From healthy cafés to ice-cream parlours, burger joints and a whole lot of cake, Amy Mathieson picks 11 of the Al Safa Street haunt’s top eateries
An extensive shopping district by Meraas, the company behind BoxPark and The Beach at JBR, City Walk is home to many a luxury store and café. True, shopping isn’t (yet) classed as a sport, although anyone who has spent hours (and kilometres) walking round Dubai’s malls may be forgiven for wondering why not. It’s also hungry work, so when the time comes to replenish those calories you’ve burnt, you’ll be pleased to know that you’re spoilt for choice at City Walk.
As the name suggests, this burger hotspot was originally opened in the Big Apple, and this is its first branch in Dubai. Exposed brickwork and graffiti lend an urban vibe, and it’s ideal if you’re not a natural decision maker as the menu is minimal: basically a burger with or without cheese.
A brand-new addition to the area, this is the second branch for the Turkish steakhouse, which also has a location at The Beach, JBR. It dry ages all its meat in-house and carnivores are spoilt for choice, as the menu boasts kebabs, carpaccio and, of course, steaks.
With every dish inspired by cocoa, it’s a chocolate-lover’s haven. Savoury or sweet, everything on the menu is enhanced by the versatile nib – cocoa butter salmon and mashed potato with white chocolate, anyone? If you’re feeling less adventurous, the chocolate fondant and double dark choc chip brownie offers a more conventional approach.
Dinner and a show? Not quite, but if you like a little theatre with your meal, Farzi is just the place. The restaurant serves what it bills as “global cuisine with a unique Indian and Arabic twist” and promises “culinary art” and “molecular gastronomy”. Intrigued? So are we. The menu offers interesting-sounding dishes such as marinated tenderloin with Kashmiri walnut and wasabi cream, and green apple muhamarra hummus and chutney.
We warned you there’s a lot of cake at City Walk. If you’re in need of a sugar rush to recover from one too many expensive purchases, Hummingbird Bakery is a popular place to stop off for a cupcake or its famous red velvet.
If it’s comfort food you’re after, look no further. US-inspired Mo’s offers classic dishes including burgers, hot dogs, spaghetti and meatballs and quesadillas. If you’re counting the calories, pick between a variety of salads; if you’re not, there’s the massive milkshake offering and a sizeable sundae list.
As you might have guessed, this place is all about creamy rice pudding, which comes in a whopping 35 different flavours including “bananas for toffee”, “coconut paradise”, “berry much” and the slightly less appealing-sounding “easy cheesy”. Choose the size of your cup and toppings ranging from marshmallows to crushed biscuits and tuck in.
Don’t be put off by the name if you have an aversion to lettuce, there are plenty of steaks, sandwiches and seafood dishes at Saladicious Grillz. Of course, salads are the speciality, so expect a bumper selection, from classics like Caesar and Greek to sashimi and Asian quinoa.
While the main courtyard of City Walk is glittering come twilight, restaurants further away from that area can be quiet. Fortunately for Sapori di Bice, it’s bustling with families past sunset. The interiors are simple and chic, with white décor and plenty of indoor plants (albeit fake ones). It’s far more enjoyable to sit outside if the weather allows. As for the menu, it’s hearty Italian comfort food at its best. Pizzas, pastas and risottos sit next to rotisserie dishes and fresh salads, and every dish comes in gargantuan portions that are perfect for sharing. We particularly recommend the cavolo riccio – a salad of kale, quinoa, citrus fruit segments, almonds, pomegranate, leaves, pesto and lemon dressing. It might not sound especially Italian, but with the limited vegetarian options, it tallies up well against the other meat-heavy dishes. You’ll also be made to feel welcome by the staff, who are great at offering recommendations.
A bright and friendly eatery serving family fodder that will certainly appeal to young diners. The light pink and white interior reminds us of the Mad Hatter’s tea party, and sweet treats are piled high on the entrance table. The menu is extensive with all of the usual favourites including burgers, nuggets and the venue’s foot-long hot dog. The desserts are decadent, with cream and all sorts of gooey surprises hiding throughout.
Located near high-end designer shops including Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren, this coffee house takes its blends seriously. Stick to your standard morning mocha paired with a range of tasty baked goods, or try something completely different in the form of one of The Brass’ signature blends including lavender honey or cinnamon lattes. There’s also an “East meets West” theme, which is reflected in the range of Arabic and Turkish coffees and sandwiches on offer. The breakfast menu features seven dishes, ranging from a decadent French toast covered with Nutella and pistachio, to a smoked salmon sandwich for the more savoury palate. We recommend the light egg-white omelette with a wilted spinach filling, if you want a healthy start to your morning. Pair it with a walnut sahleb (steamed milk, orchid flour, cinnamon and topped with fresh walnuts), and you have yourself a winning breakfast. The staff at the City Walk branch are good when it comes to recommending dishes, especially if you can’t decide between a Moroccan or a Californian salad.