The summer may mark the beginning of a quiet spell for mid-day mall munching. It also, however, marks a new late night phase for mall dining across the city. Dubai’s malls will get ready for a long night, with shops and eateries open well into the small hours, making malls the place to be over the long summer evenings. From Ibn Battuta Mall near Jebel Ali to Mirdif City Centre, we’ve explored Dubai’s key malls for the very best and newest eating options for you to try. Barsha Mall While Barsha Mall is smaller and further afield than its district stable mate Mall of the Emirates (and consequently not as popular with visitors who don’t live nearby) inside are a few hidden eating gems well worth checking out. Our pick of this bijou mall is Klayya Bakery and Sweets. It is an independent, Emirati concept, with plenty of character, and intriguing, tasty food. The small café serves an equally modest list of local breakfast dishes, served all day. Each dish (from sweet vermicelli to date omelettes) is accompanied by a karak chai and an incense basket stuffed with freshly made local breads such as khameer. There is also a selection of biscuits and cakes made by the café. While in the area, also visit La Romana Dal 1947. This gelataria, owned by the same Italian family since 1947, makes its own selection. Klayya Bakery and Sweets, (04 325 5335). La Romana Dal 1947 (04 434 0429).
Deira City Centre The newest branch of Carluccio’s in the city opened in March and can be found in Deira City Centre. The Italian café chain was started by Antonio Carluccio, who is a regular celebrity on the TV cooking show circuit. While Mr. Carluccio won’t be on hand in Deira City Centre, here you can try out his ‘mof, mof’ food philosophy (minimum of fuss, maximum of flavour) with a selection of classic, simple Italian dishes such as pasta, pizza and risotto. The restaurant also offers a separate menu for diabetic and gluten-intolerant diners. Papa Roti is a cultural hotspot also worth trying, serving Singaporean style coffee buns and classic hot drinks. Carluccio’s (04 250 1950). Papa Roti (04 299 9266).
Town Centre Mercato’s minute neighbour houses a veritable eating gem. Mama Tani opened this year, with a concept of modernised Emirati food. The café serves traditional Emirati breads, khameer, stuffed with sweet and savoury options, such as fresh coriander with cream cheese and roasted nuts (delicious). Also worth trying is the drinks selection which includes a camel milk hot chocolate and rose and pistachio milkshake. If you’re still hungry for more options in the mall, tuck into some fresh but affordable sushi at Sumo Sushi, or paint yourself a souvenir at Café Ceramique. Mama Tani (04 385 4437). Sumo Sushi (800 7866). Café Ceramique (04 344 7331).
Dubai Mall Dubai Mall, the city’s biggest and arguably most popular mall, offers so many eating and drinking options it is a near impossible task attempting to choose only one. Among the brands and chains seen elsewhere in the city, we’re particularly fond of Social House. Normally, a menu that spans such a wide culinary and geographical landscape would have us running for the hills. However, here, from the wagyu beef burger to the Japanese-inspired greens and fried tofu salad, the dishes are interesting, well prepared and affordable. Diners who take a seat outside can enjoy a prime viewing spot for the Dubai Fountain shows each day. Meanwhile, inside the café (where we’ll be heading in the summer heat) is a spacious, eclectic and attractive mix of wood and greenery (including a few fake trees). To explore further eating options in Dubai Mall, try the city’s favourite Dutch owned café More, also situated near the fountains. Or, for a choice of expertly made pizzas, cooked in no time at all and served straight from the pizza ovens, visit the (bizarrely designed) Brandi Pizzeria upstairs. Social House (04 339 8640). More Café (04 339 8934). Brandi Pizzeria (04 339 8640).
Mall of the Emirates Tribes wins our vote for the pick of this mall’s eating-in options, for its unique and vibrant spirit. This African steakhouse serves a selection of dishes from countries such as Uganda, Mozambique and Madagascar, in addition to a classic steak selection. The real twist in this tale though is the fun and friendly staff who sing and dance in traditional African-style for a little entertainment over dinner. Also worth trying is Après (one of the only licensed options in the mall) for its good food (try the cheese fondue to share) and spectacular views of the snow capped peaks of Ski Dubai. Within the fast food style options of the two food courts in Mall of the Emirates, we are also fans of Taqado Mexican Kitchen and Bhan Khun Mae. The former serves up fragrant and zesty burritos and guacamole, while Bhan Khun Mae serves freshly prepared home-style Thai cooking. Tribes (04 395 0663). Après (04 341 2575). Taqado Mexican Kitchen (04 385 1171). Bhan Khun Mae (04 340 0565).
Marina Mall As mall restaurants go, you can’t really get more out of the ordinary than a menu devised by a Michelin starred chef. And that’s not any chef, but Atul Kochar, the same Indian master behind Dubai’s Rang Mahal and London’s Benares. Here, shoppers can have a more accessible taste of Kochar’s innovative Indian cooking with dishes such as ‘fish and chips’ and aloo tikki spiced potato cakes. Zafran (04 399 7357)
Ibn Battuta Vast as Ibn Battuta Mall may be, and spanning the length and breadth of Ibn Battuta’s own global voyage of discovery, the eating options in this mall are not the city’s most exciting. Still, if you’re mid shop and fancy a pit stop, we recommend Lime Tree Café. The Kiwi café serves delicious salads and home-cooked style pies as well as local RAW coffee. Within the food court, Lemongrass Express is a popular option for well made Thai style fast food classics. Lime Tree Café (04 366 9320). Lemongrass Express (04 368 5616).
Mercato It’s all go at Mercato right now with a wealth of new options to try. Plaisir du Chocolat is a patisserie and chocolate concept. Uniquely, the chocolates are made on site in a kitchen behind the café, where you can have a sneak peak and see them creating delicious concoctions such as orchid flower flavoured pralines. The café also has a savoury menu for you to tuck into any time of day, containing French classics such as croque monsieur. Nearby is Le bar à Pâtes, another new French concept, which offers pasta, freshly made on site. You can choose a variety of pasta styles, plus a sauce to make a bespoke and fresh dish. Also new is Italian restaurant Italianissimo, and gluten-free bakery stand Sweet Connection. Also coming soon to the mall is a new branch of burger joint Shake Shack. And finally, while it isn’t new, if you are after a healthy alternative in the food court, try Potato Hut’s stuffed jacket potatoes. Plaisir du Chocolat (04 385 6919). La Bar de Pate (050 900 1431). Italianissimo (04 344 3223). Potato Hut (04 342 2963).
Mirdif City Centre In Mirdif City Centre you’ll find Dubai’s original branch of charming Beiruti café Leila. Here you can try classic mezze and a Lebanese style breakfast in attractive surroundings. Also a good option in this mall is Turkish restaurant Kosebasi, which also offers a region breakfast selection worth trying. Coming soon to the mall is a Mexican eatery hailing from New York. The new venue is called Rosa Mexicano and promises to serve what Martha Steward herself has apparently dubbed the ‘best guacamole’. Leila (04 251 5161). Kosebasi (04 284 0285).
Wafi If you are shopping in Wafi, and a fan of the humble burger, Burger Rebels is a must try. Here sliders have been elevated to something outlandish and creative with a lengthy selection that spans foie gras, beef tongue, duck and more. Burger Rebels (04 324 4252).