Beirut

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Beirut skyline, seen from Harissa

Beirut has only two explicitly vegetarian restaurants (as of May 2015), but vegan dishes abound in traditional Beiruti cuisine. Fresh fruits and veg and other vegan staples are always available in massive amounts in the regular shops. The two vegetarian restaurants are at the same time vegetarian organic shops and there are several other health food shops and conventional supermarkets that stock helpful items for a vegan lifestyle from soy drink and faux cheeses to vegan and cruelty-free toiletries.

This vegan city guide is at the same time a directory of organic shops in Beirut, not only because many specific vegan products are organic and sold in organic shops, but also because of the less harmful impact of organic agriculture on the environment and thus on animals (including humans).

We also have an article about Lebanon.

Vegan-friendly shops

The Pigeon Rocks, one of the landmarks of Beirut


Vegan

Rodrigue's Vegan Bites

Not a shop but a delivery service, Rodrigue's Vegan Bites provides you every Tuesday with delicatessen such as sugar-free chocolate spread and nut cheeses made from local ingredients. Rodrigue's Vegan Bites are also sold at A New Earth Organic & Eco-Living Store and at the farmers' market Souk El Tayeb (both see below).


Ada's Kitchen

Ada's Kitchen specializes in vegan cheese as well. Their kitchen is not public, but you can get their cheeses delivered and you can buy them at A New Earth Organic & Eco-Living Store (see below).


Ballouta - Vegan Goods

Ballouta - Vegan Goods is a delivery service, too, and they also sell their food at (occasional) markets. Sometimes they organize a vegan dinner at some Beirut venue. See their Facebook page for upcoming events.


Vegetarian and organic

The Olive Tree

The Olive Tree is a vegetarian organic shop which also operates a delivery service and has a small restaurant area. They stock packed food, a lot of it imported from Germany, but also some local produce and some fresh fruit and vegetables. Their assortment includes chickpea flour for vegan omelets, soy, almond and oat drinks, tofu, labne, and nutritional yeast. You can also find a variety of vegan and organic toiletries from soap to toothpaste there, mostly from dr. organic. Usually, they also have fresh pastries and cookies on offer. The shop owners and staff are very sweet and committed and eager to cater to the wishes of the local vegetarians, vegans, foodies and organic eaters. Different staff members speak a wide variety of languages from Arabic to English, French, Italian and Portuguese.


Beirut Bio Center

  • behind Mount Lebanon Hospital, Michel Gharios Street, Hazmieh (greater Beirut)

According to reports this place is not only a vegetarian organic shop, but it also has a little restaurant area which serves exclusively vegan meals. Visit the website for more information on the product range. Double check if they are entirely vegan or vegetarian when you're there.


Vegetarian, fair trade and mixed organic-conventional

Terroirs du Liban

This boutique belongs to Fair Trade Lebanon, the local partner of Fairtrade International. Their aim is to promote fairer business relations by selling products made by Lebanese cooperatives for fairer remuneration and they provide further support. The shop mostly sells traditional Lebanese staple food like pulses and grains, jams, pickles, syrups, olive oil and wine (ask if it's vegan), but also beautifully simple vegan (excluding animal testing) soap bars. Visit their website to see all their products. Their olive oil and wine are certified organic and more of their products are in the process of labelling as of 2015. Some products carry the international Fair Trade label but according to their information all products underlie similar criteria. Sometimes products are out of stock as they are not produced in huge amounts, so it's advisable to call ahead. Staff is extremely nice and helpful and speaks Arabic, French and English.


Organic

A New Earth Organic & Eco-Living Store

Besides Beit As-Sahha this is the biggest organic shop in town. Whereas Beit As-Sahha offers mostly local and fresh produce, A New Earth's main goods are packed imported organic foods, including treats like vegan chocolate. Noteworthy local items aside from fresh fruits and vegetables are Coara's tofu, rice labne and fresh foods. A New Earth also sells essential vegan toiletries such as soaps from the Lebanese company BioMass, Lavera toothpaste and Lavera deodorant (range changes over time) and vegan detergents, namely Method dish soap and Biokleen laundry powder and liquid. These essentials mark A New Earth as a milestone on the both the vegan and the organic map of Beirut since these products are not easily found.


بيت الصحة (Beit As-Sahha, sometimes transcribed as Beit Soha or Beit al-Soha, shop sign in Arabic only)

This is Beirut's oldest organic shop and one of its biggest. The shop mostly sells local produce from fruits and vegetables to nuts and conserves, but it also stocks a wide range of imported products from spices to rice and vegan detergents. One nice feature is that they stock Italian organic rice which is difficult to find as most of organic rice travelled half the planet from Thailand via the US to Lebanon, thus weighing heavily on your ecological footprint. The local produce doesn't carry any organic label, since the shop owner has decided to skip them after carrying different labels for some years. So it's best to talk to staff to find out how they define organic and which standards are applied on their products. Beit As-Sahha is one of the few places in Beirut that stock vegan detergents (from L'Arbre Vert) and special treats are their vegan hand-made cookies and muffins.


