February 2019 Update:
Carluccio’s still has the vegan menu even though they have made some changes to their main menu. Easy vegan Italian dining in almost every corner of Dubai (they have seven branches in total).
Italian and vegan? Never really understood how these two things are supposed to work out well together. But life continues to be full of surprises as I found out that there’s a separate vegan menu available at Carluccio’s – an Italian restaurant chain from the UK.
While wandering around Dubai Mall for the at least 20th time this year (actually not shopping for anything specific at all) I walked past Carluccio’s in the basement (close to the entrance to Burj Khalifa) and remembered having read something about a vegan menu there. Asked for it, saw it and decided to stop by for lunch. Instead of listing all the available dishes from the menu, I took a picture this time – just have a look!
I was super excited to just be able to order from a menu without any annoying question – answer (and having the waiter run to the kitchen in between) games. There are no fancy vegan alternatives available such as tofu, tempeh or vegan cheese, but that just wouldn’t have been authentically Italian then. There’s indoor and outdoor (with fountain view) seating available at Carluccio’s at the Dubai Mall and the kitchen is half open with a separate pizza station.
After studying the menu for way too long I decided to go for the Antipasto Di Verdure, the Pasta Arrabbiata and the Beetroot Salad. The starter, the Antipasto Di Verdure (single portion) was the highlight of my lunch. Sundried tomatoes, olives, roasted peppers, green bean salad and a dip of chargrilled vegetables were served with home-baked focaccia. Everything was super delicious and tasted very Italian but the chargrilled vegetable dip was extraordinary flavorful (a mix of eggplant and tomatoes with a sweet note).
The Pasta Arrabbiata was tasty, as expected a little spicy and cooked well. The Beetroot salad was a mixture of thinly sliced beetroot, asparagus, radish and green lettuce topped with pine nuts. It wasn’t served with any dressing but the balsamic and olive oil on the table made up for that. It was good and fresh but not as flavorful as the pasta and the antipasti platter. The dessert options included a fresh fruit salad and a lemon sorbet, which I didn’t try this time.
All in all there’s simply no reason for you not to stop by one of the seven (!) branches in Dubai for your next vegan lunch or dinner. If you don’t order the Antipasti Di Verdure than you will be missing out on something super delicious. The service was super friendly, the prices were Dubai-like (Penne Arrabbiata and Beetroot Salad both around 50AED each) and the food was good and you can easily go with your Italian-food-loving omnivorous friends and family without being the one having to put in several special requests. Tip: There’s also a gluten-free menu available.
Carluccio’s at the Dubai Mall
Lower Ground Level
Opening hours: Sun – Wed 9AM to 11PM, Thu – Sat 9AM to 11.30PM
Carluccio’s at Marina Mall
Opening hours: Sun – Thu 8AM to 11PM, Fri – Sat 8AM 12 midnight
Carluccio’s at Mirdif City Center
South Walk Level 1
Opening hours: Sat – Wed 9AM to 11PM, Thu – Fri 9AM to 12 midnight
Carluccio’s at IBN Battuta Mall
Opening hours: Sat – Wed 8.30AM to 11.30PM, Thu – Fri 8.30AM to 11PM
Carluccio’s at Arabian Ranches
The Ranches Souq
Opening hours: 8AM to 10PM
Carluccio’s at Dubai International Airport
Opening hours: 24/7
Carluccio’s at Emirates Hills
Opening hours: 9AM to 11PM