In recent years, Dubai has witnessed a growth in alternative food outlets which have become increasingly popular among residents. The government took notice and started focusing more on local products while pushing for healthier dietary options.
Thus, local suppliers began changing in order to meet this growing demand. A recent report expects the GCC organic farming to reach $1.5 billion by next year.
“The seemingly opposite trend of increased selectivity and shift towards healthier options in the food segment (particularly fresh foods) along with a high level of price consciousness might present the biggest opportunity for retailers in 2017,” writes Miguel Angel Povedano, executive regional director for Carrefour UAE Majid Al Futtaim Retail, in Arabian Business.
The increasing accessibility, as well as the lower prices of organic foods, have created many options for healthy eating restaurants around Dubai.
Here are just a few places where you can indulge without being decadent.
1. TR!BECA Kitchen & Bar
TR!BECA offers a seasonal menu of wholesome, organic food inspired by Mediterranean cuisines.
Global sustainability and social consciousness are embedded in the restaurant’s culture, which has been committed to the use of recycled packaging and recycled building materials.
“TR!BECA was a pioneer in the sense that we were the first in the Middle East to combine organic cuisine with a lifestyle and nightlife element. Nowadays there are plenty of fantastic options to get organic food especially for breakfast and lunch, but I do feel that dinner options are still quite limited,” founding partner Vesna Vrankovic tells StepFeed.
TR!BECA is considered to be a lifestyle venue with an artistic edge, offering live music entertainment that supports emerging UAE talents.
It also hosts night markets, inviting local retailers to participate.
“I felt there was a real lack of casual dining restaurants in Dubai that offer organic/healthy options, particularly in a lounge bar environment. The concept stemmed from the type of place that I would like to go out to,” Vrankovic says.
2. Succharia Organic Ice Cream
The best way to beat Dubai’s summer heat is to indulge in one of Succharia’s selection of organic ice cream at Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT).
“Dubai is the showcase of new projects for the entire GCC, and for us, as Succharia is a new idea, we are interested to promote it as a concept for neighboring countries,” owner Jamil Haffar tells StepFeed.
Made of organic grass-fed cow’s milk, they offer ice creams that are not too sweet but are certainly rich in flavor.
“Our business is not pure commercial but also educational ... Our mission in Succharia is to show our customers that organic is more healthy, affordable and above all very delicious. Now we reached a stage where customers buy our ice creams because of the good taste in addition for being organic; so the culture is changing," says Haffar.
3. Urth by Nabz&G
Thanks to the collaboration between food enthusiasts Nabih and Ghalia, unique brands like Urth have come to life. Their aim was simple: to alter the misconception that healthy food is bland, lacks in variety, and is costly.
“When the word healthy comes to mind, most people think of diet companies or hospital food, so we felt that it was time to change this perception.
We believe that we have managed to bridge the gap between a gourmet and a communal dining experience and this is the culture that we wanted to see more of in Dubai,” Ghalia tells StepFeed.
Their secret, she says, lies in the creativity, the choice of ingredients, the mix of flavors, and the personal communal experience.
“We are personal, and we aspire to keep it this way,” Ghalia adds.
4. Lime Tree Café and Kitchen
Back in 2005, when The Lime Tree Café opened, the concept of organic food was new in Dubai.
The restaurant's food is prepared with an emphasis on organic free-range eggs, fresh vegetables and fruits, home-baked goods, and fair-trade organic tea and coffee.
They ensure their food is free of chemicals and excessive salt by making their own dressings and sauces from whole ingredients.
The Lime Tree Café’s consumables, like napkins and salad takeaway pots, are all biodegradable, sustainable, and recyclable.
“Food is a huge part of culture. We identify with what we cook and eat. We're simply going back to the roots of cooking - using sustainable, good quality ingredients sourced locally as much as possible,” Frangie tells SepFeed.
With a minimalist interior and workout spaces like a parkour playground and yoga rooms, the venue offers an “eat, move, play” experience. Hapi also aims to keep its business as green as possible.
In addition to the massive tree in the center, the restaurant uses biodegradable cutlery that is made of cornstarch. It is also free from plastic products like water bottles, replacing them with still and sparkling water served on tap.
6. Freedom Pizza
It goes by the hashtag #WeAreFree and promotes the freedom of everything, but it’s not a political movement.
Rather, it is an organic restaurant called Freedom Pizza that stands for the freedom of knowing where your ingredients come from and how they are made.
In a bid to offer the best of the UAE’s ingredients, the restaurant partners with a variety of other local companies like Green Heart Organic Farms, Skinny Genie Bakery, Savarin, Italian Dairy Products, Moti Roti Pakistani Soul Kitchen, and Coco Yogo plant-based coconut yogurt.
“We cut out the middleman, sourcing direct, maximizing value for our customers and keeping our suppliers in the green,” their website says.
Their pizzas are made with multi-grain crust, all natural cheese, herb-infused sauce, hormone-free chicken, and organic products.