Ana was a food lover at heart, who craved her next culinary adventure to tame her curious heart. As a child she had fantasized about the magic of food and travel, scribbling away in her notebook of dreams as she ticked all the countries off her list. There would be idyllic countryside staycations in the UK, clotted cream and punchy jam scones in an afternoon tea bonanza. In Madeira, she’d sip on Nikkita’s by the basalt sand beaches, gorging on Milho frito and Pastel de Nata with childlike wonder. And who could forget a holiday with her bestie in Tuscany, marvelling at the rustic vineyards that plied her with seductive burrata, wrapped around sun-drenched tomatoes in a lavish dance. She flipped through her childhood notebook, and found a list of vegetarian restaurants in Abu Dhabi, calling her name. It was a sign to holiday somewhere other than Dubai.
That night she fell into a glorious slumber, coaxed by images of a neon skyline. The moon hang heavy in Abu Dhabi’s night sky, a pale sliver of silver illuminating Emirates Palace in its architectural glory. Stunning Arabian interiors caught her attention, conveying balance, geometry and rhythm in hypnotic allure. As inky darkness become the sleepy breath of dawn, Ana’s stomach grumbled ferociously with intent. She stretched out on Emirates Palace’s private beach, wiggling her feet in the silky sand. It was time to eat, her body told her.
Pulling out her travel itinerary with the best vegetarian restaurants in Abu Dhabi, Ana eagerly surveyed her list. There would be a healthy, nourishing breakfast at Wild and the Moon, a Blue Magic Bowl with spirulina, cradling pineapple and banana chunks in coconut milk. Lunch would be a cheeky plant based jaunt at Bloom Vegan Kitchen, a vegetarian friendly eatery where burger dreams were made. As for dinner? She could barely contain her excitement, vegetarian burittos engulfed in guacamole, cheese and refried beans at El Sombrero.
Her belly would be engorged by Abu Dhabi’s culinary labour of love, feeling at peace as she sipped Jallab, a refreshing blend of grape molasses, dates and rose water. Crushed ice lolled on her tongue, as the summer heat beat down on her face, her cheeks rosy with the blazing sun. She smiled, Abu Dhabi was once known as a mecca for meat lovers, but in recent years its vegan and vegetarian scene was flourishing.
With the influx of expats in the United States, and a growing trend to eat healthy, plant based restaurants and vegetarian friendly restaurants were bursting with customers. Only 5 years ago would she have struggled to find delicious vegetarian options in the UAE, but oh how times had changed. From vegan and vegetarian soft drinks, to Indian, Mexican, American and Fine Dining cuisine, it warmed her heart to know how carefully she was being looked after. Just like the UK, Abu Dhabi’s gastronomy scene was diverse, and she was living for it.
While meat, fish and rice were still staple foods in Emirati cuisine, Ana felt blessed that vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Abu Dhabi were becoming popular. There were pure vegetarian restaurants like Indian by Nature, a South Indian eatery serving mouthwatering thalis and dosas, and authentic Lebanese eats like Mijana, with vegetarian mezze options such as Lubieh Bil Zait and Warak Enab. Stuffed vine leaves (Warak) were packed with plentiful vegetables, rice and pomnegranate for sweetness, while Lubieh was green beans and tomatoes in olive oil, laced with onion and garlic. No matter what she felt like eating, Abu Dhabi would titilate her fancy.
But which vegetarian abu dhabi restaurants would make her coveted list? From Bloom Vegan Kitchen, a 100% vegan restaurant that is eco-friendly, to Angar, a deliciously modern twist on traditional Indian and Pakistani flavours and spices, Ana was spoilt for choice. Whether you are looking for a dairy-free restaurant that caters for allergies, want a restaurant in UAE for meat eaters and vegetarian lovers, or want a pure vegetarian or vegan restaurant, prepare to be dazzled. Even if you are on a budget, there are affordable veggie restaurants so you are well fed.
Pure Vegan and Vegetarian Restaurants in Abu Dhabi
Bloom Vegan Kitchen
Ana had been a vegetarian for almost a decade now, and she loved how far vegan and vegetarian food had come along since her early days. From healthy plant based eating focused on nourishing the mind, body and soul, to guilty vegetarian pleasures that tempted her into fiendish revelry, Ana’s passion for food had only grown stronger with age. So imagine her delight when an 100% vegan restaurant popped up in Abu Dhabi Industrial City, with no animal or dairy products in sight. It was wholesome, satisfying vegan food that was reasonably priced.
