Dubai: Experience Emirati culture at these cafes

Indulge in coffee and cuisine at these authentic spots around town

By Noopur Bangar

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Published: Mon 20 May 2024, 2:45 PM

Visit the best Emirati-run cafés in Dubai to experience the true spirit of Emirati culture and hospitality. From traditional flavours to modern tweaks, these cafes provide a sense of authenticity and warmth. Here are our top recommendations for experiencing Emirati charm through coffee and cuisine.

To The Moon & Back


Nestled on Al Athar Street in Jumeirah, the café 'To The Moon & Back' was named to reflect the deep passion for coffee that its owner, Zainab Al Mousawi, possesses. This passion is also evident in the café's unique space-themed decor. Inspired by Australia's café culture, Zainab sources her coffee beans from a roastery in Melbourne and relishes engaging customers in lengthy discussions about coffee. This laidback cafe is a place where you can unwind and spend hours. The menu offers light bites and all-day toasted sandwiches, including a popular pastrami sandwich from the esteemed local brand Mattar Farm, known for its barbecued and smoked meats.

Brew


Finding a café that opens early enough for breakfast can be surprisingly difficult, but Brew in Umm Suqeim starts the day at 6.30am. Whether you’re seeking an early morning boost or are an avid coffee enthusiast, Brew offers an extensive variety of beans from specialty roasters worldwide, prepared in numerous styles. The coffee pairs perfectly with their selection of baked goods, all enjoyed in a welcoming, straightforward setting.

Drop

Coffee lovers will be impressed by Drop's dedication to their craft, particularly since they roast their beans on the premises – a practice that is becoming more common in Dubai. Established by Mahmood Al Khamis and Ghanim Al Qassim, Drop has two branches, one located in Dar Wasl Mall and the other in Dubai Mall. These venues offer a haven for savouring exceptional speciality coffee in chic and sophisticated environments. Customers can enjoy a Chemex coffee, and then indulge in the buttery, flaky pastries.

Qahwaty

For an authentic Emirati coffee encounter, opt for Qahwaty. The emphasis here is solely on coffee, with distinctive offerings like coffee served over cornflakes that showcase their untraditional approach. Each Qahwaty venue—be it at DIFC Gate Avenue, Mirdif 35 Mall, or Al Quoz Pond Park—boasts its distinctive aesthetic but retains a traditional majlis-style seating area, perfect for unwinding and socialising with companions.

Dips Café

Founded by Emirati engineer Rashid Al Hammadi, Dips Cafe is a charming and inviting spot in Jumeirah. This hidden gem features signature dishes made with organic dips molasses. The café’s decor combines stone and rattan materials to create a neutral aesthetic, and it offers its coffee blend, called Trio.

Obeli

Located in the upscale City Walk area, Obeli was established by Emirati businesswoman Aisha Al Tamimi. The café boasts a bright, open space with stylish furniture and a striking fabric ceiling installation. Designed as a serene escape from the city's hustle and bustle, Obeli is perfect for catching up with friends over coffee and a bite to eat.

The Espresso Lab

Located in Dubai Design District, Ibrahim Al Mallouhi’s The Espresso Lab showcases a cool, ultra-minimalist design. This aesthetic also reflects in its offerings, with a primary focus on coffee that has earned high praise from reviewers. Though some food is available, the spacious tables and clean design make it a favoured spot for meetings, particularly among those who are passionate about coffee.

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