My favorite spots in Dubai

After living in Dubai for a year, I’ve sorted through the hype, the glitz and the glamour. Here are some of my favorite spots I visit as often as possible.

My all-time favorites

Zagol Restaurant

The venue is situated in the lively Al Karama neighborhood. The staff is friendly and helpful and the dishes are just amazing. I recommend you choose the mixed platter, a bit of everything on top of Injera (Ethiopian Bread). Important note: The restaurant is split in two, Zahol Café (on the left) and Zagol Restaurant (5 meters to the right). Either one is fine, but if there’s space, I recommend you go to the one on the right-hand side (Zagol Restaurant).

Friend’s Avenue Cafe Al Thanyah

One, if not the hippest café in Dubai. The café is in the classy Umm Suqeim Neighborhood, mostly villas and large mansions in the area. Great interior design, good food and excellent coffee, with the option to sit inside or outside. Located in a small shopping center, you can also find a Pharmacy and Supermarket (Waitrose).

MAMA’ESH Al Manara

Just around the corner from Friend’s Avenue Cafe Al Thanyah, MAMA’ESH (a local franchise) serves some of the best Palestinian cuisines in town. It’s a great choice for breakfast (try the Palestinian breakfast), lunch or dinner. Like most places in Dubai, it’s very family-friendly.


Without a doubt the best Japanese restaurant in Dubai and one of the best I’ve ever been to (even having been to Japan multiple times). From what I heard, it is the favorite of Japanese expats in Dubai. They have a wide range of authentic Japanese cuisine (Chicken Karaage, Okonomiyaki, grilled eel, …) as well as beer and sake. Definitely worth a try.

Latakia House

One of my soul food favorites. I accidentally discovered this one while staying at Rove - Healthcare City (Hotel). Definitely more on the fast food side of things, fantastic taste and great value for money. You can have a big lunch for only 3-5$. If you like fried chicken - this one is for you.

Dubai Half Desert

This is a massive plot of land with roads and roundabouts leading nowhere. The road is partially covered in sand dunes. This development was either abandoned or will be developed in a couple of years. Many people take their expensive cars out here to push them to the edge.

Topgolf Dubai

This is a good one - what’s better than having a beer and great snacks while hitting balls from the 3rd floor. Pro tip: Come during the week and make a reservation.

Honorable Mentions

The Farm, Al Barari

Probably the greenest spot in all of Dubai.

Palma Cafe

Great coffee, also great for hanging out with your laptop.

The Coffee Lab

A bit separated from the rest of the city, a large 2-story café with amazing views of Port Rashid.

La Mer Beach & Kite Beach

The two best beaches in Dubai. Openly accessible and well developed with lots of restaurants and cafés.

La Mer Beach

Kite Beach


If you get the chance, take a tour to Hatta. Situated in the mountains, the territory technically still belongs to the Emirate of Dubai. It’s a well-developed small mountain town with a focus on tourism. Alhajiran Restaurant serves exquisite Arab cuisine and is located right next to Hatta Heritage Village, also worth a visit.

Qudra Desert

This is a good place if you want to check out the desert on your own terms without booking a tour. You can park your car on the roadside and walk into it briefly.


The list became more prolonged than anticipated. There are so many things to do and check out here. If you liked this post, please leave a comment or like below.