Best coffee shops in Dubai

Time Out celebrates coffee culture and the options for caffeine fans. So where are the best coffee shops in Dubai? These cafes will be a good start

Get to know your single-origin from your syphon, your macchiato from your mocha, and find out where to drink them all.

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.

+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

DIFC

This design-conscious café-shop-intellectual space from Lexus is one of the coolest conceptual spots in Dubai.

Designed by interior designer Masamichi Katayama, the man behind the Tokyo outpost, there are clear Japanese elements in this project – just visit the toilets for the most obvious. But these are blended with features that characterise the UAE perfectly – the ceiling reflect the country’s ubiquitous sand dunes. There are also artistic, futuristic, automotive elements in the design, to remind you that you’re in a creative space delivered by a luxury car brand, after all. It’s a truly unique spot in Dubai.

Intersect is the kind of place you’d come to for a light bite to eat over a bit of creative confab at breakfast or lunch, and this, the café does well. With the Intersect eggs Benedict, you get one with salmon and one with smoked brisket, meaning you don’t have to choose. And it’s a true reward – eggs perfectly runny, brisket tender and smoky.

The business lunch offers great value, too, at Dhs98 for two courses and Dhs110 for three. The steak sandwhich is decent, though it won’t blow your mind, but the Chilean sea bass is a standout, with it’s zesty, yuzu-dressed turnips and smoked onion purée.
For something a bit different, this is one for the must list.

The bottom line
Creative, inventive café serving good grub.

Dessert café 04 453 5271 Umm Suqeim

This tiny harbour-facing gelateria is a bit of a hidden treasure with a very sweet deal going on. Choose from the 22 gelato flavours, mix them with shaved chocolate, M&Ms, peanut butter cups or caramel sauce and sit on one of the outdoor tables that overlook the yachts. You also have views of the Burj Al Arab, so we recommend making a post-dinner gelato run here. Cremolata is easy on the wallet and offers hot coffee, hot chocolate and milkshakes, too. If you’re after something a bit more extravagant, the gelato experts here can whip up stuffed cookies with Nutella – essentially sweet biscuits mixed with ice-cream, chocolate chips and other sweet goodness – that will throw your calorie counting completly off. Yes please.

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