Bloom Vegan Kitchen was a plant lovers paradise, where a warm lentil bowl wrapped you in a comforting hug. Layered with tamarind, crispy bread, and parsley, green lentils were coaxed into relaxtion, a drizzle of olive oil in a mouthwatering gulp. Inspired by nature, Bloom cherished the beauty of the natural world, using seasonal plant based ingredients that showed just how bountiful being a vegan in Abu Dhabi could be. Affordable, accessible, and utterly gorgeous Bloom has everything from mouthwatering burgers, to pizza, soups and power drinks.
But what were Ana’s menu highlights? It sounded simple but the Grilled ‘Cheese’ Sandwich was incredible, given how much Ana loved cheese. With fresh spinach and basil, pine nuts were paired with walnuts, in a vegan cheese bonzana that was beyond incredible. Doused gently in tangy lemon juice and extra virgin oil, Ana’s cheese delight was sandwiched between thick slices of rustic country bread. Served with crunchy fries, who knew a sandwich could taste this good? As for breakfasts, Bloom knew the way to her heart.
Brekkie wrap was a filling spinach tortilla with tofu, black beans, guacamole and vegan mozzarella cheese, mixed with capsicum, spring onion and coriander. Washed down with the Green Dragon, she felt powerful, as the energizing spirit took over her mind, green apple, kale and cucumber cleansing her soul. She felt purified from within, fortified by natural ingredients that boosted her happiness. There were no meat subsitutes, just nature’s work doing its bidding. Crisp, sweet and juicy fruits, were juxtaposed with fresh and vibrant veggies, herbs and all.
Imagine how joyful Ana felt as she chowed down on Avocado toast, creamy avocado slathered on country bread. Red and yellow cherry tomatoes cut into quarters, burst happily in her hungry mouth, tart pomnegranates, with a hint of sweetness. It wasn’t just healthy food on Bloom Vegan Kitchen’s menu either, as their Mac & Bloom was pure filfth. Caressed in vegan cheese sauce, vegan mozzarella cheese and green panko crumbs, she added extra cheese and pesto, for an added layer of naughtiness. Could it be that she had died and gone to vegan heaven?
*Bloom Vegan Kitchen is delivery only, but they do offer catering services. They are available on Deliveroo, Zomato, CareemNOW and Talabat.
Affordable vegan restaurant in Abu Dhabi that ranges from AED 8 to AED 46 (£1.57-£9.05).
Wild & The Moon
Carrying on with the trend for fresh vegetarian eateries, Ana knew that one of the best vegetarian restaurants in Abu Dhabi was Wild & The Moon. Highly reccomended by her blogger friends in the UAE, the vegetarian restaurant prided itself on championing a lifestyle movement, created by chefs, nutritionists and naturopaths. They believed that food should be good for you, whilst being kind to Mother Nature.
Ana loved how Wild & The Moon’s manifesto put a spotlight on slow, conscious food, set to an urban beat. It aligned with the rhythm of nature with wild, local, seasonal, organic and ethically sourced ingredients, promoting biodiversity. As someone who was vegetarian, cruelty free and did her best to protect the environment, Wild’s food was 100% cruelty free, hormone free and deliciously good for you.
Inspired by the seasons, travel, and memories that founders Emmanuelle Sawko and Hervé Sawko shared with friends and family, eco-friendly nourishment was at the core of Wild & Moon’s dining experience. Their goal was to not only reach a zero waste policy, but to use 100% biodegradable packaging from the label and its glue. Ana felt good knowing that everything from the cold pressed juices to desserts, and all day breakfasts, were made with the planet in mind, a tribute to vegetarian restaurants in Abu Dhabi that were sustainable too.
But what would Ana choose, salivating at the prospect? Deciding on an ‘all day experience’, she would bring breakfast, lunch and dinner, followed by dessert, in one impeccable sitting. A pink granola bowl was aesthetically pleasing, wild granola and gluten free oats, soaked in rose water. With potassium rich banana and sharp raspberries, her bowl of goodness was swimming in homemade almond and coconut ‘mylk’. But what about the pancakes, light and fluffy, sweet orange blossom married with sticky maple syrup?
With whipped cream, banana, almond mylk and pistachios, she had crashed into a food wonderland where all her wildest eco-warrior dreams were coming true. Washed down with a Little Miss Sunshine cold pressed juice, her senses came alive, invigorated by pineapple, ginger, tumeric and cucumber that recharged her batteries. She felt ready to take the day on, but what would she have next?
Wild ceviche seemed like the perfect light lunch option, palm hearts practicing yoga with mango, sweet and savoury in one shocking gulp. Fragrant red capsicum shook hands with zesty lemon, while onions conversed with chia seeds and coriander, as olive oil watched on. As she lolled, stomach pooched after a detoxifying feast, her thoughts turned to dinner. Could the burger be the one she’d been waiting for? A homemade patty with vegan cheese, all the usual trimmings made its way into her burger, mustard adding sharp flavour.
