Unknown to many tourists who hop from one attraction to another, Dubai has a vibrant café culture that has only grown, rather simply exploded, in the last five years. In a city where locals spend a good part of the year indoors thanks to the brutal afternoon heat of the summer months, Dubai’s best cafés have, quite organically, become places to work, catch up with friends, or simply steal a few quiet moments to yourself during the day.
The thing about the best cafés in Dubai though, is that you won’t necessarily find them in the shopping malls or while checking out tourist sights and attractions. In my opinion, the coolest cafés in Dubai, which are more substance than hype, are located in quiet residential neighborhoods such as Jumeirah or the art and culture-heavy district of Al Quoz, sometimes in unassuming villas and bougainvillea-strewn courtyards.
There are plenty of cafés where you can get a sense of non-touristy Dubai, whatever style you’re into – minimalistic, hipster vibes, so-elegant-it-makes-you-feel-rich, laptop-friendly, cafés with epic views, garden cafés where you can curl up with a book, or coffee shops that roast their beans in-house.
Then, of course, there’s the influence of Instagram; Dubai loves all things with great visual appeal anyway, so there’s no lack of instagrammable cafes in Dubai – think cafés with gorgeous interiors and decor straight out of some kind of urban fairytale (or nightmare, depending on your perspective).
And it’s not just about the aesthetics – I mean sure, aesthetics are probably what attracts customers – but you can find truly amazing coffees and homegrown coffee roasters in Dubai. Dubai is serious about its coffee – artisanal coffee culture is on the rise and places that serve mediocre coffee quickly fizzle out of public memory.
Let me not forget to tell you about the city’s obsession with breakfast – another reason why cafés that serve great breakfasts and all-day breakfasts, especially on the weekends, are usually quite successful in Dubai.
As an admittedly proud bookworm, lifelong nerd, and caffeine addict, checking out cool and new cafés in Dubai is a weekend pastime. Nothing gets me quite as excited as having discovered an unpretentious but cool café with friendly service and a cold brew so good that I’ll long for it all week. So, here are the coolest, cutest, and best cafés in Dubai worth your next caffeine fix.
By the way if you’re visiting Dubai as a tourist, you might be interested in my guide on what to wear in Dubai, how to go from Dubai Airport to city, best romantic hotels in Dubai, or practical tips in my UAE Travel blog.
Best Cafes in Dubai
I happened to discover this cafe by chance while wandering around the Depachika Food Hall in Nakheel Mall on Palm Jumeirah (an excellent place to go for specialty coffee and sweet and savory baked goods from a variety of stalls that set up shop here, some permanent and some temporary).
I was glad I did because the coffee here was really great, think Colombian coffee with notes of lychee and lavender. Could this be the best coffee in Dubai? Maybe. They’ve got a bunch of different specialty coffees to choose from. If you like your brew chilled, then this place does amazing cold brews too – that are perfect for a hot summer afternoon.
Though the coffee is slightly pricier than your average cup in Dubai, if you’re a coffee connoisseur who appreciates good coffee and quality coffee beans from ethical sources, then you’ll agree with me that the coffee here is totally worth it. If you get hungry, choose from croissants and other baked goods. They’ve also got a branch at Dubai Festival City.
Nakheel Mall, Palm Jumeirah (and other locations)
Another hidden gem in Depachika Food Hall, Boon Coffee is a firm favorite among true coffee lovers in Dubai. This is a homegrown brand- which means it’s based in the UAE, and that’s something we locals are extremely proud and supportive of in Dubai, a city where imported cafe chains were once all the rage. Boon Coffee was founded by Orit Mohammed, an Ethiopian woman who is passionate about showcasing directly sourced Ethiopian coffee as specialty coffee and changing the narrative of Ethiopian coffee.
At Boon Coffee, you’ll find a wide range of quality single-origin coffees sourced directly from farms in Ethiopia. The beans are roasted in-house and they also create their own blends. They’ve got a couple of other locations in Dubai, but the one at Depachika Food Hall has the advantage of you being able to pair your coffee with baked goods from another cafe or vendor, plus it’s quite lively on the weekends. Bookmark this place if you’re a coffee lover visiting Dubai.
Nakheel Mall, Palm Jumeirah (and other locations)
Another personal favorite, so much so that at one point, this is where you’d find me every Friday afternoon, Milk is a Swedish-inspired cool cafe and bakery that does good coffee, excellent breakfasts, and delicious baked goods. The bright minimalistic space does a great version of Scandi-cool, i.e. effortless but still stylish (except for the proudly displayed issues of Kinfolk).
