The best cafes in Dubai
Coffee breaks are big business in Dubai and to have coffee with company is a traditional arabic pastime. Over the years, having a coffee has evolved to hanging out with friends, sitting alfresco and sipping on iced coffee and maybe a light snack. Unlike in most western countries where coffee shops are normally open from breakfast till late afternoon, the majority of UAE coffee shops are open for nearly 15 hours in the day - with their peak business probably more so in the evening then during the day. Emirati locals love socialising and after having their main meal at home, usually around 4-5pm, families or just the men head off after dark and while away a few hours at their favourite cafe for snacks/coffee and shisha. Expats and visitors follow this culture and with the exceptionally beautiful weather for most of the year, take the opportunity to share some 'chill' time with your friends.
The Lime Tree Cafe $$ Unlicensed
Jumeirah Beach Road (Villa), +971 4 349 8498
Ibn Battuta Mall, China Garden Courtyard +971 4 366 9320
Al Quoz, 4b Street, Next to the Courtyard Gallery, Nr Times Square Centre + 971 4 325 6325
Media City, Opposite Royal Mirage Hotel + 971 4 435 6340
Opening Hours: Vary amongst above locations but earliest opening is 7.30am (Jumeirah) and latest closing is 10pm (Ibn Batuta). Please check branches individually.
Perfect food, perfect ambience, perfect price. For us, absolutely no negatives about Lime Tree Cafe. It may be a tad higher then a simple coffee shop snack place, but here you can have a hearty breakfast, lunch even light dinner for a reasonable price and leave feeling relaxed. The atmosphere is proper cafe style with trendy, clean lines decor and we reckon a perfect place to hang out for a mothers meeting as some of their branches have a kids corner full of books and crayons and enough space to park a few buggies! The menu consists of an extensive breakfast choice with english and even arabic twists - try the breakkie platter with labneh balls, cold and warm deli style snacks/ meals such as salads topped with grilled aubergine and halloumi and basics like jacket potatoes and yummy filled baguettes, pies, quiches and juicy chicken and meat kebabs. Don't leave without the famous carrot cake - take it to go if you feel full! Since it's Jumeirah branch launch in 2001, The Lime Tree Cafe has seen a further three branches open and even provides catering services.
The ONE Deli $$
Jumeirah Beach Road nr Jumeirah Mosque, +971 4 345 6687
Opening Hours: 9am-9pm
What a clever way to entice you to shop after having a fulfilling lunch - plant a super trendy cafe on the top floor of a super trendy furniture store! The ONE - if you haven't heard, is one of Dubai's trendiest furniture and homewares store, a bit akin to the UK's Habitat. But their main pulling power for punters is not their soft chanille throws, it is The ONE Deli. Yes, this place is always a hit for long lazy breakfasts or chatty lunches with friends. The decor is done ever so nicely of course using the store's own line (with price tag intact should you be interested!), trendy and chic, just the perfect place for yummy mummies to hang after buying the all important gem-stoned napkin holders for weekend's dinner party. The menu has a good choice and features comfort favourites for brekkie such as eggs benedict, museli and an array of pastries, for lunch opt for homemade soups, salads and quiches. Toasted sandwiches with better then standard fillings and varying specials of the day, we love the lamb meatballs and beef goulash served with rice. Their fresh juices are inventive and unique from the standard bottled variety. Varying offers are run during the week such as two can eat for 70 AED.
Basta Art Cafe $ (Does not accept Credit Cards) Unlicensed
Al Fahidi Street, Bastakiya, Bur Dubai ( head to the restored Bastikya Quarter, which you'll find on the main road), +971 4 353 5071
Opening Hours: 8am-10pm
For true authentic atmosphere, Basta Art Cafe will whisk you away to Arabia and you'll forget about airconditioned malls and designer handbags for a couple of hours. Seating is in their outdoor garden and there are plenty of spaces with shading, if visiting in the warmer months go in the evening. Menu consists of arabic deli favourites as well as jacket potatoes, salads and sandwiches, so dont fill yourself up with the complementary soft pittas and dip! We were advised to try their lime and fresh mint juice and boy is it refreshing. A perfect way to spend a peaceful couple of hours, reading a book, catching up with friends or just browsing at the many works of art in their unique art gallery. Kids will love the open space and a re-modelled majlis area with comfy cushions and low sofas - very authentic! Take note, this place may be very busy on a weekend as the surroundings are hot tourist spots. If you are not familiar with the area, Basta Art Cafe is within a stone's throw to the gold, fabric and spice souk and Deira Creek.
Circle Cafe $ Unlicensed
Dubai Media City, Building #2 (CNN), +971 4 391 5170
Jumeirah Beach Park, +971 4 342 8177
Opening Hours: 7.30am-8.30pm
If you are here on work purposes and based in Media City, you'll be happy to know there is a friendly trendy cafe where you can get your daily coffee fix fresh bagels and salads with a huge variety of fillings and toppings to suit anyone's fancy, salad portions are huge and their toppings we must say, beat many cafes/restaurants in Dubai. Perfect for breakfast, lunch or afternoon snack, this place is fast and efficient so you won't waste time for that all important meeting. There is also a branch in Jumeirah which has recently grown in popularity and before we forget, you cant leave this cafe without sampling a cake or two - they are simply divine, especially the banana caramel creme and carrot cake. Yum!