Guide for vegetarian travelers in the Middle East

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Vegetarian cuisine in the Middle East is growing at an incredible pace. Here are some highly rated vegetarian destinations that are worth a visit for global travelers.

Tel Aviv

Enjoy a smorgasbord-style vegetarian buffet in Tel Aviv

The food culture in Tel Aviv is truly “1-0-2”. Fresh ingredients, diverse traditional culinary culture, and a new generation of chefs constantly creating new dishes make for a unique dining experience. Port Said is one of the most famous restaurants in the city, where you can enjoy one of the best meals and best value for money in Tel Aviv. Dishes such as soybean with garlic and lime juice, roasted sweet potatoes with salt and sour cream, and creamy butter beans are neatly arranged on eye-catching brown paper (although you may have to wait for a table for about 30 minutes – but the outdoor space is quite comfortable for you to enjoy a drink while waiting). Other must-visit spots include Miznon, which serves delicious street vegetarian food, and Abu Hassan, which offers unforgettable hummus. Try staying in a minimally designed room filled with natural light, smooth linen, concrete walls, and modern artwork at The Vera.


Experience the famous Lebanese flatbread, mankouche

Revived after a lengthy civil war, Beirut has emerged as an international city, where culinary culture is flourishing due to its diverse ethnic makeup. Street food can be found throughout the city, but restaurants are also rapidly developing with countless hummus, tabbouleh, and various flatbread (mankouche) recipes – a round flatbread topped with tomato, salty cheese, and za’atar before being baked in the oven. Other must-try dishes include foul (a dip made from mashed fava beans, served as part of a mezze platter), labneh (a creamy cheese made from yogurt), and knefeh (a dessert made with semolina, topped with a thin layer of crispy pastry and pistachios). If you want to dine out, Tawlet is one of the hottest spots in the city for fusion cuisine that will leave you raving. The Key Beirut is the highest-rated luxury apartment hotel in the city.


Meze appetizers at restaurants in Istanbul are a vegetarian paradise

Istanbul’s cuisine goes beyond just kebabs. You can find simit (a sesame-covered bread shaped like a bagel) and roasted corn on the cob from street vendors throughout the city. Moreover, the meze appetizers at restaurants are still considered a vegetarian dream, with olives, beetroot salad, borek (pastry and cheese) and many other delicious dishes. Fresh seafood is also abundant, and if you never miss a vegetarian meal, Turkish-style breakfast is served at most restaurants throughout the day, including bread, jam, cheese, olives, cucumbers, and tomatoes. If you want to try a special Turkish-style breakfast, head straight to Dogaciyiz Gourme. Check into the Hotel Sultania Boutique Class, where the suite rooms feature Ottoman-style cushioned niches and beautiful carpeted floors and embroidered artwork.


Try vegetarian restaurants like Wild & The Moon in Dubai

Vegetarian visitors to Dubai can have a plethora of options because there are so many excellent vegetarian restaurants to try. Be Super Natural Kitchen in Dubai Mall, which does not serve meat, dairy, gluten, sugar, or synthetic chemicals, is the city’s first fully vegetarian cafe (try their juice blends, smoothies, and truffle mushroom pizza or banoffee peanut caramel). There are also many other famous restaurants like Wild & The Moon, 77 Veggie Boutique, and Arrows & Sparrows. In fact, Dubai is the birthplace of a large number of Indian restaurants. Come to Govinda’s to try quinoa biryani, thali, or tofu curry, or Mint Leaf, a luxurious London restaurant, for a lavish meal. Stay overnight at Manzil Downtown, located right next to Dubai Mall.

Abu Dhabi

Design your own organic vegetarian hamburger at Bare Burger

With the increasing number of vegetarian restaurants in Abu Dhabi, there are plenty of excellent choices for vegetarian visitors. The Raw Place serves smoothies, juices, pad thai, risotto, salads, soups, and Vietnamese spring rolls, not to mention desserts like banana bread and matcha rose cake, a pudding-like cream with pistachios, pumpkin seeds, and dried coconut. Head straight to Bare Burger to design your own vegetarian hamburger with organic ingredients such as sweet potatoes and patties made from oatmeal, or Bloomsburys to try their vegan chocolate cupcakes (you should order in advance as they sell out quickly). Check into the Jumeirah at Etihad Towers Hotel, the highest-rated accommodation in Abu Dhabi.

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