Qasr Al Hosn, Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum ST. Abu Dhabi.
This vegetarian, sustainable restaurant has food and drink ranging from AED 6 to AED 58 (£1.18-£11.42).
Hotels With Vegetarian Restaurants in Abu Dhabi
El Sombrero, was an award winning Mexican restaurant that Ana was dying to try. While not exclusively vegetarian, it had vegetarian fajitas, chimichangas, tacos and enchiladas that were begging to be eaten. With authentic Mexican cuisine and live entertainment on every day except Saturdays, she basked in the musical talents of their Latin trio from Colombia, playing salsa, mambo and merengue. Their lively spirit was infectious, and made her smile as she waited for her food, tapping her foot, as she hummed along tunelessly.
She came along on Friday, which was good news as Fridays were all you could eat and drink sessions, from AED 249 (£49.01). She had pledged her duty to good health in previous restaurant visits, so was excited to let her hair down, and enjoy a cocktail or too, with her forever boo. Located at the stunning Sheraton Abu Dhabi Hotel and Resort, El Sombrero was ticking all the right boxes. A fresh watercress salad layered with spicy dried guajillo dressing was a surprising combination, creamy goats cheese and roasted peppers, with tortilla chips.
Washed down with a vivid green margarita, infused with tequila, it was the perfect balance of saltiness, bitterness and sourness with a hint of sweetness from the agave. As for a main? Nothing would tickle her fancy more than a vegetarian buritto, grilled and served with pinto beans, black beans and the most gorgeous guacamole. With cheddar cheese and rice, this protein packed meal was simple but effective, down the rabbit hole faster than she could count stars. Paired with rajas poblanas, sliced peppers were served with cream, queso fresco and corn.
El Sombrero was one of those rare Mexican vegetarian restaurants in Abu Dhabi that offered culture, food and entertainment in one bite. With food imported from Mexico, even the nachos tasted different than the ones she had tried back home. With refried beans , jalapenos, and guacamole, the crispy corn tortillas were perfectly matched with juicy pico de gallo, salsa amarillo and sour cream, for richness. As for the desserts? Ana loved Mexican sweet treats and El Sombrero was no exception. Tres Leches, and Churros were demanding her attention.
Tres Leches was a sponge cake soaked in evaporated milk, condensed milk and heavy cream. A decadent yet simple cake, El Sombrero’s offering had sweet passion fruit, which paired beautifully with the cream. As she sipped on her strawberry margarita, she felt content, but there was one more thing that was missing. The Churros Fritters arrived in all its chocolate glory, dusted with cinnamon sugar that felt incredible. With crisp outside and a soft outside, the churros made Ana melt in all the right places.
Sheraton Abu Dhabi Hotel & Resort, Corniche Road, Abu Dhabi
Price: This Mexican restaurant is pricier than the other two but well worth it. Prices range from 52 AED-130 AED (£22-£50).
*Please note alcohol service is after sunset during Ramadan. Live entertainment is Sunday to Friday but is not available during Ramadan.
Rosewood Abu Dhabi
Ana craved luxury, an experience far removed from her reality at home. For once she wanted to feel like she was worth a million dollars, where money was no object. Gone were the stresses of paying rent and bills, and in its place were rose tinted glasses, were for one day only she could play a game of make believe, in beautiful vegetarian restaurants in Abu Dhabi that made her feel like royalty.
It was Rosewood Abudhabi that took her fancy, with 8 restaurants and lounges, as well as a fitness centre and pool. As a food lover, could it be that an international luxury hotel chain could cater for her allergies, and for vegan and vegetarian diets? She was shocked at how well Rosewood Abudhabi catered for non-meat eaters, and was particularly impressed by Majlis Lobby Lounge and Glo.
Majlis was Rosewood’s grand living room, an airy lounge that overlooked the water.With stunning panaromic views of Abu Dhabi, Ana was entranced by its beauty. Offering elegant all day dining, including vegan and vegetarian afternoon teas, she was swept into a world of grandeur, where even the food tasted like it was made of gold. She would have for the vegan afternoon tea for a plant based treat.Ginger lime hummus and beetroot sandwiches were surprisingly moerish, as was the spiced avocado brioche, heavenly to taste.
But nothing could have prepared her for the riot of flavours that the seared tofu and orange sandwich would induce, a melody of citric bursts in her mouth. As for the sweet temptations? Oh what a beauty, peach samosas, sweet and juicy intermixed with fluffy, buttery pastry, peanut truffles rich on the tongue. The rhubarb berry shooter was another stand out, tart, ripe berries, plump in season.
