Tom & Serg Tom & Serg is one of those venues that’s become a rite of passage for Dubai residents. If you know good food and really good coffee, you know Tom & Serg. Situated in Al Quoz, it’s a spacious open plan eatery spread over two floors. The cool design and even cooler staff add an air of authenticity to the proceedings. The small but simple menu throws up some interesting dishes including the superfood salad. The flourless chocolate cake is another wonder, perfect when washed down with one of Tome & Serg’s famous coffees. Open Sun-Thu 8am-4pm, Fri-Sat 8am-6pm. Al JoudCenter (near Ace Hardware), Al Quoz, Sheikh Zayed Road, www.tomandserg.com (056 474 6812).
Baker & Spice Baker & Spice reigns supreme in Souk Al Bahar thanks to its prime location beside The Dubai Fountain. A bright and airy venue with a beautiful terrace overlooking the water, this is a calm and relaxing escape from the sun and bustling atmosphere of nearby Dubai Mall. The menu offers a selection of fresh, organic and home-made options with most ingredients sourced locally in the UAE. From the menu, we’re impressed with the gnocchi and seemingly never-ending supply of freshly-baked bread. The coffee is worth going back for, too, as is the fast and friendly service. Open Mon-Sun 8am-11pm. Souk Al Bahar, Downtown Dubai, www.bakerandspiceme.com (04 427 9856).
Choix Patisserie and Restaurant par Pierre Gagnaire The fresh, crisp white venue is inviting, as is the enticing selection of sweets on display at the entrance. The French bakery also has a beautiful outdoor terrace. Service is professional and efﬁcient with waiters happy to point out their menu favourites and are apt at making recommendations. Sipping the Choix Blend (green tea with mango, guava and rose petals) iced, on the terrace overlooking the creek, made our afternoon. It’s sophisticated, classic and chic. Dhs155 per person. Daily 1pm-6pm. InterContinental Dubai Festival City, Festival City (04 701 1136).
BookMunch Café & Bookshop One of the more pocket-friendly afternoon teas in Dubai at Dhs89 for two. One three-tiered tray is served, offering a selection of mini sandwiches and cakes. The tea, which the staff assure you is served in a huge teapot to match the Mad Hatter theme, is quite nice and limitless servings are offered. Dhs89 per couple. Open Sun-Wed 7.30am-10pm, Thu-Sat 8am-10.30pm. Al Wasl Square, near Safa Park, Al Wasl Road, www.bookmunchcafe.com (04 388 4006).
Crumbs Elysee Visit Crumbs Elysee on a weekend morning and you’ll receive a lesson in café culture. The menu is extensive and varied with options to suit everyone, even tiny tots. If you’re feeling a little more than peckish, the English breakfast is a good option, a large plate heaving with crispy turkey bacon, grilled mushrooms, eggs how you like and a mouth-watering portion of fried potato and onion. Service is smiley and efficient, and they are adept at dealing with smaller family members – highchairs, colouring papers and crayons are produced before you’ve even had time to sit down. An excellent option for foodies, families and everyone else. Open daily 6am-9pm. Crumbs Elysee, Sheikh Zayed Road, www.crumbselysee.com (04 346 8899).
Mellow Yellow Unassuming is the best word to describe Mellow Yellow Café in Uptown Mirdiff. It’s tucked away towards the back of the development and there’s a chance you might walk past it if you’re not paying attention. Small, but nicely decorated and quite cosy, you can tell that Mellow Yellow is a labour of love for someone. There are attractive design features in the decor, while the menu is clearly well-thought out. Open Sat-Wed 7pm-10pm. Uptown Mirdiff, www.mellowyellowcafe.com (04 259 1500).
Nofara Nofara is a cool, spacious café in JLT that offers healthy paleo cuisine, home-made juices and desserts in a bright, welcoming space. Seating is available both indoors and on the terrace, and a small number of children’s toys and play mats are on offer for customers with fun-sized people in tow. The menu is well thought out and offers a range of interesting dishes, including the exceptional melt-in-the-mouth French brioche toast with crispy turkey bacon and raspberry compote, as well as toasted date and nut bread. Open daily 8am-10pm. Swiss Tower, Cluster Y, JLT, www.nofaracafe.com (04 432 2023).
Public Café Small but perfectly formed, Public Café is the kind of place you wished you had bothered to open. Perched on the ground floor corner of Lake Tower Plaza in JLT, the cool vibes start as soon as you walk through the always-open front door. Bright and airy decor, squishy leather seats and floor-to-ceiling windows abound along with an eclectic menu of Greek and Mediterranean dishes. The service is quick and efficient, and it’s pretty good value for money. Open Sun-Thu 8am-7pm, Sat 8am-9pm. Lake Tower Plaza, JLT, www.publiccafeme.com (04 451 9670).
The Lime Tree Café & Kitchen A mini Lime Tree store greets you as you walk through the door, offering a selection of home-made fare for sale, and just past this is the bustling café area. As ever, the food on offer is well-balanced. You’ll find gourmet salads, sandwiches, jacket potatoes and delicious coffee, plus an array of mouth-watering desserts that all appear to be huge in portion size. This venue is a breath of fresh air from the well-established chain, and one we will be visiting again and again. Open daily 7am-10pm. Opposite Gold & Diamond Park, Al Manara, Sheikh Zayed Road, www.thelimetreecafe.com (04 325 6325).
Urban Bistro This stylish café in Media City offers a busy bustling environment for workers and residents during the week, and a calm, relaxed setting at weekends for families and visitors. The comprehensive menu offers an array of pleasing dishes such as soups, salads, sandwiches and more substantial pasta and burger options. Service is friendly and the competitive prices will ensure you return again. Open daily 7.30am-9pm. CNN Building, Media City, www.urbanbistro.ae (04 3624 330).