20 Secret Spots Only Dubai Locals Know
Condé Nast Traveller India|August - September 2018
20 Secret Spots Only Dubai Locals Know

The definitive guide to the emirate’s hidden gems.

Annah Fairservice

Anyone who has been to Dubai before is bound to be well acquainted with the city’s most popular tourist attractions—think soaring skyscrapers, sprawling shopping malls and luxurious beach clubs. But steer ever so slightly off-course and away from the standard travel book recommendations to uncover the under-the-radar spots that are loved by UAE locals.

The homegrown café favoured by the health set

From a variety of dishes made using organic eggs to wholesome, satisfying grilled meats and a nutrient-packed homemade bone broth, Hapi is a healthy hub offering dishes to suit all taste buds. Located bang in the middle of Alserkal Avenue’s trendy galleries, the space also doubles as a parkour studio, so you can work up a sweat before you nosh, or work off the effects of the food with a walk through the artsy hood. (instagram.com/hapi.ae)

The insider’s surf school and hangout

Keen to hit the waves while you’re in town? Head straight to Surf House on Jumeirah Beach Road. Housed within a beachfront villa, the centre offers surfing and standup paddle along with early morning yoga classes in the indoor studio. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, enjoy a healthy breakfast at the café, which just happens to serve one of the tastiest acai bowls in town. (surfingdubai.com)

Late-night Lebanese street food

When the munchies kick in, those in the know hightail it to Al Reef Bakery (located on Al Wasl Road, near Safa Park) for a freshly baked mana’ish topped with melted cheese, za’atar and meat. If you fancy something sweet, grab a plate of assorted baklava sweets—and take home a box for friends and family. (+971 4 3945 200)

Just-caught seafood loved by fishermen

For the freshest taste of the sea, you cannot beat a bite at Bu Qtair, a long-standing fish shack in Umm Suqeim, founded by a family from Kerala. While this casual cafeteria-style eatery is basic (don’t go expecting white tablecloths and fine wines), it more than makes up for the simple setting with the excellent seafood, which is caught from local waters every morning. Queues tend to peak at around 7pm, so get there early to snag a seat overlooking the fishing harbour. (facebook.com/pages/BuQtair-Restaurant)

A museum devoted to coffee

Artfully concealed in the winding maze of galleries and cafés within Dubai’s iconic cultural district (Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood, also known as Bastakiya), the Coffee Museum is where serious aficionados meet for an expertly brewed cup of jo. Finding this secret spot is no easy feat. While it’s unassuming from the outside, once you’re in, you will discover a massive selection of centuries-old artefacts relating to all things coffee, before settling down to enjoy a cup in one of the cosy majlis-style seating areas. (coffee museum.ae)

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August - September 2018