November 1 is World Vegan Day and what better way to celebrate the joys of plant-based living than with a hearty green feast?
Since 1994, plant-eaters have marked the day in honor of the UK Vegan Society and in recent years the festivities have spread faster than vegan nut butter on hot toast.
In the UAE, vegans have their pick of fine-dining restaurants, brunches and cool cafes with everything from high tea to buckwheat meatballs gracing the emirates’ ever-evolving menus. Here, we’ve picked 10 of the best to make getting your greens more tantalizing than ever before.
Fancy a slice of luxury with your tofu and tempeh? Head to Atelier M in Dubai Marina for three Art Deco-style floors swathed in gold and glimmering with crystals. The 1920s-themed restaurant recently unveiled a purely plant-based menu, offering everything from roasted cashew agnolotti with Japanese sweetcorn, cashew cream cheese and almond soy caramel to a bolognese featuring vegan meat, penne pasta and tomato fondue. Make sure you leave room for dessert — the pannacotta with poached prunes and beetroot sorbet is a showstopper.
Pier 7, Dubai Marina; atelierm.ae; Instagram: @atelier_m_dubai
Famed for its pink and cherry blossom decor, Bounty Beets is the perfect place to spruce up your Instagram grid while getting stuck into fun vegan specials. ‘Don’t Kale My Vibe’ is a colorful salad brimming with fresh kale, roasted beetroot and carrot, topped with crisp slices of green apple, chunks of silky avocado and strawberry and drizzled in a lively mustard vinaigrette. If that sounds a bit too virtuous, then the ‘Son of a Chick’ savory chickpea and almond pancake stuffed with garlic-laced mushrooms, cherry tomato, green peas and avocado pesto is a heartier option that doesn’t derail the health train.
Le Meridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Waterpark, Mina Seyahi, Dubai and Le Meridien Dubai Hotel & Conference Centre, Garhoud, Dubai; bountybeets.com; Instagram: @bountybeets
Brunch & Cake
The vegan dishes at Brunch & Cake look almost too good to eat — but not quite. Like the rest of its flamboyant menu, the cafe’s plant-based plates are a sight to behold, with avocado furls delicately crafted into edible roses and brightly colored pita chips forming the perfect vessel for fluffy scrambled tofu. The cafe has outposts in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai, with vegan options including a vibrant poke bowl and avocado toast that was made for Instagram (and breakfast, of course).
Al Bateen Marina, Al Bateen, Abu Dhabi; The Pointe, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai, Jumeirah Islands, Dubai and Wasl 51, Jumeirah 1, Dubai; brunchandcake.com; Instagram: @brunchandcake
World Vegan Day calls for something special and Folia is up there with the best plant-based restaurants in the city. Pull up a seat at the al fresco spot in the gardens of the Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach and tuck into an entirely vegan menu curated by celebrated chef Matthew Kenney. Signature dishes here include the wild mushroom pizza, the watermelon poke bowl and the smoked mushroom steamed bun.
Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach, Jumeirah, Dubai; fourseasons.com; Instagram: @fourseasons
Jones The Grocer
Whether you’re vegan, freegan, flexi or pesci, you’ll leave Jones the Grocer feeling fully satisfied. The Aussi import has locations across Abu Dhabi and Dubai, including Al Khalidiya and Palm West Beach. Vegan options at the popular spot include the bulging cauliflower vegan wrap and the ‘Woollahra and Beyond burger’ comprising a Beyond Meat vegan patty, balsamic onions, vegan cheese, roasted portobello mushrooms and onion rings.
Various locations across Dubai and Abu Dhabi; jonesthegrocer.com; Instagram: @jonesthegrocer
Just Vegan Me
For a 100 percent vegan dining experience in Dubai, look no further than Just Vegan. The menu is bursting with colorful dishes including the Thai yellow curry pizza, truffle mac and cheese stacks, Indonesian cauliflower steak and blueberry and coconut pancakes to set you up for a wholesome day ahead. All of the food here is prepared in-house at various locations across Dubai. Head to the Jumeirah branch for a charming back-to-nature theme that whisks you away from the city bustle.
Jumeirah, Business Bay and other various locations, Dubai; justveganme.com
Market at EDITION Vegan brunch
World Vegan Day comes but once a year and it deserves to be celebrated with aplomb. Enter Market at EDITION and the first completely plant-based brunch in Abu Dhabi, crafted by celebrity chef Tom Aikens. Running every Sunday, you’ll have to delay the festivities slightly, but the two-hour feast promises to be worth the wait. Starting for Dh155, the brunch is served over three courses including sharing starters such as cauliflower tabbouleh and king kale salad with shitake, roast broccoli and soy and ginger dressing. Mains include a chia base pizza and an aubergine steak, while dessert consists of black rice pudding served with fresh fruit.
The Abu Dhabi EDITION, Al Bateen, Abu Dhabi; marketabudhabi.com; Instagram: @abudhabiedition
Little Erth by Nabz&G
Wholesome spaghetti with buckwheat meatballs, creamy truffle-infused mushroom risotto, hearty butternut squash stew and towering buddha burgers — Little Erth ticks all the boxes for homemade plant-based cuisine. The homely cafe in JLT is a favorite among locals for its quality ingredients and reasonable prices covering salads, soups, mains and desserts (don’t miss the banana ice cream cake). The cafe is also dog-friendly, meaning the whole family can get in on the festivities this World Vegan Day.
JLT Cluster J, Dubai; nabzandg.com; Instagram: @nabzandg
Vegans in Dubai will already be familiar with SEVA Table, and what better way to celebrate World Vegan Day than with a 100 percent plant-based high tea? Raise a teacup to all things green at the cafe’s blooming outdoor garden in Jumeirah 1, with a selection of sweet and savory bites washed down with a variety of soothing brews for just Dh111 per person. Options include dainty potato and cheese rolls, wonderfully light red pepper quiche, hefty cheese and chive scones and meaty BBQ jackfruit sliders. Sweet tooths, meanwhile, can savor crumbly cherry scones, decadent chocolate cake, sticky toffee pudding and moist blueberry muffins.
Jumeirah 1, Dubai; sevaexperience.com; Instagram: @sevatable
Avocado on toast isn’t just a trend, it’s a way of life and if you’re looking for somewhere new to get your fix, look no further than Vibe Cafe. The bright and funky spot has outposts in DIFC’s Gate Avenue and Al Wasl offering endless plant-based options. As well as the ‘Beet You Up’ vegan avo toast, you’ll also find vegan pizzas, pasta, salads and bowls to satisfy every craving.