Breakfast spots TOP 5

yummy in my tummy…
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Mhh…there is nothing better than a yummy breakfast on the weekend.
Yes, sure we have breakfast every day but we kind of cherish and celebrate it on the weekend.
Sleeping in is set to be the first weekend goal and the second is surely to have a good, nourishing breakfast. Treat yourself more often!

Below you will find my TOP 5 Breakfast spots in Abu Dhabi:

 

5.
Shakespeare & Co. 

Shakespeare is a franchised company with almost 10 branches around Abu Dhabi.
Its old-fashioned furniture beams you back to the 18th century. It is known for its delicious breakfast combos and fair prices!

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My favourite brekkie is the “Healthy” one which contains: Egg white omelette with herbs, roast potatoes and asparagus, fresh fruit salad, natural yoghurt, brown toast and honey, grapefruit juice and latte macchiato.
This whole package at AED 58 only.
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BTW: My fav branch is the one on Saadiyat Island with a lovely outside seating in a hidden courtyard within the St. Regis Residences complex.
 
4.
Third Place Café

Third place is a small but very cute spot located on the Corniche. It’s not only a great breakfast spot but also a place where you can hang out, relax, read a book, do your work or simply enjoy a freshly brewed cup of coffee.
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Once you are here you have to try the smoothies! Simply delicious.
Actually I just realized that I always had those late, late breakfasts there – which kindly slip into a “lunch”. Therefore I suggest the Goats Cheese & Spinach salad. Delicious.At this spot you will also be able to sit outside and enjoy the Abu Dhabi breeze (if not during the hot summer months ;)).
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3.
Al-Ulya

Al-Ulya made its way straight into my heart once it opened its doors almost 2 years ago.
I still remember that I somehow spotted it somewhere on social media; but then they still did not have a food & drinking license since they were just arriving from Portugal.
Al-Ulya means “Loule” in Portuguese and is a town located in the south of Portugal with strong Arabic roots.
Kind as Portuguese always are – they opened their doors to give us a taste of Portugal and to check the future customers feedback. Obviously those treats were handed out for free – Kindness 🙂
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It quickly became my second home – simply because it has all the delicious Portuguese dishes combined with the lovely Portuguese owners, completed by the Portuguese music as well as interior. From “pao com manteiga” (Bread with butter), “meia de leite” (Latte macchiato) over to “Natas” (custard tartlet) – you will get anything you would crave for.

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Even if the seating is only inside; this spot is definitely worth visiting.
2.
Byparkers

Byparkers is a fairly new spot located in the old Mushrif park (Umm Al Emarat Park). Lovely outside seating facing the greenery; and even if the weather does not allow you will not be disappointed by the creative interior.

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This spot has so much modernism and still sticks to good ol’ quality food.
The menu is quite “Organic” and so delicious.
I loved the poached eggs with avocado crème on a baked sweet potato. Further I ordered a fresh orange juice which includes free refill. To compliment my brekkie I ordered the banoffee pancakes. OH MY GOODNESS: amazing. Absolutely fantastic. Loved it.
IMG_4510Unfortunately the portions (eggs, tacos, etc.) are not too big therefore you better order another main dish ;)Overall a great spot with lovely, dedicated and knowledgeable staff!
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1.
Tasha’s

South African franchise Tasha’s is my personal number one! I just love everything about it… from the lovely location in Al Bateen Marina; the outside seating arrangement with the view; the stunning interior; the attentive staff and the delicious food.
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I have to admit – once I am here I ALWAYS order the same. But I can’t help myself… I just love it! And whats so special about it: it is consistently good… Which is quite special for Abu Dhabi – where you sometimes get your dessert with or without cream although you did not change anything upon ordering… Sounds familiar?
 
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I simply love the layered yoghurt with home-made granola and all kind of citrus fruits. Oh… I urgently need to satisfy my palate.
Of course other dishes are delicious, too. But definitely give my favourite a try…Well… certainly there are many other spots in our beautiful town – yet the above ones are my personal TOP 5 🙂

Give those a try as well…
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PS: If you are into trying a hotel breakfast buffet I highly recommend the one at Rosewater in Jumeirah Etihad Towers…

Beirut & Byblos, Lebanon

 

…surprising!

Ideal stay: 4days
Temperature: depending on season, between 12ºC and 32ºC

My other half and I were looking for a spot to travel to during a longer weekend so Beirut came to our mind. My Arab friends (incl. Lebanese) were so excited that I was going and I got kind of snowed under with recommendations – whereas my European friends immediately discouraged me from doing this trip.

Why is this? Yes, due to Media and the urge to quickly spread rumours about the unknown.

Beirut got nicknamed the “Paris of the Middle East” due to its cultural and intellectual life as well as French influences. Yes, it got partially destroyed during their civil war but has been rebuilt in the decades since.
So, as usual we took our credit card, booked the flights (Etihad: AUH-BEY) and started this journey!

We booked the early flight with Etihad at around 4am – which I do not recommend at all. A flight full of crying babies, noisy and hectic people all over – and us, surrounded by them, lacking sleep. Mabrook!
The proof of severe fatigue – self-painted picture made on the airplane board computer…

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DAY 1
At 6am we arrived at the old-fashioned airport and encountered straight away the typical, rather lazy but friendly, Lebanese at the Europcar stall. As usual, we rented a car.
It’s simply the best way to come around and explore the most within a tight time frame.

After a crazy drive, where we learned that in Beirut you get to ignore the red lights, we checked-in at the Four Points by Sheraton which is centrally located.