Bioland

In this shop the northern Lebanese organic farm Bioland offers their produce to the residents of Beirut. They have fresh fruits and vegetables from their own farm, but also an assortment of local and imported organic foods. As for vegan toiletries they sell soap bars from the Lebanese company BioMass. Especially remarkable is that they sell pulses and grains out of gunny sacks to reduce plastic which is a great way to save resources and to not contribute to Lebanon's garbage crisis. They also have a little food corner with always at least one vegan dish according to their information.


How about having a vegan picnic on Beirut's beach Ramlet el-Baida?

Al-Marej Organic Food Store [1]

This shop sells fresh organic fruits and vegetables and local and imported packed goods. They also stock a variety of fair trade products from Terroirs du Liban, mostly jams and za'atar.


Macrodette Organic

Macrodette Organic is a small and beautiful health food shop that sells mostly packed goods, both imported and local (but no fresh fruits and vegetables).


Rita's Health Food (formerly Beit Al Afia)

This little and cosy shop stocks organic essentials, but no fresh fruits and vegetables. Several days a week they sell toast from the Organic Bakery, a bakery in the Chouf area. The owner is very helpful and sweet and speaks at least Arabic and English.


Beirut Health Store

Beirut Health Store has mostly organic imported goods and no fresh fruits and vegetables. Even though its assortment is much smaller than that of other organic shops in Beirut you get many special and extraordinary items you would not get in the bigger shops. The owner is very helpful and sweet and speaks at least Arabic and English.


Healthy Basket

  • Yacoubian building, Block A, Kuwait Street X Venus Street, Caracas / Hamra; 01-747831
  • opening hours: Monday - Friday 7am - 3pm

Healthy Basket sells mostly local organic fruits and vegetables, juices, syrups, oil and other local packed goods and very few imported items such as almond milk or cookies. Every other day they sell toast from the Organic Bakery, a bakery in the Chouf area. As their name says they also offer a weekly delivery of differently sized baskets to your door. The staff is very nice and speaks Arabic, French and English.


Live Organic

  • Samaha building, New Naccache Main Road, Naccache, greater Beirut

This organic store in the north-eastern outskirts of Beirut sells vegan cheese among others.


Healthy Steps

  • Al Bustan Street, Adonis (Kesrwan), greater Beirut

This organic store in the north-eastern outskirts of Beirut sells vegan cheese among others.


Nature at Home

Nature at Home is an organic internet shop which delivers to Beirut and its eastern suburbs from Ba'abda up north to Jbeil. It has many vegan products, but be careful as they apparently also consider honey vegan.


La Boulangère Bio

La Boulangère Bio sells bread freshly made in their bakery. The bread is typically French bread such as pain de mie, pain de campagne and of course baguette. So far they have to import their flour from France because there is no or not enough local organic flour to be found. According to their staff's information you can order vegan cakes, muffins and cookies. Staff speak at least Arabic, French and English.


"come to the delicious things"; seen at Sourati Street, Beirut, December 2014

Organic basket deliveries

Organic baskets consist of local vegetables and fruits and you can get them as a weekly delivery. This way you don't have to shop yourself and you also get nice surprises every week of fresh organic and local produce. In addition you help the shops/deliveries and thus the farmers by providing them at least with some security that they will be able to sell their produce and have an okay income. You also help minimizing waste of food, because the farmers can deliver what they have instead of having to waste what they cannot sell.


Healthy Basket

The baskets consist mostly of vegetables, but also contain some fruit. They come in different sizes to cater to your needs - how often you cook and whether you live alone or with a big family or friends. Considering the price you get more as if you were buying it in the shop, so you even save money. Staff are very nice and open to your enquiries in Arabic, English or French, the delivery person speaks Arabic.


Le Potager Bio

As of fall 2014 their basket consists of vegetables only. The staff is very nice and happy to answer your questions.


Mixed organic-conventional

Spinneys / سبيبيس

  • Achrafieh Mar Mitr branch, Alfred Naccache Street X Mar Mitr Street
  • Achrafieh Tital Beirut Building branch, Achrafieh Street X Furn El Hayek Street
  • Achrafieh Alexandre branch, Adib Eshaq Street X Kaairallah Khairallah Street
  • Jnah branch, Khalil Moutrane Street X Venezuela Street
  • Hazmieh branch (greater Beirut), Hamieh Road X Elias El Hrawi Road

Spinneys operates conventional supermarkets, or rather French-style hypermarchés considering their size, selling a wide range of products. They stock organic local fresh fruit and vegetables from BioMass and Le Potager Bio and have an organic section of packed imported goods. They also sell vegan margarine (Pure Dairy Free and/or Earth Balance) and soap (Suma) in the respective sections. In some branches, at least in the one Hazmieh, they sometimes stock pasta made by the great Italian cooperative IRIS. Especially the Hazmieh branch has a wide variety of organic products in an extensive organic section (which unfortunately gets cleared during the Christmas season to make room for such products). As for fair trade products they have at least coffee and vegan chocolate. Most noticeable are their faux meats, sausages, and cheeses (slices and Tofutti cream cheese) which unfortunately are hidden in the dairy and meat sections and so it's somewhat difficult to find them. Staff tries to help, but usually they don't know those products.


