Christmas creeps up on you quickly here in Dubai. For many, warm weather and sunshine don’t evoke that familiar festive feeling, and before you know it’s mid-December and there’s not much time to organise merrymaking or buy gifts. Luckily, Time Out is one step ahead of the game, bringing you all you need this Christmas. With recipes for great festive dishes, the lowdown on where to get a fantastic lunch on December 25 and plenty of gifts and decoration ideas, we’ll ensure you’ll have a day of festive fun in the Dubai sun. Merry Christmas, one and all.
1 At.mosphere Grill: For a Christmas to remember, why not dine on high at At.mosphere? The Grill is dishing up a three-course festive lunch menu or a four-course dinner menu, including a glass of eggnog. Dhs450 (lunch), Dhs590 (dinner). 12.30pm-3.30pm (lunch), 7pm-11pm (dinner). Burj Khalifa, email@example.com (04 888 3444).
2 Bateaux Dubai: The boat will be decked out (no pun intended) in Christmas adornments, and the singer will croon renditions of classic festive anthems. Dhs580 (house beverages), Dhs230 for children under 11. 1.30pm-4pm. Bateaux Dubai, Dubai Creek (04 399 4994).
3 Bonnington: The only caveat of this brunch is that the Bonnington’s incredible chocolate room could well distract you from the mains. Keep your discipline, however, and you’ll be rewarded with a classic Christmas brunch. There will be a live band playing festive classics, as well as the requisite visit from Santa. Dhs295 (soft drinks), Dhs445 (house beverages), Dhs100 for children aged four to 12. 12.30pm-4pm. Bonnington Hotel, JLT (04 356 0000).
4 Certo: Chef Daniele will serve an Italian-themed set menu to the sound of carol-singing and the festive cheer of the Father Christmas – all for very reasonable prices. Dhs175 (soft drinks), Dhs295 (grape pairing menu). 7pm ’til late. Radisson Blu, Media City (04 366 9111).
5 Eauzone An arresting setting amid the Royal Mirage and a thoroughly affordable meal deal make Eauzone a top contender for a laid-back Christmas lunch in the sun. Dhs270 (food only). Noon-3.30pm. Arabian Court, One&Only Royal Mirage (04 399 9999).
6 Mina A’ Salam: The powers of Al Muna, The Wharf and Zheng He’s combine to bring you one huge Christmas brunch. Though not necessarily festive, the highlight has to be the pork and cheese rooms, which are among the best stocked we’ve seen in Dubai. Dhs620 (house beverages), 25 per cent off for those aged four to 20, free for children under four. 12.30pm-4pm. Mina A’ Salam, Madinat Jumeirah (04 366 8888).
7 Ossiano: Take a table beside the aquarium and feast on a set menu featuring king crab salad, hen consommé, langoustine with baby onion purée, turbot à la plancha, wagyu tenderloin and, for dessert, espresso guanaja terrine. Just don’t think about the bill. Dhs1,500 (with a glass of bubbly). 7pm-12.30am. Atlantis The Palm, Palm Jumeirah (04 426 2626).
8 Rivington Grill: Rivington’s new chef, Scott Stokes, will be cooking up a British festive feast (complete with Christmas music and crackers), while outside you can enjoy views of the Burj Khalifa and fountains. Dhs500 (food only), Dhs250 for kids aged four to 10, free for kids under four. Noon-4pm. Souk Al Bahar (04 423 0903).
9 Rock Bottom, TECOM: A Christmas feast for all the family (their words, not ours) or for anyone looking for a cheap-and-cheerful buffet. If you miss this, you can always treat the family to bullfrog night on Boxing Day. Dhs129 (food only), Dhs159 (five house beverages). 7pm-midnight). Ramee Rose Hotel, TECOM (055 600 5810).
10 Saffron: This is the go-to brunch for unbridled mealtime mirth, and you can expect more of the same on Christmas Day. There will also be a visit from Father Christmas. Dhs450 (brunch; house beverages). 12.30pm-4pm (brunch), 7pm-11.30pm (dinner). Atlantis The Palm, Palm Jumeirah (04 426 2626).
11 Spectrum on One: No one knows brunches like the people at Spectrum on One, which is why we’re recommending this festive feast. It will feature roast carving stations alongside oysters, king crab, wagyu beef and desserts aplenty. Dhs440 (soft drinks), Dhs540 (hops and grape), Dhs695 (premium bubbly), Dhs150 for children aged six to 12), free for children under six. Noon-3pm. The Fairmont Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road, firstname.lastname@example.org (04 311 8316).
12 Spice Island: A lavish Christmas buffet awaits, and there will be live music courtesy of the resident band, Sugar Free. Father Christmas arrives at 8pm, so be sure to behave yourself. Dhs249 (soft drinks), Dhs299 (house beverages), Dhs349 (premium beverages), Dhs99 for children aged six to 12. 6.30pm-11.30pm. Crowne Plaza Dubai Deira, Salahuddin Road (04 262 5555).
13 Table 9: Formerly Verre, this new venue will serve a seven-course festive menu featuring smoked chestnuts, foie gras and lobster and prawn cocktail. For mains, choose from roast turkey, pork belly or halibut, followed by ginger panna cotta or English stilton, Christmas pudding and mince pies. Dhs495 (food only). Noon-3pm, 7.30pm-10.30pm. Hilton Dubai Creek, Deira (04 212 7550).
14 The Ivy: Head chef Simon Conboy has prepared a four-course set menu for lunch and dinner, featuring Kelly Bronze turkey with all the trimmings, followed by bûche de Noël and pastry chef Liz Stevenson’s home-made mince pies with custard. Dhs450 (dinner menu; food only), 25 per cent discount for those aged 13 to 20, half price for kids aged four to 12, free for kids under four. Noon-3.30pm, 6pm-11pm. Jumeirah Emirates Towers (04 319 8767).
15 Wafi Pyramids: A carvery will be dishing up roast turkey with cranberry sauce, chestnut stuffing and sausage wrapped in bacon, while warm Christmas pudding, panettone with vanilla sauce, festive chocolate log and mince pies await for dessert. Dhs295 (house beverages), Dhs195 (soft drinks), Dhs95 for children under 12, including a gift. Noon-3.30pm. Pyramids, Wafi, Oud Metha (04 324 4100).