Dime-sized fact about me: I’m not a morning person, but I’m totally down for breakfast! Well more like late breakfast. Better yet, brunch, if only it wouldn’t be just a fancy weekend affair. So by the time I wake up, stretch my limbs and have a Bulletproof Coffee (double shot of espresso enriched with some health store powdered herbs!) most traditional cafes have moved on from their breakfast menu and onto lunch. (Boo)
But this girl here loves her Eggs Benedict, breakfast tacos and stack of pancakes anytime of day ! My friends know too well the hurt look I get on my face when the waiter mournfully announces that the breakfast items are “now closed” and I am free to choose from their lunch and dinner offerings. They feel my pain and join in my coaxing efforts- please, an Avocado Toast with scrambled eggs can’t be that hard to make! How about those pecan waffles though, any hope ?! Caramelized Banana French Toast with my almond milk latte ?
There are places though on the Dubai foodie map that offer breakfast delights at any time of day (or at least until 4 pm!) and boy oh boy how satisfying it is to get your benedict-pancake fix with an unfazed smile even if the clock races towards dinner! These are my favorites!
1. The Surf Cafe, Jumeirah Beach Road
Wow, this little gem never disappointed me. Breakfast all day with an endless array of options, eggs any style, avocado toast, delicious almond butter pancakes (gluten free, yay!), poke bowls, tasty tacos, superfoods-loaded salads…and even sushi! I am quite adventurous while sampling my food spread – so I managed to disgust my brunching partner by stuffing morsels of tuna and avocado from my poke between bites of syrup-dipped pancake. Switching from fishy and savory to sweet and cakey with utter ease (under horrifyied looks, unfazed).
I just wish they had a breezy terrace overlooking the beach…where you could chill and enjoy the view of the cool surfers walking with their boards to catch a groovy wave.
Vibe rating: 6 the staff is equipped with a warm smile so that’s always the best welcome. Surf-anthems and a smooth playlist needed for sum’ instant Californication. Surf’s up, dude!
2. Clinton St.Bakery, Citywalk
I am obsessed with their Crab Cake Eggs Benedict and Fried Green Tomatoes – like the title of an old time favorite 80s movie- and they do awesome specials like Pancake Month & Benedict Month: with cajun grilled rock shrimp, poached Maine lobster, soft shell crab, salmon latke…slathered in creamy lemon or truffle sauce hollandaise enough to fill up a baby’s bathtub. Their pancakes are fluffy, the waffles have a nice pecan crunch…but minus points for the absence of any gluten free options on the menu ! It’s pure comfort food, a bit on the heavy side, and that’s why I always feel like I need a hammock and a digestive nap right after my meals there!
Vibe rating: um, a 2-3? We’re just here for the food, folks!
Well…yeah, not much atmosphere to get you cranked up over your huevos rancheros. The place can be dead quiet sometimes and I don’t really like to hear the sound of myself chewing, so again some music would be a welcome relief.
3. Cafe Rider & Custom Motorcycles, Al Quoz
I really love a good cafe hunt. As in hard to believe you could stumble into this place by accident, unless you are a hardcore biker patrolling the industrial warehouse area of dusty Al Quoz looking for a new helmet and some cool motorcycle gear. Yeah, this mysterious cafe looking like a garage hangout where you’d have a coffee and a sammy while getting your bike fixed also hosts a cool shop to amp up your rugged biker factor.
As for the food…
Also, they make a divine Coconut Latte. I simmer inside when I go places with no alternative-to-dairy milk, as in almond, coconut or oat mylk. And no soy please, this isn’t the 90s anymore!
Vibe rating: 7
4. Gossip Cafe, Al Wasl Boxpark
This little gray cafe in industrial-hip Boxpark is so unassuming and neutral that you’d hardly find anything to gossip about it. Until the food comes out of the kitchen, and then everything brightens. And yes I was able to order the Emirati Ryoog breakfast at nearly 5 pm- with fresh chabab pancakes and balalit noodles topped with scrambled eggs. The Ultimate Benedict comes on crispy waffles with smashed avo, and the sauce hollandaise has the color of raspberry coulis because it’s sumac-infused! I really love the middle eastern touch with all the spices and flavors. Here pictured I was enjoying a rose-water infused latte, a charcoal Avocado Toast with halloumi cheese and a falafel salad with beetroot-tahini dressing.
Vibe rating: 7
The place isn’t always buzzing, especially in the gray area between lunch and dinner when only few lost souls like me walk in demanding breakfast- but we never found the staff in a lull, and the cool hip hop playlist made us swing in our chairs to the beat while waiting for our food!
5. Bounty Beets, Le Méridien Mina Seyahi, Dubai Marina
Ok, this place instantly makes Instagrammers swoon. There is a pink wall right at the entrance with an antique pay-phone and a thought bubble that spells “Hello Beautiful!”. Angel wings in the indoor area, a pink blossom tree reminiscent of sakura and even photo props to encourage all that ‘spreading the love online’, the ‘’grammin’ and the ‘hashtaggin’.
The outdoor area brings on the Bali cafe vibes- think the shade of banana palm trees, dreamcatchers and crochet pillows on sofas, and white bird-cage gazebos right on the grass. Loads of gluten free options: order the sweet potato pancakes, the smashed Avo on toast, the Aegean Pizza and the bunless burger…there is a kids menu for the pesky little picky eaters too!
Perfect place to catch up with your BFFs and feel good about gobbling up those healthy low-carb & nutrient-rich dishes…of course I had to have those Eggs Benedict and ask for extra sauce hollandaise:)
Vibe rating: 6. Service can be slow and some energy needs to be infused in such a beautiful place! It’s perfect for the weekend where it gets packed everywhere- it’s chilled here and famous last words…FREE VALET PARKING!
~Common Grounds, Mall of The Emirates: really tasty grub with quality ingredients (hello perfectly creamy not-too-squelchy avocado!). Great coffee and yummy smoothies; also- go for the Breakfast Tacos dish…it never disappoints. Vibe rating: 5. Well I’m no fan of mall food or eating in the mall under the soul-sucking and pore-magnifying neon lights…so yeah, that’s the most a cool mall cafe it’s gonna get.
~L’Eto (Dubai Mall and Citywalk): beautiful food presentation but be prepared to wait for it! Don’t go hungry or you’ll eat the waiter…as the service needs some fine tuning. But if you’re there mostly for the highly-Instagrammable plates…you’re in the right spot. Thumbs up for the gluten free options! Vibe rating: 5. Pretty decor and an artsy swirl to the omelette…that the ladies just love taking pictures of- but otherwise it’s more of a hush-hush fancy afternoon tea atmosphere.
~Myocum, Dar Al Wasl mall: creative healthy cuisine with weekend specials, amazing Poke bowls, lots of vegan options (cashew ricotta! scarmbled tofu burrito! pesto portobello on sourdough toast!) locally sourced ingredients, in-house pickles (yep, fermented veggies are a thing!) and overall cosiness. Oh, and beautiful cactus planters : I simply adore cafes with indoor plants in painted or hand-crafted pots, it instantly raises the vibe! Also…their awesome idea for Music Mondays. So yeah…Vibe rating: 7. Please guys extend breakfast hours…you’ll be at the top of my list 😉