As October steps in, people in Dubai bid farewell to the scorching summer heat to welcome a bearable and pleasant sunny weather. During this time, you will see expats and locals flocking their way to the nearest and coziest al fresco dining while tourist (and some residents) find their way into a near by beach front.
For the past weeks, I’ve been hunting down some interesting food stops which I think everyone should try (well, specially those who love to explore our beautiful city). With all the places that I have been to, here are 6 of my favorite food stops!
1. TOM AND SERG
I’ve been hearing/reading a lot of things about this hipster heaven which can be found in Al Qouz Industrial Area. If you’re not staying inside a cave, I think you already know that Al Qouz is the place to be. You can find Raw Coffee, Alserkal Avenue, Bounce and of course Tom and Serg. Hipsters all over the city will surely fall in love with this place.
The interior is simple and clean with a very industrial touch. If you dine at the ground floor you will appreciate the high ceiling and if you are like me, you will enjoy watching the whole place being very busy while the second is a bit cozier and more relaxed.
If you just want to sit down with friends or read a book over a cup of coffee and tasty chocolate mousse or just want start your day with a healthy brunch this place is perfect for you…. and of course, they have WIFI!
Location: Al Joud Center Al Qouz
Tel: 056474 68 12
A few years ago, wandering along Sheikh Zayed Road, I was always very curious with that bright signage on the building which spelled as ZAROOB. When a friend of mine, asked if I want to try it, I didn’t hesitate. Since then, it became one of my favorite restaurants in the city.
Zaroob which literally means ‘small alley’ will give you a feel that you are eating in a very artsy street alleyway. Every time that I bring friends here, they always get fascinated on how colorful and vibrant the interior set-up is. A mix of galvanize iron, concrete and even big cans of cooking oil for seating, all you need to is the sound of cars honking crazily while you enjoy a tasty plate of shawarma.
If you are the artsy kind and don’t mind dining in a very colorful and busy environment (and if you love food from the Levant Region) this is the place for you.
Check out my friend Lady’s latest blog about Zaroob:
TIP: After enjoying the interior decor, try dining outside.
Location: Shop 1, Jumeirah Tower Building, Sheikh Zayad Road, Trade Centre Area, Dubai
3. SALT (#FINDSALT)
Recently I blogged about this new food truck concept. I know that in the US, food trucks are everywhere but here in Dubai, you can only find less than a handful and only a few that are making waves. One of it is SALT. It is located at the heart of Kite Beach. Just look for the bright signage or the long line of salt patrons waiting to get a hold of that tasty Chicken Cheetos Sliders.
If you are more of the outdoor adventurous type or if you just passed by the beach after a long day at work, you should try queuing up and placing an order.
TIP: After finishing you mouthwatering sliders, go around Kite Beach and discover other food stalls (and beach volley)
Location: Dubai Kite Beach
The Dubai Creek is one of my favorite places to bring any friends visiting Dubai. During summer time, I still drag my friends here even though the weather is dreadful and you’ll be soaking in sweat in just 5 minutes of ‘standing’ (as a tip, don’t visit me during summer). But during the breezy months of October until mid-May, the creek is “the” must visit place for those who wants to get away from the typical Dubai skyline and feel/see the old Dubai culture. You can ride the abra crossing Burdubai to Deira and haggle around the souq.
Just recently, Creek Side had its formal launch and welcomed cultural enthusiasts and those who are just looking looking for a place to chill and hang out. What I Iike about this place is how it blended well in the Dubai’s Old Town. Using and refitting a traditional heritage house it created a modern space yet respecting its heritage (this subject it my thesis study, that is why I feel in love with this place the moment I saw it.) The main attraction of this place is how it celebrates art, culture, design and heritage with its various programs and offerings.
Just a perfect place to appreciate the busy creek, watch people, learn about the heritage and get loads of inspirations passing by.
TIP: Parking is very hard in this area, so it will be better if you will park your car near a metro station and take the public transport. Take the green line metro and go down to Al Ras and ride the Abra from this other side (Deira) and appreciate the beautiful creek surrounded by the richness of the Old Dubai.
Location: Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood Dubai (near Grand Mosque and the water pathway)
5. SPECIAL OSTADI RESTAURANT
When almost all in the list are fairly new, I recently discovered a place with a very long history of serving hearty Persian meal. An Emirati friend of mine brought me in Special Ostadi Restaurant after our event in the Creekside. If you love walking (and it’s not Summer), the food stops number 4 and 5 are relatively close to each other.
The moment I stepped inside, I was fascinated immediately with its very busy decors. If Creekside wants to blend in the environment, this one definitely is trying to stand out. No one can blame them though. As what I was told, it is a family restaurant serving Dubai since 1978. Surely, if you have that long history, you will also brag about it. Its walls are surrounded with photographs of Bollywood stars and VIPs who had a taste of the Special Ostadi Hospitality. All tables are dressed with different currencies from all over the world and several newspaper article clippings hanging on the wall.
Aside from its note worthy marinated kebabs, Special Ostadi Restaurant is also famous for its hospitality. Being a passed-on family business, you can see each member of the family (well just the men), run around serving patrons and greeting them with a joke or fist bump. I always get the french fries treatment (visit this place to find out what I meant).
If you are looking for fun, informal and craving a mouth watering Persian meal, this is the place for you.
TIP: Ask for their house tea (also ask for mint leaves), this is their signature house drinks. I LOVE IT and hopefully you will too.
Location: Khalid Bin Al Waleed, Near Musalla Tower, All Musalla Road
6. RIPE MARKET
One of the best things that I love this season is that RIPE Market is finally open. Last year, it was located in Safa Park but this year, they moved in Zabeel Park (and it is closer to my place now). This year, there were a huge turnout of vendors, artisans and food stalls.
I went to RIPE during their first day of opening and I was overwhelmed with all the interesting booths they have. But, what I was drawn to are the food stalls. They have pastries, grilled sausages, pancakes, ice cream, sandwiches, salads…and a lot of refreshing drinks (fresh coconut juice!!!). The reason why I placed RIPE at the end of my list is that, if you go here, you can create you own list already.
One of the attractions of RIPE is its location. Being in a park makes your visit here relaxing and will make you say “THANK GOD IT’S WEEKEND.”While you enjoy munching on all the food you found, you can just sit down on one of the bean bags and listen to a live acoustic performance (or a harpist). While you are busy looking for a good value shopping (maybe a very trendy earrings, or a white washed bohemian home decor, your kids can enjoy the art workshops being offered every week.
If you are a fan of the outdoors and love people watching this is surely a place you will want to visit.
Location: Zabeel Park
Timings: Every Fridays at 9am – 2pm
Do you know other food joints/stops here in Dubai which you think are interesting? Let us know so we can pay them a visit and maybe we can add them in the list soon. ^^