The essential guide to JLT

From restaurants to bars and even some al fresco yoga, here's the best of one of the city's most up-and-coming neighbourhoods

The essential guide to JLT

Jumeirah Lakes Towers (more commonly known as JLT) is one of Dubai’s most popular neighbourhoods for Dubai’s expat community. Packed full of cool bars, lively restaurants and cute cafés, it’s a top place to grab a drink and a bite to eat. However, there are also loads of salons, gyms and activities to check out it’s home to an escape room or two – if you’re into that kind of thing.

JLT is one of the largest residential areas in new Dubai – with nearly 70 buildings spread out across 26 clusters and around three lakes, the area is now home to more than 35,000 residents. Like a lot of areas in Dubai it’s hard to believe that this is one of the newer developments in the city, with the first tower being completed in 2006 and about 80 percent of the rest being completed in 2011.

With the rents being significantly lower than Dubai Marina and Jumeirah Beach Residence, yet being just a ten-minute taxi ride from there, JLT has become one of the most desirable places to live in the city and one of the most up-and-coming neighbourhoods.

During the cooler months you’ll find residents rollerblading, cycling, jogging and strolling around the smooth promenades that line the lakes which has created a calm, almost serene space, insulated from Dubai’s frenetic pace.

Whether you’re already a JLTer wanting to explore more of your neighbourhood, new to the area or thinking about making a move, here’s our essential guide to JLT.

Restaurants

Ayubowan
One of the first things you’ll notice about this Sri Lankan eatery is the smell. Fragrant, appetite-spiking aromas of curry and fresh spices greet you as soon as you walk through the big wooden doors. The restaurant is small, with only a handful of tables, and service is as personable as you’d expect for an eatery that feels almost like someone’s home.
Open daily 11am-11pm. Cluster N, Jumeirah Lakes Towers (056 320 1986).

Bait Maryam
A quaint haven that serves the most authentic flavours of the Levant where the most humble-sounding dishes shouldn’t be overlooked; pasta and yoghurt, Maryam’s kabab, the kofta with tahini sauce and the kunafeh.
Open daily 10am-11pm. Cluster D, Jumeirah Lakes Towers (04 248 1995).

Betawi Café
Operating in Karama since 2007, Betawi has made a name for itself as a place to dine on authentic Indonesian dishes. Just as at the original, expect no-frills décor and low prices with food that is full of spice and flavour. We suspect that like us, most people won’t be au fait with the particulars of Indonesian food, and while the menu isn’t huge, a few pointers from the staff can be very handy.
Open daily noon-10pm. Cluster D, Jumeirah Lakes Towers (04 454 2329).

Café Isan

This quaint space only holds about 50 diners. The flavours are fresh and lighter than typical Thai dishes, as they are in Isan in north eastern Thailand. Curries and soups are clear rather than coconut-based, but spicier.
Open daily noon-10pm. Cluster N, Jumeirah Lakes Towers (058 287 3181).

Chalco’s Mexican Grill
If you’re looking for a bargain burrito, look no further than Chalco’s. The restaurant prides itself on “locally sourced produce and fresh ingredients”, with its food living up to that promise – the meats are marinated overnight, with the salsas freshly made. You can even order Mexican cola here, which soft drinks fans say is more “natural-tasting”.
Open daily 11am-10pm. Cluster D, Jumeirah Lakes Towers (04 453 9175).

Couqley French Bistro
If you’re a fan of steak frites in classic French bistro surroundings, this is the place for you. Dotted with dark woods and red check cushions, this eatery from Beirut is famed for its signature sauces, tuna tartare and truffle-mushroom pasta.
Open Sun-Wed noon-1am, Fri-Sat noon-2am. Cluster A, Jumeirah Lakes Towers (04 5149339).

Hanoi Naturally
Looking for pho? Look no further. From the no-frills cafeteria-style interiors to the eye-poppingly strong Vietnamese coffee, this is a transporting dining experience at a fraction of the cost of a flight to the Far East. Ultimately, Hanoi Naturally doesn’t do anything fancy with its food, and that’s what makes it the affordable, reliable favourite it is.
Open daily noon-10pm. Cluster C, Jumeirah Lakes Towers (04 431 3099).

