Many provide a raft of on-board entertainment options, such as dazzling Arabian dancing and music, alongside a bumper buffet spread. The striking boats will take sea-faring foodies on a tour of the best sights of the city.
If the Creek is the wrong end of town for you, the twinkling waters of Dubai Marina are also a popular spot to jump on board to explore the emirate’s rich maritime heritage in style.
Nautical operators include Rustar Floating Restaurant and Sultan Sea Cruise. Dinner with a show on a dhow, ‘water’ you waiting for? Various operators including Sultan Sea Cruise www.sultandhowcruise.com.
Watch the sun go down at Yas Marina
A stretch of trendy venues that look even better when the sun sets
Watching the sun go down in beautiful Yas Marina in Abu Dhabi is very special indeed.
Sit back and watch in wonder as nature unfolds in all its glory in one of the most picture-perfect settings in the city.
The glittering waters of Yas Marina, filled with mooring yachts resplendent in white, makes for an Instagram-worthy moment if ever there was one. If you are looking for a great vantage point, the buzzing stretch has plenty offer.
Why not amble over to the outdoor terrace at stylish Italian spot, Cipriani, sit back and relax at American sports spot Stars ’N’ Bars, try the seafood at Aquarium (pictured, bottom) or get right on-trend in the sunset lounge at super-cool night spot Iris (pictured, middle), which all come with super views of the Yas Viceroy.
With its lively atmosphere, great range of restaurants and bars, and stunning waterside views, Yas Marina will always bring a ray of sunshine into your life. Yas Marina, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, www.yasmarina.ae (800 627 4627).
Dubai’s Barsha Heights is well stocked with pubs (see Nelson’s, The Crown & Lion, Belgian Café), but while they all have plenty going for them, none were particularly catering for a younger crowd in the area who like to party. Enter Lock, Stock & Barrel.
Since opening in February 2016, the venue has become insanely popular and is the current Time Out Dubai Bar of the Year. The huge, industrial-looking bar has loads of quirky design touches that show a keen eye for detail, an attribute that trickles down to the food and drink options available, and the great offers the bar has.
There are daily happy hours offering two-for-one or half-price drinks, ladies’ night includes three free drinks and the Friday brunch is a very reasonable Dhs299 (including house beverages).
An enormous window at one end of the room floods the bar with natural light during the day, bar bites are excellent, screens for sports are aplenty and when the sound system isn’t throwing out indie and Britpop hits, expect live music from resident band 13 Daze.
It’s so popular a second, even bigger LSB has also opened at Rixos Premium on Dubai’s JBR.
A brilliant idea executed perfectly. Open Mon-Thu 4pm-3am; Fri-Sun 2pm-3am. Grand Millennium Dubai, Barsha Heights, www.lsbdubai.com (04 514 9195).
A Time Out award-winner for good reason, these unbeatable views
Maybe life does begin at 40 after all? Like that lovelorn ape with which it shares its name, 40 Kong hangs high over the Dubai skyline. But without quite the same menace.
The stylish outdoor rooftop lounge and restaurant is undoubtedly one of the hippest hangouts in the city – which is no mean feat when you consider the stiff competition across Dubai.
Standing proudly on the 40th floor of The H Dubai, which has the enviable adress of One Sheikh Zayed Road, it boasts stunning panoramic views of the city, plus distinctive landscaping, low lounge areas and high-bar seating, from which you have the perfect vantage point to enjoy the bright lights of the city.
It’s not just all about those glorious views, though. Guests can enjoy an extensive food menu, including miso marinated black cod, black angus tenderloin and mini wagyu burgers, all washed down with a colourful collection of mixed drinks. It seems the only way is up. Open daily sunset-3am. The H Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai (04 355 8896).
Party at Abu Dhabi’s best club
Superclub MAD on Yas Island brings the best DJs, urban acts and performers
Bone-shaking beats, mega star appearances, super-cool décor and a rocking atmosphere have made MAD the brightest, biggest and hippest night spot in the capital.
It’s no surprise that the buzzing Yas Island superclub swept the board at Time Out Abu Dhabi’s Music and Nightlife Awards in 2017, with gongs including Club of the Year, Best Club Night and Best Club Performance now on its glittery mantelpiece.
American superstars Jason Derulo, Nelly and Akon are among the headline acts to have graced the stage since it opened, backed up by a dazzling line-up of talented DJs.
Whether you’re smart-casual or dressed to the nines, this is a must-visit destination for any self-respecting reveller. And there are loads of different deals and events on throughout the week (including free drinks for ladies).
You’d be MAD not to join the party. Open Tue, Thu and Fri, 11pm-3.30am. MAD on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, www.madonyasisland.com (055 834 6262).
The music and memorabilia venue is an insititution in Dubai and for good reason
This iconic chain of restaurants has been rocking all over the world since its launch in London in 1971 – with the now 20-year-old Dubai version an institution in its own right.
