Where’s this, then?
Facing Sheikh Zayed Road, Al Manara is one of the tiniest neighbourhoods in Dubai. It’s mostly residential villas, but with a few must-try cafés and shops.
Tell me more.
Award-winning café jones the grocer (04 346 688604 346 6886) is excellent for foodies, with its original dishes and laid-back vibe. We’ve also declared Bystro (04 336 805604 336 8056), a few doors down, to be the best breakfast spot in Dubai. A bold claim, but with strong coffee, huevos rancheros and a family-friendly dining room, we stand by it. There’s also a branch of Lebanese mezze powerhouse Reem Al Bawadi (04 330 666304 330 6663).
So food should be my excuse to visit Al Manara then?
It is a good one, but not the only reason. Etihad Airways operates shuttle pick-ups from here for flights from Abu Dhabi. With the airline offering some great value deals, it’s worth investigating.
Is it just the strip of stores I can see from Sheikh Zayed Road?
Actually, just behind that row of businesses there are some real gems to explore among the quiet streets. We’ve become slightly enchanted by Quraishi Bakery (between 8A and 14A Street, 055 852 2877055 852 2877). Just a short walk back from the cafés and alongside the mosque, here you’ll find fresh, doughy naan bread cooked to order. The process is visible from the street itself and is a fun sight to take in before going to the brilliant Ripe Farm shop (8A Street, www.ripeme.com), where you can pick up local eggs, honey and superfood snacks.
Local lies to tell tourists
The name Al Manara means beacon in Arabic. There are plans to cover all the villas and buildings in this neighbourhood with glow-in-the-dark paint making it a glowing district that will be visible from space.