Here’s our selection of the best restaurants in Bahrain serving vegan and plant-based meals.
Home to restaurants catering to all palates and pockets, Bahrain is a food-lover’s paradise. In addition to countless venues serving seafood and meat, the island offers a great variety for its vegan diners. Many living in the Kingdom are going vegan for fitness reasons and for the benefit of the environment, which is why most eateries try to include a vegan section in their menu these days.
Cafe, Restaurant, Vegan, $$$
The island’s first 100% vegan concept restaurant opened its doors in early 2017 and already has a dedicated fan following. The menu is small but creative and has something to appeal to every tastebud, right from vegan sushi and lasagna through to smoothie bowls, salads and desserts. Drinks include everything from green juices to almond-milk mochas. Arabic dishes with a vegan spin are also served – think beetroot falafel and broccoli shawarma. The food is plated so immaculately, it’s like art on a plate. Celebrated American chef, Matthew Kenney, co-owner of the café, works alongside two locals chefs to ensure all the food is prepared using the freshest plant-based ingredients, and beautifully plated. The ambiance is casual and refreshing, with wooden furniture and a well-lit interior.
An award-winning food shop and restaurant, Baker & Spice opened its Bahrain outlet in Al A’ali Shopping Complex in 2017. Following a philosophy of ‘local – organic – fresh – homemade’, it has won the hearts of foodies on the island with its home cooked-style food, made using fresh ingredients sourced from local farmers, as well as with its friendly service. You can sit indoors or dine al fresco. It’s a great place to have breakfast or even a quick lunch on workdays. The vegan menu features everything right from seasonal salads, breakfast bowls and juices through to creative mains like beetroot bucatini and Malaysian dairy-free cauliflower and pumpkin curry. Most recently, the restaurant partnered with a micro-roastery and now serve an organic Columbian coffee brewed using the putumayo bean, which has flavour notes of sweet polenta, cocoa and red fruits.
Inspired by the conservatories built in fashionable European residences, The Orangery, tucked away in the Palace Boutique Hotel grounds, is the ideal spot for breakfast and afternoon tea. Should you choose to dine al fresco, there’s a big garden and fountain, and the ambiance transports you right into Alice’s Wonderland. There’s a well-lit, pleasant interior too. The vegan menu features a number of options, from raw vegan lasagna, kale and orange salad, courgette ribbon salad and sweet potato and chilli salad through to vegan burgers and chocolate cake. Their salad menu is extensive, as is their juice menu, which includes beetroot, carrot and pineapple. Arabic-inspired mezes such as hummus and flavoured versions of the dip are also served.
Many Arabic eateries have a variety of vegan options because they usually have an extensive salad menu, as well as a range of dishes made from lentils and other pulses and vegetables. Serving a contemporary twist on traditional Bahraini grub, this restaurant is located in the bustling Manama souq. Narise Qambar, a national and international award-winning Bahraini entrepreneur, owns this space and brings her creativity and passion for delicious, soulful food to the table. The breakfast menu has some excellent vegan options to choose from, including avocado tartine, falafel and other bean-based dishes. They do occasionally serve vegan dessert, too, so do check with your server. They also have a variety of fresh juices and teas to choose from. The restaurant has another outlet at Al Qaisariya Souq in Muharraq.
One of the best sushi places on the island, this contemporary Japanese restaurant combines Japanese tradition with Mediterranean and global flavours and textures. They have five award-winning restaurants around the world. Located at Bahrain World Trade Centre, Maki has a sprawling indoors and a staircase leading to an equally spacious top floor. The fine-dining ambiance and hands-down impeccable service, coupled with an extensive vegan menu, makes dining here a wonderful experience. A range of creative salads and sushi are available, crafted using ingredients like tofu, seaweed, quinoa, mushrooms, kale and local vegetables. For dessert, you must try the vegan pain perdu served with green-tea ice cream, avocado sauce and blackberries. Whether you’re looking to have a great time with friends or a quiet romantic dinner, Maki easily fits the bill.
Located in one of Bahrain’s busiest malls, City Centre Bahrain, this Turkish restaurant sails the most tantalising bits of Turkey across the Bosphorus and brings them to you on a plate. It’s a kebab haven, no doubt, but also serves some delicious appetisers that will have vegan diners coming back for more. Their vegan menu includes Arabic mezes like hummus, muhammara (made with red peppers, walnuts, breadcrumbs and spices), kisir (soaked bulgur wheat with vegetables, spices and a pomegranate sauce) and dolma (rice and vegetable-stuffed vine leaves), as well as mains such as green beans or aubergine in tomato sauce. Their salad menu has some nice options, including mushroom, sweetcorn and bell-pepper salad, and their spinach-stuffed flatbread is a must-try. The restaurant has a lively atmosphere, making it a great place to dine with the family.
A hidden gem in the heart of Qudaibiya, this authentic Thai restaurant services delicious food that is great value. You can’t miss it, with its bright-green signage and waterfall windows. They have a variety of dishes to please the vegan palate, including po pla (bamboo shoot and vegetable spring rolls), ma khue puang (aubergine stir-fried in sweet chilli sauce and pepper) and tua tau (string beans stir-fried with tofu and basil). Dig into steaming, hot sticky rice drowned in coconut milk-based vegetable curry and seal the deal with their mango and sticky rice dessert. The servers are friendly and will help you choose, and their menu is in English. The food is usually spicy, but you can always ask them to adjust the heat.
There’s an inspiring story behind the opening of this place. Before 2012, the owners of Emmawash observed that most hotels serving authentic Bahraini food were expensive. So they decided to make local flavours accessible to all, by serving the real deal at reasonable prices. Emmawash is a popular local rice dish with dried prawns and green mung beans. Like most Arabic restaurants, this all-day eatery, tucked away in Maqabah, serves a number of vegan options right from falafel and salads through to pulse and bean-based dishes such as hummus. It’s most popular for its breakfast, beckoning foodies across the island with its interestingly designed interior – Arabic-style wooden benches, cushions with local prints and walls adorned with hand-sketched Bahrain-inspired art, as well as messages from customers. There is a Majlis set-up as well, where you can sit on the floor and dine Bahrain-style. They have another branch in Hamala, too.
One of the island’s busiest South-Indian vegetarian restaurants especially over the weekends, Vrindavan serves great vegan breakfast options like idli (a fluffy Indian rice and lentil cake), medu vada (a crunchy lentil doughnut), upma (savoury semolina pudding) and dosa (a savoury rice and lentil crêpe), all served with a vegetable curry called sambar and coconut chutney. You can also try variations of the humble dosa stuffed with spinach, or Chinese-style stir-fried vegetables. A variety of vegetable dishes and pulses are also on the menu. You can order these with rotis (flatbread) or rice – just make sure you specify no ghee (clarified butter), milk or cream. If there’s no place to sit, just ask one of the servers or the proactive, friendly manager to open the spare hall that’s in the same building.