Jamie’s Pizzeria
Jamie’s Pizzeria is unlicensed, bright, airy, and well suited to those dining with kids. There’s a pizza-making counter, white-brick walls with paintings of Dubai and plenty of natural light streaming in through the windows.
Open daily Sat-Wed 8am-10.30pm, Thu-Fri 8am-11.30pm. Cluster R, Jumeirah Lakes Towers (04 874 7082).

Jazz@PizzaExpress
Live jazz, the rattling of cutlery, the clinking of glasses, the buzz of Dubai residents laughing and frolicking, and insanely reliable, good-quality pizza. That’s almost exactly what PizzaExpress is all about, and nails at Jazz@PizzaExpress in JLT.
Open Sun-Wed noon-1am; Thu-Fri noon-2am. Cluster A, Jumeirah Lakes Towers (04 441 6342).

Mythos
For a traditional taste of Greece, look no further than Mythos. Tucked away in the Armada BlueBay, the intimate restaurant resembles a whitewashed tavern and its selection of Greek favourites will transport you to another continent. There are no shortage of sizzling grills, salads, beautiful breads and even Greek-style burgers to enjoy during your culinary journey.
Open daily 12.30pm-5pm, 7pm-midnight. Armada BlueBay Hotel, Cluster P, Jumeirah Lakes Towers (04 399 8166).

Pitfire

This is the home of quite possibly the best pizza crust in the emirate, and whenever we treat ourselves to one of these brilliant slices, it always goes down a treat. The parlour’s range features some really original pizzas, and they are all excellent.
Open Sat-Wed 11am-11pm, Thu-Fri 11am-1am. Cluster J, Jumeirah Lakes Towers (800 748 3473).

Raju Omlet
This quirky “eggetarian” chain dishes up fresh eggs with a twist, with everything from a power omelette for the health conscious to a gravy omelette. Typically served with pavs or parathas, make sure to try one of its chai tea varieties.
Open daily 8am-11.30pm. Cluster T, Jumeirah Lakes Towers (04 388 3355).

Streetery by Zen

Set up by the team behind Dubai’s popular Thai food delivery brand Zen, this newcomer to JLT’s Cluster D features a series of different kitchens dedicated to cooking up dishes from Asia’s foodiest hotspots. Try Malaysian and Singaporean favourites (don’t miss the sambal prawns and crispy spring onion pancakes), Chinese barbecue and Thai curries. It’s all really tasty, and pocket-friendly, too.
Open daily 11am-11pm. Cluster D, Jumeirah Lakes Towers (04 587 3373).

Vietnamese Foodies
For authentic, budget Vietnamese food, look no further than this cute (and always packed) spot in JLT. Dishes are simple, tasty and traditional, and it’s a great place for lunch. Don’t miss the slurpable pho, it’s a hit.
Open Sun-Wed 11am-10.30pm, Thu-Sat 11am-11pm. Cluster D, Jumeirah Lakes Towers (04 565 6088).

Bars

Hoxton Bar & Urban Eatery
This relatively new East London-themed gastropub is a welcome addition to the JLT nightlife scene. Expect to find loads of good options on tap, some funky tunes being pumped out, as well as the den out back with pool and air hockey tables and a gigantic TV showing the big match of the day.
Open daily noon-2am. Armada BlueBay Hotel, Cluster P, Jumeirah Lake Towers (04 395 8888).

Le Petit Belge
This bar is trendy, but not too trendy. It plays funky music. It shows sport, but not too much. And it has a lot of craft Belgian hops on offer. There’s a great two-for-one happy hour throughout the week, a free drink when heading over for every Premier League fixture, and a ladies’ night including bottomless drinks all night.
Open daily noon-2am. Pullman Dubai Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Cluster T, Jumeirah Lakes Towers (04 242 7794).

