You may have noticed the Dubai Food Festival is currently helping all of us who shed the post-Christmas pounds pile it all back on again. To celebrate, we have pulled together a brilliant collection of lists to help guide you on your merry way around Dubai’s best dining options, starting here with the very best breakfasts in town.
Check out our guide to breakfast in Dubai, complete with plenty of other helpful nuggets of information, including health tips, recipes and handy advise.
25 BEST BREAKFASTS in DUBAI
Reform Social & Grill
Some people have eggs, some have beans, some have meat; the English have it all. And so it is that the Reform Bar & Grill in The Lakes delivers the ultimate breakfast experience with their full English (above), priced at Dhs75. With no less than eight different ingredients, it is a brilliant hotchpotch of everything you need to start the day. And to think, they say the English can’t do cuisine.
The Lakes, Dubai, daily 8am to midnight. Tel: (04) 4542638. Taxi: The Lakes. reformsocialgrill.ae
Breakfast meets brunch in a head-on collision of pastries, granola and eggs. There are sturdy options like eggs Benedict, waffles, and steak straight from the BBQ. You must try the plate of desserts that’s designed to look like eggs, sausage and bacon.
Fairmont The Palm, Dubai, Fri 10.30am to 3pm, Dhs155 without alcohol, Dhs285 with house beverages and cocktails, Dhs445 with a half bottle of bubbly, house beverages and cocktails. Tel: (04) 8007256. Taxi: Fairmont The Palm. fairmont.com
The Irish Village
The Village Fry at Dhs63 is so big it’ll take you a fair bit of time to polish it off. The stack of buttery toast is a wonderful piece of breakfast architecture.
Next to Century Village, Garhoud, Dubai, daily 11am to 1am. Tel: (04) 2824750. Metro: GGCO. theirishvillage.com
This elegant café at Dubai Marina Mall does eggs, juices, muesli and good pastries, served with a nice view of the Marina and its never-ending stream of bypassers. And, as you would expect from an Italian place, the coffee is first-rate.
Dubai Marina Mall, Dubai, daily 8am to midnight. Tel: (04) 3997844. Metro: Dubai Marina. carluccios.com
Wherever you are in Dubai, you’re never too far from this fail-safe breakfast spot. We like the Mall Of The Emirates branch to fuel up ahead of an afternoon of retail therapy. Being French and all, the fresh croissants and baguettes served with butter and preserves are a guaranteed winner.
Mall Of The Emirates, Al Barsha, Dubai, Sun to Wed 10am to 10pm, Thur to Sat 10am to midnight. Tel: (04) 3414844. Metro: Mall Of The Emirates. paul-international.com
This diner at the shiny new Citywalk development specialises in the kind of belt-straining breakfasts usually found in America. Think banana pancakes with maple syrup, French toast with Nutella or a roll crammed with veal bacon, egg and cheese, served with a side of fried potatoes. Gulp.
Citywalk, Al Safa Street, Jumeirah, Dubai, daily 8am to midnight. Tel: (04) 3443305. Taxi: Citywalk. caramelgroup.com
Health-conscious types who would rather eat their own arm than a greasy fry-up should head for the café at Comptoir 102 for buckwheat pancakes topped with salmon and avocado, or super-food salads packed with papaya, pomegranate and Goji berries. Wash it down with a fresh fruit or vegetable juice.
Jumeirah Beach Road, Dubai, daily 8.30am to 6.30pm. Tel: (04) 3854555. Taxi: 102 Jumeirah Beach Road. comptoir102.com
A weekend lie-in is one of the biggest joys of life, so we approve of a breakfast that starts at 11am. One for the larger appetites, the Girders Big British Breakfast involves generous helpings of eggs, rashers, sausages, baked beans, grilled tomato, mushrooms and toast.
JA Ocean View Hotel, The Walk, JBR, Dubai, Fri and Sat 11am to 4pm, Dhs79. Tel: (04) 8145590. Taxi: JBR. jaresortshotels.com
Little More Café
Whether you’re in the mood for fluffy American-style pancakes, a classic English breakfast, or Arabic-inspired scrambled eggs with halloumi, olives and pitta, you’ll find it on the menu at this spacious, family-friendly café in Marina Mall. Pull up a chair at a table on the terrace and relax with the newspapers.
Little More Café, Marina Mall, Sat to Wed 8am to 11pm, Thur and Fri 8am to midnight. Tel: (04) 4324608. Metro: Jumeirah Lake Towers. littlemore.co
Fournil de Pierre
A pretty French café with a beautiful display of glistening pastries, fruit-filled tarts and freshly baked breads. Take a seat on one of the elegant couches, order a crêpe, a continental breakfast or some eggs and watch the world go by outside. Mind you, if you’re there at 7am, the people watching may be a little subdued.