My favorite thing to eat here is the Breakfast Goals (served on the weekends until 2 pm), which is basically poached eggs, avocado, labneh, tomato relish, and herbs on soft, delicious Turkish simit bread. I usually wash this down with On The Rocks Dark, which is their coffee with milk and locally made dark chocolate. Delicious! (I know I’ve said that thrice.)
Quiet conversation/ Breakfast/ Baked goods/ Working (except weekends)
Mid-range to high
In the hip neighborhood of Alserkal Avenue, surrounded by art galleries and indie venues, Nightjar Coffee is a must-visit if you fancy a quality cup of specialty coffee or some fantastic cold brew (they’ve got it on tap, as well as heavenly cold brews with ice cream) in what is an effortlessly cool and unpretentious cafe. They source their single-origin coffee directly from farms and roast the beans in their in-house roastery. Their coffee beans are also available for sale.
Among the best coffee houses in Dubai, it also serves some great breakfast fare (such as ricotta pancakes), available all-day, as well as interesting meals that are a happy mix of what Dubai likes to eat, across its old and new neighborhoods, from avocado-topped sourdough toast and salads to scrambled eggs with paratha (it’s divine) and veggie lasagna. There are also baked goods like pies, muffins, and cakes. If you go on a weekend, you’ll have the best vibes with live music by a DJ.
Specialty coffee/ cool vibe
Alserkal Avenue (and TimeOut Dubai)
Pekoe Tea and Bread Bar
Also in the hip quarter of Alserkal Avenue in Al Quoz, Pekoe Tea and Bread Bar has smart, minimalist interiors, fragrant teas, amazing breakfast sandwiches, baked goods, and a surprisingly delicious Iced Mocha (it’s a tea bar after all).
If you’re a bread lover like me, then you have got to try their variety of breads (Bread and Spread on the menu), and their asparagus Danish (what a brilliant idea) is a must-try.
This is the kind of place you’d meet friends, read for a while, eat, but probably not sit long enough to work. They’ve got great breakfast/ light lunch options—the Egg and Cheese Sando, and the Green Fields Sandwich (avocado, cucumber, lettuce, sprouts, yogurt, mozzarella) are both favorites.
They’ve also got a nice retail section where you can buy nut butter, matcha, and a wide range of teas.
Quiet conversation/ Breakfast, lunch, and tea
Mid-range to high
The folks behind this lovely Balkan cafe describe it as an urban Balkan bistro, but that’s being seriously modest because 21grams scores on all fronts – delicious food, great coffee, a lovely vibe, aesthetic interiors, and friendly service. No wonder it’s won multiple awards since it opened its doors and continues to be considered one of Dubai’s top places to eat.
This might be Dubai’s first Balkan restaurant, and it has the BEST bureks and phyllo pies in town (try the spinach, and then go back and try the goat cheese and honey one too, and then go back again for breakfast!) It’s hard to go wrong here whether you pick something from their breakfast menu (so many egg dishes), or one of their phyllo pies or go for a main meal like a cevapi (kebab).
Knick knacks around the bistro are a nod to Balkan heritage and culture, and the friendly staff is happy to make recommendations should you find yourself spoilt for choice on the menu. It’s quiet enough to go work here during the week (though they get busy on the weekends) and it’s also a nice spot located in a quiet residential area for when you want to grab breakfast or lunch with a friend (or solo).
Bureks and pies, breakfast, Quiet conversation/ remote work
Mid-range to high
La Fabrica Foccaceria
I know, I know you might say this is not strictly a cafe, it’s a focacceria, but listen, this one is a real insider secret, I’m telling you. And it’s a great one. La Fabbrica Italiana Focacceria is Dubai’s first (and to my knowledge only) focacceria, where the heavenly aroma of freshly baked focaccia hits you the second you walk through the doors.
At this family-run place, on the menu are burrata, focaccia sandwiches and focaccia loaves with a variety of toppings- I’ve tried them all at this point: the truffle and cheese (soooo good) and the tomato and olives, but there’s also onion, prosciutto, and butternut squash, among others.
This cute place is run by an Italian family, and there’s just three things on the menu- freshly baked focaccia with a variety of toppings (zucchini, onions, truffle, and tomatoes, among others), really creamy burrata, and crazy good tiramisu.
The great aunt of the Italian owner invented the Tiramisu in the 1950s- so if you’ve got a sweet tooth, definitely save room for dessert. It’s truly different from any other tiramisu I’ve had.
Oh, and they do really good (and real Italian) coffee too!
This is the kind of place you go to eat and chat, and have some really good coffee, not so much a place to work.
P.S. If you’re going as a big group, it’s best to call and make reservations, because this place is small.
