It’s not often I write on Dubai and one of my favourite things to do on my days off is eat lunch. If you hadn’t guessed it by now, I’m a real foodie so I thought I’d compile a list of quirky, picturesque lunch stops that either serve great food, great coffee or have an aesthetically pleasing cafe or even all three. So if you ever find yourself in Dubai looking for a lunch stop, or you’re a resident like myself, tired of eating at the same place, read on for some of my favourite places to eat at…
Common Grounds | Mall Of The Emirates
You wouldn’t expect to find somewhere like this in a mall, but this small yet sweet cafe styled restaurant serves up all the perfect brunch options you can desire (ie: does it have smashed avo on the menu). Not only is the menu good, theres also options for everyone including gluten free and vegan options. With it’s convenient location, I often find myself meeting friends here before a shop or the cinema and if you’re wanting something different try their Vietnamese Bahn Mi roll.
The Sum Of Us | Trade Centre
Also a part of the Common Grounds family, The Sum Of Us is set more downtown in Dubai, just off the Sheik Zayed Road. In the cooler months, their outdoor seating area is incredibly popular and with its close proximity to many offices, you’ll find people working on their laptops whilst sipping delicious coffee from beautiful cups paired with fresh pastries baked in store.
Tania’s Teahouse | Umm Suqueim
With its close proximity to a lot of big hotels such as the Burj Al Arab and also The Madinat, this could be the perfect venture for holiday goers who are wanting an “instagramable brunch”. From the moment you walk up to this quaint little roadside cafe the pink building will have you reaching for your phone to take a picture. This doesn’t stop when you get inside either, the pink and rose gold chrome colour scheme is beautiful and up on the walls ‘Hey there Habib-tea” is a play on words that hones in on that Arabic culture. Being a tea house there are copious amounts of teas to choose from, but the food choices with their apt menu names are a struggle to choose between. When food arrives, you will want nothing more than to take a picture of it because it just looks so pretty! Tastes amazing too. I can see why my instagram feed is inundated with snaps of this place.
Eggspectation | JBR
Situated on JBR looking out to sea and the Dubai Wheel, Canadian brand Eggspectation is the ultimate breakfast food place that serves not only a lot of eggs (shock) but an abundance of other items across an expansive menu for all times of the day. My absolute go to whenever I’m here, is the bravacado with a Banana Java smoothie. SO GOOD. This restaurant has both indoor and outdoor seating so when those horrendously hot summer months arrive, you can take shelter inside with the cooling AC, or is the perfect outdoor spot for this pleasant winter months.
Arrows And Sparrows | The Greens
Another cute and quirky little cafe find hidden away in The Greens is Arrows And Sparrows. I came across this place reading Time Out magazine one day who did a feature on one of their menu items ‘Pokécado’ which is a fusion of a poké bowl and avocado on toast. Two things I seriously enjoy, and wow this did NOT disappoint. What an amazing combination. A little out of the way, but definitely worth the visit. Would return again for their excellent menu choice and great coffee.
Friends Avenue | JLT
Sitting in Cluster T in Jumeriah Lake Towers just opposite DAMAC Properties metro lies Friends Avenue. A very small and intimate cafe with a dreamy lunch menu. Didn’t boast as many favourable options as the aforementioned cafes do in my eyes, but food is still great all the same, and is in a highly accessible location. Food isn’t overpriced, and the iced coffee is wonderful. The cute and cosy decor makes you feel right at home, but if its busy you may struggle to find a seat!
1762 Stripped | JLT
Another great find situated in JLT in between two of the lakes, 1762 Stripped serves up some brilliant and very fresh salads, that change from day to day so there’s always something new for you to try. Additionally, one way they warmed to my heart was the straws in which they serve your drinks with are not made out of plastic, nor are they the paper that crumbles after a few slips. Plastic waste is SUCH a big concern for me, and its nice to see somewhere in Dubai is being more environmentally conscious whilst being a really great cafe. Check out their menu to see the great things they have on offer, and if you’re feeling incredibly lazy, they’re on Deliveroo too!
