Arabian Tea House – A gateway to Dubai’s past

Today we’d talk about Arabian Tea House, Dubai.Old-timers still like to call it the Basta Art Café. It is not an exaggeration to call this neighborhood and eatery a cultural reference point of Dubai.
A journey into Dubai’s past could well begin through the door of this quaint tea house in the Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood, once known as Al Bastakiya.

How it came to being

The story of the man behind the Arabian Tea House is no less intriguing than the place itself. Ali Al Rais set it up after 20 years of travels around the world, calling it his little hideaway. It was his unique way to relive the past and the perfect way to showcase his city to people from all over the world. He named named the place the Basta Art Café, decorating the café with paintings by local artists.
It opened in 1997, and remains an oasis of peace and calm where tourists and locals come time and again.


As you step in expect to stumble upon a secret garden. An old well, a grand old tree, white wicker chairs, turquoise benches, lace curtains and crimson bougainvillea create a sun-dappled refuge in the courtyard of an old pearl merchant’s house.
Here traffic fades to a quiet hum and you are almost instantly enamored by its old world charm.

Signature Food

✓The menu includes Emirati specialities, including
raqaq (traditional bread),
chicken machboos (spicy casserole with rice) saloona chicken (in a tomato-based stew),
balaleet (sweet vermicelli)
Mutabal (roasted eggplant marinated with yoghurt and tahina).

✓ Their Breakfast platters are extremely popular and can be a wonderful way for getting introduced to traditional Emirati cuisine. The portion sizes are very very generous.

✓Arabian Tea House offers a wide array of tea.

Prices & Service

Breakfast trays (order only if you are really hungry or have a few people to share with) – 60 to 75 Aed

Appetizers/Starters/Salads – 25 to 40 Aed

Main course – 50 to 60 Aed

Desserts – 25 to 40 Aed

Tea/Coffee/Other Beverages – 15 to 30 Aed.

The staff are extremely friendly and help you out with the dishes if you are not aquainted with them. The service is a cross between prompt and relaxed giving you ample time to enjoy the food and ambience.

Time & Tips

07:30 – 12:00 (Everyday)

Best enjoyed when visited during the pleasant Months of October to February/March.
Weekends and holidays are usually very busy and expect long queues.

I hope you find this helpful and visit the place when you happen to come to Dubai.

Happy eating



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