Foccacia, Tiramisu, Coffee, it’s all about the food here! Mid-range
Location: Wasl 51
There’s a reason why this unassuming little café in Dar Al Wasl Mall (which has some great but lesser-known restaurants too by the way) on Al Wasl Road consistently makes the list of the best cafés in Dubai.
Myocum is not too crowded, even on the weekends, which is to say that it isn’t one of those places that you’ll need to queue up for because it’s all hyped up thanks to Instagram (which totally happens to most new cafés in Dubai). It’s the kind of place that’s visited by people in the know who aren’t distracted by the next new shiny café in the neighborhood.
It has all the essentials that you want in a café – it’s quiet, has a cool vibe, great coffee, and good food. Want a recommendation? Try the Spanish omelet or the mushrooms-stuffed croissant.
Quiet conversation/ Breakfast
One of my favorite beachfront cafes in Dubai, SKMD is located on Kite Beach, which is everyone’s favorite beach in Dubai. Go to this lively spot for breakfast dishes like avo toast or aubergine omelet or healthy green smoothies, or for lunch on the beach.
The vibe here is fun and lively, there’s great service, and the outdoor and upstairs terrace seating is perfect when the weather is good from November to March.
Slick, minimalist interiors, good coffee, and an extensive breakfast menu that leaves you spoilt for choice offering all of the city’s favorite breakfast dishes – from acai bowls and French toast with labneh ice cream to truffle scrambled eggs and chipotle benedict in a charcoal croissant (yeah, they fancy) are all excellent reasons to visit The Grey.
The menu also offers burgers and big plates such as shrimp pasta and mushroom risotto. To satiate that sweet fix, try one of their local-inspired desserts such as sticky date pudding or pistachio torte. Their coffee is great and they do a refreshing and oh-so-good classic cold brew too.
The vibe here is upmarket and sophisticated, but one of understated luxury. It’s the perfect spot for a quiet conversation or to get some work done. Nothing about this place- from the interiors and food to the noise level is loud, jarring, or gimmicky, and that perhaps lies at the heart of its appeal.
Quiet conversation/ Breakfast, lunch, or dinner
Mid-range to high
This café has three branches around Dubai, including a super popular one in Jumeirah. So if you’re going on a weekend, say a Friday or Saturday, be prepared to wait for a table. This spot is bright and colorful and super lively – perhaps, from the buzz of conversations from closely packed tables. But, the service is friendly, the menu is extensive, and the food is delicious.
They also do spectacular flavored cold brews, so if you’re into that, I say go for it. Their menu features breakfast dishes such as poached eggs and avo toasts, but they’ve also got some interesting bowl-style meals that are generously sized and tasty. The prices are very reasonable by Dubai standards.
Breakfast/ Lunch/ Coffee
Jumeirah (and other locations)
Society Cafe in Jumeirah (not to be mistaken with Cafe Society in Dubai Marina) with its understated, earthy-toned interiors is a calm spot to enjoy a cappuccino, iced coffee, or cold brew.
On the weekends, the place is popular with the breakfast crowd, and rightly so, with dishes such as a croissant Benedict and the Georgian favorite khachapuri. For those who don’t love eggs, there are other options such as the delicious truffle mac and cheese, and a crispy take on a Caesar salad. Go here for decent coffee and a good variety of food options on the menu.
A cool, lively spot that opened its doors in the art-loving Al Quoz district in 2019, Cassette Dubai has surely made its mark on the local cafe scene, as is evident by the crowds of people on the weekend hovering around the entrance, hopeful for a table.
There are many many things that make Cassette Dubai a great cafe – one, the location in the lively courtyard at The Courtyard, next to an indie theater, cool boutiques, and artist studios and workshops, is interesting and sets you up nicely for a wander around either before or after your visit.
Two, the service is super friendly. Three, the Parisian-inspired amazing food – from the vegan French toast and truffle potato Lyonnaise to the butter chili prawns, salads, and burgers. Whether you’re in the mood for breakfast or a main, it’s hard to go wrong here. The coffee is great too.
During the week, It’s also a perfectly good cafe to sit down at with a book or laptop. Don’t forget to check out the neighboring stores at The Courtyard and check for live theater or impromptu comedy listings at Courtyard Playhouse, the theater next door.
Great vibe, service, and food
Mid-range to high
Just next door to Cassette Dubai, also at The Courtyard in Al Quoz, Boston Lane is a nice little cafe that does good coffee, breakfast, and a few lunch options (salads, sandwiches, and some mains). This place gets busy on the weekend, with tables quickly filling up with breakfast orders of Turkish eggs and gluten-free pancakes.
