Photo by Nicole López Del Carril/The Gazelle

Top five cafes for study in Abu Dhabi

Photo by Nicole López Del Carril/The Gazelle Have you exhausted all the possible studying spaces at Sama Tower? If so, or even if you just need a ...

Photo by Nicole López Del Carril/The Gazelle
Have you exhausted all the possible studying spaces at Sama Tower? If so, or even if you just need a breath of fresh air, try one of these recommended spots in the neighborhood for pleasant ambiance and a nice cup of coffee or tea. All have Wi-Fi and are relatively budget-friendly for student needs.
Art Teas: For tea lovers
Art Teas sits in a peaceful little cranny in the far end of the Central Souk. The place is decorated with teacups and pots that originate from around the world and are used to serve the teashop’s various international blends. The teashop is a perfect place for a quiet tea lover or a group study session without interruptions. The friendly Chinese staff can help you scan the hundred plus tea selections, including their very popular tropical fruit and earl grey with lime teas.
Distance: Five-minute walk from DTC
How to find it: At the Central Souk, enter the front blue doors and turn right at first hallway, follow until the last left turn and Art Teas is on your right.
Contact: 02 628 2679
Café Firenze: For coffee and a view
Café Firenze’s spacious lounge and outdoor patio attract locals as well as expats in this warm Italian restaurant-cafe. For news and coffee lovers, the corner sofas provide a welcoming place to recline and catch up on the latest headlines with one of the many international magazines or newspapers available. The outdoor patio looks towards the Corniche and at sunset can be a beautiful spot to escape to. Warning for all nonsmokers, the place has a lot of smoke, so if you are not a fan, do not recommend sitting inside.
Distance: 10-minute walk from DTC
How to find it: Across the street from All Prints on 5th St./Hamdan St. and in front of the Family Park, by the British Council
Contact: 02 666 0955
The One: For a cozy afternoon
Strangely nestled into the back of a luxury furniture store, The One cafe is a sleek and cozy spot to study by yourself or in a group. The cafe’s selection of armchairs and dinner tables comes from the furniture store itself, and the place is a kaleidoscope of UAE residents, Emirati families, expat groups and businessmen furiously typing away at their computers. The food is excellent for the price. Be sure to try the roast beef panini with caramelized onions with a gourmet milkshake.
Cost: Approximately 13 AED taxi ride from Sama Tower
How to find it: Next to the BMW Khalidiya on Electra St. Outside there is a red flag that says The One and once inside the furniture store, head straight and up the staircase, there you will see the balcony of the cafe from the staircase.
Contact: 02 681 6500
APi CAE Gourmet: For those with a sweet tooth
APi CAE Gourmet is a restaurant-cafe with a wonderful selection of desserts, from homemade cannolis to tiramisu and cheesecake. Breads and croissants are baked every day, including sun-dried tomato and raisin breads as well as selections of pizzas and pastas that can fill up any student on a budget. The cafe is spacious yet warm and even has a separate conference room in the back that can be reserved for large study groups of up to twelve people. Take a coffee break from Sama and try out their various limonatas with strawberry, mango or mint.
Cost: Approximately 7 AED taxi from Sama
How to find: Inside a super block that is off of Khaleej Al Arabi St. 30 between the Corniche Road and Zayed 1st St. 7.
For taxi instructions: Block A of Khalidiya Tower behind Veneto and NBAD. See the website for an exact map.
Contact: 971 2 666 8909
Café Arabia: For the art lovers
Café Arabia is a three-story art, coffee and community melting pot. Blending Arabic cuisine, local artisans and a friendly and open working environment, it is the perfect spot for a study session. The first floor is very cafe-like, with small tables and a delicious display of their baked goods, the second floor boasts Wi-Fi, long working tables and couches and finally the terrace on top is perfect for the cooler months. Indulge in their food selections as well as your pleasure reading, if time permits, with one of their magazines or from the lending library in the back. Be sure to try their sahlab, a delicious Turkish drink, and their various Fatteh options. Warning: Wi-Fi is only on the first floor and after one hour, it costs 15 AED for each subsequent hour.
Cost: 10 AED taxi ride from Sama Tower
How to find it: Take a taxi from Airport Rd. heading southeast and tell the driver to head towards Mushrif Garden. Turn onto 15th St. before the walled garden and go straight until you see the yellow awning with Café Arabia on your right.
Contact: 971 2 643 9699
Nicole Lopez del Carril is a contributing writer. Email her at
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