Karak and Coffee

The earliest references to drinking coffee come from the Middle East, and cafés and coffee shops still encourage guests to sit, meet friends, and talk to each other while sipping. Abu Dhabi’s coffee comes in various forms: sweetened creamy espresso shots, Arab or Turkish coffees, high tea (in hotels), lattes, and cappuccinos. For something a bit different, served piping hot and delicious, try karak, a chai tea.

Abu Dhabi - United Arab Emirates
After the evening call to prayer, several cafe trucks open up to people strolling along the stretch of Marina Island—across the water and parallel to the Abu Dhabi cityscape on the Corniche. From Arab coffee to karak (similar to chai tea), the drinks are the perfect way to end a day. On this particular evening, I enjoyed a piping hot Karak Zafron with a hint of saffron from the Street Bites Truck. With a park, a long jetty to a theatre, new restaurants, and some green park spaces, it is a local’s hot spot; yet the area remains mostly undiscovered by tourists and expats. The spit of land is perfect for long walks with a hot beverage from one of the trucks in the wintertime.
West Corniche Road, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Some experienced travelers would never consider a hotel a “sight,” but Emirates Palace is a full-blown spectacle. A world onto itself, this luxurious spot opened in 2006 to the tune of roughly $6 billion with every conceivable amenity—plus a few you never knew you needed. There’s a beach club with a lazy river, football fields, and nearly four miles of jogging paths; a golf course where you can get tips from a PGA pro; a Bedouin tent for relaxing before a beachfront camel ride; and a luxury spa complete with Moroccan hammam. Marble and gold embellish surfaces everywhere on the property, including in the magnificent tiled dome above the lobby. Whether or not you feel like shelling out serious dough to say you stayed here, you won’t regret a stroll in the lobby for curiosity’s sake.
Corniche road, Villa T3 - Abu Dhabi - United Arab Emirates
Perhaps the most inviting cafe to spend time at in Abu Dhabi is The Third Place. With furnished alcoves, window seats, and patio tables, it’s a great place to meet a friend, settle in with a book, or get some work done over wifi. The food is terrific—fresh, well-prepared, and good for you. Servers cheerfully welcome their patrons with a smile and offer recommendations from the large menu written on the wall. When your meal is finished, they move things away quickly so you can continue conversing or working. Started by architects, the business showcases an appreciation for art and design, in a second-floor gallery.
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AFAR Journeys
Journeys: Europe
Journeys: Europe
Journeys: Europe
Journeys: Europe