If you pick the tiny indoor seating area, you’ll be surrounded by pop-ups selling everything from beautiful crockery to handcrafted jewelry and bags, and home decor. The brands who’ve set up shop here keep changing, so a wander around the stores, even if it’s your second visit, is a must. The outdoor area, right in the courtyard of the complex, is a much better choice when it comes to being seated, especially if you’re visiting between October and March when the weather is nice.
Coffee or lunch break, shopping
Tucked away in a quaint villa in Jumeirah, part boutique part coffee shop Comptoir 102 is where I’d expect to find myself if I died and went to Boho-heaven. This cafe brings all the coastal Bali vibes to Dubai through rattan furniture, swing chairs, cream and white hues, fairy lights, and relaxing fragrances that remind you of a spa. There are various seating areas, both indoors and outdoors, including an area where you can sit and work, and a quiet terrace-garden space where you can sit for hours and read a book and forget about the overrated concept of time.
In addition to breakfast-style eggs, the menu also features vegan specialties. Until I went for myself and tried the food – which is delicious (even if pricey), I thought this place was all hype.
I love their pita sandwiches that are super fresh and healthy and thought the rainbow pancakes were great too. Check their specials of the day and ask if there are any deals if you go in the evening.
There’s also a huge store selling everything from gorgeous (and expensive) furniture and crockery to healthy gourmet items, home fragrances and decor, shoes, bags, clothing, and jewelry.
Breakfast/ Lunch/ Vegan food/ Quiet/ Working
A homegrown coffee chain with multiple locations in Wasl 51 (my favorite one), Dubai Marina, and JBR, Blk Cab Coffee is a no-nonsense, refreshingly hype-free, laidback café that you’d go to for good coffee and decent light meals. The Wasl 51 branch isn’t too loud or crowded, so it’s good to go when you want to have a conversation with a friend or even to get some work done.
The high ceilings, indoor plants, well-lit interior, light music, great coffee, and super-friendly service make this the kind of place where I don’t mind spending a few hours when I want good coffee and a reasonably priced menu.
Quiet conversation/ Working
Yet another specialty cafe in a villa in Al Wasl, in Jumeirah, Alchemy has interiors that are all about minimalist Scandi-inspired blonde wood and white furniture and clean lines. The space is conducive to working for a few hours or just sitting quietly to enjoy a really good cup of coffee along with a croissant or muffin. You’ll find all kinds of preparation here for your coffee, including V60, Chemex, and cold brews.
Coffee and working
Hidden away in a leafy courtyard of a 19th-century traditional house in the heritage neighborhood of Al Bastakiya, also known as Al Fahidi Heritage District, Arabian Tea House Restaurant feels like a time capsule. It is, after all, one of the oldest cafes in Dubai, but has now evolved into so much more.
Walk in to find a vintage setting of lace curtains, rattan furniture, bright blue benches, and a canopy of leaves through which sunlight streams into this lovely cafe. Here, it almost feels like the new Dubai of concrete and glass skyscrapers does not exist and that life still goes by at the laidback pace as it once did, along the banks of Bur Dubai creek.
I bring all of my most beloved friends who are visiting Dubai to Arabian Tea House, that’s how much I love this place!
Visit here between September and April to enjoy this place on a leisurely unrushed morning or afternoon. All the food here is great, but the breakfast trays are a specialty- choose from Emirati, Lebanese, and a mix – they’re all delicious (but the Emirati one is something you probably won’t get easily elsewhere).
If you come for lunch, then order kebabs and get an assortment of cold mezze (like hummus and moutabal) and salads. True to its name, the menu features a wide selection of teas, everything from fruity and floral teas to local tea like karak. They also do fresh fruit juices that make for a refreshing meal in the day. Combine a visit here with a wander through the Bastakiya area of old Dubai.
Emirati Breakfast/ Local food/ Charming ambiance
Just next door to Arabian Tea House, housed in the courtyard of a heritage building that is now the XVA Art Hotel and Gallery, XVA Cafe is yet another delightful cafe in the Al Fahidi Heritage District that is fondly known by locals as Bastakiya (its former name). Wicker furniture, sand-colored arched corridors displaying the work of artists, and an art gallery make this cafe a favorite for those looking for a quiet, secret hideaway in old Dubai. Bring a book or simply settle down with a coffee to rest your legs from a day of wandering the nearby Bur Dubai Creek and souks.
On the menu, you’ll find eggs (for breakfast) and vegetarian dishes including salads and mains that seem like an imaginative mix of food from around the region (think a bit of Egyptian, a bit of Indian, and a bit Lebanese style mezze). If you come for breakfast, try the feta and zaatar-flavored Seddiqi omelet.
