Paradis du Fruit
No points for guessing what to expect at this outlet, and the fruit concept inspires every section of the menu. It can be tricky deciding what to have at a brand-new joint, so have the Eden Paradis (pictured) — a tasting platter of the restaurant’s best mains including dips, toasties, potato wedges, and beef, chicken and seafood skewers. At Dh190 for two, you’ll soon know your favourites (I prefer the taramasalata and chicken pitta). It faces a calm, quiet courtyard, but provides a great view of people on their way to and from the beach.
Call 04 425 7769

— Eduan R. Maggo/Deputy Editor

You’d be forgiven for thinking you were in Istanbul. From the sounds to the smells and the tastes — especially the tastes! — all combine to create a wormhole to Turkey. Try the Circassian chicken, a creamy dip of shredded breast meat and walnut, the traditional Turkish pizza or the popular Andana kebab, but don’t miss out on the chicken Iskandar — shawarma meat topped with a chunky tomato sauce and yoghurt. Two acidic flavours shouldn’t work together this well, but you’ll ask for more bread tolap it up. Finish with a cup of Turkish tea or coffee, and you’re all set.
Call 04 430 3140

— E.R.M.

Fruteiro do Brasil
With the world’s eyes on Brazil for the Fifa World Cup, what better time to try something truly Brazilian? True to its name, this outlet focuses on sorbets and other fruit juice-based treats, with a strong representation of fruit native to the South American country. Try the acai sorbet or any of the ice lollies made from Brazilian citrus fruits – perfect for the weather we’re having. Parents will also love it — these treats are 100 per cent natural, so your little nippers won’t be bouncing off the walls afterwards.
Call 04 423 3656

— E.R.M.

There’s an appealing sense of the surreptitious about having breakfast for dinner. But it’s also one of life’s little pleasures. However, Eggspectation invites you to dig in guilt-free, irrespective of the time of day. As eggspected, eggs take pride of place on the menu, even if they aren’t exclusive. A fan of eggs Benedict, I had a variation that substitutes lobster for the ham and was blown away. The Hollandaise is a tad less rich to compensate and a handful of sautéed baby potatoes adds a hearty punch. You also can’t go wrong with any of the omelettes (pictured), while more substantial mains such as mac-and-cheese are also worth your while. Location wise, you’re just off the main stretch, which makes for a quieter yet no less impressive spot for people watching.
Call 04 430 7252

— E.R.M.

Fratelli la Bufala
If it’s buffalo mozzarella you want, you’ve come to the right place. We started with a variation on the classic Caprese salad — a huge ball of the namesake cheese with cherry tomatoes and leaves, lightly drizzled with olive oil and a sprinkling of salt. The result was so refreshing that we had it in another adaptation: all the ingredients on a thin focaccia straight out of the pizza oven, adding a smoky flavour. Yes, it works. It’s easy to see why mozzarella is known as white gold in some parts. And the location is right in the middle of the action, so you won’t miss a thing.
Call 04 430 3497

— E.R.M.

Joe’s Café
The black-and-white Italian-British theme makes you feel you are somewhere special. When an opera-singing Italian voice bursts forth from the sound system, it feels like I’m in Italy. I sip a Blue Lagoon mocktail on the top deck overlooking the beach and the sea. A signature chicken risotto (pictured) is more a work of art than a meal, so it seems a shame to break into it. You can taste the garden in the homemade tomato sauce with cream. Lines of balsamic reduction are drawn on it and it’s dotted with olives and tomatoes.
Call 04 430 7086

— Cheryl Robertson/Features Writer

There’s a strong Levantine flavour at this restaurant, although I was told it was a Mediterranean seafood one. I love that the helpings of complimentary Arabian hot bread, pickles and fresh fruit are huge. I managed to chomp my way through a bittersweet fattoush of mixed greens, radish and fresh herbs, and a beetroot salad mixed with yoghurt and local shrimps. For the main dish, I had grilled shrimp served in a Moroccan tagine, which had a mild garnish of tomatoes, mixed peppers and onions that enhanced the delicate shrimp flavour.
Call 055 405 9058

— C.R.

