Restaurant awards cafe

04 346 6292 Umm Suqeim

First things first, you don’t need to actually be a surfer to visit this ca-fé, which is fortunate, as otherwise you’d be massively missing out. The Surf Café is a chilled-out haven near the beach that’s worthy of a weekend visit. Floors and walls are covered in a washed, smooth concrete, and to one side of the dining room, there’s a little bar counter where juices and coffees are made.

As well as the top breakfasts – we’ve waxed lyrical about the avocado toast many a time – the lunches and dinners are also great, with seafood, perfectly cooked grills and a huge choice of fresh, colourful salads, all perfect for a casual family meal.

There’s also a large selection of dim sum, and the very on-trend poke bowls ranging from salmon to crab or tuna. Bento boxes, grills and a massive selection of sushi – you’ll pretty much find everything you could hope for here.

While a little pricey for the average café experience, The Surf Café is pleasant enough to justify the extra dirhams.

The bottom line:
Excellent for breakfast, but a great choice all day.

04 345 0023 Jumeirah

This Jumeirah Beach Road café is every Instagrammer’s dream. The glass cabinet proudly displays multiple-tiered cakes in every hue of the rainbow, and the interior itself is all soft furnishings, gorgeous blue tiles and even a wave-shaped ceiling. It’s all very twee – and we love it.

A glimpse at the menu only serves to further our delight. It’s clear that the chefs have a thing for lavender, from lavender infused cappuccino to lavender lemonade as well as lavender coconut latte, lavender hot chocolate and lavender water, too. All are delightfully vibrant.

The grilled goat’s cheese salad is substantial with warm cheese and juicy cherry tomatoes and the roasted salmon is perfectly cooked. It’s healthy, yet filling.

There are loads of options for breakfast, too – we’ll be back for the Nutella French toast – and there are some interesting dishes with a Middle Eastern twist spotted throughout the menu too. From shakshouka to harissa lamb chops and rose petal spiced chicken, there are plenty of traditional flavours on offer, as well as dishes such as smoked salmon and avocado or wagyu sliders.

Don’t leave without sampling dessert – the lavender (of course it is) milk cake is everything you’d hope for.

If you’re not a lavender fan, however, don’t discount it just yet, as you can always indulge in some chocolate profiteroles. (And you absolutely should.)

Breakfast, lunch and dinner, lavender lover or not, you’ll be happy here.

The bottom line
Quirky dishes with a Middle Eastern twist at a cool café.

+971 56 474 6812 Al Quoz

A noisy, happy and casual café, Tom& Serg hasn’t seen any drop off in popularity over the past few years.

Founded by Tom Arnel, a chef and foodie from Melbourne, and Sergio Lopez, a savvy F&B operations director from Madrid, the café – a former Time Out Dubai Best Café winner – prides itself on nutritious, gourmet food and laid-back vibes to go with it.

Upon walking in, the place is heaving, with the crowd laughing and chatting easily. We make our way upstairs, to a table overlooking a bustling ground floor with seating adjacent to the kitchen and bakery.

Tom & Serg is known for its love for avocado, so we can’t miss the marinated green tomato avo on toast – and wait for a good dose of the fatty, single-seeded berry. We’re not disappointed. The tangy green tomatoes are the perfect match for the creamy avocado, with a red dukka and parsley salsa giv-ing it a bitter, satisfying twist.

After the zesty boost, we need something neutral, and so opt for the Caesar baguette – the famous salad in sandwich form – with juicy roasted chicken, crispy veal bacon and leaves. It’s tasty and a hit.

We round it off with a generous serving of salted caramel French toast, complemented with fresh macerated rhubarbs and glazed black cherries. It’s the perfect sweet treat.

Perfect for families, the café has just launched a new kids’ menu, too, showing its dedication to good nutrition for all ages, with dishes including Egg Soldiers (Dhs32), apple pancakes (Dhs30) and chicken quesadillas (Dhs36) among others.

Overall Tom&Serg feels like home, but with food that we’d be too lazy to make.

The bottom line
Cosy venue that pays attention to detail

04 321 1309 Jumeirah

Surf’s up! Tucked at the back of The Surf House on Jumeirah Beach Road, this bright little spot is as laid-back as they come.

We opt for the burger, which is a highlight thanks to the fresh, juicy patty and buttery soft bun. It’s covered in melted cheese and sauce with plenty of fresh salad piled on top, making it a substantial meal. Tacos are also a top choice and there are fish and vegan options, ensuring everyone is catered for at this cute café. We go for the latter, which comes with fried kale, beetroot, slaw. It’s a huge, filling portion, and tasty when covered in fresh lime, but could use more sauce.

Finally we can’t resist an ice-cream sandwich (we are at the beach, afterall), and so go for the matcha mint chocolate chip. It’s fantastic. Fudgy, chocolate and refreshing all at once. Exactly as you’d hope. Single Fin is ideal for a lazy morning or lunch, especially in the winter where you can hit the beach, too.

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