Quiet charm in old Dubai, vegetarian food
A lovely cafe located in the beautiful Al Quoz Pond Park, Wabi Sabi is the Dubai outpost of a Saudi Arabian restaurant chain that specializes in vegetarian, vegan, and healthy dishes. This is one of the best cafes in Dubai with a view and the location is brilliant – there’s outdoor seating in the park overlooking a pretty pond, and plenty of sunlight lighting up the indoor area of the cafe which also hosts pop-up exhibitions.
It’s a great spot for breakfast or lunch, to catch up with a friend, or work in the park. The menu is pretty extensive, so options are abundant, which is unusual but welcome in a vegetarian cafe. On the menu are pancakes, overnight oats, smoothie bowls, flatbreads, soups, sandwiches, pizzas, pasta, burgers, and other main dishes (seriously, what doesn’t this place have?!) Portions are generous and prices are reasonably mid-range.
Lovely park location, vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free food
A casual cafe on the ground floor of the swanky Burj Al Salam residence tower on Sheikh Zayed Road, The Sum of Us is great for a laidback breakfast or a quiet lunch and coffee in the afternoon, when you’re taking a break from sightseeing, or happen to be in the Trade Center area. During the week, it’s quiet enough to get some work done or even have a quick business meeting. But considering the location, expect prices to be on the higher side.
Expect the usual breakfast favorites on the menu (avo toast, eggs Benedict, pancakes, shakshuka, etc) as well as salads and burgers on the lunch menu. Coffee is decent too, but not as good as specialty cafes.
Breakfast/ Lunch if you’re around
With two locations in Dubai, Roseleaf Cafe at the Dubai Garden Center in Al Quoz is my favorite one. The glasshouse setting of this beautiful cafe, surrounded by plants and rustic garden furniture, is a lovely change from looking at glass and concrete elsewhere in Dubai. While the place is quiet during the week, and perfect to pick a spot and read for hours, the weekends can be a bit busy with families and children who decide to make a day of a visit to the Dubai Garden Center (who can blame them?).
Their coffee is sourced from Nightjar (the specialty cafe and roastery also in Al Quoz), so you can be sure it’s very good. The food menu is also pretty extensive- eggs, lasagna (including a vegetarian version), pies, baked goods, and more.
Breakfast/ Lunch, great coffee, quiet
Dubai Garden Center (and others)
With a couple of different locations around Dubai (including one which is among the best cafes at the Dubai Mall where you almost always have to wait a few minutes for a table), Home Bakery is more bakery than cafe, but still worth a visit – because it’s home to what in my opinion is Dubai’s best cheesecake. This is a homegrown bakery that was started by an Emirati woman, beginning in her home kitchen.
While the coffee is good, and the sandwiches, breakfasts, and light meals are great too, it’s the desserts and baked goods that steal the show here. There’s a vast range available- from chocolate and carrot cakes to muffins, as well as treats that are modern takes on sweet flavors from the region. The burnt-top baked cheesecake (with a center so soft it just melts in your mouth) is a personal favorite. While you’re here, also try the almond and saffron loaf, carrot cake, and the chocolate and pistachio kunafa.
Dessert, baked goods, cakes
Jumeirah 1 and other locations
While %Arabica’s rising popularity means that you’ll also find it in malls around Dubai, the standalone cafe at City Walk is great if you’d rather not step into a shopping mall (which is totally what I tell myself every Friday). The Japanese-inspired clean, minimalist aesthetic appeals to Dubai’s coffee lovers, as does the specialty coffee with the beans being roasted in-house.
They serve both single origins and custom blends and do a particularly good dark latte (iced is my preference for warm days in Dubai). Their food menu is limited to the few baked goods you see on the counter, so come here mainly for the coffee.
City Walk and other locations
Brunch & Cake is a Barcelona export that is enjoying a wave of popularity in Dubai, leading to multiple branches in the city. The vibe here is bright and happy with plenty of natural light through the windows and ocean-inspired boho interiors with lots of plants and rattan touches. The service is excellent and the portions are generous, which is a rarity in Dubai.
They’ve got so much on their menu that it’s hard to describe, but what’s important to know is that it’s all good! From breakfast eggs (cooked in more ways than you thought was possible) to savory French Toast and lobster shakshouka (pretty sure you can’t find that elsewhere in Dubai) to salad bowls and plant-based dishes, you’d be spoilt for choice.
Wash it down with one of their indulgent shakes or smoothies. Be sure to visit when you’re hungry because the portions are ginormous by Dubai standards. The service is friendly, and reservations are recommended.
