Top 10 Hidden Gem Restaurants and Cafes in Dubai: Insider Picks from Colife Employees
Dubai's culinary landscape is as diverse as its population, with a myriad of international cuisines waiting to be explored.

From quaint cafes to bustling eateries, the city offers a treasure trove of hidden gems that delight both locals and tourists alike.

To help you uncover these culinary treasures, Colife employees have shared their insider picks of the top 10 hidden gem restaurants and cafes in Dubai.

Let's dive in!
Charlie & Friends
"I really love Charlie & Friends on JBR. They offer a great selection of delicious dishes, and the interior is so stylish. The combination of quality food, cozy ambiance, and excellent service makes it a standout in Dubai. Whether you’re starting your day with one of their amazing breakfast options or enjoying a relaxing dinner, Charlie and Friends delivers an unmatched dining experience."

Ilnara Muzafiarova
CEO of Colife Dubai
Charlie and Friends is a true hidden gem in the heart of Dubai’s JBR area, known for its bakery delights, breakfast favorites, diverse dining options, and fantastic coffee.

This charming spot has quickly become a favorite among both locals and tourists, thanks to its warm and inviting atmosphere paired with a carefully crafted menu.

Whether you’re craving a hearty breakfast, a light snack, or a full meal, Charlie and Friends has something to delight your taste buds.

Location: besides Movenpick - Marina - The Walk - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
Siddharta Lounge by Buddha-Bar
“I also recommend Siddharta Lounge by Buddha-Bar - it’s a fantastic place decorated in my favorite color, pink"

Ilnara Muzafiarova
CEO of Colife Dubai
Siddharta Lounge by Buddha-Bar is a fantastic rooftop lounge where East meets West.

This award-winning spot boasts a vibrant atmosphere and stunning views of Dubai Marina and beyond.

The unique blend of Eastern and Western influences creates a lively and sophisticated ambiance, perfect for everything from casual hangouts to special celebrations.

With its stylish decor, diverse menu, and breathtaking vistas, Siddharta Lounge offers an experience you won't forget.

Location: Grosvenor House Dubai - Al Emreef St - Dubai Marina - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
Seven Hot Pot Restaurant
"This authentic spot is perfect for food enthusiasts who love the interactive experience of cooking their own meals. At Seven Hotpot, you can prepare your food in a large saucepan, similar to the ancient Chinese method of cooking known as Hogo. This unique approach not only provides a delicious meal but also a fun and engaging dining experience."

Aryuna Tsyrenova
Sales Manager at Colife
Seven Hotpot is a chain of buffet restaurants that offers an all-you-can-eat experience priced at just 59 AED per person. With its affordable pricing and engaging cooking concept, Seven Hotpot offers a delightful culinary adventure for everyone to enjoy.

Location: Shop #10, Continental Tower, JBR 1 - Dubai Marina - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
"I would recommend trying the delicious dishes at L'ETO Restaurant, located in Dubai Mall."

Victor Platonov
Analyst and Broker at Colife
With its diverse menu and emphasis on quality ingredients, L'ETO promises a memorable dining experience that caters to every palate and preference.

Whether you're indulging in a sweet treat or savoring a savory dish, L'ETO's culinary offerings are sure to delight.

Location: Dubai Dubai Mall - Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard 3 Dubai Mall (Fashion Avenue), level 2 - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
CHAIHONA №1 by Vasilchuki
“I recommend visiting Chaihona №1 by Vasilchuki with its spacious terrace overlooking the bay for fantastic Russian-inspired cuisine."

Victor Platonov
Analyst and Broker at Colife
Chaihona №1 by Vasilchuki is not your typical Russian restaurant; it's an immersive culinary experience. The name "Chaihona" means "room for tea" in Chinese, reflecting its roots in tea house culture. With venues worldwide hosting concerts, DJs, and masterclasses, it's more than just a place to dine.

The menu boasts Russian-inspired dishes with Eastern European influences, offering spreads, salads, snacks, shawarma, soups, desserts, and more.

With its scenic views and mouth watering dishes, it's an invitation to savor the flavors of Russia in a vibrant setting.

Location: G Floor - Marina Promenade - Dubai Marina - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
Bu Qtair
"I highly recommend Bu Qtair for their delicious grilled fish and shrimp. Be sure to try their curry and parathas for a unique blend of flavors and spices."