Operation Falafel
An interesting café concept with good fluffy falafel. It’s not somewhere you’re going to sit for hours on end discussing the world, as the furniture offers a transient refuelling feel more than inviting comfort. Interior design elements such as bulbs in see-through jars, which separate sections of the restaurant, provide an interesting neo-oriental aesthetic. The hummus with meat and pine nuts is a nice variation of the regular hummus. And, the falafel is exceptional. Even on its own, these deep-fried patties are not too dry and go nicely with a fresh orange juice and a big swab of hummus.
Call 04 424 3098

— Thomas Billinghurst/Features Writer

Real Madrid Café
The first in the world, this is a great spot for food and football and the perfect location to watch the World Cup. You can expect a range of guests, from Madrid-mad locals to families going out to catch a game. Even when it’s packed, this is not going to be your typically raucous sports bar atmosphere. When you walk in, don’t be fooled into thinking it’s a merchandise shop. Walk through the Madrid dressing room-style front of shop — which has the club’s current stars’ shirts, names and numbers adorning the walls — and through a tunnel to the café. Besides classic Spanish cuisine — the chicken paella is the chef’s recommendation — there’s a good variety of international fare. The hefty 12-hour slow-cooked lamb steak is a must. The minimalist black-and-white decor complements the theme nicely. The chic leather chairs are nice on the eye and comfy enough.
Call 04 277 5625

— T.B.

Stationed at the cusp of the beach, this intimate self-service frozen yoghurt concept is a great stop-off for hot, sweaty beachgoers fleeing the sun. Menchie’s serves eight flavours — which are changed every day — with a host of sweet, chocolate and fresh fruit toppings. The aroma of freshly cooked waffles hits you as soon as you walk in and the coconut is a must-try.
Call 04 430 5249

— T.B.

The Counter
I would be lying if I said Dubai needs more burger joints. But lo and behold, here’s a new one. You can either be safe and order one of their regulars or experiment with a custom burger. If you do go for a custom burger, be warned: there are more than 80 options to create your very own burger. This can also take a while since the service isn’t the speediest in town. So do not go there when you are starving, or you will be munching on fries for quite a while. But if you do find yourself in that situation, we recommend the Parmesan French fries.

— Gareth Kurt Warren/Features Writer

Dubai is full of different kinds of restaurants, but few that you can visit regularly. The latest addition to my once-a-month list is Awani. The food, Middle Eastern, is surprisingly affordable and delicious. Their must-have dishes are the Bomali salad, sujouk fukhara and chicken shawarma. What I liked about the place was that the entire upper floor is an air-conditioned smoking zone that serves up some of the freshest shisha I have tasted and innovative fresh juices such as a mint and basil combination. If you are looking to spend a lazy evening overlooking the beach while watching the sun go down, Awani is the place for you.
Call 04 424 8082

— G.K.W.

Leopold’s of London
Dubai is not lacking in cafés, so why give Leopold’s of London (LOL) a chance? Perhaps because of the gracious service, the spacious environs overlooking one of the hippest stretches of sand in the Emirates, the fact that soon it will be the first in the city to have a tea lab, but most importantly for the food. LOL offers a great selection of salads, sandwiches, desserts, quiches, pies, cookies, croissants and cakes. The salads are beautifully balanced and fresh. But the showstoppers are quiche Lorraine and the hand-shredded beef lasagne. The quiche was fresh and light with a simple custard and crisp pastry and the lasagne was an Italian delight with a twist.
Call 04 430 6841

— Sanaya Pavri/Features Writer

Eat Greek Kouzina
From warm, bright and elegant interiors to fresh, wholesome Greek food, Eat Greek Kouzina gives you the true Mediterranean experience. The Greek salad was fresh and the baked feta, perfectly seasoned, while the moussaka burger with caramelised onion and grilled eggplant, topped with cream cheese, and the souvlaki wrap were the crowning glory. The mastic ice cream with lemon cream and tomato jam rounded off a perfect meal.
Call 04 430 5249

— Chiranti Sengupta/Features Writer