Natasha Amar, author of The Best Digital Nomad Neighborhoods in Dubai, shares her picks for the city's top restaurants (and what to order), plus the top bars and productivity-inducing cafes and working spaces.
The Best Restaurants for Digital Nomads in Dubai
Arabian Tea House: This quaint courtyard cafe housed within one of Dubai’s oldest residences is the best place to sample Emirati breakfast dishes such as balaleet (sweet, fragrant vermicelli topped with an omelet) and chebab (pancakes) or sip on warm zatar spiced tea.
Awani: Levantine cuisine is a firm favorite in Dubai, but Awani takes it up a notch with excellent service and an extensive menu of traditional dishes like maqmoura (chicken pie) and Jordanian mansaf (slow-cooked lamb and rice).
Salt: The branch at Kite Beach with fun community events on the weekends, serves up a lively vibe and fantastic ocean views along with delicious sliders and creamy softies and shakes.
3Fils: Located in the Jumeirah Fishing Harbour, 3Fils serves contemporary Asian-inspired food. Go here for great sushi and seafood.
Brunch and Cake: This Barcelona import is popular among Dubai’s breakfast-loving crowd for its bright coastal vibes, sumptuous brunch feasts, and generous portions. Try the lobster mac and cheese.
BOCA: At BOCA, you’ll find Spanish-influenced modern European cuisine prepared from local ingredients (like Dibba Bay oysters). Innovation meets creativity at Boca, where menus change seasonally and the focus is on sustainability and low carbon footprint dining.
NOLA Eatery and Social House: Hidden away in an unassuming location in Jumeirah Lakes Towers (JLT), this classy multi-award-winning restaurant and bar serves stellar cocktails and tasty cajun grills, and New Orleans-inspired mains.
Taverna Greek Kitchen: Perfect for a date night along the romantic canals of Souk Madinat Jumeirah, this restaurant channels the vibes of a Greek seaside taverna. You’ll find authentic dishes such as moussaka, cheese pie, and grilled octopus, along with Greek music and friendly service.
Torno Subito: Located in the trendy W Dubai The Palm, this is the first restaurant outside Italy by celebrity chef Massimo Bottura, and it does not disappoint. The vibrant colorful interior is highly Instagrammable, you can dine al fresco by the beach, and the food is outstanding.
Reif Japanese Kushiyaki: Go here for Japanese street food favorites such as katsu sandos, Japanese-style chicken wings, ramen, and sushi.
The Best Bars for Digital Nomads in Dubai
Zuma Dubai: Zuma consistently tops the lists of the best bars and most sophisticated restaurants in Dubai, and with good reason. It has the best Japanese fusion cuisine in Dubai (the miso black cod is a signature dish). Bring a date you’re looking to impress to the upstairs lounge and bar.
Bla Bla Dubai: Home to several bars (18 at the time of writing) spread over three areas, each with a distinct vibe–from boho beach getaway to Irish bar–a visit to Bla Bla always promises to be a fun night out.
Belgian Beer Cafe: Beat the infamous Dubai summer heat with a couple of chilled beers at this laidback beer cafe that serves a variety of Belgian beers and food (the mussels are highly recommended).
Shimmers: Smoke shisha, sip on cocktails, and share Greek mezedes (appetizers) on the shores of the Arabian Sea at Shimmers. This elegant beachside restaurant and bar offers fantastic views of the Burj Al Arab hotel and is great for lunch or dinner.
SoBe Dubai: Head to this eclectic South Beach Miami-themed rooftop bar at W Dubai for sundowners along with breathtaking panoramic views of Palm Jumeirah.
Weslodge Saloon: With taxidermy on the walls and leather seats reminiscent of classic saloons, you’d be forgiven for feeling like you’re in a Western-themed movie set at this stylish restaurant and bar on the 68th floor of the JW Marriott Marquis. It’s a great place for cocktails and North American food.
Masti: At Masti, sip on creative Indian-inspired cocktails infused with ingredients like cardamom, sumac, pomelo caviar, and oolong tea, while enjoying views of La Mer Beach.
Lock Stock and Barrel: Live bands, pub grub, and a high-energy vibe are all good reasons to go to this industrial-themed bar that gets busy on the weekends.
Off The Wall: Something of an insider secret, Off The Wall is a bar inspired by the street culture of Dubai. Drawing from the influences of nearby Satwa, it’s the place to go for cocktails, tapping into Dubai’s indie scene, and live music by local artists and DJs.
Cove Beach: To party with the sand in your toes, head to the glamorous Cove Beach on Bluewaters Island. There are three beautiful pools, a restaurant, and the Rosé Lounge where the party is on throughout the week.
The Best Digital Nomads in Dubai
Tom & Serg: No-nonsense industrial decor, really good coffee, and food that is both healthy and satisfying make this two-storied cafe in Al Quoz a great place to work.
1762 JLT Stripped: The coffee is among the best in the city and the WiFi is fast at this trendy cafe which has an outdoor terrace and a brightly-lit indoor section. Choose from sandwiches, salads, and pies from the deli counter, or order a more filling lunch from the menu.
The Daily: With big coworking tables, quiet nooks, lounges to take meetings in, an outdoor terrace with tables overlooking La Mer Beach, and fast WiFi all around, The Daily at the Rove La Mer is super popular with Dubai’s remote workers.
Comptoir 102: For a quiet, coastal-inspired cafe with plant-based and healthy food options, go to Comptoir 102. There are various seating areas, whether you want to work in silence or while doing a little people-watching.
BLK Cab Coffee Central: Fuel up with all-day breakfast, toasties, and quality coffee at Blk Cab Coffee Central. It’s quiet during the week, the WiFi is fast, and the service is friendly, making this an ideal spot to work from in the Al Wasl area.
The Best Coworking Spaces for Digital Nomads in Dubai
A4 Space: Join the city’s creatives to work in the art district of Alserkal Avenue where former warehouses now house galleries, studios, indie cinemas, boutiques, and cafes. Here, A4 Space is a free coworking space that’s also home to a cafe and pop-up exhibitions.
Atölye Dubai: Fostering a community of creative freelancers and offering the chance to network with like-minded professionals and companies, Atölye Dubai is a membership-based creative hub, design studio, and coworking space.
Unbox Community: With hot desks, private offices, meeting rooms, event spaces, and a coffee bar, Unbox Community offers plenty of options for remote workers looking to work from a bright, well-designed space. Day passes are available.
One Business Center: You’ll find communal coworking areas and lounges, private offices, and meeting rooms at One Business Center and can meet other remote workers at the cafe or over a game of billiards or foosball.
Nasab by Koa: Part coworking space, part social club, the stylish Nasab by Koa is set among lush landscaped gardens. Other than private offices, meeting rooms, and a coworking area, this membership-based club offers an award-winning restaurant, fitness center, swimming pools, meditation room, padel tennis court, and photography studio.