Time Out picks the 10 best seafood restaurants in Dubai
Time Out Dubai staff
Amwaj: A knowledgeable staff and excellent service stand make this Shangri-La restaurant memorable. We’re always impressed by kitchen and waiting teams that have knowledge of their dishes but the Amwaj team are particularly notable. What this lot doesn’t know about salt isn’t worth knowing and they’ve even imported varieties from Madagascar, Australia, Washington and Hawaii. Seasoning aside you can expect a variety of seafood doshes through the starter and main courses with the crusted sea bass being our favourite.
For more information call 04 405 2703.
Aquara Restaurant and Lounge: If a view is what you’re after, you can’t go wrong at Aquara. Set in the Marina Yacht Club, the bar and restaurant offer a sweeping vista of the marina and JBR, which is breathtaking when the sun goes down and the myriad lights from the towers set the water sparkling. It’s the reason Aquara has proved perennially popular with the after-work crowd. If you can tear yourself away from the panorama, the menu is worth a look, focusing on seafood with an Asian twist. Dishes are, on the whole, competently prepared, presentation is thoughtful and service is attentive and efficient, although the bill can be high.
For more information call 04 362 7900.
Aquarium:This Creek-side spot is a reliable favourite for those who like seafood with a Pacific twist. With panoramic views across the creek to Dubai’s skyline, and a circular aquarium as the centrepiece, Aquarium is indeed a lovely place to be – but it’s the quality of the food that lingers. Serving a wide selection of seafood, and a few dishes for fish-fearing folk, the restaurant’s focus is on the fresh and varied flavours of the Pacific rim. The Japanese sashimi is always fresh, and the sushi sandwiches oh-so-moreish, while the Singaporean barramundi laksa offers perfectly flaky fillets with just-cooked-enough julienne vegetables and a hearty broth. A variety of lobster dishes are the signature specialities and are all worth trying.
For more information call 04 295 6000.
Bu Qtair: Looks can be deceiving. Hidden away behind Jumeirah Beach, in the corner of Dubai’s fishermen's village, Bu Qtair looks more like an abandoned nursery. The only hint that this tiny shack could be a restaurant is a few multi-coloured kids' stools littered around the low plastic table. Bu Qtair doesn’t have a phone number for calling ahead to book, or even a toilet, but it does serve some of the freshest fish in the Middle East – so fresh, in fact, that the menu changes every day, depending on the catch. The choice isn’t extensive (and there’s certainly no dainty dessert or coffee on offer) but the portions are insanely enormous and it's all delicious. The gigantic snapper is the most common catch. It comes battered, and lightly spiced with cumin and is well worth a try.
Visit Jumeirah Beach for more details.
Fish Basket: Don't take any notice of its less-than-salubrious location and canteen-style décor because navigating the haul of fresh fish and seafood – appealingly displayed on a bed of ice - is worth the trouble for any fish lover. Although the restaurant seem a little intimidating, follow the crowds and take heart from the abundance of noisy families and cheery customers enjoying the down-to-earth vibe and tucking into. If you want to play it safe, try ordering the fried hammour and grilled red snapper. The snapper, beautifully presented butterfly-style and delightfully spiced, flakes off and melts in the mouth. Remember, you’re buying the whole fish, so it can work out rather pricey if your dining party has different.
For more information call 04 336 7177.
Mahi Mahi: This light and airy spot is a solid choice for a seafood meal. Upon arrival at the classy but not overdone restaurant, you’ll be given the choice of sitting inside in the cosy interior, or outside on the glassed-in smoking terrace. There's a menu for starters and platters only, and one that focuses on Asian flavours – you choose your mains at the live seafood counter. The waiters may recommend the rich crab cakes with an avocado accompaniment, but the aromatic, cockle-filled tom yum (which is plenty for two, most portions here being mammoth) is always a favourite. Then revel in choosing your fish in whichever way you want it. You won't be disappointed.
For more information call 04 324 4100.
Ossiano: Sublime is the word that best describes an evening at Ossiano. Considering what an achievement it is for a chef to gain three Michelin stars for a restaurant – not to mention just how few three-star restaurants there are in the world – it’s easy to appreciate why a meal here will set you back a small fortune. Guests are treated like royalty, an attitude that is reflected by the interior design of the restaurant. One wall of the dimly-lit interior is occupied entirely by an aquarium, which accentuates the venue’s tranquility. We heartily recommend the tasting menu, which plays on the tastes and textures of Catalan cuisine, and takes diners on an unforgettable gastronomical journey. In short: the recently deceased Chef Santi Santamaria’s first restaurant outside Spain is a pure delight.
For more information call 04 426 2626.
Peppercrab:Peppercrab is a tranquil dining experience, where guests get to pick their dinner from tanks cruelly located within eyeshot of the kitchen. The staff proved to be most attentive, not to mention well-versed in the menu’s extensive offerings. They are also good enough to answer rapid-fire enquiries and will humour requests for extra servings of the (excellent) complimentary prawn crackers. For mains, the black-pepper mud crab is cooked to perfection and finished in a well balanced black-pepper sauce, and the delicious wok-fried Singaporean noodles satisfies with large, juicy shrimps.
For more information call 04 317 2222.
Pierchic:Oh, how we like to praise Pierchic for its ability to inject romance into even the most cold-fish of diners. The stunning setting, on its own pier overlooking the Burj Al Arab, and fine dining efforts are instantly impressive. Try the starter of sea scallops and it will be perfectly cooked, tuna carpaccio melts in the mouth and the halibut main shows off the kitchen’s talents. Hardly surprising, then that this has been a repeat Time Out Restaurant award winner in the past.
For more information call 04 366 6705.
Pisces:Even from its Madinat Jumeirah frontage, Pisces has a stylish air and inside doesn’t disappoint either, with a seaside blue colour scheme and soft music. There’s also a scenic outdoor area, protected by palm trees and within smelling-distance of the steakhouse below for meat lovers. Service is excellent; waiters will efficiently brief you on both the specials and any missing menu items, and answer your questions with. Try the swordfish, although you might want to go easy on the accompanying risotto, it's on the right side of rich. The salmon trout with lobster ravioli and vanilla parsnip purée impresses diners the most: it's a well-presented tower of the fish with lobster ravioli and a moat of sauce. You'll clean the dish in record time. One of Dubai’s superior fish eateries; Pisces is a place you’ll leave with a sailor’s smile.
For more information call 04 366 8888.