Unique dining experiences everyone should try once
Brunch A Dubai institution, no stay in the city is complete without a Friday afternoon spent gawping at the incredible spread in one of the city’s five-star hotel brunches. Have your mind blown by the overwhelming size and variety of the Al Qasr, experience French fine dining at Traiteur or send your credit card into meltdown with the Royale Brunch at Imperium, which includes a private butler service and bubbles. From Dhs575 (with house beverages), Al Qasr, Madinat Jumeirah (04 366 6730). From Dhs570 per person (including house beverages), Traiteur, Park Hyatt (04 317 2222). Dhs2,500 per person (including premium beverages), Imperium, Jumeirah Zabeel Saray (04 453 0444).
Emirati breakfast Try traditional Emirati cuisine while learning about local customs and dining etiquette, all inside a classic wind tower house in Bur Dubai, hosted by the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding. Dhs70. Mon and Wed from 10am. Al Fahidi, Bur Dubai, www.cultures.ae (04 353 6666).
Dinner cruise Book one of the dozens of dhows that operate buffet dinner cruises on the Dubai Creek (most of which include some form of show, such as tanoura dancing), or go upmarket with a floating meal aboard the glass-panelled Bateaux Dubai, which serves a set menu every evening. Dinner cruise from Dhs395 with a welcome drink. Opposite British Embassy, Bur Dubai, www.bateauxdubai.com (04 814 5553).
BBQ Donut Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club’s ‘BBQ Donut’ packs guests off with a hamper of food and sends them on their way into the Creek aboard what is essentially a circular dining table-cum-floating vessel. Steer yourself or hire a captain – though it will cost more, and, let’s face it, be much less fun. From Dhs950 for afternoon tea. Deira, www.dubaigolf.com (04 295 6000).
Dinner and a show Head to Supperclub Dubai to dine on European-style cuisine while enjoying live music from local and international acts, as well as more physical performances. Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, Palm Jumeirah, www.jumeirah.com (04 451 1100).
The humble shawarma Dubai isn’t all about fine dining and spending a fortune – and when hunger strikes, you can’t go far wrong with the city’s favourite (and most affordable) street food. Tuck into a chicken shawarma from the likes of Eat & Drink for around Dhs5-6, and enjoy an orchestra of flavours courtesy of a combination of shredded meat, pungent garlic paste and tangy pickles, plus a few stodgy chips for good measure. Various locations including Al Wasl Road, near Safa Park (04 394 3878).
Revolving restaurant The only eatery to turn a full 360° while you’re tucking in, Al Dawwar in Deira is by no means one of the city’s newest or shiniest spots, but it’s certainly one of its most novel. Check out the seafood buffet night on Thursdays, brunch on Fridays or classic roast dinner on Saturdays. Hyatt Regency, Deira, www.restaurants.dubai.hyatt.com (04 317 2221).
Award-winning Japanese Visit Zuma, Time Out Dubai’s Restaurant of the Year 2014, for an unforgettable Japanese meal. Book a table on Thursday or Friday night to make the most of the cool upstairs lounge before heading downstairs to dine on dishes such as miso marinated black cod and spicy beef tenderloin with sesame, red chilli and sweet soy. Gate Village 6, DIFC, www.zumarestaurant.com (04 425 5660).
Romance at Pierchic Undoubtedly one of the city’s most romantic restaurants, Pierchic (so called as it sits at the end of a pier, jutting out from the Al Qasr hotel) serves up a huge variety of seafood dishes, from oysters to king crab, and recently launched a particularly swanky bubbly Friday brunch. Al Qasr, Madinat Jumeirah, www.jumeirah.com (04 366 6730).
Pakistani at Ravi Perhaps Dubai’s most famous Pakistani eatery, visited by countless holidaying celebrity chefs, Ravi Restaurant in Satwa does a strong line in reasonably priced eats – we highly recommend the green chilli chicken masala and the dal. If you’re afraid of cats, be warned the area is home to a colony of opportunistic strays. Satwa (04 331 5353).
Iranian at Special Ostadi A long-standing, family-run establishment with peculiar décor (a collection of images of Dubai’s ruling family and body-building champs) expect bowls of chicken and lentil soup to begin appearing as soon as you’ve sat down. Head here for a hearty feed – a single grill and rice dish is enough to feed two. Al Mussalla Road, Bur Dubai (04 397 1933).
Fish shack Renowned for its simple, affordable yet delicious fish curries, Bu Qtair is essentially a portacabin and a patch of sand, but you’ll struggle to find a spare seat most evenings. Beloved of residents in-the-know, this spot promises a feast for two for well under Dhs100. Street 4d, near Sunset Beach, Umm Suqeim (055 702 2130).
Cheese manakish Heard of the Dubai Stone? This popular snack has probably got a lot to do with it. Also known as ‘cheese bread’, this baked delight from Lebanon is the sister snack of the much-loved shawarma. For the ultimate in oozy, cheesy, carby fun, head to Al Reef Lebanese Bakery on Al Wasl Road or Za’abeel Road in Karama. Al Wasl Road (04 394 5200).