Breakfast, brunch, big portions
Wasl 51 and other locations
Now while The Coffee Club is an Australian cafe chain found in many locations around Dubai, including in some shopping malls, there’s a reason why I decided to include it on this list. While there’s nothing fancy or unique about the interiors, the food is pretty good and there’s a fantastic vegan menu as well. Let’s say if I were shopping at a mall and wanted a coffee and a quick bite, then I’d choose The Coffee Club over a Starbucks any day.
They’ve got the usual eggs menu for breakfast – such as omelets, eggs Benedict, poached eggs on avocado toast plus delicious and healthy chia puddings and acai bowls. Their lunch menu with soups, salads, sandwiches, and mains, with plenty of vegan options, is also great. This is a good spot when you want a nice casual cafe with good food, decent coffee, quick service, and none of the fuss of having to wait for a table.
Breakfast, quick lunch, vegan menu
A vegan cafe that feels like an oasis of calm, SEVA Table in Jumeirah is a must-visit if you’re interested in delicious, entirely satisfying, and not at all boring plant-based healthy food. This could easily be the best spot for vegan food in Dubai – it certainly sparked my own love affair with it through dishes like their vegan omelet and a Middle Eastern board of mezze that I can’t stop thinking about.
The space is made to relax in and take things slow – there’s a large outdoor garden, a library stocked with books, and plenty of cushions, rustic benches, and wood furniture everywhere for that laidback, in-the-heart-of-nature vibe. Just don’t expect Wi-Fi.
All of the ingredients used in their dishes are free from MSGs, GMOs, gluten, soy, cane sugar, and trans fats – so this is one meal that you can be sure is healthy. If you love things like acai bowls and vegan omelets, then this is the perfect place to come. The friendly staff is also happy to tell you more if you’ve got questions.
This spot is one of the coolest cafes in Jumeirah and is super busy on the weekends, especially among hipsters and yogis – so you must make a reservation before you go. Bring a good book to read or head indoors for a cozy ambiance .The cafe also has a wellness venue that conducts yoga, meditation, and other wellness sessions that you can book to attend in advance.
Nomad Day Bar
One of the coolest kids on the block, Nomad Day Bar is a lively coffee bar and lounge in the World Trade Center area that is a vibe in its own league. It’s located on the lobby level of the 25hours Hotel and is designed in the cool, colorful, eclectic style of the rest of the hotel. There are butterfly wing chairs, bean bags, poofs, and low chairs in the interior where a fantastical space-constellation-sci-fi-inspired ceiling hangs above, a spinning globe stands at the center of a circular library, and neon lights lend an air of mysterious chic.
There are comfortable settee-style couches and chairs that sprawl out around a few bars on the terrace. The cafe bar also extends to the first floor of the hotel where there’s a co-working set up if you need a slightly quieter environment.
Lively house tracks, sometimes belted out by a DJ, keep the fun vibe going, and there’s heavenly nitro cold brew and coffee by Nightjar. They also serve breakfast, baked goods, brunch and lunch. This spot is more than just a cafe, it’s a creative community hotspot and often hosts food, market, and event pop-ups. Since it’s in a hotel, you can also order alcoholic drinks here.
Digital nomads are encouraged to work from here with chairs and tables and long coworking tables in the lobby.
Coffee, food, fun vibe, events
The specialty of the house at homegrown brand Project Chaiwala is, of course, chai, or tea with milk. They do a particularly good karak, or karak tea, that is basically the local hot beverage of choice for locals looking for a morning jolt, afternoon pick-me-up, or a post-work evening recharger. Founded by an Emirati-Indian duo, Project Chaiwala marries the street chai culture of Indian cities with the sensibilities and fun vibe of contemporary cafe culture.
All of their tea is ethically sourced directly from tea farms in India. Their teas are also available for sale, both online and in their cafes. On the menu are light bites that go well with tea such as their take on the popular and oh-so-tasty Indian street snack, samosa.
They’ve got a few different locations around Dubai, including the original one at Cinema Akil at Alserkal Avenue in Al Quoz, surrounded by art galleries and cool concept stores. If you hear a chaiwala call out, “Chai chai chai” as you pass by, that’s your cue!
Chai and light snacks
Located in Al Quoz, Tom & Serg is a casual Melbourne-inspired cafe with industrial decor, think high ceilings with visible pipes, and vents over the two-storeyed cafe, and simple wood furniture.
They do great all-day breakfasts, including Turkish eggs (a must-try when in Dubai, and their version is surprisingly tangy) and Aussie Benedict with wagyu beef. Other than good coffee, the food here is a highlight with dishes that range from Asian-inspired curries and salads to mains such as a haddock and lemon myrtle risotto. Expect it to be crowded on the weekends.
