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Dubai: Cafe Isan in JLT – Last lunch in 2019

by Sanne
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yum woon sen, Cafe Isan, JLT Dubai
Yum woon sen, glass noodle salad with seafood

My last lunch in 2019 was at Cafe Isan in JLT. The cute little Thai restaurant has just moved to a new location on the SZR-side of JLT, but the food, the super nice staff/owner, and the fun vibe, are all the same as usual.

We had the som tam (papaya salad) which is probably the best in Dubai, and the yum woon sen (glass noodle salad) which tastes exactly like glass noodle salads do in Thailand. Isan is a province in the northeastern part of Thailand, known for spicy salads and barbecue, and some of my favorite restaurants in Bangkok such as Som Tam Nua and Som Tum Der, specializes in delicious Isan food, just like Cafe Isan does. We managed to order the salads a bit too spicy, so we had to add an extra Coke along the way to prevent our mouths from self-igniting. We also had the tom yum soup, which is another one of the safe bets at Cafe Isan, and halfway through the meal we decided to try the fried fish which unfortunately came out dry and overcooked, served with a chili sauce, that I suspect was from a bottle.

Poul and I have decided to try to skip meat during weekdays, so we had the seafood version of all the dishes today, but on previous visits to Café Isan I have tried the larb (minced meat salad), the sausages and the sundried beef which have all been really nice, and something I think most carnivores would like.

Most of our previous New Year’s Eves in Dubai have been parties at our place or at friends’ places, but this year we wanted to try something different, so we booked a table at JB’s, which is a nice gastro pub at Amwaj Rotana on JBR. In Dubai, celebrating New Year’s Eve at a restaurant can be ridiculously expensive, but at JB’s they only charge 309 AED (soft drinks)/439AED (house beverages) for a 3-course meal, which is really quite a bargain for Dubai. Will tell you how it was tomorrow.

My guide to nice restaurants in JLT


Cafe Isan, waterfront Cluster B, Lake View Tower, JLT, Dubai