Dining near Dubai Marina? Try one of these restaurants
Aquara: It seems nothing can mar the pristine setting you can enjoy from Aquara’s balcony. Watching gaggles of yachts bob up and down on the marina waters, while the servers – knowledgeable, efficient and meltingly relaxed – mill about, careful not to disturb the ambience. The setting is accompanied by a menu consisting, suitably, of some seafood favourites.
Call 04 362 7900 for reservations
Indego: Die-hard fans of Indian cuisine might be affronted by Indego’s European/haute spin on subcontinental fare. But whether or not you’re willing to concede that the food is, in fact, Indian, you’ll unlikely take issue with the fact that it is, indeed, brilliant. It is the brainchild of celebrity chef Vineet Bhatia, the restaurant’s consultant chef and the first Indian chef to receive a Michelin star.
Call 04 399 8888 for reservations
Rive Gauche: There’s something charmingly modest about Rive Gauche. The decor is simple: low lighting meets starched linens, and there’s an outdoor seating area that offers a sweeping view of the Marina’s ever-present construction. Visually, you may be tempted to classify it as middling, but that would be a big mistake – it doesn’t take long to realise that Rive Gauche is a very good restaurant.
While Rive Gauche makes a lovely local, it’s also good enough to merit a special trip, even from the other end of Dubai.
Call 04 436 7777 for reservations
Rhodes Mezzanine: The glory, it is said, is in the detail: a phrase that could have been coined specifically for Rhodes Mezzanine, the brainchild of Michelin-starred British chef Gary Rhodes. For while the stars of the menu – tender scallops to start, finely executed halibut and pork belly for mains, a truly impressive twist on bread and butter pudding to close – are justly celebrated, it’s the details that make a meal in this restaurant so memorable.
Call 04 399 8888 for reservations
Pachanga: There’s some fine Latin American fare on offer at this restaurant, especially if you are a fan of steak. The atmosphere is enlivened by a three-piece band, and the venue is also known for the occasional tango and samba night. But the food is so good, you won’t be tempted to leave your seats for a second. Your meal will kick off with Mexican olive bread and dips, with corn chips and guacamole made fresh at your table side. This will help keep your hunger at bay until your starter arrives, and the seafood chowder, served in its own miniature metal cauldron, comes highly recommended.
Call 04 399 1111 for reservations
Bice: The Dubai incarnation of this longstanding Milanese chain remains one of the city’s most popular restaurants. Service is deft and speedy, while the setting is spacious and attractive, with wood floors and well-spaced tables. Bice plays on the theme of an Italian restaurant in an international setting, from, ‘Buona seras’ uttered by Asian waiting staff, to inventive and appetising meals. Bice remains one of the city’s safest bets for a good Italian dining experience.
Call 04 318 2520 for reservations
Ossigeno: From its sleek interior styling – crisp white linen offset with colourful Italian glassware – to spot-on service, a meal at Ossigeno is something to treasure. If Time Out’s last visit is anything to go by, we reckon you could don a blindfold and randomly stick a pin anywhere in the menu and be suitably wowed with what turns up at your table. Pasta, seafood, meat – all top-notch ingredients with maximum flavour. The mood is lavish but low-key, in a manner that feels rather more European than Dubai, which is fitting considering the restaurant’s modern-Italian menu.
Call 04 399 5555 for reservations
Inferno Grill: Any restaurant sat in Marina Walk is awarded with an ambience. The sociable, jovial atmosphere of alfresco diners is palpable alongside the bobbing boats and twinkling lights. Inferno’s terrace is tucked away from this, however, jutting out into the water. But this is no bad thing; instead, you get one of the best views, and a more intimate vibe, making it good for a romantic evening. Be sure to save time to peruse the extensive menu. Seafood, Arabic grills, tandoori dishes, Japanese fare and British staples make for a wide choice.
Call 04 368 9193 for reservations
Frankie’s: They say you can’t be all things to everyone, but Frankie’s has a fair stab at it. Conceived as an upscale diner with an inclusive vibe – families are positively welcome before 9.30pm – Frankie’s certainly lacks the snooty feel of so many of its rivals in Dubai. The resulting atmosphere is buzzing and informal. The menu is what you might expect of an Italian restaurant abroad, but with a smattering of invention (presumably from the repertoire of Marco Pierre White, the nominal chef behind the business.
Call 04 399 4311 for reservations
Sarai: JBR isn’t exactly the standard-bearer of authenticity. Unlike Deira or Karama, or other areas that boast a more genuine street scene, the neighbourhood tends to feel a bit like a movie set. By and large, so do its restaurants, but Sarai is one noticeable exception. Okay, the decor does boast a bit of theme-parking but the food, however, is the real deal. There’s something about Sarai that instils faith. Sarai is one of the few reasonable restaurants in the city that refuses to sacrifice either stunning decor or cheerful, knowledgeable staff. This rare combination may make it one of the best Arabic spots in town.
Call 04 438 0640 for reservations