Shakespeare & Co. has been developed and brought up in the UAE in 2001 and has since then opened up many franchises in Lebanon, Jordan, Qatar, Egypt and 22 other countries. Shakespeare’s restaurant concept sets them apart from the rest with the restaurant’s 1550’s design, as it explodes with vibrant colors, paintings and unique furniture designs that are handcrafted in their workshops which will make you feel like you are back in the Bygone era in 18th Century Europe. According to their website the theme revolves around this period of elegance, luxury, and exquisite attention to detail. From plush upholstery encased with antique frames, to intricate chandeliers and vintage centerpieces, each restaurant is a classically majestic, awe inspiring union of color, fabric and textures that create a truly extraordinary environment that oozes comfort and encourages great conversation.
Shakespeare also added a Pâtisserie to the restaurant in 2007 to transform it into a unique café for anyone seeking to go back in time. This new addition of an impressively selection of pastries, viennoiserie, petit fours, macaroons and marshmallows are all produced in their state-of-the art pastry kitchen and has made Shakespeare a staple name in the pastry industry.
Personally, Shakespeare is my go to restaurant because it is conveniently located near my residence and is always packed with residents from the area as well. Because of its versatile menu and large hookah selection with an outdoor smoking area which includes huge fans and umbrellas that are there to rescue you from the Dubai heat, it explains the occasional 10-20 minute wait for a table to clear.
However, the food will definitely take your mind off of that wait. Shakespeare offers a menu of international cuisines from Lebanese sajj, Italian pizza, American burgers and many more. As soon as you are seated, friendly waiters approach your table with the menus and soon after bring along cute little fresh breadbaskets that are warm and soft to which you have an option of plain boring butter or a garlic and green onion infused butter than melts so divinely on the mini baguettes. Let’s just say it might not be the healthiest of options but it is one delicious way to start off your meals.
Because I was feeling a bit nostalgic due to the rain, I decided to order their Tomato soup and the Mediterranean Sajj with French-fries on the side. As soon as they brought the soup over, the aroma of the fresh tomatoes and that heavy cream drizzled on top made it almost impossible for me to wait those extra 2 seconds to take the picture. But this was the perfect choice for a rainy day especially when you are enjoying their almost garden inspired outdoors. The soup was rich in tomato flavor with a hint of ginger, which will obviously not impress anyone who doesn’t like the taste of tomatoes very much. The consistency was also very light and surprising for a cream based soup and the portion was more than enough to get you cozy and full. Shakespeare has a variety of other soups ranging from traditional lentil, onion, mushroom, to chicken noodle or butternut squash. All soups are priced at DHS 37.
As satisfying as the soup was, I went on to my second dish; the Mediterranean Sajj with French-fries on the side. The Sajj caught my eyes almost instantly with its vibrant colors because of the green Rocca leaves, the red dried tomatoes and black olives against the thin and crispy cheese bread. And the French-fries were fried to perfection; they were golden brown and crispy from the outside but soft from the inside and you can tell that these were freshly cut and not frozen. The Sajj, however, was a bit messy due to the olive oil drizzled on top so it might not be the best date-night kind of dish but this only proves how juicy the whole thing was. Shakespeare offers a whole range of sajjs and I think this is a fun new twist on the regular pizza due to the nature of bread being ever so thin and crisp. This sajj costs around DHS 39.
To satisfy my sweet tooth, I ordered the Chocolate Crêpe to finish the meal off with a bang. The Crêpe came not long after I had ordered it and was still warm and smelled of Chocolate and Caramel. As soon as you cut into it, the chocolate comes oozing out like a milk chocolate river and tasted perfect with the texture of the crêpe that was a little bit crispy from the pan. The portion was a bit too large so I would say it is suitable for two people or a choco-holic.
What I like about Shakespeare is the variety. They offer set breakfast menus that are more than generous with the selection of either American (includes bacon, turkey sausage, eggs, hash browns and your choice of juice or coffee,) Healthy (includes an omlette with herbs, roast potatoes, fresh asparagus, fresh fruit salad, and natural yoghurt with juice or coffee,) or Lebanese (includes grilled halloumi, with either za’aatar, halloumi or kashkawan cheese sajj with juice, coffee or tea.) One of which will cost you DHS 55.
I also happen to be a fan of their tea selection, unlike other restaurants and cafes that offer the usual English breakfast or green tea, Shakespeare offers options from Jasmine lotus (jasmine scented green tea,) Jasmine Fairies (white jasmine blossoms,) Rising flower (yellow/orange marigold blooms,) or Wan Zi Qian Hong (deep purple lavender hibiscus petals.)
Shakespeare has over 16 branches in Dubai alone and is suitable for an early morning breakfast, a hungry lunch, or a satisfying dinner where I am sure you will find what your stomach desires.
Timings: 8 AM – 12 AM
Price Range: DHS 200 (approx. for 2 people)
Child friendly: Yes; includes high baby chairs
Smoking: Yes only outdoors
Cash and Card accepted