carrot soup, roasted red pepper mini sandwiches, vegetable biryani, falafel wraps and a bunch of salads. For dessert, you can have lemon chia seed cake, assorted fruits and homemade date and orange balls (which are also gluten-free).
Fuchsia Urban Thai
This popular urban eatery recently launched a brand-new vegan menu and this is on offer at iftar throughout Ramadan, too. Tuck into dishes such as summer spring rolls, papaya salad, wok-fried quinoa, green curry and pad ke mao. This is available across both the Barsha Heights and Bay Square venues, from sunset onwards. It costs Dh75 for the vegan set menu, while the regular menu will set meat-eaters back by Dh89.
Every Thursday, an iftar buffet is on offer at Hillhouse Brasserie, which offers great views over the Dubai Hills Golf Club. Vegetarians have plenty to choose from (and vegans won’t go far wrong, either), including roasted tomato soup with basil oil, pumpkin and goat’s cheese salad, seasonal mushroom risotto, and tofu and mushroom don buri. There’s also a bread station and house salads to choose from, as well as a selection of Hillhouse desserts. It costs Dh135 per person and is served from 6.30pm to 8.30pm. Reservations are required.
Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Ras Al Khaimah
A vegetarian Ramadan combo meal is on offer at this healthy fast-food spot. It costs Dh65 and consists of a snack to break your fast with, plus soup, a main meal with side dish, and a dessert. Dishes include labneh with cucumber, super green soup, vegetarian biryani with couscous and salted tahini caramel bar. This is available for delivery from 10am to 1am, or you can dine in from iftar to 1am at selected venues across the UAE.
La Petite Maison
Dubai and Abu Dhabi
Veggie diners don’t need to miss out on fancy dinners at this popular French restaurant in Ramadan, as the Riviera-influenced menu includes meatless meals, too. For both vegetarians and vegans there are two salads to start with, one of lentils and another made with quinoa. For vegetarians, mains include arrabbiata pasta or gnocchi, plus a dessert of your choice. For vegans, the team can prepare the same with egg-free pasta, and then offer a selection of sorbet. If your entire table is vegetarian, the kitchen will add a beetroot salad and sweet peppers to your order.
It's all priced at Dh240 per person (for a minimum of two people) and will be served from 6.45pm until 8pm. For non-fasting guests, the Dubai restaurant is open between 12pm and 3pm throughout the week, too.
Little Erth by Nabz&G
A five-course Middle Eastern-style plant-based menu will be on the table at iftar throughout the holy month at this JLT favourite. This deal consists of a soup, side, salad, starter, main meal and dessert for Dh89 per person. Dishes include popular local meals that have been “veganised”, such as stuffed bell pepper, baby marrow and cabbage. For the first week of Ramadan, the deal will cost Dh120 for two people.
This gourmet Australian cafe is running four vegan iftars throughout the holy month. These will take place every Saturday, and feature a different cuisine each week. First up, there’s “Myocum style”, which is usually healthy, wholesome cafe fare. The following week it’ll be South American-themed, with Indian cuisine the next week, ending with Mediterranean dishes. We asked what exactly those dishes will be, but the restaurant manager told us it’s all a surprise. “Just sit down and watch the food flow,” she told us.
It costs Dh110 for the vegan iftar or Dh95 for the regular weekly menu. Drinks are not included in the price.
Signature by Sanjeev Kapoor
A special vegetarian iftar menu is available at this restaurant in The Canvas Hotel Dubai MGallery by Sofitel. It costs Dh169 per person and with it you’ll get a wide range of veggie-friendly dishes, from pani puri shots to zaatar and sumac-spiced cottage cheese, a lalla mussa dahl and paneer tahini korma. It all comes with pilaf, raita and assorted breads, with desserts to follow, such as Gajrela umm ali and rose kulfi falooda. As far as we're aware, this one isn't suitable for vegans.
