And my hunt for the best Lebanese restaurant for vegans in Dubai continues: today’s stop: Al Hallab. Honestly, the only reason I actually went to Al Hallab is because it’s just a few steps away from my work place at Mall of the Emirates and I wanted to try a new Lebanese restaurant. I can’t have Middle Eastern food every day, but I certainly can eat it more than once a week! It’s just so easy for me because I absolutely love ordering a couple of starters and trying all their different flavors!
Al Hallab has got an average Lebanese menu with additional seafood dishes and a considerable amount of sweets. We decided to sit “outside” of the restaurant so unfortunately I can’t tell much about their decor or interior. However the servers were really friendly and accommodating and everything was served quite quickly. As always, all our dishes were accompanied by freshly baked pita bread, which I am so in love with. Most of the time I try to stay away from bread and other baked goods, but whenever I’ve got Lebanese food I can’t resist this Arabic bread which is always brought right from the oven (that’s why it’s always still so big, as soon as it gets cold it falls together and is just flat).
I had an experimental day and next to hummus, falafel, lentil soup and spicy potatoes we ordered stuffed eggplant and spinach sambousek. The lentil soup and humms were good – nothing special though. We were more surprised about the good quality of the falafel (crispy outside and soft inside and super tasteful) and the spicy potatoes, which were flavored well enough and cross on the outside! However I can surely recommend all four platters!
But now about my two “new” dishes: the stuffed eggplant and the spinach sambousek. The stuffed eggplant is a cold-served dish, and reminded me a little bit on Italian antipasti, probably because of the amount of olive oil it was served in. They came stuffed with sun-dried red peppers and walnuts and were tasty even though they turned out to be a little sour. After consulting Google and the waiter about sambousek being vegan or not, both of them confirmed sambousek are cooked without any animal produce (unless you fill them with meat or cheese of course). I realized when they arrived at my table that sambousek turned out to be quite similar as samosa, the Indian version. Sambousek is a fried or baked filled pastry, which is made out of flour, olive oil, salt and water. In my case they were filled with spinach, a pinch of salt, lemon juice and onion.
It was a nice snack and at least not my regular Lebanse vegan-friendly order, but in the end didn’t necessarily tempt my taste buds too much. Actually you could barely taste the spinach and some more authentic spices would have made them better. If our order still isn’t enough for you, there are a lot more vegan dishes on the menu as well: vegetable soup, tomato basil soup, moutabal, vine leaves, tabouleh, fatoush, green salad, rocca salad, green beans, foul, foul with hummus, moharama, fries, rice. Be aware though that all of these are side dishes or appetizers. If you are looking for a main vegan dish you are always going to have a hard time at a Lebanese restaurant!
At some of their other branches with actual outdoor seating they offer shisha as well. Given their long juice menu (try them, I had the strawberry one and it was delicious and super fresh!) you can also just stop by there for a snack, a juice and a shisha during the night. I mentioned in the beginning that there’s a long list of Arabic sweets on their menu as well. Unfortunately I didn’t have enough time to google / consult the waiter about their vegan-friendliness, and skipped them in the end but will definitely report about them in the near future! All in all I was impressed by the assortment of vegan-friendly dishes (especially the ones I hadn’t tried before), the food tasted at least average to good, and I was positively surprised about the bill – there’s absolutely nothing I can actually complain about!
Al Hallab at Mall of the Emirates
Level 1 close to Ski Dubai
Opening Hours: 12PM to midnight
Al Hallab at Dubai Mall
Level 2 close to the Waterfall
Opening Hours: 11AM to 1AM
Al Hallab in Garhoud
Opposite Dubai Creek Golf Club
Opening Hours: 8AM to 1AM