With plans for new parks changing the face of lakeside JLT, Penelope Walsh explores the new venues that are turning the area into Dubai’s newest hotspot
Up-and-coming Jumeirah Lakes Towers is really getting into its stride this year. 2013 marks the opening of new hotels from Mövenpick and Pullman Dubai in JLT, as well as a project to re-landscape some of the eponymous lakes into a 55,000 sq m community park. The area is also home to more than 180 retail outlets, including restaurants, pet shops, spas, gyms and bars, with new venues popping up each month. As evidence of the neighbourhood’s growth and increasingly vibrant food scene, JLT is home to two out of ten of the shortlisted nominees for Best Newcomer at the recent Time Out Restaurant Awards 2013, with Nais Italian Kitchen and Hanoi Café both making the list. Want to know more? We’ve toured the area to identify JLT’s newest and best outlets.
NEW! 800 Meat
This butcher shop offers home delivery on a selection of fresh meat products from Australia and Brazil.
Al Seef Tower 3, Cluster U (800 6328).
NEW! 800 Thali
A rapidly expanding takeaway venture that serves home-cooked-style Indian food. Choose from a selection of thali meals or á la carte curries.
Damac Lake View Towers, Cluster B (800 84254).
The café boasts a colourful and enticing display of cakes, cupcakes, pastries and breads, all freshly baked on the premises.
Dubai Gate 1, Cluster Q (04 362 9392).
NEW! Bill’s Tex Mex
Opened by a Texan called Bill (yes, really), the friendly staff at this restaurant dish up a feast of Tex Mex classics, including buffalo wings, burgers and chimichangas (deep fried burritos).
Concorde Tower, Cluster H (04 434 1269).
Blue Planet Green People
This organic grocery store has a particularly good line in fruit and vegetables, offering an organic veg box service. It also runs a family friendly farmers’ market every Friday.
Al Seef 2 Tower, Cluster U (04 369 5209).
NEW! Canadian 2 for 1 Pizza
The Canadian concept serves a selection of pizzas, offering a buy- one, get-one-free deal on most of the varieties on the menu.
Gold Crest Executive Towers, Cluster C (04 448 3399).
With a family food history spanning four continents, try a menu of grills and curries inspired by Indian, Kenyan and English restaurant cooking.
Lake Terrace Tower, Cluster D (04 452 6664).
The gelato parlour also offers indulgent gelato shakes and sundaes, and hot Belgian waffles.
O2 Residence, Cluster O (056 139 7843).
Take a seat on the quirky chairs outside (they’re shaped like ice cream cones) and enjoy Italian gelato made with fresh ingredients.
Gold Crest Executive Tower, Cluster C (800 435 386).
NEW! Hako Sushi
A new Japanese restaurant, with an extensive menu including sushi, sashimi and teriyaki. Sit at the bar and gaze into the fish tank running along the counter.
Platinum Tower, Cluster I (04 434 3423).
Set in a colourful conservatory-like space, this Vietnamese café serves classic and well-prepared pho and bun noodle dishes.
Goldcrest Executive, Cluster C (04 431 3099).
A cosy neighbourhood eatery with friendly staff serving some rare Chinese treats – try the red rice flour cheung fun.
Gold Crest View 1, Cluster V (04 431 7106).
The menu offers vegetarian and tandoor clay oven specials, with creative-sounding dishes such as mango and green cardamom-flavoured crème brûlée.
J2 Tower, Cluster J (04 442 9816).
NEW! Marco Polo Espresso
At Marco Polo, the friendly Kazakh owners tie together their Asian origins, Middle Eastern location and Italian-inspired café. Try the lengthy list of speciality coffees and frappés.
Jumeirah Business Centre 1, Cluster G (04 443 6790).
Nais Italian Kitchen
In a simple but sleek space, this Piedmontese venue serves an excellent menu of northern Italian cooking. Try the freshly made pasta dishes.
HDS Tower, Cluster F (04 452 9991).
NEW! Nataly Bakery
Bright and cosy, this new café specialises in fresh juices and herbal beverages, sandwiches, salads and breakfast dishes with a Middle Eastern twist.
Jumeirah Business Centre Tower, Cluster G (04 369 7885).
NEW! Own Café
Karaoke and live music is the USP at this new venue, not to mention a menu of Arabic specials such as cold and hot mezze, as well as classic European café fare. Guests can also create their own shisha flavour.
Gold Tower, Cluster I (04 441 3519).
NEW! Public Cafe
This popular spot serves all the classic café standards (salads, sandwiches, pastries and cakes) in an great space, designed with a slightly industrial edge.
1 Lake Plaza, Cluster T (04 451 9670).
The cooking school hosts regular lessons for all levels, from serious dinner-party hosts to wannabe chefs, and also runs in-house café Scafé.
Unit 6, Cluster I (04 379 4044).