Afternoon tea done, Ana wanted to relax in a refined open-air bar, where she could melt into the night, sated at last. Illuminating the Arabian skies, Glo was the most exquisite bar that had gorgeous vegan and vegetarian food options. From salads, to pastas, right through to desserts, there was no way that she was going hungry at Glo! She decided to start with healthy grilled tempeh, marinated in lemongrass, chilli and sweet soy sauce. Flavours of tart lemon, with a hint of mint, were juxtaposed with unami, in a gorgeous starter that defied all expectations.
For mains she would have a trio of dishes, sweet and sour crispy cauliflower in homemade Thai Chilli sauce, paired with a handcrafted vegan burger, with sweet potato puree. To add to the selection, a vibrant and juicy Kale salad would enlighten her senses, with sliced apples, oranges, grapefruit, pomelo and feta crumbs, drizzled in vinegarette. Desserts would be a palette cleanser, refreshing lemon sorbet, with a seasonal fruit platter, that screamed vacation vibes, watermelons dancing with pineapples and kiwis.
A sweet apple crumble tartlet would be her decadent choice, with Glace apple, almond crumbs, served with creamy vanilla ice cream. It was heaven on a plate. The drinks menu was just as exceptional; No Painkiller was gorgeousness personified, aged rum knocking about with sweet pineapple, orange, passionfruit and coconut, a formiddable trio. Sweet, summery and 100% luxury, no painkillers were needed in the making of this quirky cocktail. The Story of the Hurricane, was another stellar drink, aged rum, lime and ginger, in a simple yet refreshing cocktail.
Rosewood Abudhabi, Al Maryah Island, Abu DhabiPrices: Majlis Lobby lounge offers afternoon tea for AED 210 (£41.21) if you want coffees and teas and AED 230 (£45.13) if you want free flowing bellini’s as well. Glo ranges from 32 AED (£6.28) to 410 AED (£80.46) across food and drink.
Bars And Lounges With Vegetarian Friendly Options In Abu Dhabi
Her taste buds had been on a culinary journey. From Mexican to organic vegetarian, to 100% vegan food, and a little bit of luxury, Ana’s food itinerary had been varied. But as someone whose family was from Madeira, she craved a Mediterrenean experience, with fresh wholesome bar bites, washed down with handcrafted cocktails. So what could be more magical than Azura, whose panoramic lounge had a mesmerizing view of the Corniche and the Arabian Gulf? With a tantalizing cocktail menu with over 30 varieties of gin, where else but Azura?
One of the most beautiful vegetarian friendly restaurants in Abu Dhabi, she watched sunset fade into an illuminating night sky, littered with stars as she perused the menu. She couldn’t believe her eyes, and the food and drink were just as magical. Whipped goats cheese was creamy and rich, offset by beetroot and orange wedges, dukkha nuts and spices, on a flatbread of love. Cumin roasted squash evoked happiness, with herb raita, toasted hazelnuts, with lashings of chili honey. A sticky sweet sensation, Ana was in a sumptous trance, delirious with anticipation.
Opting for a healthier main course and salad, couscous tafaya, with mixed vegetables, in a tomato reduction, was light but packed with flavour. Paired with a crunchy kale and spinach salad, goats cheese was once again the hero of this dish, crumbed, and married with sous vide beetroot, in a stunning pink peppercorn dressing. Washed down with a raspberry mojito (off the menu), she felt buzzed, as she took in the beauty of Abu Dhabi. A vegetarian steak off the Suhoor menu was next, cauliflower and tomato was paired with potato wedges.
Aptly named sweet endings, her final hurrah at Azura couldn’t be complete without a selection of desserts. Raspberry cheesecake was beyond belief, raspberry whipped ganache intertwining with berry coulis. With melt in your mouth raspberry sorbet, she sank her teeth into dessert with ecstacy, crying out for more. She would try them all she vowed, excited at the prospect.
Coconut Shell was a beatiful va-cay treat, a coconut mouse cake, with a moist sponge, consisting of poached pineapple and passionfruit compote. She had a craving for chocolate too, so the Ricotta Chocolate Brownie was exceptional, milk chocolate whipped ganache on a bed of chocolate gavotte, caramel gelato, sweetness and light. Stuffed, Ana could eat no more, contently drinking the night away, happiness at last.
The St. Regis Abu Dhabi, Nation Towers, Corniche, P.O. Box 60476, Abu Dhabi, 60476
AED 200 (£39.20) per person inclusive of 4 Gin Creative Mixes and a savory dish.
Where Do You Like To Eat And Drink As A Vegetarian In Abu Dhabi?
Please note this is a collaborative post but all thoughts are my own and are not affected by monetary compensation.