Make mealtimes a treat at the best family eateries in Dubai
Time Out Dubai staff
Make mealtimes a treat with our selection of the best cafes and restaurants for families in Dubai.
1 Creative kids Let your kids show off their painting skills over lunch, dinner, or a snack at Café Ceramique, with two locations in Dubai. Start by choosing a piece of pottery from a selection that includes mugs, plates, vases and figurines, before returning to your table to create a work of art with the paints and brushes supplied.
The kid’s menu includes burgers, pizza, beef hot dogs, and pizza, at Dhs17 per meal including a carton of juice. Open daily 9am-10pm. Café Ceramique, Town Centre Jumeirah (04 3447331) and Festival Centre, Dubai Festival City (04 2328616). www.cafeceramique.ae.
2 Little Explorers Watch their faces light up in this rainforest-themed restaurant with regular light and sound shows, animals hidden amongst the flora and fauna, and activity books to keep little diners busy. There’s even a photographer to capture your meal on film and a gift shop for mini explorers to take home a souvenir. Kids can pick from a menu of themed meals, including Gorilla Grilled Cheese Delight, Spaghetti Bamba, and Castaway Kid’s Pizza, starting at Dhs25. Open Sat-Sun 11am-midnight, Thurs-Fri 11am-1am. Rainforest Café, Ground Floor, Dubai Mall. (04 3308515) www.rainforestcafeme.com.
3 Book Worms If your kids love reading, look no further than cosy café Book Munch in Al Wasl Square. The shelves are packed with books for both adults and children, so you can order breakfast or lunch and get stuck into a good book while you wait. There’s even a reading corner with a tent and floor seating for kids to find a quiet space of their own. The kid’s menu has plenty of hearty choices named after famous books, including Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Dr Seuss Green Eggs, and Charlie & Lola’s Ocean Nibbles, starting at Dhs16. Drink choices include Fresh Juices (Dhs12) and Smoothies (Dhs15). Open daily 7.30am-10pm. Book Munch, Al Wasl Square (next to Safa Park). www.bookmunchcafe.com (04 3884006).
4 Thrill seekers If the kids are bored and want to do something different for lunch, why not plunge them into sub-zero temperatures? Chillout Dubai, located in Times Square Centre, will provide the whole family with thick coats, boots, and gloves before you make your way into an ice room with a temperature of -6’C!
The menu features a small selection of hot drinks and snacks, including Soup of the Day, Chocolate Fondue, and Signature Hot Chocolate, starting at Dhs20. Kids will love sitting at ice tables, with food served on ice plates and drinks in ice cups! Dhs50 entrance fee (for adults and kids over 12), Dhs30 (for kids 5-12), Free (for kids 2-4). Open Sat-Wed 10am-10pm, Thurs-Fri 10am-midnight. Chillout Dubai, Time Square Center, Sheikh Zayed Road, 3/4th Interchange. www.chilloutatdubai.com (800-CHILLOUT).
5 Dine and play With its ornate décor and satisfying menu, lots of Dubai residents are already fans of the Shakespeare And Co. chain of eateries – and now that both the Al Safa and Village Mall branches have opened play areas packed with toys and child-friendly DVD’s on a loop, little diners will be begging to visit too! Parents can enjoy coffee or a meal, while keeping an eye on their kids at a table just outside.
The kid’s menu includes filling favourites including Penne with Tomato Sauce, Mini Chicken or Beef Burger, and Grilled Chicken Breast, starting at Dhs15. Open daily 7am-10pm. Shakespeare’s, The Village Mall, Jumeirah 1 and Al Safa Centre. www.shakespeareandco.ae (04 3446228 / 3941121).
6 Active kids If your kids need to let off steam, a trip to Ski Dubai is ideal for the summer months – and Avalanche Café, located at mid-station, is the perfect place for a pit-stop. One of the only places you can dine on an ‘outdoor terrace’ in Dubai in August, the café serves a selection of warming treats to refuel little skiers (and their equally hungry parents). Take your pick from a temping menu that includes Hot Chocolate with Whipped Cream and Mini Marshmallows (Dhs18), Chicken Wrap (Dhs20), and Maple Syrup Sweet Crepe (Dhs20). Dhs80 Fly Ski Dubai Pass (includes chair lift ride to café and one hot chocolate). Open Sun-Wed 10am-11pm, Thurs 10am-midnight, Fri 9am-midnight, Sat 9am-11pm. Mall of the Emirates. www.skidxb.com (800-FUN).
7 Eco kids The Change Initiative is a one-stop shop for environmentally friendly products for your home and kitchen cupboards. The big pull for kids is the small, free-of-charge play area, complete with toys, books, tents, and cardboard play houses to explore. Kids over five can be left on their own while you shop or head to the café, but little ones must stay with a parent or nanny.
Once they are worn out, head to the café and treat them to a meal from the kid’s menu, with options including Margherita Pizza, Mac & Cheese, and Mini Pancakes, starting at Dhs25 per meal including fresh lemonade and a scoop of homemade ice cream. Creative kids can keep busy colouring in their menu. Open Sun-Thurs 8am-9pm, Fri-Sat 9am-10pm. The Change Initiative Café, Al Barsha 1, Sheikh Zayed Road. www.thechangeinitiative.com (800 824).
8 Kids Zone Favourite Things, located in Marina Mall, has plenty to keep kids entertained, including a toddler Soft Play Area, Jungle Gym and Play Room for older children, Fancy Dress Room, Arts/Cooking/Science Room, and Sand Room. Kids over four can be left to their own devices, while you head to the café alongside and watch them play through a noise-reducing glass partition.
Recently extended, the café boasts large squishy sofas and a Kid’s Menu that includes Spaghetti, Nutella Sandwich, and Cinnamon Toast with sliced apples, starting at Dhs10. There is a changing and feeding room – and nobody will bat an eyelid if your baby cries. Dhs85 (for one hour in play area). Open daily 9am-9pm. Favourite Things, Second Floor, Dubai Marina Mall. www.favouritethings.com (04 434 1984).
9 Weekend entertainment For weekend dining with the family, look no further than Beachcombers at Jumeirah Beach Hotel. Brunch is served every Friday and Saturday, with a delicious feast of international and Asian cuisine alongside a varied kid’s buffet.
The icing on the cake is the well-supervised kid’s entertainment area, which includes circus activities, face painting, balloon modeling, team games, and arts and crafts activities. Dhs295-595 (per person, depending on the package), Dhs140 (for kids 6-12), Free (for kids under 5). Open for brunch Friday and Saturday 1-4pm. Beachcombers, Jumeirah Beach Hotel, www.jumeirah.com (04 348 0000).
10 Foodie Families There’s a reason why Jones the Grocer is so popular with Dubai foodies and their families. It’s partly because of the open-plan store, on-site bakery and deli, and the bustling, but relaxing ambience – but we think the main reason is the kid-friendly attitude and food. The eatery has plenty of highchairs, offers colouring pencils and paper to keep little diners busy, and has a kid’s menu packed with tasty but delicious cuisine including Mini French Toast & Soldiers, Grilled Chicken Breast, or a Kid’s Lunch Box (containing veggie sticks, sandwich, fruit cup and macaroons), starting at Dhs10. Open Sun-Thurs 8am-10.30pm, Fri-Sat 9.00am-10.30pm. Jones the Grocer, Sheikh Zayad Road (opposite Time Square Centre). www.jonesthegrocer.com (04 3466886).