Emaar Boulevard, Downtown Dubai, daily 7am to 3am. Tel: (04) 4203070. Metro: Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall. facebook.com/fournildepierreuae
Tom & Serg
Need a reason to venture to Al Quoz? Consider the poached eggs with avocado on rye bread. The roomy café is quickly forming a cult following by the coolest foodies in town, thanks to good, honest food, a dizzying array of coffees and staff who are passionate about making your visit one to remember without being overbearing.
Al Joud Centre, 15A Street, Al Quoz, Dubai, daily 8am to 4pm. Tel: (050) 3675332. Metro: Noor Islamic Bank. tomandserg.com
The Pantry Café
The toasted muesli pot here at this busy café is a thing of beauty: layers of crunchy muesli, pieces of fruit, creamy yoghurt, honey and fruit compote. Grasp your spoon firmly and delve deep to get all the good stuff at the bottom. Also worth ordering is the shakshouka, which is which is rich and deep in flavour and served in a pan. It comes with a hefty slice of whole wheat bread baked on the premises. And, just so you know, the eggs used at Pantry Café are organic.
Wasl Square, opposite Safa Park, Jumeirah, Dubai, daily 8am to 11pm. Tel: (04) 3883868. Taxi: Wasl Square. pantrycafe.me
Executive chef Emily Herbert is big on healthy, organic ingredients, and Ultra brews only Fair Trade, organic coffee from Dubai’s own Raw Coffee Company. Elsewhere on the menu are wild rocket and poached egg, or a three egg omelette with spinach, zucchini and chutney relish.
Building 4, Emaar Square, Downtown Dubai, Sun to Fri 7am to 7pm. Tel: (04) 4204572. Metro: Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall. ultra.ae
Every morning at 3.30am, a team of French bakers arrive at La Serre, the beautiful French restaurant/café in Downtown and get baking. When the boulangerie opens at 6.30am, the smell of fresh bread and pastries is waiting to greet you. We love the scrambled eggs with truffle and pain perdu (French toast), and the lofty, white marble interior is very nice too. When you’re tearing into that criossant, just spare a thought for those bakers who got up at dawn to make it for you.
Vida Downtown Hotel, Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard, Downtown Dubai, Sun to Thur 7am to 11am, Fri and Sat 7am to 12.30pm. Tel: (04) 4286969. Metro: Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall. laserre.ae
If you like your café leafy and trendy, they don’t come much leafier and trendier than The Archive. With a peaceful setting in Safa Park, this café/art library does good all-day French toast, eggs Benedict and American pancakes. The health bunnies among you can go for yoghurt with grated pear and oats, or a date and banana smoothie.
Gate 5, Safa Park, Dubai, 9am to 9pm. Tel: (05) 28208671. Taxi: Safa Park. facebook.com/TheArchiveDubai
A plate of eggs Benedict and a latte at Café Bateel on Marina Walk is a genteel way to kick off a weekend. For days when we’re on our best behaviour, the yoghurt served with granola and fresh raspberries hits the spot.
Marina Walk, Dubai Marina, Sun to Wed 7.30am to midnight, Thur and Fri 7.30am to 12.30am. Tel: (04) 3684696. Metro: Dubai Marina. bateel.com
Dubai Marina Yacht Club
Despite the name, you don’t need a yacht to get into this chic waterfront venue. Inside, 25°55° Café Bistro serves a traditional English breakfast in a hot skillet, all day long. Choose your eggs any style, drink in the marina view and pick the yacht you want to be yours.
Street H, District 4, Dubai Marina, daily 7am to 10.30pm, Dhs85. Tel: (04) 3627900. Metro: Jumeirah Lake Towers.dubaimarinayachtclub.com
Tucked away in a corner of JLT by the waterfront, Nofara is worth sniffing out. If you’re feeling sleepy after a late night, the shakshouka – perhaps the spiciest one we’ve had in Dubai – will grab you by the lapels and give you a good shake.
Swiss Tower, Cluster Y, JLT, Dubai, daily 7am to 10pm. Tel: 800 663272. Metro: Dubai Marina. nofaracafe.com
A magnificent fry up is available here for just Dhs90. Soak up the bustling atmosphere of this busy JLT hotspot and then soak up your sauce with a bit of toast.
Cluster J, Jumeirah Lake Towers, Dubai, daily noon to 3am. Tel: (04) 3560560. Taxi: Bonnington Hotel. mcgettigansdubai.com
The Dubai branch of the prestigious London restaurant does one of the best full English breakfasts in town. Eggs are prepared to your liking, be it Arlington, Florentine or Benedict. Health hounds can opt for granola and yoghurt.
