5 casual Dubai restaurants for your bucket list

Avec DubaiI realise there’s a perception that FooDiva is all about fine, fun dining and whilst I can’t deny that’s a focus, I still love discovering quirky, casual, unlicensed restaurants, or cafes with a difference. So here’s a collection of five such Dubai restaurants that I’ve eaten at recently and will be adding to my bucket list…as should you.

Kif Kif

If you’re after excellent Moroccan cuisine in Dubai in a casual environment, there’s only two restaurants worth dining at in my opinion. Kif Kif is a teeny indoor and al fresco spot next to Kitsch Concept on Jumeirah Beach road. Quirky and retro, it promises ‘urban fast food’, but trust me, it serves up much more than that. The menu boasts a generous selection of wholesome, tasty fare – from the salads served on a wooden picnic bench – to mini ‘tagines’ – the merguez sausage concoction in particular is delicious.

  • Kif Kif
  • Jumeirah Beach Road, Umm Suqueim, Dubai, UAE
  • +971 50 835 1449
  • Moroccan
  • No
  • Saturday to Thursday 12noon until late and Friday from 1pm
  • http://www.kifkif.com/

Almaz by MomoAlmaz by Momo

The second, a longstanding FooDiva favourite, Momo’s (an affectionate nod to its London sibling) has opened another location in Dubai at The Beach on JBR Walk. Whilst the terrace bags a beautiful sea view, the interior doesn’t share the hugely atmospheric vibe the Harvey Nic’s spot has. The Moroccan and broader North African menu is similar, bar the addition of a few European dishes which I expect are included to appeal to the tourist location.

  • Almaz by Momo
  • The Beach, JBR Walk, Dubai, UAE
  • +971 4 5516247
  • Moroccan
  • No
  • Daily for lunch and dinner

Taste Kitchen 

The ex-chef duo behind Table 9, Nick and Scott, have opened their own chain of cafes starting with Mercato mall. You’ll also find them in Bur Dubai on Trade Centre road, and in Silicon Oasis. Hopefully we’ll get one in New Dubai soon (Spinney’s is the owning company so undoubtedly that’s where they will spring up). Salads, soups and mains aside, the menu differentiator are the mason jars brimming with pâtés, and served with chunky toast.


Bursting at the seams with sunshine yellow and funky art, this café-cum-business hub at Dubai Media City is open all day and night for brekkie, lunch and dinner. There’s an honesty library brimming with magazines for borrowing, and needless to say, free wi-fi. The must-try dish from a very broad international menu is a baked salmon fillet with falafel crust on a bed of roasted sweet potatoes and drizzled with a walnut, pomegranate and tahini sauce (pictured above).

Shogun DubaiShogun

Normally I am not a fan of restaurants that boast menus with a multitude of cuisines. You can’t be all things to all people in my opinion, but I am making an exception with Shogun. Specialising in Korean food, yet Japanese and Thai dishes also abound with dedicated menus. The newish Dubai Internet City location is Shogun’s second after Deira where it’s garnered a huge following. Here’s where to go for your kimchi and bibimbap fix.

Do you have a go-to casual restaurant or café you’d like to add to this round-up?

A bientôt.

FooDiva. x

  • Posted under
    Cafes, Dubai, Dubai Marina, Dubai Media City, Food Features, International, Japanese, Jumeirah, Korean, Location, Moroccan, Restaurants, Thai
  • Pin It

14 Responses to “5 casual Dubai restaurants for your bucket list”

  1. ga March 16, 2015 at 10:39 am

    The new Deli 1762 in Media City is well worth a visit too, as is Bystro but I think you have already covered Bystro. Nice round up 🙂

    • FooDiva March 16, 2015 at 1:04 pm

      Indeed Bystro is covered and high up there for me too GA 🙂 I had breakfast at 1762 Media City last month and was really disappointed. I just wanted something simple with eggs and no bread. The closest I could get was a quiche with red peppers and fetta which was really heavy on the stomach first thing. It goes down to the fact that all their dishes are pre-prepared and they can’t make anything on the spot.

      • ga March 16, 2015 at 1:06 pm

        I am in lust with their prawn sandwiches 🙂

  2. Johann Z March 16, 2015 at 10:47 am

    Of these 5, I have only been to Almaz by Momo on JBR walk. The food was nice and tasty and the Cheese Briouat and Pigeon Pastilla were excellent. Will have to check out the others. Thanks for the heads up.

    • FooDiva March 16, 2015 at 1:09 pm

      I eat their cheese briouat like popcorn Johann! Pigeon pastilla is also a good choice even though they’re a bit heavy-handed on the cinnamon I think.

  3. Sally - My Custard Pie March 16, 2015 at 12:42 pm

    Shame licensed casual (affordable) dining options aren’t popping up with such rapidity! I like Tounsi on Jumeirah Beach Road (busy with Tunisians taking away and eating in).

    • FooDiva March 16, 2015 at 1:12 pm

      Oh wow I’ve not heard of Tounsi. Tunisian restaurants are far lacking here. Will have a look for it. Thanks for the heads up Sally 🙂

  4. ishitaunblogged March 16, 2015 at 5:50 pm

    Nice compilation… we went to Kif Kif the other day – got the cue from your instagram feed – really loved it. A few other places that are on our list – across various locations – Social House in Dubai Mall, Sim Sim in the Walk, Eggspectation in The Beach, Claypot in Bur Dubai and ofcourse Zaroob on SZR.

    • FooDiva March 17, 2015 at 9:35 am

      Thanks for these recommendations Ishita. Sim Sim and Eggspectation are favourites of mine too. I’ve not tried Claypot I must admit. I am not a fan of Zaroob or Maria Bonita’s sadly – all hype…and style perhaps but no substance!

  5. ishitaunblogged March 16, 2015 at 5:52 pm

    Oh also Maria Bonita…

  6. Tomas March 16, 2015 at 9:18 pm

    Nice article. I am generally happier with food at the street level more than the hotel based outlets.

    I like Bestro in Galeries Lafaiette, the food taste great and makes you feel good on top of that.
    My favourite Korean is the original Shogun in Al Ghurair and Mannaland off 2nd December street.
    City Pearl in Al Quoz has very good Pakistani food. Pindidhaba in Karama for fried chicken.

    • FooDiva March 17, 2015 at 9:40 am

      Thanks Tom. One of my guest reviewers covered Bestro and rated it highly. I must get there at some point. OMG I love the sound of fried chicken. Just googled Pind da Dhaba, it’s the one above Goa Coastal Curries is that correct? In fact that’s another one for the bucket list.

  7. Garry W March 19, 2015 at 3:49 pm

    Very informative article – food for thought as they say……. One suggestion for your bucket list – Leopolds of London on JBR Walk – We had a good meal there – the Angus Burger, the Quiche and Pizza were well presented and very hot – the fries were excellent. Welcome on arrival was very good though the service was not of the same standard. Nevertheless a good place for a nice lunch with a great view

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

  1. FooDiva’s 35 favourite Dubai restaurants | FooDiva - December 7, 2015

    […] Kif Kif – this tiny, quirky café on Jumeirah’s beach road serves superb urban Moroccan ‘fast food’. […]

I’d love to receive your feedback, so feel free to comment any time.