Polina Kulikova
Marketing Manager at Colife
Bu Qtair is a beloved local gem renowned for its freshest seafood and flavorful curries. Offering fish curries, marinated shrimp, and more, this bustling venue boasts terrace seating with picturesque views of the marina and gulf.

For those craving fresh seafood prepared with care, Bu Qtair is a must-visit destination. Originally a humble seafood shack, it gained fame after being featured on Anthony Bourdain’s CNN show, Parts Unknown, in 2013. Today, it has evolved into a thriving restaurant with indoor and outdoor dining options.

Remaining true to its roots, Bu Qtair maintains a laid-back atmosphere, eschewing the formalities of fine dining while still delivering exceptional cuisine. Guests can indulge in a delectable array of seafood delights, from succulent prawns to local fish specialties cooked in aromatic spices and served with roti or rice.

Location: Fishing Harbour 2 - Old 32B Street - Umm Suqeim - Umm Suqeim 2 - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
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Al Ustad
"I recommend visiting Al Ustad for kebabs. It is a go-to destination for meat and kebab lovers."

Polina Kulikova
Marketing Manager at Colife
Al Ustad is a hidden gem known for its authentic Persian kebabs, attracting both locals and tourists with its reputation for serving some of the best fresh kebab dishes in Dubai. A true delight for meat lovers, this popular spot offers generous portion sizes at very reasonable prices, especially by Dubai standards.

Whether you're a local or a visitor, Al Ustad promises an exceptional dining experience with its delicious and affordable kebab offerings.

Location: Metro Station - Al Mussallah Rd - near Al Fahidi - Al Hamriya - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
Arabian Tea House
"I suggest visiting Arabian Tea House for authentic Emirati cuisine. It has one of the best Egyptian-style breakfasts in the city. Must-try dishes include regag bread with honey, egg, and cheese, and khabisah, a sweet blend of sautéed flour and molasses."

Polina Kulikova
Marketing Manager at Colife
Established in 1997, Arabian Tea House is the first Emirati restaurant, nestled in the historic Al Fahidi area. It offers over 150 types of tea and drinks, including mint lemonade and unique tea blends, along with sandwiches, pastries, salads, and desserts. This cozy spot, set in a leafy courtyard, is perfect for experiencing authentic Emirati cuisine and traditional Arabic coffee.

Location: Bastakiya Opposite Musalla Post Office - Al Fahidi St - Bur Dubai - Al Fahidi - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
Bread & Meat
"If you miss home-style cooking, Bread & Meat is your go-to place. It tastes just like back home."

Egor Golovatsky
Project Manager at Colife
Discover the rich flavors of Uzbek, Kazakh, and Russian cuisine at Bread & Meat in Dubai Marina. Our menu offers traditional dishes like succulent kebabs and comforting borscht, blending authentic tastes with a modern twist.

With a focus on quality and authenticity, Bread & Meat provides a nostalgic culinary journey for those longing for the familiar flavors of their homeland.

Location: Mall 1 floor, Trident Grand Residence - Dubai Marina - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
Cafe Isan
"If you are into Asian cuisine, this place can’t be missed. Hidden in JLT’s dining scene, this chef-founded licensed Thai restaurant offers genuine dishes from the Isan region and lively rustic vibes until late. Oh, and it’s super affordable. Order the Thai green curry, papaya salad, and jumbo spring rolls."

Polina Kulikova
Marketing Manager at Colife
Dubai’s food scene is highly diverse, and Cafe Isan is a testament to that. Nestled in the quieter side of Jumeirah Lake Towers, Cafe Isan offers authentic Thai food crafted by Chef New, who brings the flavors of his hometown to Dubai. Despite its lesser-known status, this hidden gem is a must-visit.

At Cafe Isan, you can savor dishes like flavor-packed Thai green curry, fresh papaya salad, and lemon-topped grilled chicken, all starting from 30 AED per large plate. The dining atmosphere is equally enticing, with a colorful, quirky indoor space and a romantic outdoor area adorned with sparkling lights and city views.

Location: Level 1 Armada Avenue Hotel Cluster P - Jumeirah Lake Towers - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
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