We’ve tracked them down, so you don’t have to…

If you’re tired of the usual hotspots and are looking for somewhere new to grab an artisan coffee, or tuck into a delicious burger, there are so many secret spots just waiting to be discovered. Feast your eyes on these unique cafes and restaurants and we guarantee you’ll thank us later.

Here’s 11 hidden gems you’ll find in Dubai.

The Pangolin

 

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Over two years ago Sergio Lopez began work on a mind-bendingly ambitious project that’s taken over an entire building – which he had built – and parachuted in passionate Aussie chef Troy Payne to open The Pangolin, a two-storey plus veranda behemoth, at The Els Club. Design-wise, the ground floor brasserie is beautiful. The booths serve as a nod to African Safari fleets with leather straps buckled to the cushions while the soft-backed, luxe camping chairs add to the luxury safari motif. If you’re expecting the usual Dubai-style run-of-the-mill menu (one burrata, ribeye steak with fries, cheesecake thanks) then perhaps The Pangolin won’t be for you. If instead you’ve a curious palate and are willing to join Chef Troy on a fun culinary adventure then The Pangolin is suitably a wild ride.

The Pangolin, Els Club, Dubai Sports City, Sun to Thur 8am to midnight, Fri and Sat 8am to 1am. Tel: (058) 573 2594. thepangolindubai.com

Twiggy

 

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It’s hard to believe that this stunning spot is in Dubai. A 100 metre infinity pool overlooks the Dubai Creek, while palm trees line the outskirts of Park Hyatt’s pristine man-made beach. It’s a haven of private to spend the day soaking up the sun. Twiggy combines a supermodel of a beach club with a stunning French-Mediterranean restaurant. It comes from the team behind Dubai hotspots La Cantine du Faubourg, Ninive and Lana Lusa, who bring their hospitality nous and on-point aesthetics to the fore.

Twiggy, Park Hyatt, Dubai Creek, daily 9am to 7pm. Tel: (04) 602 1105. @twiggydubai

Sansation

 

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You would never expect that this Mykonos-esque spot resides in Motor City. Sansation offers fresh seafood and lake views from within its blue and white alfresco venue. The unlicensed spot serves up fresh smoothies and shisha seven days per week.

Sansation, Motor City, daily 7am to 1am. Tel: (0)4 456 7371. @sansationrest

Sticky Rice

 

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Currently delivery-only

This homegrown family-run restaurant has seen enormous interest since opening in 2018, thanks to its authentic Thai cuisine and personable approach to hospitality. The brainchild of the late, great ‘Mama’ Amena who’s life-long passion of cooking for others was, and still is, the beating heart of the restaurant. The venue itself is casual and fun, all themed around a yellow duck named ‘Kew’. Everyone in the kitchen is from Thailand, fuelled by Mama’s deep wealth of knowledge of cooking bona fide Thai food.

Sticky Rice, Sobha Daffodil, Jumeirah Village Circle, daily 2pm to 10.30pm. Tel: (04) 580 8350. stickyrice.ae

Nomad

 

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Small burger joint on Jumeirah Road, Nomad, brings big ideas and flavours to the table. The restaurant offers mac n cheese, loaded fries and deep fried fritters, in addition to its extensive burger menu. The creations are colourful and oh-so-instagrammable.

Nomad, Jumeirah, Road, Umm Sequeim, daily noon to 2am. Tel: (058) 954 1613. @nomad.uae

Maisan 15

 

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Formerly ‘Cabin’, Maisan 15 is a restaurant, cafe, gallery, library and garden all rolled into one. It’s an artistic space where Dubai’s creatives can come to discuss ideas over great food. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, guests can expect to find lamb chops, crispy salmon tacos, beetroot eggs Benedict and risotto as well as some very tempting desserts.

Maisan 15, Science Park, Barsha South, daily 9am to 11pm. Tel: (04) 244 7291. @maisan15

Secret Garden

 

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Not only are the interiors of Secret Garden reason for a visit alone, the desserts are equally as beautiful. Pop by for a coffee and a cake, get a picture for the ‘gram and watch the ‘likes’ roll in. There’s also some stunning mocktails worth a try too…

Secret Cafe, City Walk, Al Safa, daily 10am to midnight. Tel: (04) 345 2209. lovesecretgarden.com

The Farm

Who says you can’t find greenery in Dubai? The Farm is an oasis of tranquillity, surrounded by a botanical backdrop of Al Barari. Guests are treated to breakfast, lunch and dinner with flavours from around the globe. Pick a quiet table overlooking the water for a true feeling of escapism from the hustle and bustle of the city.

The Farm, Al Barari, off Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road, daily 7.30am to 10.30pm. Tel: (04) 392 5660. thefarmdubai.ae

Meat Me There

 

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Meat Me There has a reputation for serving the best burgers in the emirate. While the menu is not vast, the three burgers that they do serve, they do very well thanks to their secret recipe special sauce. There’s also three options for fries, which all offer an imaginative take on everyone’s favourite side dish.

Meat Me There, Al Souq Mall, Jumeirah Beach Road, Umm Suqeim 2, daily noon to midnight. Tel: (04) 338 7330. @meatmethere

To The Moon & Back Coffee

For coffee that’s truly ‘out of this world’, head to hidden Jumeirah coffee shop To The Moon and Back (TTMB). It’s unlikely you’ll stumble across it, as it’s hidden within a secret garden, but once you do you won’t regret it. Their desserts are to die for and the breakfast options are also top notch.

To The Moon and Back, Jumeirah, daily 7am to 11pm. Tel: (0)4 388 8414. @ttmb.coffee

Not A Space

Technically in Sharjah, this gem is found of the beaten track in Al Faya, but well worth the journey. For a unique experience just begging to be TikTokked, Not A Space will only be around for the winter months. You can relax, enjoy an iced coffee, and even get a hair cut.

Not A Space, Al Faya, Sharjah, daily 6am to 12am. @notaspace