McGettigan’s JLT
There are few things worse than walking into a bar to be confronted with an almost empty room and a wall of silence, which is why we’re grateful for the ever-present masses at McGettigan’s The JLT branch has the same no-frills Irish bar feel that we know and love from its other outposts in the city. Whether you’re in it for the live sports, the live music or just a slap-up Irish breakfast, this bar is an absolute pot of gold.
Open Sun-Fri noon-3am, Sat 11am-3am. Bonnington Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Cluster J (04 356 0560).

Nola Eatery & Social House

You can almost guarantee a great night at this utterly swanky New Orleans-themed bar that does a cracking job of keeping JLT’s live music scene alive and kicking. Just remember to book ahead. If you do manage to bag yourself a table, it would be a remiss not to get stuck into the hot spinach cheese dip – as decadent (and messy) as it sounds.
Open daily noon-3am. Armada BlueBay Hotel, Cluster P, Jumeirah Lakes Towers (04 399 8155).

Nara Pan Asian
This funky pan-Asian bar and restaurant serves up classics from most corners of the Far East, as well as a bunch of top deals including brunches and ladies’ nights. Decked out with Japanese street art-style graffiti, the murals on the walls are from artist Cholo Juan. Think cherry blossom trees, brightly coloured ceiling umbrellas et al. And upbeat music will come from resident DJs to pick up the vibe, too.
Open Sat-Wed noon-1am, Thu-Fri noon-2am. Cluster A, Jumeirah Lakes Towers (04 421 1356).

ubk
Forget happy hours, it’s happy days at this cool and casual hangout. The venue serves up happy hour deals from opening time to last orders. Not only are there great offers to be had, but this is a top spot to catch a game or a live band with pals, enjoy decent-priced, hearty pub grub (including a recently introduced Beyond Burger or a massive hot dog) and soak up the sun from the spacious outdoor area.
Open Sun-Wed 2pm-2am, Thu-Fri noon-3am, Sat noon-2am. Mövenpick Hotel Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Cluster A, Jumeirah Lakes Towers (04 438 0000).

Vegan-friendly JLT

IL Donaccino
This doughnut shop not only has a whole vegan menu, but it also serves up savoury options with some pretty inventive flavours – Chips Oman doughnut, anyone? Or how about one sprinkled with Pofaki cheese puffs? It’s famously known for its vegan range and these beauties are light, airy and so good, that even non-vegans won’t be able to tell the difference. With flavours like Lotus Biscoff, Choco Oreo, and more classic options like strawberry chocolate glazed with sprinkles (aptly named The Simpsons), we doughnut know what more could you ask for?
Open Sat-Wed 8am-11pm; Thu-Fri 8am-midnight. Cluster D, Jumeirah Lake Towers (04 276 7110).

Little Erth by Nabz&G
Dishes of the day at this healthy eatery are etched on a chalkboard and the enthusiastic kitchen team will happily talk you through the mix of vegetarian, vegan and raw options available, as well as refreshing and replenishing juices and smoothies. We love the courgetti, but it’s all nutritious fare that is good for the soul – and will leave your stomach feeling equally content.
Open daily noon-9.45pm. Cluster J, Jumeirah Lakes Towers (04 276 7287).

Pineapple Express
This healthy Australian eatery boasts a range of diet-friendly dishes. Try the açai bowls for something bright and colourful, or stick to a smoothie. It’s handily located right next to Fidelity Fitness, too.
Open Sat-Thu 8am-10pm, Fri 8am-8pm. Almas Tower, between Cluster C and Cluster I, Jumeirah Lakes Towers (054 402 4660).

That Hair Tho (THT)
Looking for vegan-friendly beauty? Recently launchedThat Hair Tho and specialises in cruelty-free eyelash extensions, hair colour, hair extensions, hair styling, haircuts, nails and more.
Open daily 10am-8pm. Cluster N, Jumeirah Lakes Towers (04 589 6679).

Gyms

Elevation Fitness
Looking for a lifestyle overhaul? This gym also specialises is creating tailor-made programs for a full body transformation. Whether you need lose a few pounds, get some muscle definition, or just improve your overall health, they’re ready to help. Sign up for a free trial and get access for the day to their gym exercise classes for three consecutive days to kick-start your workout.
Prices vary with packages and memberships available. Open daily. Cluster Y, Jumeirah Lakes Towers, www.elevationfitness.ae (04 551 4744).