There is plenty of impressive musical memorabilia adorning the walls, but this isn’t just a spot to take a tour down history lane. The cool venue is a great spot to grab a burger with some pals and watch a live musical act.
Crowd-pleasers have included top tribute acts to iconic British bands Queen and Led Zeppelin, while grown-up boy band Take That played an initimate charity gig at the venue in 2016.
You can catch live music at this high-energy spot most days of the week, so for a fun-filled night it really isn’t hard to work where you should go to rock out. Open daily noon-2am. Festival Centre, Dubai Festival City (04 232 8900).
Eat with your hands at Satwa’s Ravi’s
When we talk about institutions, this Pakistani restaurant is what we mean
New restaurants swing open their doors with such regularity in Dubai, that it is sometimes hard to keep up. That’s why it is always reassuring to visit one of the city’s absolute mainstays.
Unassuming Pakistani eatery Ravi Restaurant may lack the glamour of newer dining destinations, but here you will find excellent food that will transport your taste buds from the middle of Satwa to the dusty streets of Lahore.
It’s even one of singer Craig David’s favourite stop-offs when he is in Dubai (so that’s what he was doing when he said he was chilling on Sunday).
Thanks to its rich array of flavour-packed affordable curries dahls, biryanis and much more, Ravi has been right at the top of the Dubai food chain since 1978. Long may it reign. Open daily 5am-2am. Satwa, Dubai (055 334 5481).
Try a taste of traditional Emirati food
You’re in the country so the least you can do is try the local cuisine
You can enjoy cuisine from all corners of the globe here in the cultural melting pot that is the UAE, but authentic Emirati tastes can still be somewhat neglected.
But there’s no excuse not to enjoy dining with a local flavour. Al Fanar, which has branches in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai, offers diners a chance to explore the country’s roots and serves up memories of the past, as it is themed around 1960s Dubai.
Other venues to enjoy the cuisine include Seven Sands at The Beach, JBR, and the excellent Aseelah in Radisson Blu Hotel Dubai Deira Creek.
Another top spot to discover Emirati delicacies is Mezlai, based in the luxurious Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi. The venue is designed to resemble an airy Bedouin tent.
Chicken and lamb are favoured meats on any Emirati menu, along with camel. And many many meals are enriched by spices from across Asia and the rest of the Middle East, reflecting the nation’s proud trading heritage.
If you ask us, you can’t really say you’ve sampled all the UAE has to offer until you’ve tried the food, too. Dubai: Al Fanar: Open daily 8.30am-11.30pm. Dubai Festival City Mall, Festival City Dubai (04 232 9966). Aseelah: Open daily 12.30pm-4pm, 6.30pm-11.15pm. Radisson Blu Hotel Dubai Deira Creek (04 550 8327). Seven Sands: Open Fri-Sat 9am-2am; Sun-Thu noon-1am. The Beach, JBR (04 551 6652). Abu Dhabi: Al Fanar: Open daily 8.30am-10pm. Venetian Village, Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal, Al Maqta (02 448 1144). Yas Mall (02 877 2272). Mezlai: Open daily 1pm-10.30pm. Emirates Palace, West Corniche Road (02 690 7999).
A trailblazer of the food truck scene, SALT is deservedly busy all the time
Salt always adds extra flavour to a dining experience, and so it proves at this popular beachside burger joint.
Two friends with a passion for food set up the venture on Kite Beach and it has been flying high ever since. And why not? Who doesn’t love munching on a juicy burger on a sunny day sitting with your toes in the sand?
Far more than a just food truck, Salt has its own seating area on the beach where you can park yourself while enjoying a juicy bite. The self-styled urban food experience has proved such a hit with beach-goers that the burgeoning burger business has since branched out to Abu Dhabi and Ajman.
The sliders are on offer are beautiful mini morsels of meat while you can also keep cool by going for a delicious ice cream. Be sure to keep an eye out for seasonal specials, too. Open daily 11am-2am. Kite Beach, 2C Street, Umm Suqeim, www.find-salt.com.
Eat shawarma on a late-night walk
2nd December Street is the ideal place to try the unofficial dish of Dubai
One bustling stretch in Satwa is home to dozens of joints where you can sink your teeth into the UAE’s most beloved street food, the shawarma.
There are a line of small, independent outlets cooking up the meaty treat, putting chicken, lamb or beef (which can be grilled for up to day) inside a soft pita for a simple, but incredibly pleasurable, taste experience.
You really won’t need to break the bank either, as the hugely popular snack will often set you back just a handful of dirhams. You can’t say fairer than that.
You can find one of the best exponents of the dish on this street, in Al Mallah, which is lit up in green lights. Here, you can pick up a juicy shawarma on the run or sit back and relax in the indoor or outdoor seating areas.
We recommend eating in, as the chances are you’ll order a second. Open daily 6.30am-2am. 2nd December Street, Dubai (04 398 4723).