Shopping in Dubai offers everything that any other fun activity does – there is that thrill at the sight of beautiful new things, an adrenaline rush at finding something that you have always wanted (that too after a major hunting exercise) and the sheer joy on the swipe of the credit card for a purchase well made. During our trip to Dubai we indulged in this activity quite a bit, well to be honest, we spent 6 days in various malls and still didn’t see it all. While such mad non-stop shopping is fun, it also entails long hours and frequent energy breaks; and such breaks mean it’s time for some food and coffee. Since we spent a lot of time in malls, we got a chance to try out quite a few new eateries here, especially fast food chains, cafes, ice creams etc.
And based on my experiences, below are a few of my recommendations that you must try whenever you find yourself in any mall in Dubai 🙂
Just Falafel – This is an all vegetarian fast food chain with a menu consisting of all kinds of falafels (of course) and French fries, hummus, dips, salads, drinks and desserts. Also, their falafels are from around the world i.e. they have falafels in all the following flavors – Indian, Mexican, Greek, Japanese, Emirati etc etc. By the end of my trip this turned out to be one of my favorite places in Dubai (also a vegetarian’s delight) and I literally tried everything on their menu, though Mexican and Greek were my favorites. You can find out more about them at http://www.justfalafel.com/
Karam Express – This is a Lebanese fast service version of the Karam Beirut chain that serves authentic Lebanese food with a wide variety of mezze starters, main course, drinks and desserts. Though they didn’t have anything in vegetarian in their main course, they had a good variety of vegetarian starters and salads. The staff is predominantly Lebanese and took the time to explain every dish and its ingredients to me. Since I was so interested they also gave me 2 different dishes to try for free :). I especially loved their Hummus with Pita Bread and the Tabbouleh, as it was extremely fresh and really tasty. You can read more about them at http://www.karambeirut.ae/index.html
Vanelli Italian – As the name suggests this is an Italian fast food chain serving an Italian spread of pizzas, pastas, calzones, salads, sandwiches etc. And believe me it’s quite different from all the other Italian fast food options available here at home. They have a few vegetarian options in pizzas and you can make your own pasta. We chose our own mix for the pasta and loved it. You can check more on this at – http://www.vanellisrestaurants.com/en/home.aspx
Granny’s Waffles – This is the first specialty waffle store in UAE that serves nearly authentic Belgian waffles (nothing can compare to the actual authentic Belgian waffle), pancakes, crepes, juices, etc. If you love Belgian waffles and their chocolate then a visit to Granny’s Waffles Cafe is a must. We visited this café quite a few times when we were in the Dubai Mall and tried all their waffles, hot chocolate and fruit juices. And they were just out of world good.
Cold Stone Creamery – This is a US ice cream chain that has clearly made having an ice cream an experience. When you enter this store, you first choose your ice cream (which is made fresh everyday) flavor and the toppings (cake, candy, nuts, fruits, etc) and then be prepared for the show. The server scoops out the ice cream, takes position above a granite board and then swings the ice cream in the air (at least 2 – 3 times) onto the granite board, mixes the various flavors and the toppings and then serves it to you. They do this along with singing and some form of dancing. It is like having an amazing ice cream after a quick show. They have cakes, shakes, smoothies etc too but we always ended up eating only ice creams :). You can see more about them at http://www.coldstonecreamery.com/index.html
Krispy Kreme Donuts – This is a US chain and many of you must have been here already, but for me it was a first visit to any Krispy Kreme store and I just loved these donuts. They also had bagels but I didn’t get a chance to try those. If you too are unfamiliar with this chain then do visit them virtually at least at http://www.krispykremephilly.com/
Bateel Dates – This is a must visit place for everyone visiting Dubai, even if you do not like dates. This store is like any exclusive and high-end patisserie in Paris selling some amazing variety of dates (plain and various variations like with fruit candies, nuts etc), date chocolates and other gourmet products. I did not like dates earlier but one visit and a taste of these dates, and I am a convert for life. These dates are big, juicy and super sweet. I later on learnt that such dates don’t grow in UAE but are from Saudi Arabia as that climate is best suited for such quality in dates. You can enjoy a visual treat of these dates at http://www.bateel.com/01_about.html
Al Baba Sweets – Anyone who loves sweets has to visit this sweet shop for some awesome Lebanese deserts. This is a family run business and they have stores all over the Middle East. We visited their store for Baklava and were lost in the sheer variety available. And the Baklavas are super tasty (however be prepared for the massive dose of sugar and the sugar rush later :)). They also had other traditional Lebanese sweets, but we didn’t try those and ate every kind of Baklava available (and there were quite a few :)). You can learn more about this at http://www.albaba-sweets.com/index.php
This is a list that I have compiled based on my own experiences. If you have visited any of these places or feel that I have missed out on any other must visit place then please do comment below. 🙂