Fidelity Fitness
Not only does this JLT club have a wide range of classes to suit everyone’s needs but it also has some top-notch equipment. The choice of group classes is impressive and although the various Les Mills options are at the fore, you can also sign up for yoga, spin, Pilates, Zumba, abs blaster and metafit sessions to get your heart rate pumping. Not into grou fitness classes? Fidelity has lots to offer the solo trainer, too. Newcomers can get a free trial as well.
Prices vary with packages and memberships available. Open daily Sat-Thu 6pm-11pm, Fri 8am-8pm. Almas Tower, between clusters J and I, Jumeirah Lakes Towers, www.fidelityfitnessclub.com (04 451 1133).

Fit Boys Gym
Despite its name, the gym is open to women, too. Fit Boys Gym is a dedicated boxing and martial arts centre with a crew of pro boxers to help you get fighting fit. You don’t have to be competing to train here, but there is a full-size ring and plenty of equipment.
Prices start from Dhs100 with packages and memberships available. Open daily. Red Diamond Building, Jumeirah Lakes Towers, www.fitboysgym.com (04 434 3661).

Pilates Academy Dubai
Pilates is seriously hard work and down at Pilates Academy they want you to get the most out of your work out. It also offers cardiolates, barre and silk suspension classes. First time clients get a discount on their first class.
Prices vary with packages and memberships available. Open daily. Cluster X, Jumeirah Lake Towers, www.pilatesacademydubai.com (056 798 4655).

Real Pilates
If you want to try out Pilates, this is a great place to start. With professional teaching and a range of classes from mat to reformer and more, there’s sure to be something to suit. The 1762 underneath is a great place to refuel, too. Newcomers can buy a package of five classes to use within two weeks (mat and machine) for Dhs310.
Prices start from Dhs90 with packages and memberships available. Open daily. One JLT, Jumeirah Lakes Towers, www.real-pilates.com (04 458 5399).

Round 10 Boxing Gym

Round 10 is one of the UAE’s only boxing-specific gyms, with a vision to produce top-notch pro fighters. They don’t have a single treadmill or cycling machine in the gym and train everyone like boxers would train, making it a very sociable, friendly environment. Newcomers get their first group class for free so why not give it a shot?.
Prices vary with packages and memberships available. Open Sun-Fri. First Al Khail Street, Jumeirah Island Pavilion, next to Jumeirah Lakes Towers, www.round10boxing.com (04 243 4789).

Vogue Fitness
As any crossfitter will tell you, this regime is less a workout and more a way of life. This box (the CrossFit term for a gym) was one of the first exercise spots to open in the neighbourhood and has garnered members from far and wide. The owners are CrossFit devotees themselves and have competed in international games. They offer a huge range of fitness programs ranging from CrossFit and conditioning and offer classes including StrongFit, Olympic weightlifting, spinning and gymnastics. Newbies can try out a class for free at Vogue Fitness, too.
Prices vary with packages and memberships available. Open Sat-Thu. Cluster H, Jumeirah Lakes Towers, www.vfuae.com (04 450 8234).

Yoga Ashram
This spacious yoga studio offers up a range of classes for all levels. It’s set on a high floor in Cluster X, so there’s stunning views out across Emirates Living to enjoy while you practise, too.Prices start from Dhs89, while first-timers can get a package of five class for Dhs199 to be used in a month.
Prices start from Dhs89 with packages and memberships available. Open daily. Cluster X, Jumeirah Lakes Towers, www.yogaashram.com (04 552 0048).

Salons

Ladies
Black and White Salon
Go there for: Eyebrow and eyelash tinting, eyelash extensions, facials, hair colour, hair extensions, hair styling, hair treatments, haircuts, nails (all services), threading, waxing
Best known for: Pocket-friendly pampering.
Open daily 11am-9pm. Cluster G, Jumeirah Lakes Towers, www.blackandwhite-salon.com (04 447 8041).

i Glow Beauty Lounge
Go there for: Eyelash extensions, facials, hair colour, hair styling, hair treatments, haircuts, nails (all services), threading, waxing.
Best known for: Head-to-toe pampering ahead of a big occasion.
Open daily 10am-10pm. Cluster D, Jumeirah Lakes Towers (04 420 9667).