This Zayed Sports City vegan cafe will be open as normal during the day throughout Ramadan, and will have some tasty specials on the menu. These include: the Chocco Hummus Shake, a date and cardamom smoothie, Green Goodness Buddha Bowl and Snickers Mini Bars. The team has also put together a sunset-to-sunrise meal plan specially for the holy month, with five dishes per day for a week. This can be delivered to your home or collected just before iftar and costs Dh850 for five days (plus Dh100 for delivery) or Dh1,095 for seven days (delivery is Dh125).
The restaurant has also just added itself to Talabat and Uber Eats, and is already on Carriage, in case you feel like ordering in.
Across the UAE
If you’ve got a sweet tooth, you’ll be glad to know SugarMoo is catering for you specifically this Ramadan, with its selection of vegan-friendly treats. There’s the Lotus Cake (Dh215), which feeds eight to 10 people and features lotus mousse and crushed biscuits on top. For smaller treats, there are individual-sized chocolate vegan cakes, topped with date paste and coco truffles. These are just Dh18 each.
This might be a steakhouse, but it will be hosting a charity iftar for the animals on May 15. So, if you fancy giving back to our street’s friendly stray critters, then this is the event for you. It costs Dh150 per person and for every two tickets sold, the Southern Sun Hotel will donate the cost of one ticket to Rescues of Abu Dhabi. This donation offer will also run for any guest dining at the restaurant’s iftar for the three days prior to this specific event.
While there will be meat on the menu, there are a bunch of veggie-friendly selections, too. These include dates and dried fruit, almost 20 different salads, lentil and tomato soups, falafel, sambousek and vegetable saloona. There will also be a live station serving pasta.
You can buy tickets from Southern Sun Hotel, FitLife Vets, The Canadian Vetinerary Hospital or RAD volunteers.
The Meydan Hotel
Where you find a Middle Eastern buffet, you’ll certainly find a bunch of vegan and vegetarian options, wherever you are. But we have it on good authority (from the executive chef) that The Meydan Hotel’s spread will be particularly plant-tastic. This includes everything from cold and hot mezze dishes (think hummus, tabbouleh, muhammara, batata harra, et al) to all manner of salads (including apple with carrot, pumpkin and broad bean, plus a “zucchini fiesta”), and a vegetable minestrone soup. For mains, vegetarians and vegans also have plenty to choose from, including falafel, kushari and moussaka – to name a few.
The buffet will be served from sunset to 8pm every day for Dh199 per person, as well as suhoor from 9pm to 2am. Children aged four to 12 can go for half price, while guests under four years old dine for free.
The Restaurant at Address Downtown
A set menu for vegetarians is being served at this Downtown restaurant throughout the month, from sunset to 9pm. It costs Dh160 per adult, Dh80 for children aged five to 11 and free for kids under the age of four. While it caters specifically for vegetarians, it’s largely vegan-friendly too. Hummus, moutabal, tabbouleh, fattoush, spinach fatayer, falafel and lentil soup all feature for starters. For main course you can choose between vegetable biryani and vegetable mixed grill. As for dessert, there’s mohalabia or seasonal fruits.
The St Regis Abu Dhabi
There are a number of options for both vegetarians and vegans throughout the hotel. An iftar is being served at The Terrace on the Corniche, with a large buffet of Middle Eastern favourites and live cooking stations. This costs Dh235, including juices and water, from sunset until 11pm.
Elsewhere, a more exclusive offering takes place in the world’s highest suspended suite. They’re calling it “Iftar in the Sky”. This costs Dh320 per person, from sunset until 9.30pm, and only caters for a maximum of 50 guests on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings. Plenty of vegetarian dishes will be on the menu here, too – plus there’s live music.
For vegans, there’s always Villa Toscana. While this restaurant isn’t hosting a specific iftar meal deal, the a la carte selection is available as usual, and includes an entire plant-based section. For instance, try a pumpkin risotto with crispy sage leaves (Dh95) or gluten-free spaghetti with rocket pesto and walnuts (Dh110) and eggplant casserole with fresh tomatoes and basil (Dh70).
Updated: May 5, 2019 05:30 PM