Coffee culture is booming in the UAE capital, and there are more cool cafés and coffee shops in Abu Dhabi than ever before serving up specialty coffee, colourful all-day breakfasts and warm hospitality. Wherever in the city you’re headed, here are the best cafés and coffee shops in Abu Dhabi.
Tashas Al Bateen
South African restauranteur Natasha Sideris’ café empire is known across her native country and the UAE, where she operates a bevy of branches in Dubai and one in Abu Dhabi’s chic Al Bateen Marina. Located on the waterfront, it exudes cool, coastal charm, with natural interiors, white furniture and umbrellas, rattan touches, and a wooden deck for sipping top-quality coffee and enjoying breakfast and lunch al fresco. The coffee menu is seriously impressive – with everything from espresso, iced and oat milk lattes to Greek, Spanish and flavoured blends on offer – alongside a breezy, health-focused menu of all-day breakfast, salads, sandwiches and mains like quesadillas, grilled calamari and spicy prawns and halloumi bites.
Al Bateen, tashascafe.com
Breakfast served: all day
One of the newest additions to Abu Dhabi’s cool and creative breakfast scene is Cave. While most of the capital’s breakfast spots are bright and breezy, Cave is dark, mysterious and designed to create the feeling of subterranean dining, with dark cosy corners and unique cave-inspired decor. Located in the city’s Al Qana area, it’s quickly become a popular neighbourhood hangout, thanks to a European-inspired menu that includes breakfasts of Spanish tortilla and decadent scrambled egg croissants. Make sure to keep enough room for dessert, the cafe’s speciality.
Al Qana, @cave.tapas
Aptitude has taken the role of a museum coffee shop and turned it on its head, and it is now one of the best coffee shops in Abu Dhabi. The space started life as a stylish pop-up cafe, but thanks to popular demand, it is now permanently based in the beachy grounds of the Louvre Abu Dhabi. The recently renovated space is bigger and better than before, allowing visitors to sip coffee in the shadows of the UAE‘s most impressive museum (and the only Louvre outside of Paris). The white-washed cafe has a greenery-filled terrace and a small indoor area with floor-to-ceiling windows, creating an indoor-outdoor vibe, whatever the weather. Enjoy ethically sourced coffee in Aeropress, cold brews and Chemex varieties, and some more local-inspired twists like rose, pistachio and saffron lattes.
Al Saadiyat Island, louvreabudhabi.ae
Another fantastic coffee shop in Abu Dhabi’s Al Bateen neighbourhood is Parallel Café – a beachy-chic space with natural wood and chalky white interiors, rattan furniture and the obligatory display of brilliant green foliage. The calming cafe and coffee shop serves brunch fare and freshly brewed coffee but is perhaps best known for its ice cream bun – warm, freshly baked bun with soft melting ice cream – a favourite treat among the locals.
Al Bateen, @parallelcafe
Brunch and Cake
Barcelona-born Brunch and Cake have become an institution in the UAE, with a handful of locations around Dubai and a long-awaited Abu Dhabi outpost. This is one of the most spacious and stylish coffee shops in Abu Dhabi, with striped canary yellow awnings, a large conservatory-style space for sun-lit indoor dining, a boho-chic main space and outdoor seating on the gleaming lanes of Marsa Al Bateen. There’s a menu of signature and exclusive-to-Abu Dhabi dishes, and highlights of the all-day many include New York cheesecake ricotta pancakes, burrata toast and lobster croffle Benedict. An on-site bakery and ice cream parlour make it also perfect for a short sweet-treat pit stop.
Al Bateen, brunchandcake.com
From Serg Lopez (formerly one-half of Dubai’s perennially popular Tom&Serg), Sanderson’s Café brings Mediterranean vibes and coffee culture to the UAE capital. The green canopy sets the tone for the interior, which is reminiscent of Mediterranean islands with a calming palette of white, wicker chairs and island-style furnishings. Staff are delightful, and many combine the classic with the innovative. There’s freshly ground coffee, but also colourful serves like red velvet and matcha lattes and chai masala. The expansive menu spans everything from tropical smoothie bowls, acai and eggs cooked any way to fully loaded toasts, breakfast pizzas and the signature ‘brekkie’ burger.
