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Beirut.com 13 Feb 2020

10 Vegan And Eco-Conscious Eateries You Need To Visit In Beirut

This article was submitted by Mia Windisch-Graetz.

Walking down the streets of Beirut, you’ll smell freshly baked pita bread, grilled veggies, and a variety of spices that transport you to different worlds. Lebanon’s cuisine thrives on the influences of the Assyrians, Persians, Greeks, Arabs, Ottomans, Turks, and the French who have occupied the country in the past.

Today, Lebanese food has developed a world-famous reputation, powered by its large diaspora. But what makes it so outrageously delicious? For one, it’s the good weather which means fresh products all year around. For another, it’s the many different traditions with their own spices and ways of cooking that left a unique mark on the Lebanese cuisine.

I’ve recently been to this fascinating city and was not only stunned by the rich taste of the dishes but also by the heartwarming hospitality of the locals. For good reason did Beirut attract so many tourists that it was nicknamed “the Paris of the Middle East“.

So what are you waiting for? Jump on the plane and fall in love with Beirut just as much as I did.

1. Green Junkie

Visiting Green Junkie’s underground kitchen in the hip district of Mar Mikhael is a truly unique experience. Here, co-founders Angela and Cynthia, chef Samer and the rest of the crew prepare and deliver purely organic and wholesome meals that are good for you and the planet. They work with selected local farmers, as well as small and mid-sized producers who are dedicated to producing top quality food only. The menu changes with the seasons and consists of a great range of vegan, vegetarian, meat, fish or gluten-free dishes. Discover their great brunch offer, a wide selection of home-pressed juices and smoothies, tasty sandwiches, PWR bowls, Evergreen salads, and homemade sweets. Don’t leave without trying the raw vegan & gluten-free lemon tart! You can check the menu online and either order your food or pick it up directly.

2. Hannah Mitri Ice Cream

The queue in front of this small building, which still has some scars of the civil war, points you to the best ice cream shop in Beirut. And it’s so worth the wait. Ever since 1949, the family-run shop makes ice cream using natural ingredients, salep flour, and mastic gum. The nine flavors range from classics like chocolate, pistachio or strawberry (vegan!) to local treasures such as rose water (a must-try & vegan too) or apricot with pine nuts (vegan three!). They also make their own nut praline by hand. 100% loved by locals.

3. Organic Sisters

Just because we are always busy, doesn’t mean that we have to sacrifice a healthy meal. Organic Sisters cooks and delivers fresh and tasty meals every day to wherever you are. But you can of course also come and pick up your food from their kitchen in Mar Mikhael. The ingredients come mainly from local and seasonal produce and is all trustworthy organic and free of GMO, gluten, dairy, soy, and refined sugar. You can order three times a day (breakfast, lunch & dinner). For every meal, there are always two options available of which one is always vegan. Great for people with food allergies!

4. Home Sweet Home

Cozy couches, stylish interiors, and good books create an ambiance that feels like home. Many locals come here for co-working sessions with friends so feel free to bring your laptop! Located opposite Organic Sisters, I came here after to have a cinnamon cappuccino with almond milk (SO good) and a blueberry lemon cake. On top of their cakes and coffees, you can also enjoy fresh cocktails, many different juices and plenty of healthy meals for lunch and dinner with vegan options. Because to eat is human, to eat well is divine!

5. A New Earth

Here you will find all kinds of certified organic products. From food to skincare, household products, and clean supplements – this is THE ‘go-to’ for any health-related products. I got myself a bamboo toothbrush, vegan snacks, and organic lipstick and locally produced natural soaps as presents for my friends at home. They even have organic food and sustainable equipment for animals! Follow them on Instagram and Facebook to get some insightful facts on their products, recipe tips and more.

6. Em Ali

Are you looking for a healthy midnight snack in Gemmayze, near the nightlife district Mar Mikhael? Then you must drop by this saj. They make gluten-free and brown light saj bread with no sugar or yeast, filled with the freshest ingredients. Think za’atar, spinach, debs and tahina, akkawi cheese, mozzarella, labneh, eggs, tomatoes and many more different kinds of cheese, herbs, and veggies. Oh, and they also offer freshly pressed juices – perfect.

7. Salata Eatery

Fancy the best salad of your life? Without exaggerating, their Spring Salad is one of the most delicious salads. Served in large colorful bowls, their gourmet salads are truly filling. They also offer daily pressed juices and healthy pastries. Salata Eatery is committed to sourcing organic and fresh ingredients while supporting local communities and the environment.

8. Kalei Coffee

This place is made for true coffee lovers and all those who search for a quiet break from the hustle and bustle in Mar Mikhael/Ras Beirut. The calm garden and rooftop invite for long hangouts with friends and co-working sessions. Kalei sources their direct trade coffee from farmers who handpick green coffee beans in the world’s best coffee growing regions. This way, Kalei ensures transparency and traceability and improves the livelihoods of their suppliers. Oh! and their food menu is 100% locally sourced!

9. A Better Life Market

You can find all kinds of organic, natural, and wholesome products at budget-friendly costs in this supermarket. From healthy foods to natural cosmetics and eco-friendly cleaning products – here’s pretty much everything you need for conscious living. Their store is in the Achrafieh district but you can also order from their one-stop online shop. Tip: keep track of their Instagram about their current food selection and get some recipe ideas and info on how to live a better life.

10. Breakfast Barn

Don’t panic, it’s organic! To inspire their customers to live better, healthier, and happier, this place serves the most important meal of the day – all day long. The array of vegan-friendly breakfast and brunch options range from mouth-watering toastees, yogurts, cold-pressed juices and their special chia almond puddings topped with different fresh fruits and nuts. My absolute highlight: the avocado toast.

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