Top Posts & Pages

An instagrammer’s guide to cafes in Dubai!

December 5, 2019 2 Comments

Dubai is filled with gorgeous restaurants serving theatrical food that begs to be photographed… how on earth do you choose which one to go to? A search on the internet will point you towards many Instagram worthy restaurants but after I would visit these places, I would actually leave hungry. What I soon discovered is that certain mentions are paid for; Buying advertising is a huge part of how restaurants ensure that their establishment gets featured on all those ‘Top ten places to eat…” lists that are so popular. If you live in the U.A.E., you know the websites I am talking about; I won’t name and shame. Often I would go to eat somewhere in Dubai and wonder how would such a place even get recommended. Then one day, my partner- who works in the food and beverage industry- enlightened me about the truth.

That inspired me to put forward my own list of non-sponsored places that are not worthy of your photos but also offer a worthwhile dining experience. Nobody wants to eat at a restaurant that serves mediocre food no matter how photogenic their food or surroundings may be. So without further ado, here is Expat Panda’s instagrammer’s guide to cafes in Dubai!

Note: The average price is based on two desserts and two non- alcoholic drinks. No meals have been sponsored.

Saya Café (City Walk)

Possibly my favourite on this list because they serve a full breakfast, lunch & dinner menu in addition to just café nibbles/dessert. Oh and their food is delicious with certain dishes verging on theatrical… I love when the food entertains me! I love their setup for photos right in the entrance of the restaurant as well as their beautiful flowery décor.

Panda’s rating out of 5:

Panda recommends: Mexicana pasta

Average price: 210AED

Secret Garden (City Walk)

Right around the corner from Saya Café, if you wanted a vast array of dessert options, Secret Garden is the place for you. This is a garden themed restaurant so when you sit inside you feel like you’re in an enchanted haven of greenery. They have lots of creative drinks and a dessert to please every palate. 

Panda’s rating out of 5:

Panda recommends: Beauty & the beast mocktail

Average price: 150AED

Simply Oishi 

If you’re a big animé buff then this café is right up your alley. If not don’t worry, there lots of cute & pretty options for you to enjoy as well. This is a Japanese inspired café and they have origami for you to do while you wait for your order, masks for you to borrow and the cutest décor elements. Its small but their food is decious and presented beautifully!

Panda’s rating out of 5:

Panda recommends: Custard cream puffs

Average price: 100AED

Boston Lane 

This is a Dubai institution with its pink walls, pretty stairs and charming interior. The food is decent even though the menu caters more for the post-gym breakfasts of the Jumeirah Janes. You can sample their wraps and all day breakfasts. It’s surrounded boutique artisanal stores and tucked away into a corner of Al Quoz that could be mistaken for a street in Europe. The food here is not theatrical but the pretty surroundings of the café secures it a place on this list  

Panda’s rating out of 5:

Panda recommends: Bounty Hot Chocolate

Average price: 150AED

With everyone and their grandmother wanting to take beautiful photos for their social media, I hope this instagrammer’s guide to cafes in Dubai proves useful for those visiting or living in the city. I chose not to include places where the service was poor or the food was mediocre/overpriced. If you have any recommendations please leave them in the comments below!

For more posts about things to do and where to eat in the UAE, please click here.


All posts


  • Chlohemian December 5, 2019 at 5:38 pm

    I love a good cafe and these suggestions are seriously awesome. I’m bookmarking them for future use on photos alone (and I don’t even have IG). And you look absolutely gorgeous in every photo- wonderful style! 🙂

    • expatpanda December 9, 2019 at 11:53 am

      Thanks so much Chloe! Definitely keep them saved for when you are in town 😀

    Let's converse with a comment!

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    Blog Stats

    • 511,132 visits

    Follow with Wordpress

    Follow Expat Panda on


    Delve into the archives!