Al Seef Abu Dhabi, wearesandersons.com
Art House Café
Charmingly Arabian on the outside and quirky and colourful on the inside, Art House Café is one of the most unique and personality-filled coffee shops in Abu Dhabi. Nestled in the peaceful old part of the capital next to the Etihad Modern Gallery, the cafe pulls on the UAE’s history to create an endearing atmosphere. Horse sculptures stand proudly at the entrance leading you into a space with mismatched furniture, terracotta tiles and eclectic wall art and decorations. This is one of the best coffee shops in Abu Dhabi for creatives, though coffee enthusiasts will delight in all their favourites: expresses, Turkish coffees, iced blends and teas are all here. The outdoor space shaded by old trees is the real draw here, while the inside is more cosy and intimate.
Al Bateen, arthousecafead.com
You know somewhere is good in the UAE when locals favour it, and Rain Café is precisely that. The homegrown brand – owned by an Emirati entrepreneur – is known for its top-quality service, funky interiors, freshly brewed coffee, and slim but hearty menu of breakfast dishes, colourful bowls and packed sandwiches. The focus is on quality, not quantity, and all beans are from Brazil, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, El Salvador, Panama, and Guatemala – with more interesting coffees, including the popular Spanish latte with condensed milk. Rain Cafe has now branched across the city in the Corniche area, Yas Mall and Al Ain.
Al Wahda, @rainabudhabi, rainuae.ae
Ritual Café & Studio
With a motto of ‘turning routines into morning rituals, it’s only right that Ritual Café & Studio’s coffee is worthy of a daily visit. The calming all-white space is nestled in Reem Central Park on Reem Island, and its wellbeing-oriented vibe and clean aesthetic make it the perfect spot to come and switch off and enjoy the peaceful vibe or switch on for a day of zen co-working. The coffee is great, there are plenty of healthy, gluten-free and vegan options, and the coffee shop regularly hosts workshops, helping guests to create meaningful rituals.
Reem Central Park, Reem Island, @instagram.com, qr.emenu.ae
Coffee connoisseurs flock to % Arabica to get their caffeine fix, and it’s easy to see why. This once-cult coffee shop has earned its stripes on the world’s coffee circuit, with branches across the UAE in Dubai, Sharjah, Al Ain and Abu Dhabi. The brainchild of a coffee-obsessed UCLA student, who founded the now global brand in the Nineties, % Arabica sources its beans from more than 30 countries and has an extensive menu extending far beyond the basic brews. The Abu Dhabi outlets have signature crisp all-white interiors with industrial-chic touches. Abu Dhabi has seven branches of the popular coffee shop in Corniche, Al Bateen, Yas Bay, Marina Mall, Yas Mall, Al Ain and The Galleria.
Various locations, arabicacoffee.ae/
Part coffee shop, part barbers, part upscale hipster hangout and streetwear concept store, Local is one of the trendiest coffee shops in Abu Dhabi. The relaxed spot is located in one of Abu Dhabi’s favourite shopping haunts and, while born out of a need to serve shoppers needing a caffeine fix and substance, has flourished into a destination in its own right. There are minimalist industrial-vibe interiors such as cement flooring, beams, low-hanging lighting, and excellent coffee and sweet treats.
Al Zeina, Mamsha Saadiyat, localco.ae
Blacksmith Coffee Company
Minimalist, fuss-free Blacksmith Coffee Company sits on the grounds of New York University Abu Dhabi, and delivers a cool, laid-back vibe reminiscent of university days. The open-plan space is the brainchild of a group of former NYU students with a love for coffee and served beans sourced from Kenya, Guatemala, and Ethiopia and freshly roasted in its own Abu Dhabi-based roastery. Coffee lovers will appreciate serves like batch brew, Aeropress and Chemex, served alongside sweet and savoury classic cafe snacks.
NYU Abu Dhabi, Al Saadiyat Island, blacksmith.ae
Tawa Bakery’s offering is unique in Abu Dhabi’s coffee shop and café scene thanks to its 100% gluten-free bakery and menu. The stylish café was founded on the philosophy that being gluten-free, whether by force of choice, should never be sacrificing taste or quality, and it’s a mission they’ve truly achieved. Diners will delight in all-day breakfast dishes like French toast, which are served alongside a menu of colourful and fresh salads, burgers and pizzas.
Al Raha Beach, @tawabakery
With branches across Dubai and Abu Dhabi, L’ETO’s Instagrammable decor and perfect plates of popular breakfast dishes have made it one of the most popular cafes in Abu Dhabi. Less about the coffee and more about the cakes; every sweet tooth will be satisfied with the freshly baked sweet treats served up at this London-born coffee shop.
Yas Mall and Galleria Mall, letocaffe.ae