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We slept for a few hours and went for a late breakfast nearby. Once we were strengthened we went to Jeita Grotto. To reach the top Grotto you have to take the cableway to the top, which is included in the entrance fee of around 12$ for both Grottos. This dripstone cave was just stunning.

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We walked through the bigger one, took the kids train down to the smaller one – but this Grotto was even more incredible due to the water and the recommended boat trip in the Grotto.

Caution head!

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Our journey continued to the well-known “Cristo Rei”. In Portugal we have a similar one… Btw. I constantly commented “oh this looks like Portugal” – “ah like in Portugal” – so, Portugal-Lovers, you would def LOVE Beirut!

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So far the drive was quite tiring due to the crazy driving style of the Lebanese people. Before you plan your trip people will recommend you to take a taxi or “rent” a car with driver but if you are a good driver, willing to adapt to the local behaviour – you will be fine.

Rule Nr 1: Just don’t stop! You have to go with the flow… Everyone speeds? Speed, too.

Everyone rushes over red lights? Do it, too, otherwise the guy behind you will become your seatmate.

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To recover from this, we stopped at the wooden bakery which is well-known for its delicious Manakeesh. Normally I do not like “Zaatar” but this time – wow. It was soooo nice and yummy, we could not stop!

After this yummy stop we moved on to Harrissa where we searched for the Lady of Lebanon. Many come up the mountain by cablecar – we opted for our car.
Don’t worry – you will see some machine guns from time to time – but contrary to our “European Point of view” this is really to ensure safety.
Once we found her, we were just amazed. We walked all the stairs up and this is what we got:

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We waited there till…yes, Sunset! Like usual and felt just blessed to be part of this natural spectacle.

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Our evening ended with some drinks in the famous district Gemmayzeh – Mar Mikhael a road full of bars and restaurants which caters to everyone’s needs.

Good to know: If you ever take a taxi, like we did in the evening, ask for “servicienne” else the Taxi drivers will try to bullshit you with an expensive taxi price.

DAY 2
This morning started quite crazy. Well, it’s actually just us… We turned the music on and danced through the room while preparing for the day. It makes such a difference if you sleep properly in a bed during the night instead of spending the night in an overcrowded plane.

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Btw during this trip I fell in love with the song ‘one dance’ by Drake which from my point of view stands for ‘life is one dance’ – sometimes it’s a steps-sequence easy to memorize and sometimes off-beats due to rapid changing life rhythm.

We went for breakfast at Paul’s near Beirut Souks. To be honest, it was totally overpriced and not worth it but still great views from our outside seating.

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This new city centre is just incredible. It’s the perfect mix between traditional and modern flair. Bit like an Arabic city but has def also the “Parisian” atmosphere.

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In the middle of the city trouble of a cosmopolitan city I was lucky to spot a church and a mosque on the same street. This is the perfect example for tolerance and freedom of belief. There is no need to fight for “the right” – who judges right or wrong? You should not…

Good to know: It’s quite normal to select the reverse gear in the middle of the highway as well as it is regular business to turn 3 lanes into 5! I told you its quite chaotic over here…

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We dedicated this second day to “Byblos”. Byblos is only 30min drive away from the city centre of Beirut. We strolled down the ancient city… with its lovely souq.

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This country has a great cultural background and you come to learn things which you would have never thought. Byblos is justifiably crowned as UNESCO World Heritage.


We enjoyed our walk through the temple of obelisk and its stunning views over the eastern Mediterranean.

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After this great trip we drove back to Beirut city where we chased the sun through the lively corniche until the famous pigeon rocks.

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Again, “just like in Portugal”… I just love it! The whole ambiance, the crowd, the sights, the temperature – it was all just perfect. I could not imagine a better place to be on that particular day – just happy with and thankful for life.

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DAY 3
On our third day we woke up (again) in a great mood, excited to drive up the hill to Broumana. We checked-out from the Four Points and on our way to our next temporary-home, we stopped at a lovely Boulangerie.

Actually, it’s almost impossible to fail culinary-wise here in Lebanon. Everything is just yummy, fluffy and simply mhhhhh.

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We finally checked-in in one of the most beautiful places we have every stayed in:
Grand Hills, a Luxury Collection Hotel & Spa.
Hard to explain but I believe “wow” would do.

Incredible room with THE view. 

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Coming from the European world, stamped and shaped by the circulating rather negative rumours, I would have never thought to encounter such beauty in “disreputable Lebanon”.

Beautiful vineyards, natural mountains and first and foremost: gracious people.

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We took our time to reach the famous restaurant MOUNIR and enjoyed a “Radler” on our way. Contrary to popular belief, Lebanon has a quite balanced religious mix: 54% Muslims and 41% Christians.I always wonder where these rumours and associated prejudices come from…

For Dinner we went to the in-house restaurant but my highlight of the day was the surprise organized by #favtravelpartner – Sunset on the hotel’s roof. Incredible…

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B e a u t I f u l

Day 4
Unfortunately our last morning has come and this trip has come to an end.
These days were just revitalizing, astonishing and lovely.

I really enjoyed the time over here and am proud that we did this trip despite all negative influences…

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Start your day right

We enjoyed our last breakfast with a perfect view and headed to the airport.

To sum up, this trip was so much more than we expected and I do recommend it to everyone.

Yes, there are some parts which are still not very safe to travel to but Beirut and especially Byblos are awaiting you and your open mind!

The Lebanese style is much influenced by “go with the flow” and if you do so you will enjoy your time a lot!