TSC

  • Achrafieh: Tilal Beirut, Baydoun Street
  • Downtown: Beirut Souk
  • Hamra: Sadat Street
  • Verdun: Concorde Galleria
  • Baabda (greater Beirut): Al Sayyad Round About
  • Dora (greater Beirut): CityMall, 14 Dora Highway
  • Jnah (greater Beirut): Boulevard Adnan Al Hakim
  • Zouk (greater Beirut): Jounieh Highway

TSC has several branches in and around Beirut. They are all called TSC Plus, except of the TSC Mega Market in Dora and the TSC Signature Store in Downtown. At least the Achrafieh branch has a clearly marked and broad organic section which covers both staples, from rice to fair trade organic coffee and soy drinks, and treats such as organic vegan chocolate.


Marqet [2]

  • Itani Building, Badr Demachkieh Street (Koraitem Main Road) X Abdul Razzak Hamadeh Street, Qoraytem
  • opening hours: Monday - Sunday 7am - 11pm

This supermarket has two little organic sections, one offering imported goods like soy, grain and nut milk, rice and soy cuisine (Bjorg), tofu, vegan stock, agave syrup, vegan chocolate (VIANA), and the other consists of local BioMass products such as spices and oil and they also have BioMass fresh fruits and vegetables. Outside those sections they sell fair trade brown sugar (not sure if bones were used in its production) and vegan French-style bread from Beirut's La Boulangère Bio and vegan toast from the Chouf's Organic Bakery.


COOP / تعاونيات لبنان

  • Makdessi branch: Makdessi Street X Nehme Yafet Street, Hamra
  • many more branches (the map shows the approximate location only) inside and outside Beirut

COOP is a supermarket chain with many branches inside and outside of Beirut. Its products that are of special interest for vegans and organic food lovers are their soy, rice and almond milk, organic rice and other organic staples, and their organic (and non-organic) vegan cookies.


Carrefour / كارفور

  • Beirut City Centre Mall, Hamieh Road X Elias El Hrawi Road, Hazmieh (greater Beirut)

Carrefour stocks lots of vegan basics such as plant milk.


Farmers' markets (mixed organic-conventional)

Souk El Tayeb

  • Beirut Souks, Tripoli Street, Downtown

This is a market where farmers and small food businesses sell their self-grown and self-made products. Most of the products are not organic so talk to the people to find the organic stalls. A lot of the ready to eat Lebanese and Lebanese-Armenian food sold at the catering stalls is vegan.


Toiletries shops

Please see the shop descriptions above for places that also stock toiletries in their assortment.


Lush

Their products have not been tested on animals and many of them are free from animal ingredients.


The Body Shop

  • Al Hamra branch: Al Hamra Mall, Hamra Street
  • Verdun branch: Verdun 730 Mall, Verdun Street X Ain El-Tineh
  • Jnah branch: Spinney's Jnah, Khalil Moutrane Street X Venezuela Street

Most of their products do not contain animal ingredients. Please note that even though all The Body Shop products are cruelty-free according to BUAV standards, the company is owned by L'Oréal which is not cruelty free.


Many pharmacies in and around Beirut sell dr. organic cosmetic products. Their products are free from animal testing but some contain animal products, so check the labels.


Cafés

The Olive Tree

The Olive Tree, an organic vegetarian shop-restaurant, usually has vegan pastries, cakes or cookies like cinnamon rolls and sfouf (a traditional Lebanese semolina cake). They also serve coffee and a special treat is their coffee with coconut milk. See the descriptions in the shop and restaurant sections for more information.


AltCity Café

AltCity is a creative space comprising a café, a co-working area, and an open space where they host alternative political events. The café serves soy drink and sometimes fair trade coffee. They also sell some fair trade products from Terroirs du Liban, both whole bottles and packages to take home and drinks to have right away such as the delicious White Coffee (hot sweetened orange blossom essence; not sure if the sugar is vegan). In addition they have cookies from the Tripolis Bread Basket bakery of which some are vegan (not sure about the sugar though), for example the Ma'amoul. AltCity is a very relaxed place and it could become your favourite place if you're looking for a coffeeshop where you can join a quiet crowd working on their laptops. If you're interested in alternative politics in Beirut, Lebanon, and the Middle East you should frequently check their website and the flyers opposite the counter.


Starbucks

Beirut is full of Starbucks coffeeshops and it's very likely that you stumble upon one of them while strolling the city. They have soy drink and certified Fairtrade espresso, but their reluctance to increase their amount of fair trade coffee, alleged trade union busting, their presence in and supply to US-American soldiers and interrogators in Guantánamo, and apparent tax evasion in European countries have received a lot of criticism.


Café Younes

Café Younes has several branches in and around Beirut. They have many vegan fruit smoothies (not sure about the sugar though) and you can substitute all dairy milk with soy drink. Try their iced chocolate with soy milk.

Veggie gathering at The Olive Tree after the re-opening in February 2015

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Lebanon

Beirut, Kfar Qatra, Saida

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