With the cooler weather on our side, the time is ripe for a little al-fresco dining
Pars Iranian Kitchen: Though there are branches of Pars throughout the city, the original Satwa outpost is particularly magnetic. The semi-private, carpeted platforms at this all-outdoors venue give the place a certain romance and mystique, plus it serves some of the best kebabs in the city. A perfect spot to take out-of-town guests.
Satwa, beside Rydges Plaza (04 398 4000). Dhs200-300 for a meal for two.
Moré: Both Souk Al Bahar and The Dubai Mall have several winning al-fresco eateries, with spectacular views overlooking the fountain and newly opened Burj Khalifa. However, More is probably the most reasonably priced of the bunch. Service is chipper and warm, and food is top notch (we didn’t vote it ‘best cafe’ last year for nothing).
The Dubai Mall (04 339 8934). Dhs100-150 for a meal for two.
Majlis Al Bahar: You’d be hard-pressed to find a more romantic setting than the Burj Al Arab’s beach restaurant. Set beneath a blanket of twinkling stars and accompanied by the sound of waves lapping the shore, it’s one of the most scenic outdoor venues in town. Of course, this is the Burj we’re talking about, so it doesn’t come cheap –although it’s a steal compared with the hotel’s other eateries.
Burj Al Arab (04 301 7600). Dhs700-800 for a meal for two.
Eau Zone: There’s no denying that the One & Only Royal Mirage has its fair share of breathtaking venues, and Eau Zone is no exception. Wooden jetties surround the lagoon-like pool and, with the help of natural nocturnal lighting and a handful of flickering candles, the area is infused with romance. Add a menu full of good European dishes served with an Asian twist, and you have a lovely (if pricey) al-fresco spot.
One&Only Royal Mirage (04 399 9999). Dhs600-700 for a meal for two.
Karma Kafé: When it comes to creating a spectacular setting, you can’t go far wrong with sweeping canopies or views of the Burj Khalifa, and Karma’s beautifully presented fusion food adds to the overall atmosphere. Not a bad spot to take a date.
Souk Al Bahar (04 423 0909). Dhs250-400 for a meal for two.
Bussola: Set on its own, mid-way between the beach and the hulking mass of the Westin, this attractive restaurant has an interesting menu and easygoing vibe. There’s a wide, sunny terrace overlooking the pool and a rooftop pizzeria upstairs. While the setting is top-notch, it’s the food that steals the show: pasta options are some of the best in the city, and thoughtful combinations are threaded throughout the entire menu.
Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi (04 399 4141). Dhs500-600 for a meal for two.
Lime Tree Café: There’s a reason this old stalwart is an expat favourite: it offers the perfect setting for whiling away a sunny morning or afternoon. And, of course, you can’t do justice to the Lime Tree Café without ordering a slice of the iconic (and massive) carrot cake. While there are two locations, the original Jumeirah branch, with its outdoor and rooftop terraces, is the one that transforms into a hive of activity at weekends.
Jumeirah Beach Road , near Jumeirah Mosque (04 349 8498). Dhs100-200 for a meal for two.
Sho Cho: This slick beachside bar/restaurant is still one of Dubai’s trendiest spots, even though it made its name long before many of its rivals were even built. It’s permanently busy as a result, so book ahead to ensure a spot on the terrace overlooking the water. The food is consistently good, though not outstanding. Still, it’s popular for a reason, and that’s the attractive outdoor setting and decent vibe.
Dubai Marine Beach Resort (04 346 1111). Dhs350-450 for a meal for two.
Margaux: Take an outside table at this exquisite French restaurant and dine on a droolingly good caprese salad (made with a melting slab of creamy Burrata cheese) while checking out the views of the impressive Dubai Fountain. Other firm favourites include a tender chunk of lobster claw that melts on the tongue. The setting is achingly romantic and ideal for couples.
Souk Al Bahar (04 439 7555). Dhs700-800 for a meal for two
Pierchic: The food at Pierchic is, in a nutshell, superb. From freshly shucked oysters to melting yellow-fin tuna, the kitchen doesn’t put a foot wrong. But what makes this most romantic of restaurants a truly exceptional experience is location. Pierchic has a fairytale setting in the middle of the ocean, with the Burj Al Arab on one side, the sparkling lights of Atlantis on the other and the serenely glowing Madinat in the middle. One of the best date spots in town.
Madinat Jumeirah (04 366 8888). Dhs600-700 for a meal for two.