Walnut Grove | City Walk
One place worth heading up to City Walk for is Walnut Grove. A South African brand thats moved up to Dubai serves the ultimate brunch food with an assortment of delicious mains. City Walk is a great place to visit if you’re wanting to shop and catch a different view of the Burj Khalifa, and Walnut Grove makes the perfect lunch spot to keep you well refreshed and full up. Opt for the coconut and cous cous chicken strips or the or the chick pea and corn fritters (see below) for something fulfilling and light. They also serve incredible fruit fusion teas served up in picturesque clear teapots absolutely brimming with fruit and flowers, it tasted so good that I ended up drinking it in about 2-3 minutes.
Tom & Serg | Al Quoz
Tom&Serg a fuse between a guy from Melbourne and a guy from Madrid which has created something that works incredibly well. A very large cafe up in Al Quoz, that serves up the perfect lunch time menu. I seriously struggled to pick what to eat here. With large windows, the sun comes streaming through making the whole place light and airy. When you head in, make sure to sit upstairs and if you’re eating alone grab a book from the communal bookcase that has a profusion of different reads for everyone. I eventually opted for the avocado on toast as it was served with Persian feta (something I’ve loved since I’ve tried it in First Class on board) and it did NOT disappoint. I’m going to make a bold statement here, this might be the best avocado toast in Dubai and they have four different options. Very well priced and a generous helping. One thing to note about Tom and Serg is that they close much earlier than other places as they’re targeting the work time lunch break, so bear that in mind when you do head there.
A Tub Of Butter | Al Safa
The name for this restaurant comes from the expression that landing into a tub of butter translates to someone falling into good fortune, and you are fortunate if what you’re after is an instagrammable coffee. Tub Of Butter does have a great lunch menu, which is quite expansive but the thing that drew me and my friends in was the coffee. A delicious coffee to your taste, served with a famous face of your choice. There are numerous options for you to chose from and we ended up going for a face of Queen Elizabeth and Beyoncé. What more could you want from your morning/afternoon coffee??
Flamingo Room by Tashas | Jumeriah Al Naseem
If you’re looking for something a little bit more upmarket and fancy, with great views of the Burj Al Arab as you walk in, head to Flamingo Room by Tashas located at The Madinat in the decadent hotel Jumeriah Al Naseem. Its tag line ‘Where African glamour meets the Arabian Sea’ perfectly depicts the setting in which you are about to eat. One perk of this restaurant (you definitely cannot call it a cafe) is that with it being located in a hotel, it is licensed and they serve up some incredibly fancy cocktails for all kinds of palette. This restaurant is a little on the pricey side and is full of ladies of leisure (or Jumeriah Janes as they’re referred to in Dubai) decked head to toe in designer wear, which makes for a great people watching place, but take this into consideration for yourself that they have a dress code policy on the door too. One thing to opt for is the club sandwich, it comes with an incredible chutney and served with crisps (chips if you’re American) and was a perfect lunch time treat washed down with an Aperol Spritz.
Din Tai Fung | Mall Of The Emirates
I cannot recommend this place enough. Unsure of whether to include it in the ‘leisurely lunching’ post, this Mall Of The Emirates hot spot is never seen without a waitlist, so much so, I’ve even been told the wait is two hours before. Located on the second floor of the mall, this Michelin starred chain serves up a wide host of Taiwanese food. The thing that tempts you in is their Xaoi Long Bao, which is all made fresh in store which you can watch through the glass panelled kitchen. Not only does it tempt you in, but it keeps you thinking about it for weeks and will always have you wanting to head back for more. Opt for the chicken and seafood xaoi long bao with a side of stir fried kang kong. Heavenly.
I hope this helps to summarise a few of my favourites in Dubai, and if anyone has any others to recommend please do let me know!
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