Once the preserve of health food shops and wellness retreats, vegan food is becoming an increasingly common feature of mainstream modern dining.
Driven by concerns for health, animal rights and the environment, more people are choosing to cut out all animal products from their diet. Restaurants and eateries around the world are revamping their menus to offer a variety of plant-based dishes (including a few popular fast food chains) and Doha is slowly catching up. Of course, we’re all for it.
There are now more vegan options in the city than ever before and the quality of some of them is enough to tempt even the most committed carnivore. Thankfully, we’re here to help you navigate and these are Doha’s top 13 must-try vegan dishes.
jones the grocer
This bowl of goodness might be the best way to start your day, vegan or not, but on weekends, you can order it until 4pm
at jones the grocer in Dafna. Loaded with the goodness of fresh fruits such as strawberries, blueberries and kiwis, banana, peanut butter and organic açai, this dish is a pure delight.
QR52. jones the grocer, The Gate Mall, West Bay (4477 4197).
Black velvet cupcake
It can be a challenge for those avoiding eggs and dairy to find tasty, quality cakes and baked goods, but thankfully Red Velvet Cupcakery’s black velvet cupcake is a 100 percent vegan and a 100 percent tasty. It is a light, moist chocolate cake (made from Valrhona cocoa powder) with a chocolate buttercream icing and it tastes as good as the non-vegan cupcakes to us. Eat yours with a coffee at Red Velvet’s Katara branch or get them delivered to your door.
QR18. Red Velvet Cupcakery (4408 0700).
This South Indian version of a pancake is created from a fermented batter made from rice, mung beans and water. Aryaas serves its delicious dosas with a variety of vegan-friendly fillings. Its menu also includes idlis – a smaller, fluffier version of this classic South Indian breakfast dish. Just make sure you tell them not to use any butter.
From QR12. Aryaas Express, Qanat Quartier, The Pearl-Qatar (4477 1596).
Falafel with hummus
This small, alleyway restaurant in Souq Waqif is thought by some to serve the best falafel and hummus in Doha. We’re not
going to wade into that debate here, but it is excellent. The falafel is fresh and crispy and the hummus zesty and well-oiled.
Abo Shariha has a small but vegan-friendly menu that also includes foul, salad and French fries.
QR1 (per falafel). Abo Shariha, Souq Waqif (4480 7427).
Bowl food is rarely greater than the sum of all its parts, but the ingredients of the Goa bowl come together perfectly to create a wonderfully balanced dish of red lentil dhal, rice, spinach, roasted tomato, pickled jalapeno and ginger and cashew cream. We could take or leave the side serving of avocado, but this is real comfort food at its very best. There’s an exciting selection of other bowls with different city names such as Fiji bowl, Portofino bowl and many more.
QR55. Soul Bowl, The Gate Mall (4407 7201).
Pad kra-pao hed
If vegetable wok meals are your thing, you could do a lot worse than this. Mushrooms are cooked in garlic, chilli, hot basil and soy, and served with white or brown rice. It’s an incredibly simple but flavoursome dish from Isaan’s healthy menu, which features 13 vegan recipes (several of which are also gluten-free). The portions are quite small, so it’s worth ordering more than one per person.
QR35. Isaan, Grand Hyatt Doha Hotel & Villas, West Bay Lagoon (4448 1250).
Pomodoro with spaghetti
For people avoiding dairy and eggs, Vapiano helpfully marks out which of its dishes do not use these ingredients that are typically found in pasta dishes. The spaghetti is made from durum wheat semolina, which is served with the classic, tomato-based Pomodoro sauce, whipped up freshly on the premises every day. We can’t get enough of it.
QR35. Vapiano, West Bay (4407 7188).
Pumpkin and mushroom risotto
Doha’s first vegan restaurant has an extensive menu, but our favourite dish is its pumpkin and mushroom risotto. It can be a challenge for chefs to veganise classic dishes that rely heavily on cheese, but Evergreen does a great job. Evergreen substitutes parmesan with miso cashew cheese, giving the dish a delightfully creamy consistency, and the caramel flavours from the roasted pumpkin will really get your taste buds going. With a variety of breakfast dishes, sharing plates, drinks, mains and desserts, you’ll never run out of tasty vegan options here.
QR70. Evergreen Organics, Qanat Quartier, The Pearl-Qatar (4472 0437).
Roasted cauliflower with jalapeño dressing
Who would have thought that one of the best vegetable side dishes in Doha can be found at a specialist sushi restaurant? This dish transforms the humble cauliflower into a Doha delicacy. It is crispy and sweet from the roasting, balanced with a kick from the jalapeño dressing. In fact, all of Nobu’s small vegetable dishes are delicious. Pick two or three with some rice and you’ll have yourself a plant-based Japanese feast.
QR65.Nobu, Four Seasons Hotel Doha, West Bay (4494 8600).
Som tam salad
Fans of this classic Thai salad will not be disappointed by Yugo’s version. It is sweet and sour, with the citrus notes working in perfect harmony with the lime and plum sugar dressing. The fresh chillies give it the famous som tam kick – but the chef can make a milder version if you don’t like your salad too spicy.
QR40. Yugo, The Gate Mall (4407 7118).
Vegetable pad Thai
Most pad Thai dishes use fish sauce, even if they are served only with vegetables. Thankfully, Spice Market has removed this component so that it is suitable for vegetarians and vegans. We’re extremely grateful because this is one of the best pad Thais in Doha. It can be spiced according to your taste and it doesn’t overdo it with the bean sprouts. Pass by W Café once done for a tasty vegan keto brownie.
QR70. Spice Market, W Doha Hotel & Residences, West Bay (4477 4281).
Vospov kufte with tomato salsa and sumac
The menu of Lebanese-Armenian restaurant Mamig is so extensive that it isn’t hard to find tasty vegan mezzes. Our favourite is the vospov kufte which is like a meat kibbeh but made from bulgur wheat, lentils and fresh herbs. Pour over the tomato salsa to add some moisture and sweetness, and order an Armenian salad to go along with it. The kufte is very filling, though, and you don’t need to eat it with much else.
QR26. Mamig, Katara Cultural Village (4408 0800).
Yasai katsu curry
Katsu (or cutlet, in Japanese) refers to meat that’s been pounded thin before being cooked – typically covered in breadcrumbs. This yasai katsu curry replaces the meat with aubergine, sweet potato and butternut squash and is served in a mild curry with rice. It’s tasty, filling and one of the many dishes that can be found in Wagamama’s extensive vegan menu of appetisers, starters, mains, desserts and sides. It’s one of the city’s best places for vegans.
QR49. Wagamama. All outlets.