If Dubai has a signature beverage, it’s mint lemonade: a deceptively simple (yet magical) concoction of lemon, mint, simple syrup, and ice. Pretty much every café in town serves its own rendition of “Lemon and Mint,” but ask any in-the-know local and they will invariably point you to XVA Gallery & Café in the historic Al Bastakiya neighborhood for the best one. Why is XVA’s mint lemonade the platonic ideal of the drink? First of all, it’s blended, so it delivers a frothy hit of tangy lemon followed by a mellow bite of fresh mint with each sip. Also, comes with a stunning setting, in a covered courtyard under an ancient tree, surrounded by contemporary Middle Eastern art (the courtyard is often transformed by installations by resident artists). There also happens to be a great design shop on-site for all manner of hippie-chic jewelry, pashminas, ikat dresses, featherlight sarongs, and art books. This neighborhood, the oldest in Dubai, has tons more to explore; if you have more time to spend, check out our 5-hour itinerary.
The fastest way to get to XVA Gallery & Café is by car. Head toward the Al Fahidi neighborhood. Once on Al Fahidi Street, you’ll reach a roundabout. From here, you’ll have to go into the neighborhood on foot. Look for the wooden arched door with plaque and number 14 next to it on the right side.
XVA: House No. 14, Al Fahidi Neighborhood, Bur Dubai; +971-(0)4-353-5383; xvahotel.com