Eco-friendly eateries are cooking up a storm in the UAE

Sustainability is catching on in Dubai, and restaurants are feeding the eco-aware transition. Many have begun banning single-use plastic straws, swapping out plastic cutlery for bamboo alternatives and replacing plastic water bottles with glass ones. There’s even a growing push for organic and farm-to-table food. This is just the beginning; the city has a newfound taste for things that are easy on the earth.

1. Catfish

What: Healthy Nigerian dishes with an eco-friendly twist. Everything is served as bowls and sides, with a focus on meats and veg. Try the combo of peri-peri chicken, jollof rice (a West African stew made with rice, chili peppers and meat or fish), grilled plantain and sautéed greens.

Eco-push: There’s an overall ban on plastic — packaging is made from sugarcane.

2. Roots Bistro

What: Hip fusion food served up at a relatively new spot. Dishes include kimchi burgers and eggs on kale on spirulina bagels. The venue in Dubai Silicon Oasis has couches and cork floors.

Eco-push: The produce used here is locally sourced, mostly from within a 100km radius. Recycled materials were used to build
the restaurant.

3. Baker & Spice

What: Wholesome, homemade food that comes with an upmarket deli feel. There’s a salad bar where you can pick from multiple
pre-made dishes.

Eco-push: The brand has launched a farmers’ market, held every weekend at Bay Avenue Park. Their tables are made with reclaimed wood from old dhows (traditional lateen-rigged Arabian ships).

4. Freedom Pizza

What: The igniting force behind Dubai’s straw-free #StopSucking campaign, this pizza house serves up all-natural herb-infused sauces and hormone-free organic produce, and offers
the option of multigrain crust.

Eco-push: Freedom Pizza said no to straws first, and got the rest of the city on board as a result. Recycled bags and napkins are also used here.

5. Alchemy

What: This specialist café is nestled in a villa within Dubai’s mostly residential Jumeirah district. Have some coffee with a slice of pistachio cake, best enjoyed with a view of the pool.

Eco-push: Coffee comes from farms that comply with international fair-trade standards, oat milk is offered as a dairy alternative and local ingredients are used.

Here to stay in Dubai: hotels bidding adieu to single-use plastics

  • Rove Hotels. Every Sunday, guests can bring plastic bottles to The Daily restaurants across the city’s Rove group of hotels and exchange them for dining credits. All bottles are sent for recycling.
  • Jumeirah Restaurants. Flow, near the Dubai International Financial Centre, has banned single-use straws. The Noodle House offers 99% plastic-free deliveries. Duck Hook and Hillhouse Brasserie has a water filtration system and will be plastic-free.

This article first appeared in the April 2019 issue of Smile magazine.

Written by

Danae Mercer

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