Great coffee, breakfast, and lunch
Trendy industrial interiors, floor-to-ceiling windows, the aroma of freshly-roasted coffee and baked goods, and a menu that features everything from gourmet deli-style sandwiches, salads, and quiches to eggs Benedict, protein bowls, burgers, pasta, and flatbreads, are all the reasons why 1762 Stripped is one of the best cafes in the Jumeirah Lakes Towers or JLT area.
This chain has a few different locations around Dubai, but not all have an a la carte menu that you can order off. In another life when I was working a finance job, I used to get a salad from 1762 every day for lunch, so I can attest to how delicious and healthy these are!
Go here for breakfast or lunch, to work, read, or catch up with a friend. 1762 Stripped is perfectly suited to all of these, and prices are reasonable by Dubai standards.
Great coffee, variety of breakfast and lunch
The Lighthouse is a lovely café and concept store in Dubai Design District that not only serves great breakfast and coffee but also soups, salads, sandwiches, mezze, as well as main dishes for lunch and dinner.
If you like eggs for breakfast, they’ve got everything from shakshouka to truffle scrambled eggs. It’s also perfect for a coffee with things like apple and olive oil muffins and cinnamon rolls on their baked goods menu. Their concept store is stocked with interesting designer creations in homeware, stationery, glassware, bags, accessories, and more.
Great coffee, breakfast, variety of lunch and dinner
The Hamptons Cafe and Restaurant
With a beautiful location beside manicured gardens, flowery walkways, and a lake in Jumeirah Islands, The Hamptons Cafe is a lovely spot for breakfast (all day), brunch, or lunch (they do all of these very well).
They’ve got a nice upstairs section as well, and an outdoor terrace that you must absolutely ask to sit at in the cooler months between October and March.
While breakfast is great, I think their main dishes (that you’d typically order for lunch) are even better. Their menu is huge by the way, so expect to be looking at it for a while. From soups, salads, sandwiches and burgers to pastas and risottos and everything in between, they’ve got it all!
Great coffee, breakfast, and lunch
They opened their first branch at the Dubai Mall many years ago and immediately were a big hit, leading to long queues of hungry customers watching patiently as batch after batch of round buns came out of the oven. Since then, they’ve expanded with many branches around Dubai and a few at the Dubai Mall itself.
Their coffee is decent, nothing spectacular, and they’ve also got other sweet and savory snacks, but the one thing you should not miss is the classic Papparoti, which is a perfect excuse to sit down and rest your legs while shopping at the Dubai Mall.
Hot buttery-centered buns
The Dubai Mall (and other locations)
I wasn’t expecting to include a café chain on this list, but when I truly started thinking about the cafes I love most in Dubai, I found myself asking- How could I not include Caffe Nero? After the many times I’ve turned to this reliable chain that serves consistently good coffee, how could I not?
Caffè Nero does real Italian coffee and they also roast their beans that you can buy to take home. Their espresso is my favorite coffee there, as is the cortado, and they also have iced coffees. I love their light meals and toasted panini sandwiches that are perfect for a quick working lunch. They have several branches around Dubai including in DIFC and shopping malls like the Dubai Mall.
Italian coffee, paninis
Financial Center (and other locations)
An elegant cafe at the luxurious Fashion Avenue extension at the Dubai Mall, founded by two Emirati sisters, Two at Symphony is a wonderful cafe (that extends from a fashion boutique), perfect for when you want to have a late breakfast, lunch, a coffee, and a treat, or even dinner, in the Dubai Mall and Downtown Dubai area. The ambiance exudes sophistication with the gold-white-pastel decor that has won several awards. So, you’d be forgiven for assuming that the prices here are to match- but you’d be pleasantly surprised to learn that prices here are not exorbitant, and are comparable to other cafes in the area.
The breakfast menu features a mix of international and regional favorites such as eggs Benedict, avo toast, egg in brioche but also shakshouka, Turkish eggs, and baith w tamat (scrambled eggs with tomato). For lunch or dinner, there are plenty of appetizers, salads, and mains such as prawn risotto, crispy salmon, and herbed chicken penne. Save room for a dessert such as the rose pistachio cake, asida pie, and dibs and toffee pudding.
Breakfast, dessert, cakes
Mid-range to high
Founded by a passionate local chef, Mitts and Trays quickly established a reputation as one of the best places in Dubai for dessert – think saffron or rose falooda tres leches, kunafa croquembouche, and molten chocolate cake.
