Breakfast in Dubai

It’s the most important meal of the day, so you may as well make it your most delicious...

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.

04 419 0772 Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR)

When a chef whose restaurants boast seven Michelin stars between them sets up camp in your city, it’s only polite to pay the new eatery a visit. Especially when its specialities are bread, cakes and pastries.

Bouchon Bakery, from American chef Thomas Keller, opened at The Beach in August and is proving popular, especially for breakfast.

The brasserie-style room is light and spacious and, on our visit, pleasantly busy. There’s a petite terrace area, too.

The menu is fairly compact and not overly adventurous (think soups, sandwiches and a range of freshly baked quiches) but when it’s simple, home-baked fare you’re after, Bouchon will deliver.

Breakfast offerings shine. French toast is generously portioned, squidgy and deliciously sweet, drizzled with salted caramel and vanilla custard.

The avocado toast is a grown-up dish, featuring artisan bread, feta and piquillo marmalade, but rather too much dressed salad.

There’s also a fine pastry counter that you won’t be able to pass without stopping (nor should you). Don’t miss the chocolate chunk cookie, it’s as good as it sounds. Plus the mini macarons are a steal at Dhs5.50 for three. Delightful.

The bottom line
Top choice for brekkie and sweet treats.

Italian 04 242 7882 Downtown Dubai

When we think of food from Milan, Venice, Rome and Naples, it conjures up images of rustic, homely dishes full of flavour. And that’s just what you’ll find at Via Veneto.

Sitting in the space formerly occupied by Fümé at Manzil Downtown and headed up by former BOCA chef Maxime Le Van, Via Veneto opened to much anticipation.

Two months in and the venue remains unlicensed, although the team insists this is on its way.

The location is quite charming (if you ignore the passing traffic) as a terrace offers a backdrop of the fairy light-adorned palm trees lining the Boulevard and uninterrupted views of the Burj Khalifa.

Dishes more than make up for the lack of patrons. In Dubai we’re not spoilt for choice with Italian cuisine compared to other cities (though the arrival of Il Borro has upped the game). With that in mind, we’re pleasantly surprised, as the food is excellent.

We kick off with a classic caprese salad and some beef polpette. Huge chunks of mozzarella are paired with tomatoes in a range of vibrant, fiery colours – it’s light, fresh and simple. The meatballs, meanwhile, are seasoned beautifully and come in a rich, tomatoey sauce with garlic bread. The portion is substantial, too, especially for the price.In fact, barring a couple of mains, nothing is listed at more than Dhs100. Which, given the quality, portion sizes and Burj Khalifa views makes Via Veneto top value.

Pizzas (offered on pinza, regular and wholemeal dough) are fully loaded with fresh toppings, yet light and crispy. The chicken saltimbocca is equally excellent, perfectly cooked and served up with creamy mash and flavoursome gravy. It’s a hearty and homely offering.

If you’re after authentic and delicious Italian dishes in Downtown Dubai, add Via Veneto to your list.

The bill (for two)
1 beef polpette Dhs48
1x insalate caprese Dhs52
1x l'adriatico pizza Dhs86
1x saltimbocca pollo Dhs86
1x sauteed greens Dhs32
1x millefoglie Dhs44
1x large still water Dhs26
Total (incl service) Dhs374

The bottom line
Rustic Italian food at decent prices.

04 225 1807 Al Quoz

Best known for its deliciously rich and fragrant bone broths, Hapi has been making waves across the city.

You must try the organic beef broth (made with thyme, star anise and chilli), and load it up with rice noodles and mushrooms for a light, nutritious and filling meal – you can also take the broth home by the litre to store in the fridge.

The rest of the menu is full of simple, wholesome dishes such as chargrilled chicken, which you can pair with sides including veggies and pineapple salsa. If you fancy a treat, however, there are burgers and hot dogs made from grass-fed beef or organic salmon and piled high with super fresh toppings.

Puddings are just as simple and just as good. There’s soft-serve ice cream with toppings such as passion fruit and coconut or salted caramel and chocolate crunch, as well as a range of yoghurt ice lollies in a variety of creamy, fruity flavours (mango lassi, blueberry and orange blossom feature) and coated in chocolate.

The space is sparse and industrial but the food takes centre stage (although there’s a yoga studio upstairs and a space for parkour). It’s a simple spot, but one worth seeking out.

The bottom line
Interesting, eats in a fuss-free setting.

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