The Nail Pavillion

Go there for: Eyelash and eyebrow tinting, eyelash extensions, facials, hair colour, hair styling, hair treatments, haircuts, massages, nails (all services), threading, waxing
Best known for: Not just doing nails
Open daily 9am-9pm. Cluster Y, Jumeirah Lakes Towers, www.thenailpavilion.com (04 422 9791).

Gents
Brusko Barbers
Go there for: Beard treatments, facials, hair colouring, hair styling, hair treatments, haircuts, shaving, threading, waxing.
Best known for: Classic and edgy cuts.
Open daily 10am-10pm. Cluster G, Jumeirah Lakes Towers, www.bruskobarbers.com (04 242 4612).

Chaps & Co.

Go there for: Hair colouring, hair styling, hair treatments, haircuts.
Best known for: Bespoke grooming.
Open Sat-Thu 9am-10pm; Fri 9am-7pm. Cluster C, Jumeirah Lakes Towers, www.chapsandco.ae (04 551 6192).

GQ Men’s Hair Lounge
Go there for: Beard treatments, facials, hair colouring, hair replacement, hair styling, hair treatments, haircuts, shaving, threading.
Best known for: Hair replacement services.
Open daily 10am-10pm. Cluster T, Jumeirah Lakes Towers, www.gqhairlounge.info (04 434 0518).

Things to do

Play in the park
In the winter, that is. Greenery always helps complete a neighbourhood, and Cluster O through to Cluster R has a lovely long bank of grass, which you’ll see filled with joggers in the morning, yoga enthusiasts in the evening and picnickers throughout the day during the winter months. There’s an always-busy basketball court behind Cluster O, too.
Clusters O to R, Jumeirah Lakes Towers.

Phobia Escape Rooms

You’re either going to have an awesome bonding experience, or leave never wanting to speak to each other again. Gather up to five of your mates and head to Phobia. There are six different games, including a Harry Potter-themed one.
From Dhs115 per person. Open daily 11am-midnight Jumeirah Bay X1, Cluster X and Red Diamond Building opposite Cluster Y, Jumeirah Lakes Towers, www.phobia.ae (050 873 0445/052 797 4916).

Challenge your friends
Pro gamer? From PC games, PS4, billiards and foosball, Rails is a one-stop gaming destination. Grab your mates for a day of some, ahem, friendly competition and plenty of games. It also hosts events like FIFA and Fortnite tournaments for the more serious of gamers out there to show off their skills.
Open daily 10am-2.30am. Red Diamond Building opposite Cluster Y, Jumeirah Lakes Towers, www.rails.ae (04 423 7742).

Become a top chef
The JLT restaurant scene is extensive and flourishing, meaning the temptation to neglect your own kitchen is high. Why not switch things up and get your apron on? SCAFA, the School of Culinary and Finishing Arts, is a culinary hotspot for amateurs who want to learn the basics or add new dishes to their repertoire, as well as those aiming for an entry-level qualification.
Prices vary with different programmes available. Open Sat-Thu and advance reservation is required. Cluster I, Jumeirah Lakes Towers, www.scafa.ae (04 379 4044).

Brunches to try

Jazz@PizzaExpress
Highly commended at the Time Out Dubai Music & Nightlife Awards 2019 for best party brunch, and for good reason. The Thursday night shindig in JLT offers unlimited sharing starters, a main each (from standard PizzaExpress fare) and unlimited drinks. It gets lively, so bring your dancing shoes.
Dhs150 (soft drinks), Dhs225 (house beverages), Dhs275 (bubbly and mixed drinks). Thu 8pm-11pm. Cluster A, Jumeirah Lakes Towers (04 441 6342).

Le Petit Belge
Dig into sharing platters of classic Belgian dishes including mussels, Flemish beef stew and waffle cones at this late afternoon brunch.
Dhs149 (soft drinks), Dhs199 (house beverages), Dhs279 (sparkling). Fri 5pm-8pm. Pullman Dubai Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Cluster T, Jumeirah Lakse Towers (04 242 7794).