While the desserts and baked goods are a highlight, Mitts and Trays also does great breakfast, chia puddings, as well as sandwiches and sliders. For lunch and dinner, there are soups, salads, and dishes like chicken katsu, wagyu quesadilla, salmon bowl, grilled octopus, pasta, lamb chops, and steak, drawing from a range of international cuisines. Apart from good coffee, they also do excellent mocktails, smoothies, and milkshakes. All quite reasonably priced by Dubai standards.
Breakfast, dessert, cakes, mocktails, and smoothies
This bright and airy café in Jumeirah 3, with large windows that overlook the street, is especially great in the winter months when you can sit outside. The first thing that strikes you when you enter the cafe is the apothecary theme- with a pharmacy-style wooden cabinet of drawers at the brew bar, coffee filters displayed like medical equipment, and a wall of vintage bottles as though filled with healing potions. If it’s busy, head upstairs where interesting art by local artists lines the wall and light floods in through the windows.
Of interest to coffee connoisseurs, Rx Coffee Apothecary and Kitchen is the only place in Dubai that serves the specialty Fuglen Coffee (with beans sourced from Norway and Japan). They’ve also got breakfast dishes and eggs on the menu, sandwiches, and tons of dessert options. Choose from pancakes, French toast, cheesecake-flavored soft serve, and rose balaleet, a modern take on a traditional breakfast dish in the UAE.
Breakfast, dessert, cakes, coffee
A cafe with a cool, edgy vibe that’s a great place for a bit of remote working or co-working during the week, Around the Block is yet another hidden gem in the Wasl 51 area. There’s also a concept store here that sells streetwear and sneakers, and the cafe also hosts pop-ups by young, hip local designers and brands.
The food is pretty good, with plenty of options for breakfast (try the Greek eggs), salads, burgers, mains, and dessert (the Kunafa French Toast is worth the calories).
Breakfast, dessert, co-working
Founded by an Emirati-Italian husband-wife duo, Mazmi Coffee & More is a charming little cafe and B&B close to the old Textile Souk, right by the Bur Dubai creek. The draw here is the location of course; get a table outside because it’s a good place from which to watch abra boats ply the creek and seagulls above the water. Try their freshly baked cakes, croissants, waffles, or order one of their egg breakfast dishes (served all day) such as Eggs Benedict or their flavorsome shakshouka. They’ve also got light meals and mains for lunch and dinner (like saffron risotto). If you want to cool off on a hot afternoon, their saffron or dates ice cream is highly recommended.
This lovely cafe is perfect for when you want to rest your legs a bit while on a walking tour of the Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood, breakfast, lunch, an early dinner, or coffee and cake before or after you’ve explored the souks of Deira.
Housed in a villa on Jumeirah Beach Road, Tania’s Teahouse is a homegrown cafe that quickly rose to fame thanks to its highly instagrammable interiors and popularity as a venue for baby showers and tea parties in Dubai. Everything is pretty, pink, pastel, or floral-designed in this very girly café – so I’d recommend you to go only if that’s your kind of vibe.
While they also do breakfast and eggs, they’re known for their wide variety of teas, afternoon tea, festive coffees, cookies, and sweet treats (Unicorn cheesecakes, anyone?). It’s a cute little place for some conversation over tea and scones.
Being one of the most instagrammable cafes in Dubai
Have you ever felt like you’re in a scene from a storybook or a fairytale? At Forever Rose Cafe, thanks to illusions incorporated in the design and monochromatic theme (including the furniture and serveware), you’ll find yourself in a 2D illustration where everything is in black and white except the food and diners. This place scores high on the instagrammable factor and is one of the cute cafes in Dubai.
On the menu are breakfast dishes such as eggs, avo toast, pancakes, French toast, and more, as well as mains such as burgers, risottos, and more. Save room for dessert with a local flair with options such as Umm Ali French Toast and Baklava Cheesecake.
If you’ve got a sweet tooth, then be sure to make your way to L’eto Caffe (multiple locations around Dubai), to indulge in rich, decadent, gooey, soul-pleasing pastries and cakes, paired with tea or coffee. With vibrant colorful floral installations, the cafe is a pretty space to be in and perhaps take a break from shopping in the city’s gargantuan malls.
Try the profiterole, or one of their meringues, cheesecakes, or chocolate cakes – it’s hard to go wrong here really!
Pastries and cakes
Another homegrown cafe, RAW Coffee Company sources its coffee directly from farmers around the world, ensuring fair treatment and sustainable living for them. They’ve also got a coffee roastery where they make their single-origin coffees or blends, which can also be bought directly from them. Visit RAW Coffee for great coffee and excellent cold brews, burgers, sandwiches, savory pies, and toasties, all served through the day in their industrial-style cafe.
Coffee and cold brew