The Dubai restaurants leading the way in sustainable dining
The future of sustainable dining is alive – and delicious – at these Dubai restaurants
You hear the terms ‘farm-to-table’ and ‘sustainability’ tossed around so much these days that they’re in danger of becoming comms buzzwords instead of authentic indicators of a restaurant’s commitment to green business practices. But with just a little research, you can find places that are the real deal when it comes to minimising their environmental impact. Restaurants that keep the planet – and the local community – in mind at every stage of their process.
Here’s a look at seven venues around town all proving that bona fide sustainability is a delicious, rewarding adventure for chefs and guests alike.
Seasonal, farm-to-table restaurant Teible at Jameel Arts Centre is one of the few businesses in Dubai leading a change in sustainability efforts. Instead of opting for imported produce, Teible now sources 95 per cent of its ingredients from within the UAE, which means reducing the restaurant’s carbon footprint dramatically. Sixty per cent of its fruit and vegetables are now supplied by Sharjah’s The Greenheart Farm; its meat products, such as beef, lamb and camel are sourced from Home Meat Farm; while specific local ingredients such as lemon verbena herbs and mushrooms are collected from My Farm Dubai. And it’s not just the menu that’s sustainable. Recently, Teible implemented subtle, earth-friendly upgrades to the restaurant’s interiors to ensure materials used throughout the venue work to preserve the natural environment. Guests visiting the newly re-opened restaurant will see Teible’s all-new eco-friendly ceiling made from superfine wood wool sourced from an FSC-certified forest, while old countertops have been replaced with a date seed-based material, and new walls have been built using discarded palm trees from Abu Dhabi.
Jameel Arts Centre, Jaddaf Waterfront. Tel: (0)4 243 6683. @teible_
Nose-to-tail dining can be fun, delicious and good for the planet – just head to Lowe for proof. The stylish restaurant is part of the wave of radical Dubai restaurants helping the industry make major steps towards being greener while still producing incredible food. Dubai’s only recipient of a Michelin Green Star for sustainable gastronomy, Lowe has a firm focus on reducing waste, sourcing local and giving back to its community. This eatery first pushed this ethos with its popular Waste Not dinners made entirely of food scraps and has since adapted to the rest of their operations. Think nose-to-tail dining, using leftover peels in recipes and fermentation, and avoiding single-use plastic. Lowe even has its own vegetable garden in their backyard.
Koa Canvas, Wadi Al Safa 3. Tel: (0)4 320 1890. @lowedxb
Sustainability informs every aspect of this fabulous Mediterranean restaurant in DIFC, from the catering supplies to the wines it sources, everything has been picked for its eco credentials. A pioneer in Dubai, Boca’s fundamental sustainability pillars are led by the city’s very own Captain Planet, Omar Shihab, who continues to possess an uncompromising commitment to sourcing local and seasonal produce in a steadfast mission to reduce the restaurant’s carbon footprint. In 2021, Boca announced it would run on 100 per cent renewable energy, and at the same time, called for an audit on itself around sustainability. Over 80 per cent of its ingredients are sourced locally, thanks in part to exciting offerings such as Dibba Bay oysters, Pure Harvest tomatoes, and Mary Anne’s edible flowers, to name just a few pioneering companies with whom they work.
Gate Village 6, DIFC. Tel: (0)4 323 1833. @bocadubai
Wild and The Moon
Wild & The Moon was created by a tribe of food lovers, chefs and nutritionists who believe that food should be good for you and the planet. The hippy café in Alserkal Avenue celebrates wild, locally foraged food and ethically sourced ingredients, along with products which are gluten and additive free, and vegan-friendly. Besides promoting healthy agriculture and biodiversity, the team also strives for a zero-waste policy and recycle as much as they can. For example, pulp from their juices is turned into nutrient-dense raw crackers; their containers are made with biodegradable packaging; and any unsold items are collected by Food Karma and distributed at lower prices at the end of each day.
Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz. Tel: (0)4 345 0183. @wildandthemoonuae
Dibba Bay Oysters
What’s On Award-winning sustainable restaurant, Dibba Bay Oysters has built an Emirati mariculture business that’s almost single-handedly put the UAE on the food producing map. Identifiable by their white and gold-flecked shell and meaty texture, The Friends of the Sea-certified aquaculture farm produces the first and only gourmet oysters from the Middle East. Now you can enjoy them at two standalone Dibba Bay Oysters restaurants. The original can be found at Jumeirah Fishing Harbour 2, while its latest opening promises licensed dining down on the beach at Sheraton JBR. While other oysters sold in the UAE are imported through refrigerated freight, Dibba Bay Oysters are transported straight from their farm off the Fujairah coast to the local market, and their two restaurants, in just a few hours. This helps reduce carbon emissions and ensures that you get the freshest oysters, right from the sea.
Sheraton JBR. Tel: (050) 560 5987. @dibbabay_restaurants.
Also: Fishing Harbour 2, Umm Sequim
Seva Table is the first 100 per cent plant-based, gluten free, cane sugar free, and GMOs free café in the Middle East, since 2014. Serving nature-inspired plant-based deliciousness, this vegan café and concept store is a hidden sanctuary in the heart of Jumeirah 1. A home away from home, you can take your shoes off and sit on the ground in the magical garden, explore the library, or take part in one of the wellness sessions from sound healing to Reiki. Seva is a beautiful escape from city life and a must-visit for all wellness lovers (must try: mango lassi!).
Villa 5/1b, 27b Street, Jumeirah Beach Road, daily 8am to 10pm Tel: (0)56 534 2899 . sevaexperience.com
This upcycled café, located in Alskeral, prides itself on its positive environmental impact. All crockery, cutlery, and materials are either recycled or upcycled, they don’t offer takeaways to minimise waste on packaging, and even the restaurant was built using recycled wood salvaged from different places. Kave encourages guests to bring their own cups to help them in their mission to reduce unnecessary waste. The menu is also kind to the environment and our bodies, filled with wholesome and healthy ingredients.
Kave The Story of Things, Warehouse 20, Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz, Dubai. Tel: (0)55 102 4469. thestoryofthings.com