February 2019 Update:
Kino’s Café does not exist anymore since Kinokunyia moved to it’s new location at the Dubai Mall.
Kinokuniya – the best bookstore in the entire UAE and probably the entire region is located in Dubai Mall and basically the only reason why I still shop at Dubai Mall at all. Most of the times I’m incorporating a restaurant / café visit, of which I’d like to taste all their vegan food when going to the Dubai Mall. This time I didn’t have to walk further than Kinokuniya itself since I realized that they have a Japanese Café called Kino’s Café in the back of the store! Finally a solution to my endless hours at Kinokuniya and then wandering around the Dubai Mall almost starving trying to find a place to eat quickly? Unfortunately not.
In the past I had enjoyed the Japanese cuisine for their vegan-friendliness (tip: try Kanpai at Souk al Bahar) a lot and I was really excited to see what Kino’s Café had on offer. The location is nice and most likely the calmest place I have experienced at the Dubai Mall so far and I can see myself spending a couple of hours working (free Wi-Fi) and reading there. It was around 6PM when we arrived and first of all we were really dissapointed that bagels and wraps weren’t available at all anymore. According to the menu all that was left in terms of vegan options were salads, edamame and two types of sushi. So we ordered the Tofu Avocado Salad and the Kaiso Seaweed Salad. Also the menu listed several fruit sorbets but after consulting the waitress a couple of times she informed us that it wasn’t dairy-free (even though the menu clearly stated that).
I tried the Tofu and Avocado Salad first. It’s look as well as taste was just really boring. They simply served a bowl of green leaves topped with some avocado slices and plain tofu. Only the dressing (typically Japanese) made it eatable. If I wouldn’t have been that hungry, I wouldn’t have ate it. To defend the Kaiso Seaweed Salad, which I actually didn’t touch anymore after my first bite, I have to admit that until recently I never liked seaweed a lot. But I was still hungry and that was kind of my only option. Basically the taste was just seaweed.
Kino’s Café has a great tea selection and is a super relaxing place especially when shopping at the Dubai Mall. However I can not recommend any of their food (I actually didn’t try the bagels and sushi as they weren’t available, but by the way the salads were prepared I’m not expecting a huge difference). Stop by for a drink, but that’s it. Sadly I had expected way more.
Inside Kinokuniya at the Dubai Mall
Opening Hours: Sun-Wed 10AM to 11PM, Thu-Sat 10AM to midnight