A Taste of Sustainability: Dubai’s 5-Star Dining Scene

5 mins

Meet the 5-star dining experiences that are transforming Dubai’s culinary scene

Dining out is a huge part of life in the UAE.  A cultural melting pot that is home to residents of over 200 different nationalities, the nation is widely regarded to be one of the world’s best dining destinations. The Dubai Gastronomy Industry Report reports that the city has over 13,000 restaurants, bars and cafes, including 14 that have been awarded Michelin Stars 

But, the downside to this incredible dining culture is the enormous amount of food waste produced. Fortunately, many local restaurants are now trying to combat the nation’s love for excessive buffets and extravagant spreads by offering sustainable and zero-waste alternatives. 

Proving that eco-friendly food doesn’t just mean rustic homemade comfort foods, some sustainable menus are even on offer in the fine dining category. So now you can eat out at some of the best establishments guilt-free knowing that there’s zero waste but plenty of taste.

Here, The Ethicalist has rounded up our favourite five of the most sophisticated and sustainable restaurants in the UAE to enjoy.


beautiful BOCA dish encapsulating five star dining
BOCA’s legendary ‘Yesterday’s Bread’ starter

Specialists at using every part of each ingredient to make spectacular, Instagram-worthy dishes, BOCA is arguably regarded as one of Dubai’s most famous – and best – sustainable restaurants. Indeed, along with being named Sustainable Kitchen of the Year at the prestigious Gault&Millau UAE Gala 2023, it also holds a Michelin Green Star. Committed to proving that the UAE isn’t a barren, desert landscape, BOCA champions local vegetables and other fresh, regional foods.  It refuses to deal with any supplier that uses single-use plastic, and its innovative zero-waste efforts include turning skins, seeds and stems into dried seasonings; bruised berries into purees, nearly expired milk into cheese and stale sourdough into the legendary ‘Yesterday’s Bread’ starter.

The selection of organic and vegan grape makes it extra inviting, and its recently published Sustainability Manifesto explains more about its admirable efforts. All in all, BOCA’s modern European dishes are as delicious as they are ethical. 

For more information on why BOCA is Dubai’s most sustainable restaurant watch The Ethicalist’s tour in the video above.


LOWE , KOA Canvas, Wadi Al Safa 3

restaurants interior with foliage outside

As the UAE’s first ever recipient of the Michelin Green Star and ranked  No.15 in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants MENA 2023, LOWE is guaranteed to be at the top of every local eco warrior’s list of favourite restaurants. Bringing a refreshingly informal approach to fine dining, the dining room is centered around an inviting open kitchen. Offering simple yet delicious specialties made from ethically sourced, seasonal produce, the minimalist, no frills menu spans vegan specialties including tasty burnt aubergine dip with seaweed zaatar, charred cauliflower with golden raisin chimmi, black pepper miso eggplant with tofu, and much more.

Plus, if you don’t fancy venturing out, you can bring the joy of LOWE back to your dining table with the LOWE at Home box. Offering everything you need to host the perfect dinner party, all the extraordinary recipes are of course delivered in compostable, recyclable and single-use plastic free packaging. 


Teible , Jameel Arts Centre, Bur Dubai

simple, clean restaurant interior looking out to water with real trees inside

Nestled inside the Jameel Arts Centre, Teible is far from your average museum café. Presenting a Scandi-style, simplistic take on dining, everything from the décor to the menu pays homage to the Middle East’s natural landscapes and fresh produce. The farm-to-table style menu changes regularly to match what’s in season, and around 90 percent of the ingredients used are sourced from within MENA. A masterclass in green gastronomy, the elegant dishes almost look too beautiful to eat. It reduces food waste by fermenting, pickling, preserving and repurposing as many ingredients as possible, and every guest is left in no doubt about why it is one of only three restaurants in Dubai to be awarded a Michelin Green Star. 


Brasserie Boulud, Sofitel Dubai The Obelisk, Wafi City

chic and stylish restaurant interior

Another restaurant that is dedicated to being a force for good, French hotspot Brasserie Boulud sources its vegetables from the Dubai-based Greenheart Organic Farms, sustainable food supplier FreshOnTable and many of the UAE’s other 30,000+ farms. Guided by executive chef Russell Impiazzi (Sustainably Champion of the Year at the Gault&Millau UAE Awards 2023) the chic, art-deco style venue helped the Sofitel Dubai The Obelisk donate 11,000 meals to the UAE food bank in 2022.

The menu is simply tremendous, too. Granted a ‘Bib Gourmand’ award by the Michelin Guide for its superb, good value fare, it offers nourishing plant-based plates such as linguine aux legumes, stuffed courgettes, Provençal chickpea-based flatbreads with colourful vegetable toppings and much more. For a mid-week treat, the business lunch menu offers three exceptional courses for just AED150.


AVATARA, Dubai Hills

Avatara restaurant interior

The UAE is home to hundreds of fabulous Indian restaurants, but nothing compares to the intricate works of art at AVATARA. Proud to be the world’s first Michelin-starred, Indian vegetarian fine dining restaurant, to say it is unique is an understatement.  On a mission to show that vegetarian food knows no limits in terms of taste and creativity, the theatrical tasting menu is based around the theory of the seven chakras. Although lavish and decadent in appearance, every recipe is made with humble and locally sourced seasonal ingredients. Kids are welcome to join in the fun and enjoy their own child-friendly experience, while dedicated vegan and gluten free tasting menus are also available. 


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