The Paleo diet, followed by celebrities like Megan Fox and Adriana Lima, has become one of the most popular ways of eating. Its principles are simple: Cut out anything that you wouldn’t have had access to without the technology behind most of today’s foods – and eat like a caveman as a result. In a nutshell (and you can eat lots of those), it’s all about taking things back to basics.
Tens of thousands of years ago, humans didn’t snack on bars of chocolate or eat bowls of ‘Special K’ for breakfast. Instead, they ate what they could easily get their hands on. That meant no gluten, dairy, grains, legumes, processed foods, or refined sugars, and instead lots of high-quality meats, nuts, fruit, vegetables, and healthy fats. Eating like our cavemen ancestors is believed to promote sustainable and healthy weight loss, boost energy levels and digestion, and reduce the harmful effects of dietary intolerances.
So whether or not you swear by Paleo eating or you want to see what all the fuss is about, our Goodness guide to the best Paleo-friendly eateries in Dubai will give you a helping hand.
Jumeirah’s HEAT Café (which stands for Healthy Eats and Treats) is where you’ll find some of the healthiest, fitness-inspired food in town. Dishing up everything from gluten-free to low-carb dishes, and – of course – Paleo picks, it’s a favorite of the city’s active folk.
Serving up an all-day breakfast menu that’s brimming with eggs, turkey bacon, and veg galore – there are also protein bowls with cauliflower rice, salmon burgers served in a lettuce ‘bun’ with sweet potato wedges, crunchy salads, and protein platters of fresh seafood or grilled meat. Wash it all down with a RAW coffee or a fresh sugar-free juice for the perfect Paleo meal.
Jumeirah Beach Road
The Cycle Bistro
The first and only pure Paleo place in Dubai, The Cycle Bistro has become the go-to for grub a caveman would be proud of. There’s literally everything you could possibly want, from Paleo waffles and pancakes, Paleo dosas stuffed with sweet potato and beetroot, Paleo gnocchi with chunky tomato sauce, fish tacos with citrus cashew sour ‘cream’, and even chicken nuggets served with Paleo ketchup. Not forgetting an array of sweet Paleo treats including their infamous banana split and rich cocoa brownies.
The quirky and casual setting is (as its name suggests), inspired by cycling – and the on-site ‘Cycle Hub’ provides bike workshops and rental services, as well as group rides and cycling events. What better way to work up an appetite?
Dubai Autodrome Grandstand, Dubai Motor City
(+971) 4 425 3000
Brought to you by man-about-town and celebrity chef Paul Frangie, Hapi makes us, well, very happy indeed. The cool café and kitchen concept in Al Quoz was created after Frangie saw an increasing demand for healthy, high-quality, fresh ‘fast’ food that’s rich in free-range and organic protein and is served in under 10 minutes.
You won’t find any fried food here, as it’s all about grilled steaks, hot smoked salmon, and charcoal chicken mains with an array of sides including sweet potato wedges, grilled veggies, and herb salads. The organic bone broths are just the ticket if you’re after some warm nourishment, and the sweet potato pancakes are sure to hit that sweet spot. The perfect post parkour or yoga meal, which (handily) you can do under the same roof.
Trident Grand Mall, Dubai Marina
(+971) 4 589 6626
Gourmet by Kcal
With ingredients and a nutritional model based on the principles of Paleo eating, Gourmet by Kcal really embraces the farm to table concept. Shunning sugars, additives, and gluten – everything here is organically and locally sourced (with the exception of grass-fed meats from New Zealand). The easy-to-navigate menu clearly marks the Paleo options (along with those that are vegan, dairy-free, or egg-free) as well as providing a complete nutritional breakdown, from the calories in each dish to the fat, carb, and protein content.
You’ll find the Paleo symbol alongside an array of mouthwatering dishes, from breakfasts like the sweet potato pancakes, baked shakshouka eggs, and the Paleo breakfast platter (which features a pumpkin muffin, nut muesli with almond milk, a coconut smoothie, and a chia seed pudding!). Mains vary from grilled seafood and meats to a Paleo club sandwich complete with cashew mayo, superfood salads, and zucchini bacon and sweet potato bites.
Le Meridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort, Dubai Marina
(+971) 4 511 7373
Whoever said you can’t eat delicious desserts on the Paleo diet clearly hadn’t been to Nourish, as here you really can have your (Paleo) cake and eat it too. Their Paleo sweet potato and pecan nut brownie, served with a date and hazelnut frosting, will leave you instantly hooked – especially when teamed with a creamy cappuccino with homemade almond milk.
Speaking of homemade, everything here is made from scratch – even the sauces which are whipped up each day in the Nourish kitchen, and the activated nuts and the fermented foods, which are bursting with beneficial bacteria. They’re constantly adding and changing the menu depending on the latest research and cooking techniques they’ve discovered, so there’s even more of a reason to keep coming back for more. Especially once you’ve tried the Teriyaki beef brisket bowl with soft-boiled egg, cherry tomatoes, and cashew mayo, the Thai inspired prawn bowl with peanut sauce, grilled pineapple, avocado, and rocket, or the grilled sea bass with chili, lemon, lime, and thyme. Our mouths are watering just thinking about it.
Dar Wasl Mall, Al Safa
(+971) 4 220 0555
Tucked away in the Dubai Herbal & Treatment Centre, Eat Well is one of the healthiest hidden gems in town. With a menu designed by their inhouse Wellness Chef, every item on the menu is refined-sugar and gluten-free, and is bursting with organic, seasonal, locally produced ingredients.
Our top Paleo picks include the tuna tartar with avocado, mango, balsamic and garlic mustard dressing, the Paleo Caprese salad (complete with vegan mozzarella), and the pumpkin and cashew béchamel garden lasagna – all clearly marked on the menu, so the hard work has been done for you. We’ll raise our almond milk latte to that.
Dubai Herbal & Treatment Centre, Zabeel 1
(+971) 54 476 6326