The Boulevard, ground level, Jumeirah Emirates Towers, Dubai, Sun to Thur 8am to 11am, Fri and Sat 9am to 11am. Tel: (04) 3198767. Metro: Emirates Towers. theivy.ae
The crunchy sweet potato rosti is the star of Urban Bistro’s big breakfast plate, The Full Urban. It comes with baked cherry tomatoes on the vine, eggs, beef sausage, mushrooms and turkey bacon. Porridge, waffles, crêpes and cute mini pastries are good for those with smaller appetites. FYI, the coffee at this pretty lakeside spot is some of the strongest we’ve tried in Dubai so you might want to decline that second cup.
CNN building, Media City, Dubai, Sun to Thur 7am to 10pm, Fri and Sat 9am to 6pm. Tel: (04) 3624330. Metro: Nakheel. urbanbistro.ae
The Lime Tree Café
Early opening and a children’s menu, including a boiled egg with soldiers, mean The Lime Tree’s three outlets are a good spot to take your cherubs when they wake you up at 6am, complaining that they’re hungry. For grown ups there’s eggs Florentine, homemade beans on toast, smoked salmon Benedict and pancakes with caramelised banana and maple syrup. Take note that Lime Tree use free-range eggs and do gluten-free toast.
Jumeirah, Sun to Thur 7.30am to 11am, Fri and Sat 7.30am to 1pm; Al Quoz, Sun to Thur 8am to 11am, Fri and Sat 8am to 1pm; Sheikh Zayed Road daily 7am to 1pm. Tel: (04) 3256325. thelimetreecafe.com
Baker & Spice
This deli is great for a lingering breakfast or simply a pastry to go. For some Arabian flavours, try the falaheen (farmers’) breakfast with labneh, salata matbukha, feta, tahini, pita bread and date dibs. Other delights include bagels, blueberry pancakes and a ‘nearly’ full English breakfast.
Souk Al Manzil, Downtown Dubai, daily 8am to 11pm. Tel: (04) 4279856. Taxi: Al Manzil. bakerandspiceme.com
Sidle up to the buffet table groaning with fruits, pastries and cereals and load up for just Dhs55, including any egg dish from the menu.
Swiss Tower, Cluster Y, JLT, Dubai, daily 8am to 10pm. Tel: (04) 3697821. Metro: Dubai Marina. facebook.com/FraicheCafe
You’ll probably think you’re in the wrong place and/or lost if you drive out to The Farm. But trust in your sat nav and keep going because The Farm is worth the trip. An ultra-modern house made of wood and glass, it’s a stylish spot that has the menu on an iPad. The large number of choices lean towards the healthy, but there are pancakes for those seeking something naughty.
Al Barari Villas, Emirates Road, opposite Falcon City, Dubai, Sun to Thur 7.30am to 11pm, Fri and Sat 8.30am to 11pm. Tel: (04) 3925660. Taxi: Al Barari. thefarmdubai.com
Dubai-based Karen McLean writes the Secret Squirrel food blog. Her healthy Bircher muesli is prepared the night before, making it a good idea if you’re in a hurry.
Ingredients: ½ cup oats; 1 tbsp flax seeds; 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds; 1 tbsp sunflower seeds; 2 tbsp dried cranberries; ¼ cup chopped walnuts; ½ tsp cinnamon; Pinch of nutmeg; ½ grated green apple; ½ cup milk of choice; ¼ cup natural yoghurt; For the topping: ½ grated green apple; 2 tbsp chopped walnuts.
1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl, mix well and leave overnight in the fridge.
2. The following morning, add a splash of milk and mix well.
3. Top with grated apple and walnuts.
Dubai’s five quirkiest coffees
Tom & Serg’s head barista, Jamie Elfman, spills the beans on his favourite brews served at the Al Quoz hipster hangout.
1. The Geisha
Using beans from Panama, this coffee smells like a packet of fruit sweets.
Ethiopian beans work well for this cold brewed coffee that has intense flavours of jasmine, lemon and peach.
3. The Espresso
The black stuff needs beans from South and Central America to get a chocolaty, nutty flavour.
This is the best way to start the day and tastes like grapefruit with brown sugar thanks to the Kenyan beans.
5. Mount Tamborine
The Aussie beans used in this coffee make it taste earthy and wholesome.
Is breakfast the most important meal of the day? Nutritionist Victoria Tipper: For some healthy people, occasionally skipping breakfast is not an issue. But for others, skipping breakfast increases our levels of cortisol, which can disrupt sleep and lead to weight gain. Coffee also increases cortisol levels, so those who grab a cup of coffee to start their day will be adding to cortisol spikes.
Dubai Herbal Treatment Centre, Oud Metha Road, Dubai, Sun to Thur 8am to 8pm, Sat 10am to 4pm. Tel: (04) 3351200. Taxi: Near Zabeel Palace. dubaihtc.com