Breakfast in Dubai

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

French 04 428 6969 Burj Khalifa Area

La Serre’s Bistro feels bright and airy, thanks to the crisp white colour scheme. On any given night you’ll find it buzzing, and staff deal adeptly with the throng of diners – you won’t even notice the wait between ordering and being presented your food, and requesting and receiving your bill.

Start with the shaved cauliflower salad with Manchego cheese, citrus and almonds. Light and refreshing, it’s a great precursor to some of the bigger flavours you’ll tuck into. The beetroot salad starter is one. It’s full of taste, texture and heat contrasts that we love. It comes with small rounds of warm goat’s cheese, studded with pistachio nut crumbs, mixed in with the cold cubes of beetroot. An absolute delight.

Mains are split into pastas, seafood and meat, making it easy for the indecisive to navigate. All the classics are present, including beef Bourguignon, baby chicken and fillet steak, plus scallops glazed with balsamic reduction and parsnip purée, and piquillo peppers. Of that the baby chicken is a standout, with its creamy, flavourful truffle Hollandaise sauce. A side of rich gratin Dauphinoise and steamed broccoli will go down a treat, too.

This is one of the most impressive French restaurants we’ve had the pleasure to eat in. Book a table and you’ll see why.

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.

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