Given Jumeirah's obvious love for fillings stuffed in between bread, State 88 is subtly shifting the focus from shawarmas and burgers to gourmet sandwiches and coffee. A passion project launched by two foodie brothers, State 88 serves up signature Lebanese swag on a plate. Drawing inspiration from Beirut, the sandwich capital of Lebanon, Hayssam and Hani Muslmani threw in an American twist and launched a cozy little sandwich shack at City Walk.
Reservations can easily be made over the phone, although walk-ins are always welcome.
Convenient parking spaces are abundantly available at City Walk, and are typically free.
Greeting and seating
We were welcomed with gleaming smiles and the energizing aroma of freshly brewing coffee.
Knowledge and service of the waiter
State 88's serving crew is a charismatic bunch that's comfortable in its own skin. Infectiously passionate about the brand, the servers can wax lyrical about the eclectic menu.
Lunch was a wholesome spread of the gentle lentil salad, Goat 88 and Veggie Cool sandwiches, Fries 88 dusted in a special spice mix, nitro ice tea, and nitro cold brew with sun-dried orange.
One of the restaurant's most innovative menu items, you should tread with caution when it comes to State 88's nitro cold brew. Gentle on the palate, this bold beverage packs a caffeinated punch. Ideal for an easy and breezy Saturday morning, this mystical remedy is sure to drive that post-brunch hangover away. Sticking with the nitro theme, we ordered a jar of nitro ice tea to decompress after a 30 second walk in the midday sun. Delicately infused with rose and dates - it's what I imagine bedouins were welcomed with after a strenuous journey through the desert.
While our sandwiches were being built, we scored some major protein points with a heaping bowl of lentil salad. A melange of diced carrots, beads of emerald lentil, and crunchy celery in a scrumptious lemon dressing - throw in a sneaky pinch of chili powder for added authenticity.
Our sandwiches arrived looking like a work of art, and I was at the edge of my seat with excitement to try State 88's potato buns. Like biting into a cloud, it was one of the best sandwiches I've ever tasted purely because of the expertly curated bread. My Veggie Cool sandwich was inspired by the founders' mother - vibrant slices of roasted bell pepper snuggled up with smoked eggplant and chickpeas, finished off with a zesty lashing of sundried tomato aioli. I had to pinch myself when I learned it was just 20 dirhams! Boasting an appetite for bolder flavors, my partner soldiered on and sampled flavors I've never been able to stomach - beetroot and goat's cheese. His sandwich was loaded with a fluffy smattering of whipped goat's cheese, seductively purple slices of beetroot, walnuts, and a spring onion salsa. An absolute winner!
Impressed that every single dish on the menu was oil-free to cater to Dubai's growing health-headed audience, we slipped and sampled the "life-changing" 88 Fries (cooked with oil). Mercilessly coated in an addictive Middle Eastern spice mix, a single fry sent our tatse buds crazy with bursts of sweet, savory, and spicy. When we tried to investigate the recipe - one of the founding brothers said he'd be happy to tell us, but then he'd have to kill us.
Courtesy extended during the meal
Both the founding brothers penciled us into their day to walk us through State 88's menu and concept. We were treated to a classic Middle Eastern feast of food and friendliness today.
Giving off modern industrial vibes - the compact space is naturally lit and accented with pops of desert flora, neon signs and lighting, and striking wall art.
Lunch at State 88 amounted to an estimated bill of 143 dirhams.
Overall, would you return?
State 88's already shimmied its way onto my list favorite neighborhood coffee haunts, and after sampling its delicious sandwich menu today, you bet I'm racing back for some more!
Crab Me salad, Chicken Liberal sandwich, baked sweet potato fries, and the oud cheesecake.