McGettigan’s JLT
You get a choice of dishes from the à la carte menu, as well as a live carving station.
Dhs139 (soft drinks), Dhs239 (house beverages), Dhs300 (sparkling). Fri 1pm-5pm. Bonnington Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Cluster J (04 356 0560).

Nara Pan Asian
Enjoy unlimited dim sum, sushi mains and desserts as at this cool Asian eatery in JLT. There’s also a live DJ and three brunch times to choose from.
Dhs199 (soft drinks), Dhs349 (house beverages). Thu 8pm-midnight. Dhs199 (soft drinks), Dhs299 (house beverages). Fri 1pm-4pm & 8pm-midnight. Cluster A, Jumeirah Lakes Towers (04 421 1356).

nosh
Head down to this family-friendly ‘Cartoon Brunch’ for living cooking stations which include a roast, burgers, hot dogs, seafood, sushi and more.
Dhs179 (soft drinks), Dhs309 (house beverages), Dhs90 (kids aged six-12), free (kids under six). Fri 12.30pm-4pm. Mövenpick Hotel Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Cluster A, Jumeirah Lakes Towers (04 438 0000).

Seasons
Another family-friendly brunch for you JLTers. Head to Seasons for barbeque grills, a kids area and once brunch is done you can spend the rest of the afternoon chilling out by the pool from 4pm until 8pm.
Dhs119 (soft drinks), Dhs209 (house beverages), Dhs79 (kids aged six-12), free (kids under six). Fri 1pm-4pm. Pullman Dubai Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Cluster T, Jumeirah Lakes Towers (04 567 1159).

ubk
A buffet of salads, seafood and barbecue grills, a whole spit-roasted lamb, carving station, desserts plus a live band.
Dhs149 (soft drinks), Dhs265 (house beverages). Fri 1pm-4pm. Mövenpick Hotel Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Cluster A, Jumeirah Lakes Towers (04 438 0000).


Five top newcomers

Common Grounds
There are plenty of dishes on the menu that fans of the homegrown eatery will find familiar including breakfast tacos, smashed avocado on toast and açai bowls, as well as the chain’s signature coffees.
Open daily 7am-6pm. Almas Tower, Jumeirah Lakes Towers (056 511 8733).

Daikan Ramen
This quirky little ramen joint is already fast-becoming a popular haunt for residents and ramen-lovers alike. There are six different bowls to slurp on and nibbles including kimchi and gyoza.
Open daily 11.30am-11pm. Cluster Y, Jumeirah Lakes Towers (050 876 8477).

Pickl.
If you live in JLT there’s a good chance you’ve tried one of its jaw-breaking burgers. If you’ve yet to try the burger sensation, it’s worth the journey.
Open Sun-Wed 7am-10pm, Thu-Sat 7am-midnight. ONE JLT, Jumeirah Lakes Towers (052 993 2430).

Seven City JLT
Plans for this massive new Dhs1.3 billion residential project in JLT were recently revealed, and it’s set to take up an entire cluster with shops, a nursery, restaurants and even a rooftop pool. It’s expected to be totally finished by the third quarterof 2021 – so watch this space.
Opening Q3, 2021. Cluster Z, Jumeirah Lakes Towers.

Taj JLT
The new 46-storey building will comprise of a residential area and a five-star hotel and is set to open later on this year. If the Business Bay hotel is anything to go by, it should bring some top new dining and nightlife destinations to the area.
www.tajhotels.com.

Rents in JLT

According to recent reports, now is one of the best times to rent. Over the past two years, average rent rates for apartments throughout the city have dropped by 21 percent. Here’s an average of what apartments in JLT cost in 2019, all for a year and unfurnished.

Average price for a studio
2017: Dhs60,000
2019: Dhs40,000

Average price for a one-bedroom
2017: Dhs80,000
2019: Dhs58,000

Average price for a two-bedroom
2017: Dhs113,000
2019: Dhs85,000
Average price for a three-bedroom
2017: Dhs148,000
2019: Dhs120,000
Figures from propertyfinder.ae

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