Almaz by Momo: This tasty Moroccan restaurant makes for a buzzing lunchtime or dinner haunt – the light fixtures even look a bit like beehives. Food is excellent (we’re particularly fond of the couscous and tagines), and the atmosphere is both stylish and reclusive. Tucked away inside Harvey Nichols, of all places, the restaurant feels nicely separated from the rest of Mall of the Emirates: we can’t think of a better place to take advantage of free wireless. If you’d rather not order a whole meal, you can always browse the web while sipping on sweet Moroccan tea (and maybe go in for a baklava, too).
Harvey Nichols, Mall of the Emirates (04 409 8877)
French Connection: This unassuming little nook has long been a destination spot for freelance writers desperate for an internet hook-up. The staff are friendly and don’t hover, and there are plenty of solo diners, so you won’t feel self-conscious eating alone. The food is pretty simple. Breakfasts are the best bet (the English version comes loaded with extras and includes coffee and fresh juice). Lunchtime snackers can also opt for a range of stuffed baked potatoes – we like the traditional spud topped with baked beans and melted cheese.
Sheikh Majid Building, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 343 1100). Other locations: Centrepoint building, Al Mankhool Road (04 359 4545); The Majarah Tower, Dubai Marina (04 368 9111)
Reem Al Bawadi: You’d be hard pressed to find a comfier spot for surfing the web. Though perennially packed, this Lebanese restaurant has a welcoming interior that is huge and leafy. Pull up one of the cushioned seats and tuck into some outstanding mezze, or just order a shisha – lone customers are unlikely to stand out in the crowded room, making it a nice spot to luxuriate in some much-needed me-time with your laptop.
Jumeirah Beach Road, Jumeirah (04 394 7444)
Aroma Garden Café: The decor is plush and leafy, thanks to an array of dangling fronds and a thatched roof. Aroma Garden Café is dripping with greenery and atmosphere, and the mezze selection on offer is very good, too. Resembling an Arabic greenhouse, the restaurant makes a cheery spot to while away a leisurely afternoon. There are usually another couple of lone diners enjoying the free wi-fi, so you won’t feel too out of place if you do too.
Oud Metha (04 336 8999)
More Café: With many of its seating areas resembling lengthy banquet tables, eating alone is happily not awkward at this charming café chain, and there’s plenty of room for coffee, a signature burger and your laptop. It’s no wonder the place gets so busy: the service is friendly and the menu diverse, incorporating everything from Thai curry to Dutch pancakes. Of course, the quality of food may be distracting to your work, in which case opt for a simple (though excellent) cup of coffee.
Garhoud (04 283 0224). Other locations: Gold & Diamond Park (04 323 4350), Al Murooj Rotana (04 343 3779), Festival City (04 232 6299), The Dubai Mall (04 339 8934), Mirdif City Centre (04 284 3805)
Marzano: This small Italian eatery is oddly hidden, given it’s located in the ever-popular Old Town. Tucked away inside the obscure Souk Al Manzil, this reclusive spot is great for anyone avoiding a crowd, yet seeking a stellar pizza. The options on offer are fantastic: fresh, thin-crust and baked in a hearth, it’s the closest to Italian pizza we’ve had in Dubai. The free wireless is just an added benefit.
Souk Al Manzil (04 420 1136)
Wild Peeta: This fusion shawarma shop – helmed by two Emirati brothers – is more of a takeaway affair. Still, there are a handful of tables, and the staff are as cheery as anything. It may be one of the best-suited restaurants in town for solo diners, especially those bringing their work to lunch. The environment is super-low-key without feeling cheap and the shawarmas are unique and tasty.
Dubai Healthcare City (800 9453)