Try a selection of shawarmas, wraps and kebabs from this new fast food outlet with a fun and lively interior.
Dubai Gate 1, Cluster Q (04 454 3024).
Sheikh and Shake
The independent fast food venture serves burgers made with fresh Australian beef, and pizzas using Italian ingredients.
MAG 214 Tower, Cluster R (04 452 2273).
Head to this cute and colourful Brazilian café for sandwiches, cakes and coffee. We particularly like the rock shrimp burger.
Al Seef 2 Tower, Cluster U (050 873 8980).
Try Turkish fast food wraps, called tantuni, stuffed with chicken or beef with parsley onion and tomato.
Lake Terrace Tower, Cluster D (04 454 2329).
A café venture with a difference: Richy’s offers fresh, healthy and delicious salads and soups, as well as the option to make you own salad.
HDS Tower, Cluster F (800 742497).
NEW! Yin and Yang
This Chinese casual dining spot serves a takeaway and dine-in menu of classic dishes.
Lake View Towers, Cluster B (04 374 3899)
We like ladies’ night at this relaxed bar. It’s peaceful enough for a girly catch-up, generally sleaze-free (rare on ladies’ nights) and serves some great pizza.
Bonnington Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Cluster J (04 356 0000).
Jazz at Pizza Express
A concept transplanted straight from London’s Soho, the pizza restaurant chain has opened in the area to serve its typical menu, alongside a nightly dose of live jazz.
Underneath Mövenpick Hotel, Cluster A (04 441 6342).
Quite the Dubai institution, this Irish pub offers traditional pub grub, and has a great outdoor terrace that proves popular during the cooler months.
Bonnington Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Cluster J (04 356 0560).
Spas & fitness
NEW! Belle et Zen
The selection of services here includes hair cutting, manicures and massages, as well as the chance to try a traditional Moroccan hammam bath.
Al Seef Tower, Cluster U (04 427 7294).
Body and Mind
The massage parlour offers full body, head, neck and feet massages. Try a traditional Thai or hot stone massage.
O2 Residence, Cluster O (04 447 8855).
Inside, this spa feels clean, modern and peaceful. It offers services including manicures, pedicures and waxing but specialises in facials, using Dermalogica products.
JBC 1, Cluster G (050 705 2622).
I Glow Beauty Lounge
Beauty services on offer include nail care, hair care and waxing. We’re impressed by the eyelash extensions here, which are among the best in the city.
Lake Terrace Building, Cluster D (04 420 9667).
SMART Fitness gym
Make use of fitness facilities, group classes, personal training, fitness camps, nutrition programmes and even corporate group sessions.
HDS Business Centre, Cluster M (04 438 5055).
The Champion Club
The studio offers classes in boxing (including kickboxing and muay Thai) plus regular workouts, and is open to both adults and children.
Icon Two, Cluster L (04 447 4980).
The dedicated yoga studio offers classes for beginners, plus ashtanga and mysore yoga.
Swiss Tower, Cluster Y (050 518 9966).
A salon and spa for children featuring a fun, toy-filled interior, plus day packages of treatments for groups of girls or boys, making it a great spot for an alternative kids’ party.
One Lakes Plaza, Cluster T (050 529 0280).
Arsh Art Gallery
The gallery runs solo and group exhibits, with a focus on contemporary art from the Middle East, as well as further afield.
Indigo Icon Tower, Cluster F (04 420 3471).
Pets in the City
The shop offers a range of services for pets, including day care and grooming from a certified New York groomer, and also sells food and clothing.
Lake Terrace, Cluster D (04 458 0091).
If you need a professional portrait, whether of yourself or your children, this studio can oblige.
Al Waleed Paradise Tower, Cluster R (04 427 2468).
JLT residents tweet what they love and loathe about the area
‘We have some absolute hidden gems for dining.’
‘JLT is one of the only real communities of apartments, rather than villas. Just take a walk by the lake and you’ll see how vibrant it is!’
‘The best thing about JLT is Public Café, the amazing coffee shop located at 1 Lake Plaza, Cluster T. @publiccafeme’
‘There’s plenty of parking, but they’ve blocked it off. #fail #JLT’
‘Worst: Roadworks, speed bumps and blocked-off parking. Best: Being able to walk home from a certain bar!’
Time to move?
Better Homes residential and sales consultant Dani Farhat gives us the lowdown on moving to JLT.
'The clusters of towers near the metro links (C, D, S and T) are always popular, but the newly opened back road has made the entrance and exit much easier for all – and more improvements are in progress. Clusters located by the new park (including F, G, H, O, P, Q and R) are also proving popular.
'Price-wise, one-bedroom apartments starts at about Dhs75,000 a year in Green Lakes Towers, a high-end living experience. Al Madina Tower has larger spaces, with rents from approximately Dhs73,000 a year, while the most affordable is The O2 Residence, which starts from about Dhs60,000 a year.'