Winner – Best Bar Food Time Out Dubai Restaurant Awards 2012
Caramel Restaurant & Lounge: If DIFC is the king of the business lunch, Caramel holds court for the area’s workers who demand quality from their after-hours snacks and drinks. Leave the office behind for delicate spicy tuna rolls and light yet substantial Kobe sliders, then take drinks out onto the beautiful Asian-inspired terrace and relax amid leafy greenery. Intimate lighting and bustling, plentiful waiters make for a busy atmosphere even when the restaurant is sparse. We have no idea how the name above the door was arrived at – there wasn’t a gloopy, sugary dessert in sight – but for an atmosphere that is both chic and welcoming, Caramel is as sweet as it gets. Click here for location and opening times for Caramel Restaurant & Lounge.
Highly Recommended – Best Bar Food Time Out Dubai Restaurant Awards 2012
RED Lounge: There’s a concept behind this place – and if you hadn’t guessed from the reckless capitalisation in the name – it involves the colour red. The other concept at play is China; there’s an oriental flavour peppered throughout the bar with staggering views of downtown Dubai from the terrace.RED’s offerings are strictly bound to light taster plates – the quality of dim sum here is excellent and meat dishes are done to perfection and presented with panache.. There are more than 20 options on the menu but, priced around the Dhs30-50 mark, you’ll need a good four or five per head to be anywhere near full up. So don’t come here to dine, but do come here, and do nibble. Click here for location and opening times for Red Lounge.
Highly Recommended – Best Bar Food Time Out Dubai Restaurant Awards 2012 The Terrace: For a tranquil ambiance and a relaxing view, it’s hard to beat The Terrace. Situated on the edge of the creek, the bar offers views of glistening water by day and twinkling stars by night. And while the bar welcomes drinkers daily, it also boasts a fine food menu too. Adopting a less-is-more attitude, the classics (salads, burger, fish and chips) are presented elegantly – a gourmet take on pub grub that takes the traditional into a new century. An accompanying fresh seafood menu offers a fine entry to the evening, with fresh oysters, prawn, shrimp and the like served simply and purely. For this kind of fine food and impeccable service you expect to pay more, but amazingly the prices are little more than your average sports bar, offering a welcome way for diners to enjoy some style on a budget.
Apres:Overlooking Ski Dubai, Après at first presents itself as a lively cocktail bar. But opening the menu reveals food is taken seriously here. Dishes, served by friendly if slightly over-attentive waiting staff, are plentiful, but not overwhelming. Picky steak-eaters can relax; chefs at Après know the difference between medium and medium rare. Pizzas would not be out of place in an Italian pizzeria, while hamburgers are among the thickest in Dubai. Being able to order a glass of draught beverage with your meal is a rare treat among mall restaurants, while advice on which grape drink will best accompany your meal is a nice touch. Click here for location and opening times for Apres.
Belgian Beer Café, Crowne Plaza Dubai Festival City: If the motto for Belgium’s most famous draught beverage is ‘reassuringly expensive’, the Belgian Beer Café is just as reassuringly busy. In fact, don’t turn up without booking a table first, or you could be waiting a long time. Busy, slightly harassed staff fly about, trying their best to fight fires – no time for politeness. Bar-style food takes a while to arrive, but is piping hot, well-prepared and tasty when it finally does.
Bidi Bondi: If Bondi is an Aboriginal word describing the sound of water breaking over rocks (it is, apparently), then perhaps Bidi Bondi should be renamed to describe the sound of a perfect sizzling steak or tender burger being placed onto a soft bun. What that word might be, we don’t know, but we do know that Bidi Bondi serves up burgers, ‘sangers’ and pub grub as well as anyone in Dubai. The light and airy bar oozes surf chic and its relaxed atmosphere livens up as the day draws on. Staff are attentive but don’t pester, drinks are reasonably priced and big screens show live sports.
Buddha Bar: Ring up to reserve a table and the first thing you’re asked is ‘would you like to sit near the big Buddha?’ Ignore the ominous connotations, your answer is ‘yes’ – it’s a thrill to sit under the towering golden totem. But in truth the imposing statue is somewhat outdone by the view. More to the point, however, the overly hyphenated pan-Asiatic, Japanese-Thai-Chinese-Indian cuisine here is scrumptious, while service is faultlessly attentive. Click here for location and opening times for Buddha Bar.
Left Bank, Madinat Jumeirah: Left Bank’s stylish interior just about lives up to its magnificent outdoor eating area on the banks of the Madinat waterways. Table space at this trendy bar-restaurant is at a premium, and for good reason. Staff are friendly and eager without being pushy and will make sure a menu is quickly in your hand before offering tips on which dish to order. The menu itself is equally helpful, offering advice on which grape beverage best complements each dish. Food is prompt, even on busier days, and portions are generous. A starter and one of Left Bank’s magnificent desserts will be ample for smaller appetites, while hungrier souls will not be left wanting by filling main courses.
Loca: Though it may have lost its pork licence (Loca’s pork ribs were revered throughout the city), the kitchen at this busy bar still serves up fantastic fare. The beef ribs, served on a sizzling platter, adequately compensate for the absence of aforementioned dish from the menu, while the guacamole mashed at your table, is second to none. Aside from more familiar Tex Mex options, Loca serves authentic Latin American options such as ceviche, which further adds to its credentials. But the beauty of this warm inviting restaurant its ability to seamlessly marry a casual vibe with a more upmarket appeal – a great place to watch sport with the boys as well as a place to take a date for quality meal.
Nezesaussi: It’s less of a sports bar per se, and more of a sports-themed bar. Like a Hard Rock Café for football, the walls are lined with framed signed shirts and the classier memorabilia. If there’s a word for this place, that’s it; classy. And we defy all but the most snobby of guests not to be impressed – with a loose South African/Australian theme dangling over the menu, this is seriously high-end pub end grub. The infamous breakfast menu serves until 4pm (!), at which stage the menu splits in thirds; the snack/starter platters are an inventive (if expensive at Dhs99) accompaniment to any match. Meanwhile a page of burger recipes is so tongue-smacking good (we’re talking upwards of five extra ingredients) that you barely need a third page of pub classics. For gourmet pub grub this is impressive stuff. Click here for location and opening times for Nezesaussi.