Cafe de la Paix - penultimate on AD week's list.

This hunt is actually taking on the aspect of a death march.

I try to keep an open mind, and let each coffee shop stand on it's own - but with SO many results thus far ranging from "Meh" to "You-have-to-be-kidding-if-you-think-that's-coffee" , the search for a decent cup has reached Arthurian proportions.

With that in mind, and my far too tolerant bride by my side, we stormed the castle of Marina Mall, following the holy (?) Abu Dhabi Week guide to great (? ? ?) coffee. This time the target was "Cafe de la Paix" - frankly I wasn't that interested in the "paix" part, as it's hard to accept that such peace can be found in a large shopping mall... but then a harder title to live up to would be "Cafe de la bloody great coffee" I suppose.

So, removing the "Insufferable coat of the cynic (+10HP +10ST -10WIS Class-ALL)" I acquired at a Dungeons and Dragons convention in the late 80's, I'll get on with the matter at hand, and attempt to leave my geeky parables behind.

Cafe de la Paix is on the ground floor of one of Abu Dhabi favourite shopping institutions, in through the front door and walk straight ahead until you hit what every United Arab Emirate needs in one of its shopping centres - an ice skating rink.


I know.

Don't get me started.

Typically we were out and about in the early Friday afternoon - an excellent time to be looking for a seat in a cafe as most of the other shops don't open until 3pm.

Strangely the food shops open a little earlier, but what's the point in going to a shopping centre to pick up groceries and maybe a lazy cup of coffee if one cant look at Rolex.. or pick up a Blancpain handmade watch for cool 450,000 dhs? Put THAT in the bag with your doughnuts and corn in a cup... (Have I mentioned corn in a cup? It's corn, in a CUP. Corn in a cup. Genius)

Yes a digression, but you knew there was one coming somewhere in the post - going to give up apologising for them soon.


We were seated and had our order taken quickly and cheerfully - the staff are super attentive and pretty friendly. The added degree of difficulty was caused by Karma wishing to eat while we were there - so not wanting for her to feel like she was indulging on her own I had to throw myself over a club sandwich (which for the record was really good).

Everything came at once, food, coffee and tea all landing and expertly placed around our little table.
I've already mentioned the food, and the finance department commented that hers was great too.
Now.. to the point of it all - the coffee.

Pretty good. Slightly better than "Meh" but not knocking Charlene from her petrol fumed perch either.
It was okay - I'd go back for the staff before the coffee, but would rather hang out at Zyara, and it doesn't have the view of the cafe in the nearby tower, but it was ok.

Next and last in the guide's list of top 5 coffees is Idioms - and even though I have taken my friend Line to task (in this very blog) for being a liar, I have somehow managed to say yes to allowing her to accompany me to the place, although I am still concerned as she opened the conversation with.. "Oh I KNOW where Idioms is".

I kind of know where it is too, and even though I said after the Zyara adventure that I wouldn't...I'll let her direct just to see if she can snatch back any credibility!

Oh, while this review is based on the Cafe de la Paix in Marina mall - it's actually a chain, they can be found in various places throughout Abu Dhabi - give them a go, while the coffee is above the AD average the food is pretty good.

The list - getting pretty fat around the midsection - and so is this reviewer.
  • ADNOC - ('big cups crisis' over)
  • Zyara,
    Cafe De La Paix "Marina Mall"
  • The One
  • Le Brioche "Marina Mall"
  • Starbucks
  • Anything else, including but not limited to, licking tarmac
  • CDR - Worst coffee ever - will post at a later date.


  1. Hey, to be fair I never said it was "great" coffee, just "Abu Dhabi's best coffee shops". Doesn't mean Abu Dhabi *has* the best coffee shops.

    And the Bunch of Fives slot (from which you took the original list) is specifically qualified as a *personal* list, not an objective one. Me, I like expresso. I can imagine that adding milk would totally change the experience. Especially if the 'milk' is some ersatz coffee-creamer like Coffee-Mate (which by the way has nothing to do with improving the taste of coffee. Or indeed substituting for the taste of cream, to my mind, but hey that's just my personal view again).

    Starbucks ahead of tarmac? Blimey ...

    Good to know we have one reader at least. All the best, and let me know if you find better coffee than Zyara (which was a bit weak and overcooked last time I visited)

    Dennis Jarrett
    Editorial Director, ADW


  2. Ladies and gentlemen the inadvertent cause of this epic quest... Mr Dennis Jarrett!

    Thanks for the comment.

    I have mentioned in other posts my dislike of the jauntily but entirely misleadingly named "Coffee-mate". A name that lends it self as some kind of companionable buddy to coffee - implying a warm relationship between the products.

    Even with the implication, coffee mate should NEVER be seen in a commercial cafe style premises - NEVER. In fact I think it should be relegated to occupying a space on a sales rack amongst products it is more suited to being associated with...

    Bathroom sealant for example.

    While I accept that at no point did you mention "great" (I have the article here) the piece IS titled:
    "Five best coffee shops. Or more accurately the five best cups of coffee"

    Which IMPLIES (that word again) a certain standard.


    Oh, and .. I kind of have to retract SOME of the vitriol levelled at you regarding directions to the Le Brioche that I couldn't find.

    Happened to have ... ummm.. walked past it today on my way back from Idioms (report posted here soon).. so my assertions that it didn't exist MAY have been a little hot headed.
    (Seriously though "nestled amongst the towers at the end of blah blah blah" IS pretty vague )

    As for a better cup of coffee than Zyara you might be interested in the post from the beginning of this little project.

    It's a grubby little secret - but one I have come to accept as my lot, and the unit has since been given a name in ensuing posts.. her name is Charlene.

    I promise though that if my search yields anything that approximates a good latte you'll be the first to know.

    Well, after the blog of course, you'll be the first..
    Oh, and after yelling the find from a handily placed park bench to passers by - you'll be the first.

    Andrew Webber


Andrew Webber is a writer, living in Abu Dhabi with his wife, two cats and two dogs.

His first book "Erasure" was published in June 2012 and was followed in 2013 by the Prequel to Erasure, "Broken".

In 2016 Erasure was a prize winner in the Montegrappa Writing Prize - part of the Emirates Airlines Festival of Literature.

For more information click the "Erasure" book cover on the left side of this site, or simply go to

Thanks for visiting.