Arabian Tea House

Cafe’s in Dubai – my top spots for tourists, expats and entrepreneurs

Cafes and coffee shops are very much part of the Dubai lifestyle, and not just for expats and tourists, with coffee and shisha forming a key part of Arabic culture.

As an expat who has lived in Dubai for almost a decade, I have seen lots of new places springing up around town, particularly as new residential and commercial areas around Dubai open up, so I thought I’d share my favourite places to take tourists, catch up with the girls, grab a healthy bite, or simply get some work done in peace!

Scenic cafes for the tourists

Waterfront Cafe, Jumeirah Beach Hotel
One of my longest running favourites, even before I worked for Jumeirah Group, this cafe is a great spot for tourists or expats alike to sit outside during the cooler winter months. There are great photo opportunities as the cafe overlooks the five-star hotel’s beach, directly beneath the Burj Al Arab, and the food is pretty healthy with menus detailing the nutritional content of each item, including the wide range of fresh juices and smoothies.

Lime Tree Cafe, Jumeirah Beach Road
An institution in Dubai with its infamous carrot cake, Lime Tree has been serving up fantastic food and the most delicious cakes for years now. Its Jumeirah Beach location is a great option for tourists wanting to take a look at the Jumeirah (Pineapple) Mosque, as well as those tourists and expats looking to spend the day at Jumeirah Beach Park.

Arabian Tea House (Previously Basta Art Cafe), Al Fahidi Historical District
Another of my all time favourites, this little gem is located in the historical area previously known as Bastakiya. It’s a great spot to refresh and refuel as part of a day/evening wandering around the creek, Dubai Museum, the old souks (markets) and the rest of the old quarter, particularly during the winter months when you can sit out in the shady courtyard and relax.

Tasty treats for long breakfasts with the girls

Nofara, Jumeirah Lakes Towers
This little gem is very quiet on weekends (only three ladies sitting on their own on my last visit) and very busy mid-week due to its location amid the surrounding offices. I highly recommend it for the fantastic home cooked food – a great mix of healthy and naughty delights, and most with a pinch of Arabia. The staff are very friendly, including the chef, and it’s a very warm and pleasant environment to while away the hours, whether working or gossiping!

Comptoir 102, Jumeirah Beach Road
This cosy little nook has a limited number of tables and a menu which changes on a daily basis according to what’s in stock/season. The food is wholesome and healthy, making it a favourite for people looking for somewhere peaceful and quiet for a catch up. It’s also great to wander around to browse the handicrafts and trinkets on sale.

The Farm, Al Barari
For those looking for a busier and more lively environment, The Farm caters to a much larger crowd, while the abundant greenery and lakes still manage to maintain a tranquil environment away from the chaos of the city. This cafe’s popularity has made it impossible to get a table without a prior reservation however, so its worth phoning ahead to make a booking.

The Archive, Safa Park
During the winter months, Safa Park is a godsend for city dwellers who can’t get past the city limits but want to feel like they’ve escaped Dubai. The cafe and library is right in the centre of the park and serves a limited healthy menu throughout the day. Be warned that the cafe gets particularly busy on Friday mornings during winter though when the excellent Ripe market is on.

Refreshing work spaces for the entrepreneurs

Public Cafe, Jumeirah Lakes Towers
My preferred office and where I can often be found during work hours! I love working from here, it’s such a welcoming environment, with the staff and owners so friendly that it makes a day at work here a real pleasure. They serve a good range of salads and sandwiches and the daily special is always a good bet, often something Greek that the owners have wanted to share.

The Magazine Shop, Dubai Media City
This tiny cafe has a limited number of tables and can therefore get very busy at lunchtimes when all the media crowd pile in for a good coffee (always served with an M&M on the lid) as well as sandwiches and salads. The last time I visited was a Thursday lunchtime when Freshly Ground Sounds had taken over and local musical talent had its opportunity to shine – and the atmosphere and music were both fantastic.

Urban Bistro, Dubai Media City
This is another great spot in Media City. Due to the nature of my work in PR and communications, this location is ideal for me to refuel during a busy day, but I’d also recommend it on weekends too for a fantastic breakfast. The food here is pretty healthy and they have a stand at Safa Park as well as home delivery if you can’t face finding a parking space.

So there you have it, my favourite haunts shared – let me know what you think and if you have any more to add!