Leafy green: 10 secret garden bars and cafes in Dubai
Getting out of the city isn’t always an option, but there are plenty of places in Dubai that feel like green oases. Here are 10 to try…
In a nutshell: A downtown Pan-Asian restaurant with all-you-can-eat dim sum
A Pan-Asian restaurant that’s luxe yet laid back, just like the Vida Hotel that it calls home. A hidden green oasis in Downtown Dubai, the natural tones and pale wooden furniture will make you feel like you’re in a Far East garden. To make the most of the menu, check out the newly launched all-you-can-eat dim sum nights on Tuesdays, when you get unlimited dim sum plus three bottles of beer or three mocktails for Dhs195 from 7pm to 10pm.
Vida Downtown, Sheikh Mohamed Bin Rashid Boulevard, Downtown Dubai, Dubai, Sun to Tue noon to 1am, Wed and Thur noon to 2am, Fri 7.30am to 2am, Sat 7.30am to 1am. Tel: (04) 4428383. Metro: Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall. downtowntoko.com
2. Inn The Park
In a nutshell: A picnic in the park that’s powered by the sun
We don’t tend to think of Dubai when we think of the world’s most ecofriendly cities, but one restaurant is on a mission to change that. Inn The Park, which you’ll find in Al Khazzan Park, is a café that uses solar power to minimise its carbon footprint. They also work with local farms, choosing organic produce whenever possible on their menu, which includes simple, picnic-friendly salads and sandwiches. It’s a perfect spot for a family weekend too, with its own play area for kids.
Al Khazzan Solar Park, Safa Street, Jumeirah 2, Dubai, daily 9am to 7pm. Tel: (04) 3368056. Taxi: Al Khazzan Park Safa Street, opposite City Walk. facebook.com/innthepark
In a nutshell: A glam party spot for sushi lovers
We first discovered Vii during the summer months. The bar in the Conrad Hotel brings the outdoors in, thanks to its air-conditioned glass dome lined with lush vines – it’s enough to make you feel like you’re dining alfresco. The Asian-inspired menu has had a revamp – we recommend the dedicated sushi counter – and there are plenty of chances to keep the evening going, from ladies’ night deals to retro club nights.
Conrad Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road, daily 8pm to 3am. Tel: (050) 1696777. Taxi: Conrad Hotel. viidubai.com
4. Garden On 8
In a nutshell: A pub garden in a skyscraper
Being in Media City might make us a bit biased, but we’re big fans of this casual bar, which manages to feel like a pub garden despite being on the eighth floor of Media One Hotel. That’s probably due to the rustic benches, astroturf floor and a menu of pub grub favourites, along with plenty of TV screens for sports fans.
Media One Hotel, Dubai Media City, Dubai, daily 5pm to 11pm. Tel: (04) 4271000. Metro: Nakheel. mediaonehotel.com
In a nutshell: A chic Japanese garden overlooking the beach
We’ve been Ranusake’s cheerleaders ever since it opened its doors last summer. Spacious and stylish, with chic furniture and cool artsy murals just like you’ll find inside, the terrace at Ramusake is modelled after a traditional Japanese garden. Gaze out over the gulf and tuck into their excellent food. The dishes are just as pretty as the surroundings: the miso black cod was one of our favourite eats of 2016.
Doubletree By Hilton, The Walk, JBR, Dubai, Sun to Thur 6pm to 2am, Thur 4pm to 2am, Fri and Sat noon to 2am. Tel: (04) 5595300. Taxi: Doubletree By Hilton JBR. ramusake.ae
6. Royal China
In a nutshell: A pretty oasis in the heart of DIFC
You don’t expect much in the way of greenery when venturing to the DIFC, which makes Royal China’s outdoor terrace even more of a pleasant surprise. The award-winning London import has a wonderful garden filled with plants (even grass underfoot), making it a real urban oasis in the heart of the busy district. Book a table alfresco and tuck into classic Asian dishes, such as wok-fried wagyu with oysters and sautéed okra.
The Balcony, Precinct Building 4, DIFC, Dubai, Sun to Thur 3pm to 6pm. Tel: (04) 3545543. Metro: Emirates Towers. royalchinadubai.com
In a nutshell: A glam hideaway in Business Bay with a picnic brunch
Providing a welcome bit of green to Business Bay, Treehouse is a cosy yet stylish outdoor lounge, with rustic wooden tables, comfy sofas and some of the best Burj Khalifa views in town. As you’d expect from the name, there’s plenty of lush vegetation, and you’ll get even more of a garden vibe on Fridays, when the Treehouse Brunch kicks off with a picnic hamper.
Taj Dubai, Business Bay, Dubai, Sun to Wed 5pm to 1am, Thur to Sat 5pm to 3am. Tel: (050) 6483083. Metro: Business Bay. instagram.com/treehousedubai
8. Brunswick Sports Club
In a nutshell: A rustic, laidback sports bar with a cool courtyard
This Australian bar from the Bull & Roo empire (the brains behind Common Grounds and Tom & Serg) is one of our favourite sports pubs in the city. Located in the Sheraton Dubai Mall Of The Emirates, the indoor courtyard is filled with plants and vines dangling from the ceiling – a relaxing place to refuel with some pub grub and recover from an afternoon of mall trawling.
Sheraton Dubai Mall Of The Emirates Hotel, Dubai, daily noon to 2am. Tel: (04) 3529535. Metro: Mall Of The Emirates. facebook.com/brunswicksc
9. Hundred Wellness
In a nutshell: Farmers’ market, fitness classes and strong coffee in a Jumeirah garden
Tucked away in the streets behind Dubai Zoo, just off Jumeirah Beach Road, the Hundred Wellness has a beautiful, serene garden with a pristine lawn, plenty of plants and lots of space to relax after a workout (the Hundred runs a number of fitness classes, including Pilates). You can sip a healthy juice from the café, or something stronger from onsite coffee shop the Espresso Lab. The garden is also used for a weekly farmers’ market, as well as regular yoga and meditation classes.
The Hundred Wellness Centre, 1 53 B Street, Dubai, Sat to Thur 7am to 8pm. Tel (04) 3447333. Taxi: The Hundred Wellness Centre. thehundred.ae
10. Life N’One
In a nutshell: Quirky décor, wellbeing workshops and a raw food menu at this unique lifestyle centre
With its pretty rugs, tree stumps for tables and colourful plants, all hidden behind high walls, entering the garden of Life N’One feels a bit like Alice In Wonderland meets a zen garden. The wellness destination has everything you need for a healthy life, from an outdoor space dedicated to fitness classes to an extensive raw food menu and regular reiki and chakra healing workshops.
Villa 5/1b, 27b Street, Jumeirah Beach Road, Dubai, Sun to Thur 8am to 7pm, Fri and Sat 10am to 7pm. Tel: (04) 3436676. Taxi: behind Magrudy’s. lifenone.com