Café Arabia

Boutique concept café looks like a genuine Arabic home 14 Reviews

Meal Deal
Friday Brunch

Abu Dhabi’s artiest café are doing brunch and you can choose between Arabic and Continental. Dhs55 8am-noon, Dhs75 noon-3.30pm Timings: 8am-3.30pm (Friday)

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It’s a safe bet that every person who visits Café Arabia spends a few private moments musing over how they could make their own home a little bit more like this one. The boutique ‘concept café’ looks like an elegant Arabian house, with expensive sofas, interesting artwork and tasteful bookshelves. It’s no kitsch pastiche of Middle Eastern style, hammed up for tourists – everything is tastefully arranged throughout the spacious and modern villa. The lighting feature, a series of deep-hued glass hanging lanterns, is a real showstopper, while cushions and a display of local souvenirs add colour and character to the place.

Owner Aida Mansour has given the menu a very personal touch and among the spread of European and local options is her grandmother’s favourite salad and other recipes provided by friends and family. The additional range of breakfast items, cakes and biscuits means the café functions as an all-day hub so you could just as easily visit for a lunch meeting, catch up with a group of friends or go for an evening meal.

Both our meals, Arabic seafood ruz and baked salmon, were presented in a homely, dinner party style – without the finesse of an upmarket restaurant but in generous, warming portions. The ruz, prepared like a risotto, was a comforting bowlful of rice with pesto, crunchy chunks of peppers and heaps of seafood. The baked salmon was alm tables and covered in hollandaise sauce. It was basic, but also very satisfying.

Café Arabia sets out to be a place where expats can spend some time in a welcoming local environment and it does succeed – we felt as though we’d been welcomed into the home of a sophisticated friend and just wished we could have stayed the night too.

The bill (for two)
Baked salmon
Dhs65
Arabic seafood ruz Dhs55
Mint lemonade Dhs20
Ginger tea Dhs22
Total (excluding service) Dhs162

By Time Out Abu Dhabi staff
Time Out Abu Dhabi,

Time Out reviews restaurants anonymously and pays for meals. Of course, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or independence of user reviews.

Details

  • Location: Al Mushrif, Abu Dhabi
  • Tel: 02 643 9699
  • Travel: Between Al Karama and Airport Road

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User reviews

ValueAmbienceService
DecorFoodOverall
  • Users voted this restaurant most suitable for: Family friendly

User reviews:

Posted by: Heidi on 08 Oct ' 13 at 15:35
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Brunch served
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? No

So so disappointing, tasteless and pretentious....

Posted by: mayita on 29 Sep ' 13 at 06:41
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FoodAmbienceValue

I agree with what most of the people are saying: please, Cafe Arabia PLEASE treat your staff better, train them better, and reward them for doing a good job. I think the poor food quality comes from the poor training of the cooks. The service is truly abysmal, even when the staff means well. But I want to keep going to support the place, just give me a tiny tiny bit more reason to do so. Slightly better prepared food, and much better trained and supported staff.

Posted by: Erum on 13 Apr ' 13 at 10:21
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Brunch served
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

Really nice place , great food, good service! In short great value for money.

Posted by: Rania on 21 Feb ' 13 at 07:44
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

Edited by TimeOutAbuDhabi.com

With the little options we have in Abu Dhabi, this is a welcoming cafe for lunch. The decor and ambience are a great midday distraction from the busy work day. Having said that, the food in itself is mediocre at best. For the prices they charge you'd expect good quality ingredients, but no. Don't go for the Steak Sandwich and stick to simple arabic dishes (salads, kebbeh etc..) If anything just go for coffee.

Posted by: ReeRee on 04 May ' 12 at 19:23
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? No

I ate at Café Arabia two times during the last several months and swore I would never go back due to the dreadful service. Colleagues and friends had similar experiences, regardless of time of day or number of people in the café. However, I continued to read ongoing glowing reviews from TOAD, most recently about the café’s delicious and reasonably priced Friday brunch, and decided to try one more time.

As during my earlier visits, I found the artistic décor and Middle Eastern theme attractive and welcoming. I was happy with the unique and light brunch offerings for AED65 (coffee not included). The staff, however, were not attentive, were slow, bumbling and unsure of themselves. The overall feeling was that they were disorganized, untrained and unhappy.

The owners obviously pay a lot of attention to detail as seen in the décor, food presentation and events calendar – if they would please listen to their customers and train their staff to a higher standard, Café Arabia could be a true gem. I wish them well.

Posted by: Virginie Lapendry on 19 Apr ' 12 at 09:27
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

Very nice venue!
I really enjoyed the roof top area in winter! inside it is cosy and art-deco. Particularly enjoyed the photos and the overall decor of all the floors. The menu is design for all tastes, staff is friendly and price are reasonable!
A good spot for a nice cafe break/lunch/brunch time with friends and family

Posted by: Hunter Munter on 04 Jan ' 12 at 05:28
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Business lunch
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? No

Verry bad place to eat verry disapointed

Posted by: Karim Diaa Eldin on 14 Dec ' 11 at 15:43
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

The place is very nice but the service is really bad the people un professional

Posted by: Eva El Mouallem on 20 Oct ' 11 at 03:50
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

Posted by: Colin Howie on 31 Aug ' 11 at 11:27
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Brunch served
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

It is not difficult to start something that is 'different'. The challenge is to maintain that difference against those who would copy your ideas. Aida has succeeded in keeping this haven of traditional hospitality with great value completely within her original concept. Cafe Arabia remains deliciously different. Vive la difference! I'll be back.

Posted by: Maria on 24 Jul ' 11 at 01:14
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

Amazing place with amazing food, specially the breakfast, but the service is HELL SLOW & not friendly staff at all.. but still i would go there again, but have a low expectations service wise

Posted by: stephanie miller on 01 Jul ' 11 at 05:44
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

Really great place and what the article doesn't mention is that they provide wifi internet service for free. Great place to relax and get some work done on you laptop in a no stress environment.

Posted by: Jinky Nocon on 04 May ' 11 at 10:34
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

The best place to have coffee with friends and family in Abu Dhabi.

Posted by: rasha on 24 Apr ' 11 at 06:49
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

lovely place , very nice and relaxing atmosphere , nice food and great value for money

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Close X The Holy Month of Ramadan started on Sunday, June 29 and will last for one month. During this time live music and DJ sets will stop and opening hours may change at all venues. Please call ahead to confirm details with the outlet.