Your friends have helped you through the havoc that is mercury in retrograde (24 days and counting), which – in our world, at least – is reason enough to celebrate International Day of Friendship today. However, the arrival of this annual celebration of “human solidarity” begged the question: what are the best spots in Dubai to celebrate your girlfriends? Here’s what we found.
Before Vibe even opened, it garnered a ringing celebrity endorsement. Ranking as one of the only times Drake had ever co-signed a dining establishment, he posted on Instagram: “My go to place in Dubai for clean eating and the best drink options is @vibeuae opening next week!!! Bless them with a visit!” One might assume that the restaurant had paid an exorbitant sum for such a coveted social media shout-out, but owner Noora Salem is friends with Drake IRL, which makes a pitstop to this cheery little eatery in Jumeirah a must.
Inside – as expected – vibes are aplenty. Not only does Salem keep a steady stream of boppable 90s hip-hop jams playing, but there’s also a very Instagrammable “don’t kill my vibe” neon sign. The menu is packed with health-conscious (but highly tasty) items like veggie burgers, grain-based power bowls, and wildly flavorful braised beef mains. One of its fan favorite offerings is the expansive drink menu that features everything from detox shots and smoothies to mocktails. It also helps that, here, the green juice is named ‘Kermit Business’.
Go for the toasties. Stay for the coffee. We dare you to find a decent Dubai-based Instagram account without a photo of Boston Lane in it – or a foodie who has yet to rave about its ‘Chase the Cheddar’ toasties.
Not only does this all-pink eatery still feel like a hidden gem (it’s tucked away in The Courtyard), but it’s also the perfect place to linger over a cup of coffee – or something a little more inventive, like the ‘Mocha Darling’ (that’s made with date milk) and ‘Orange Is the New Black’ (an iced americano doused with sun-dried orange syrup). You and your girlfriends will also love the fact that Boston Lane is flanked by indie little boutiques, like Tribe.
Located in the rather corporate Dubai World Trade Centre area is the wonderfully girly Parlour Boutique that serves everything worth waking up for – think: brioche French toast served with berries and chantilly cream, avocado toast topped with tomato-watermelon salsa, and ‘Parlour’s Benedict’ ingeniously encased in an éclair. The eatery is inspired by the French tradition of palur, or “gathering together in a place for speaking”.
The result? A chic café and bistro that serves delicious food complemented by specialty coffee, a relaxed lounge area, a large communal table, and even a library. While it serves some of the city’s most Instagrammable food, we have to emphasize the fact that every dish we sampled tastes even better than it looks.
Secret Garden by L’ETO
Flowers, flowers, and more flowers. And even more flowers. Have you guessed that we’re referring to Secret Garden by L’ETO? Between its vibrant floral walls and arches, rustic lighting, garden furniture, eclectic menu, and seemingly endless display of cakes and desserts, this girly-girl spot in City Walk is nothing short of enchanting.
Theatrics come courtesy of beverages like ‘Beauty and the Beast’ that are accented with beautifully scented rose smoke, while decadence resides in desserts such as ‘Blueberry Umm Ali’, ‘Dulcey Nougat Cake’, and ‘Almond Frangipane Tart’. As for getting creative with coffee? We tried the ‘Marhaba’ – complete with cardamom, saffron syrup, and coffee beans embedded in ice cubes – and can’t rave about it enough. Suffice to say this is no ordinary garden.
Where in Dubai can you find dishes laden with edible flowers, a selection of beautifully packaged handbag essentials like planners and hand lotions to shop, enough varieties of tea to keep the queen of England happy, and an alfresco patio where your pooch is welcome? Tania’s Teahouse, of course.
This cult hit of a café is located on Jumeirah Beach Road – a short stroll or drive from some of the city’s best beaches and parks – so even fully stocked beach baskets are on offer. We love the ‘Mermaid Toast’ when we’re feeling whimsical, the ‘Pocket Full of Sunshine Salad’ for a light and healthy lunch out, and the ‘Got Milk? Cake’ on those days when calories simply don’t count.
A spritz of rosewater accompanies the fruity ‘Flower Basket’ mocktail, a pampering hand massage – or a skin consultation from a beauty advisor, if you prefer – precedes the meal. Let’s just say it: there’s no girly café quite as girly as L’Occitane Café, and we love it. The menu here is inspired by the beauty products of L’Occitane and, like said products, celebrates the aromas and flavors of its hometown of Provence, France.
Whether it’s sweet or savory that you’re after, expect to dine on French favorites (‘Pain Perdu’ and ‘French Onion Soup’) made with wholesome ingredients alongside regional staples like shakshouka and hearty classics such as ‘Chicken Provençal’ and ‘Croque Monsieur’. Bonus: There’s a full-fledged store inside the café, so even more pampering awaits.
For the healthy girl who wants to stick to clean eating – but without sacrificing taste – Bounty Beets offers a bounty of options. From detox shots to açai bowls and its ‘Plant Based Omelette’ (yes, really), this gem caters to every food fancy and health concern there is. Not to mention, between its pink walls and outdoor gazebo, this gem in Le Meridien Mina Seyahi is a must for snap-happy girls looking for a picturesque locale.
Oh, and whether you’re a herbivore or carnivore, we recommend trying the scrumptious ‘Son of a Chick’ omelette made with chickpeas and cashew cream before making room for the ‘Coconut Caramel Cheesecake’ – a sweet delight that you won’t believe is vegan.
Two at Symphony
No girly catch-up is complete without a little retail therapy – better yet, a splurge. Enter: Two at Symphony. We’re dubbing this elegant little spot the ultimate place for a lunch date with your bestie. Located above Symphony in the ‘Fashion Avenue’ of The Dubai Mall, this homegrown café believes that food should be a feast for the eyes.
With edible flowers on virtually everything from its ‘Rose Latte’ to the ‘Baked Falafel Tabbouleh’, each dish is (almost) too pretty to devour. And while ordering the flavorful ‘Pink Shrimp Risotto’ and ‘Chicken Tacos’ is practically obligatory, we insist that you leave room for the ‘Two Milk Cake’, even if it’s not cheat day. It’s that good.
Kale brownies, avocado pizza, peanut butter açai bowls – just some of the delicious and nutritious dishes you can expect at Brambles, a cool café that recently opened in Barsha Heights. But it’s not just the fresh, California-inspired cuisine that has us hooked. It’s the dreamy décor, too.
Brambles is set in a pretty palette of pinks and greens, so it’s practically designed for Instagram, complete with neon signs, exposed pink-brick walls, moss accents, and cushions so cute you’ll wish they were on your own couch. It’s our favorite new spot in which to dissect the latest Netflix series with the girls, fueled by French toast. We’ll raise our green juices and honey-almond lattes to that.