10 to try: Cafés
Time Out peers over its newspaper and takes a peek at Dubai’s coolest cafes 2 Comments
We took to the streets, and malls, of our beloved emirate, in search of the city’s jolliest joints for a quick sandwich or simple salad, not to mention the obligatory teas and coffees.
Do you agree with our choices? Or do you know of another venue that deserves to be championed?
Scroll down to see our ten to try and leave a comment about your favourite café.
Basta Arts Café: It can be rare to find anything resembling tradition in Dubai. If you do, chances are, it’ll have been demolished by the time you make a return trip. Luckily, this Bastakiya favourite is safe in its Creekside location, for the time being at least. The atmosphere is by far Basta’s biggest selling point, but the food’s pretty tasty too. The breakfasts are universally applauded or try the halloumi salad if you touch down around lunchtime.
Limetree: Where do we start? We’re pretty sure we could eat here every day of the week without getting bored. The lavish sandwiches are luscious while the banana muffins make us seriously consider donning our apron and learning to bake. Oh, and don’t forget the triple berry crush and the legendary carrot cake. There’s not much about Limetree that we don’t like.
More: There are few better ways to start the day, than with a More breakfast. Be it the healthy option, the full English meat fest, or his continental cousin, breakfast at this coolest of cafes is hard to beat. The coffee is pleasantly strong while the menu is full of accompanying cake-shaped treats, but the best bit of all, in our opinion, is More’s very own bread. Packed with more nuts than a squirrel’s pantry it knocks the socks off the rye toast.
Paul Café: The prices are a little steep but Paul still serves a selection of café classics. Although, weirdly, we noticed a large jar of Nescafe under the counter, is this really what Monsieur Paul sups back in the home country? We think not. Instant coffee aside, Paul produces a decent range of sandwiches and salads and the pastries are worth a trip alone. Main courses are equally pleasant - we particularly like the fromage-laden crepes. Dismiss any notions of heading to a food court or fast food joint and take a sit at Paul Café for a true slice of café culture. You will not regret it.
Café Ceramique: Sipping tea, while fashioning your own work of art, what better way could there be to spend an afternoon? Yummy mummies make up the midweek crowd while work-weary professionals flock to paint away their problems on a weekend. Thankfully, no talent is required, although we spotted the odd pro at work. Beginners would do well to stick to putting their mark on a plain pot while the more ambitious can get to grips with a spot of sculpture. But you don’t actually have to make anything if you’re not in the mood, just grab the menu and tuck in. We recommend the tasty spicy chicken bagel or the rocket salad.
XVA Café: Another Bastakiya favourite, XVA, situated in a pretty, historic courtyard. The oldie-world charm provides a peaceful respite from the manic buzz of Dubai. The food is tasty vegetarian fodder. Feast on sandwiches such as grilled to golden brown perfection hallumi cheese, an innovative eggplant burger, comforting creamy soups and hearty, wholesome salads. All washed down with an emerald glass of mint lemonade.
Organic Foods & Café: With branches on Satwa’s Mankhool Road, and at the somewhat soul-free Emaar Business Park, a trip to the Organic Café can be cunningly shoehorned into most Dubai outings. The menu is not that extensive but the quality of what they do serve, more than makes up for it. We love the lentil burgers and energy breakfasts. The one thing the café is missing is a decent selection of mid-morning treats to accompany a cuppa. We found a couple of sad looking croissants in the Satwa branch, but not much else.
Café Raffles: Overlooking Raffles stunning sky garden, Café Raffles takes afternoon tea to a new level. Adjacent to Wafi Mall it’s the perfect post-shopping spot and the ideal location for coffee with homemade cake and ice cream. Just make sure you’ve hit the boutiques before you tuck in.
The Coffee Bean: If you can overcome the guilt of wolfing down a muffin, or one of the CB’s devilish date slices, in the presence of toned people in lycra, this Garhoud café is worth a trip. We found that sitting with our backs to the gym reception made this remarkably easy. The salads are great here too, but placing an order with the friendly but professionally-challenged staff is often a bit of a drama.
Emporio Armani Café: Expect fashionably dressed youths with attitude to be hanging out here. If you're not put off by the glares of the fashion police then try the smoked tuna and swordfish starter with gossamer-thin slices of fish carpaccio and zesty rocket salad, or the insalata pastore, which mixes crisp lettuce, cucumber and tomato with crumbly feta cheese, shavings of pert parmesan and caramelised pears in balsamic vinegar. Equally satisfying is the porcini pizza, which has a crust as thin as a supermodel, with a healthy spread of tangy tomato sauce, mozzarella and mushroom.
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