• MJ Agra

Dreamy Cafes in Dubai: The Shortlist

Updated: Aug 19, 2020

A list of my favorite spots downtown to get cozy and caffeinated!

(In no particular order.)

SAYA CAFE at City Walk

For the sweet tooth instagrammers and flower power influencers.

Stepping into this floral wonderland feels like falling down Alice’s Rabbit Hole into a fantasyland of flower walls, plush pink velvet sofas, love hearts, glass-topped tables, crawling plants, and flamingos dotted throughout this circular cafe. Saya groupies come back for more than just snapping a story with their insta-famous neon sign “I love Dubai” as the backdrop. Their signature Spanish lattes, golden cappuccinos, melting chocolate shakes, and fruity virgin mojitos served misty in fancy bronze cups among their inventive mocktails are a must-try and insta-story!

The mix of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern inspiration is seen on their a la-carte menu, with an assortment of Moroccon, avocado, and rose hummus as the starring dish. A visit to this two-level aesthetically adorned brasserie will not only take up space on your camera roll , but also satisfy your diverse cravings! From American breakfasts, hearty lunches, a colorful selection of desserts, and tea garden teas served in dainty cups and saucers - you’re sure to let your taste buds explore!


For the Dreamers and Romantics.

Dream a little dream of decadent confections topped with intricate frostings too beautiful to touch, secret mocktails no one can speak of, and spring blooms in an indoor garden too good to be true. Walking into this floral paradise brings about a cozy feeling like you’re home, maybe its the overflowing flower installations that fill every nook and corner, or the quietness of this garden-esque atmosphere with only 90’s ballads playing in the background, or the sweet smell of freshly baked pastries that entice your senses when you enter.

This hidden gem is known for using the freshest and finest ingredients for their 40+ variety of elaborate cakes, custom-made teas, fruity mocktails, and one-of-a-kind artisan coffees. Speaking of creative caffeine-kicks, their divine charcoal latte made of activated carbon, vanilla extract and your choice of milk is a miracle cure in a cup! Another must-try among their traditional drinks with a twist is Marhaba - meaning hello in Arabic - which is a freshly brewed espresso mixed with the goodness of cinnamon, cocoa, and a hint of caramel. For scrumptious desserts, you're in for a treat with their famous Dulcet Nougat Cake and Baked Banana Meringue Tart!


For the Business Come-and-Goers, Creatives, and Jazz lovers.

They say, “Everyday should begin with a cup of perfectly roasted coffee.” I retort back with, “Then why not kickstart the rest of your day with a leisurely healthy breakfast, a delicious power lunch, a detox drink, and a oh-so-good afternoon dessert before you retire for the work day? LDB has it all.” This accidental surprise came one day when I was strolling around the area after my groceries and decided to pop in for a late afternoon treat and caffeine boost. Their grandiose yet relaxing setting was inviting, and the service spectacular and welcoming.

Their menu offerings have become a staple in my power lunches - from their tasty Salmon Poke bowl, to their Red Thai Curry, to the Signature Angus Beef Burger, and once in a awhile wrapping my day up with their irresistible rich Classic Vanilla Milk Cake! Like a cherry on top of their tasty treats, the modern and intimate ambience with emerald green and navy blue luxe couches, dimly lit lamps, potted plants, and jazz music make for a perfect business meeting and creative work space.

ARABIAN TEA HOUSE at Al Fahidi, Bur Dubai

For the new-in-towners and culture seekers.

An afternoon in this iconic teahouse situated in Dubai’s historic heart and just a stone’s throw away from the old souk is an opportunity to authentically experience the past way of Emirati life. Their traditional Arabic cuisine and meticulously decorated old-world charm interior is a feast for the onlooker's eyes. This quaint cafe feels like an oasis of calm with the serene shaded courtyard in stark contrast to the bustling Al Fahidi neighborhood.

The outside noise is muted once you step inside and be mesmerized by the smell of freshly brewed gahwa Arabic coffee, hear the faint chirping of the lovebirds frolicking underneath the majestic tree, and admire the details of the authentically styled turquoise benches, white lace curtains, rattan chairs, rustic artworks and coral shell walls. Since 1997, this spot has been a relaxing haven for both locals and tourists to escape the summer heat and unwind in the comfort of delicious food and traditional offerings such as karak chai, Dubai Tea, Arabian Night Tea, to their blooming Jasmine varieties. Michelin-starred culinary expert and author Geoffrey Zakarian and TV star Martha Stewart have raved about their experience here that Dubai Tourism ended up citing the tea house as a cultural reference point in the city. 


For Miami beach lovers.

This funky fluorescent cafe screams Miami Beach vibes right when you enter and you would never guess this modern stylish cafe has mastered the art of bringing you healthy tasty dishes - even right to your doorsteps at home.

This one-stop-to health and good vibes only caters to all dietary needs through the use of sustainable and natural ingredients sourced globally. Avid followers like rapper Drake have embraced this clean eating lifestyle, and it’s only cool to follow suit! If you're wondering, this diet, which is more than just a fad, involves only consuming food that is minimally processed, ethically raised, and rich in naturally occurring nutrients. Their carefully curated whimsical menu is filled with uber delicious items from breakfast, light bites, salads, wraps, smoothies, and dessert to satisfy your many cravings and makes eating out carefree, guilt-free, and fun. Now, don’t kill my vibe and read along while I feast on my peanut butter pancake!


For the introverts and thinkers.

This cute little naturally-lit cafe set in a quiet spot at Gate Village has found you the perfect date - giant huggable teddy bears! These responsible bears were initially used as a friendlier alternative to social distancing, but have somehow paved the way for much social media buzz and introverts opting for a cuddlier and safer companion. There’s nothing weird about feeling comfortable dining alone but a teddy bear at your corner, especially for introverts who need time to think and re-energize before braving this crazy and hectic world.

Serving up freshly brewed organic coffee, mouthwatering superfood salads, antioxidant packed bowls, indulgent healthy treats, and colorful acai bowls - this cafe is all about keeping you healthy and happy! If this isn’t enough to bring a smile to your face, make sure to try their low-calorie Vegan Speculous Cheesecake, which will keep you coming back for more!

Copyright © Mary Jane Agra Dreaming of Sunsets 2020. All rights reserved.

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