By Sharifa Al Badi
The World Book Capital of 2019 has more to offer than its culture, arts and poets. It also happens to have some yummy eating spots that you may have not heard of. Here are our top five places to eat next time you are in Sharjah:
Storie café is located in the up-and-coming Muwaileh industrial area, close to University City. It’s an ideal location to unwind whilst enjoying their eclectic menu that’s inspired by dishes from all over the world. Some of their best sellers are the acai bowl, smash avocado on toast and the katsou chicken bowl. They also have a yummy Hawaiian- favourite, a tuna poke bowl, and a heavenly salted caramel French toast.
The chic spot also boasts a bookshelf filled with all kinds of reads and artwork by local artists, in their effort to support regional talent. They also announced they were going #zeroplastic last month. So, they’ve got our attention!
OJ’s Neighborhood Eatery
Also in Al Muwaileh is OJ’s Neighborhood Eatery, a rustic restaurant that’s all about enjoying homemade, heartful dishes with good company. OJ is the childhood nick name of one of the founders, Chef and curator of the menu Moza Hantoush. Everything is made in-house from scratch in this restaurant, including their spice mixes, giving the place a homey feel.
The menu features dishes inspired by cuisines from all over the world, and include the chow mein bowl, the no meatballs spaghetti and mom’s harees salad. So, you can be sure that you’ll find something for everyone. They also happen to have the fluffiest and yummiest pancakes in town! Did we just hear you say “yuuuuum”?
Al Rawi Café
Truly living up to its name (Al Rawi means “storyteller” in Arabic), Al Rawi is a bookshop and a café that glorifies storytellers, dreamers and poets, and their tales through book sales, author events and more. They just wrapped up their ‘Book Talks’ event last week, which featured renowned Kuwaiti novelist and writer Saud Al Sanousi. The concept store also has some uber chic finds by Montroi and a selection of Spektre sunglasses.
The menu is simple and modern with a range of dishes, from a soothing ramen noodle soup to a char siu beef and truffle mushroom sandwich, plus a selection of salads and mouth-watering desserts, such as their baked cheesecake with cherry sorbet and Indulge by Rawi, which is a self-saucing chocolate cake.
The space also hosts cool workshops related to the arts such as origami, storytelling, or cooking, throughout the year. So watch their Instagram for updates because you never know what you may learn, or whom you may meet!
From left to right: matcha latte, the nuts crusted salmon, and the falafel platter. Photos courtesy of Community Café.
Located in the hip Zero 6 Mall near University City, Community Café is a cool space to study or have work meetings, and indulge in some yummies. The idea of the restaurant is about getting everyone together. Their artistic logo is actually a representation of the many faces of the community, inclusive of all races and nationalities.
Offering an international and Mediterranean menu with a twist, there are a range of flavourful healthy salads to choose from and all-time comfort foods, like the nuts crusted salmon. We especially recommend trying their matcha latte. It’s popular for a reason!
Inspired by Middle Eastern design and cuisine, Shababeek is over 10 years old, and is one of the city’s most prized gems. The award-winning Lebanese restaurant also offers some local delicacies and has a live baking station and saj bar. And everyone knows there is nothing more divine than the smell of freshly baked bread!
Other best sellers include the traditional shish taook, and the grilled black angus tenderloin skewers. They also have grilled halloumi skewer for vegetarians. As for desserts, they have an interesting warm maamoul cheese, which consists of baked maamoul dough filled with cheese. Shababeek is located in Qanat Al Qasba, and has a private dining room making it the perfect place to host a private party or for the whole family.
Sharifa Al Badi is a published writer and author from the magical lands of Oman. She has written for Esquire ME, Khaleejesque and The Culture Trip. She is also the author of “Themis Aella & The Magical Forest” and “50 Things To Know As An Adult.”