Top places to find good meals and snacks at the watering hole
Time Out Dubai staff
Après If you’re looking for a quick bite to eat with a view in Dubai, then look no further than Après at Mall of the Emirates. Inspired by European ski resorts, this is a casual lounge, bar and restaurant that embodies Alpine ski-lodge chic. With its lively atmosphere and friendly efficient service, the venue is particularly charming. Après offers a little more than the average bar food menu with an array of fresh, contemporary European dishes. With an attractive interior and warm service, it’s no wonder this mall spot is busy daily. Open Sat-Wed 11.30am-1am, Thu-Fri 11.30am-2am (last orders for food: 10.45pm). Mall of the Emirates, Al Barsha (04 341 2575).
Trader Vic’s With a strong Polynesian theme throughout, the restaurant also features a large glass smoke house in the centre of the dining area as well as a sushi counter. From light bites such as calamari and crab rangoon up to dishes like Cantonese steamed sea bass and Mongolian lamb, you’ll find an enticing international range here. Service is excellent, with the staff very attentive. Open Sun-Sat noon-2am (last orders for food: 11.30pm). Festival Centre, Dubai Festival City, www.tradervics.com/locations/dubai-trader-vics (04 255 9000).Other locations: Souk MadinatJumeirah, Umm Suqeim (04 366 5646). Al Fattan Towers, The Walk, JBR (04 386 5646). Crowne Plaza Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 305 6399).
Buddha Bar As one of the largest venues of this international chain, Buddha Bar Dubai has an impressively spacious dining room with striking red and gold chandeliers. The main bar and dining area is dominated by the brand’s famous four-metre high gilded statue and an entire wall of glass, while large bay windows provide exceptional views of the marina. Buddha Bar’s pan-Asian menu features dishes inspired by Chinese, Japanese and Thai cuisine, with local seasonal ingredients. With chilled-out beats turning to livelier house lounge music later, Buddha Bar is the perfect place to stay after dinner and party into the late hours. Open Sat-Wed 7.30pm-2am (last orders for food: 1am), Thu-Fri 7.30pm-3am (last orders for food: 2am). Grosvenor House, Dubai Marina, www.buddhabar-dubai.com (04 317 6000).
Calabar This trendy nightspot offers spectacular views of the Burj Khalifa and Dubai Fountains. Diners can choose to sit inside the large venue, but the real attraction lies on its terrace. Sit on one of the venue's comfy bean bag chairs and soak up the atmosphere, from the relaxing lounge music to the downtown skyline. The menu is reflective of the venue's sociable and relaxed attitude, with sharing platters and tapas on offer. The setting alone is beautiful and can be quite romantic and intimate if you choose to dine in a cosy corner. Open daily 6pm-2am (last orders for food: 11.30pm). The Address Downtown Dubai (04 888
Cargo The Asian eatery has a lively atmosphere daily with an industrial vibe. The high ceilings, exposed pipes and a bar designed from wooden crates add a funky, cool laidback feel to this Pier 7 destination. The decor of the venue is appealing for groups of friends who can sit at one of the high top tables, as well as couples and groups who want to relax over dinner at one of the more intimate tables on the terrace. The venue has a great atmosphere, views and tasty bar food. Open daily 6pm-2am (last orders for food: 1am). Pier 7, Dubai Marina, www.cargo-dubai.com (04 3618 129).
GQ Bar With a dedicated dining space, the vibe in this two-tier dining space is unmistakably nightlife-orientated. Amid the dimly lit and predominantly black interiors, the walls are dotted with sultry monochrome portraits of what looks like models straight out of a fashion spread. The staff here are exceptional, and the level of service is friendly and warm and even quite fun. Staff also gain respect for their knowledge of both the food and the beverage menu, and easy ability to offer guidance on either. The menu is dramatically international, spanning sushi through to risotto. These plates also look stunning in presentation across the board. Open daily 6pm-12.30am. JW Marriott Marquis, Business Bay, Sheikh Zayed Road, www.gqbardubai.com (04 321 4541).
Iris This lush rooftop bar sits on top of The Oberoi Dubai and in the early evening the height affords a regal view of downtown. The space opens up from inside onto a large terrace, with wooden panel flooring, urban lighting designs and glass windows reminiscent of a greenhouse but with the minimalist look of a warehouse. The trendy venue has plants and flowers scattered throughout and a range of high-top tables. The menu offers traditional pub classics with a fancy twist, including dishes such as Angus mini truffle burgers and aubergine tartine. Other options include seared bluefin tuna and an attractive range of salads featuring ingredients such as lentils, crab and quinoa. Open Sat-Wed 6pm-2am, Thu-Fri 6pm-3am (last orders for food: 1am). The Oberoi Dubai, Business Bay (056 951 1442).
Loca Fajitas sizzle at your table in six different flavours. It’s the tacos, though, that stand out from the predictable options. Served in a soft or hard shell, and generously accompanied with beans and rice, they’re great for sharing or as a meal in themselves. Loca goes the extra mile with Mexican desserts such as fried ice cream and banana empanada to finish off a meal. Open daily noon-midnight. Dubai Marine Beach Resort& Spa, Jumeirah1, www.locauae.com (04 346 1111).
The Terrace Within the elegant Park Hyatt Dubai is this picturesque al fresco bar overlooking the creek. The relaxed venue is ideal for a romantic drink and is spread across three areas: the indoor bar, the canopy-covered terrace and the outdoor boardwalk. The indoor bar plays host to a raw seafood bar offering a selection of caviar, oysters and salmon. The food here is extremely tasty with healthy sized portions. As a place to enjoy a selection of high-quality seafood dishes and a scenic setting, The Terrace scores highly. Open daily 4pm-2am (last orders for food: 1.30am). Park Hyatt Dubai, Deira (04 317 2222).
Caramel, DIFC Situated in the middle of DIFC, this modern restaurant and lounge tends to attract financial types and is particularly popular mid-week for after work drinks and bites. Be sure to dress to impress in this slick and polished joint to look the part. The food consists mainly of bar bites such as the Kobe barbecue beef sliders and mac and cheese, but with a few posher dishes such as apple endive salad, scarpetta rigatoni malenzana and Cajun blackened shrimp. The ‘Baked Alaska’ – a dish of sponge cake, strawberries, meringue and strawberry ice cream – is simply to die for; this perfect combination of hot and cold desserts is a must-try. Having recently renovated the terrace area, Caramel is perfect for a quick catch-up with friends over dinner or as a place to dine inside in a dimly-lit corner for a more romantic setting. Staff are well dressed and on the ball, so you can sit back, relax and enjoy. Open Sun-Thu 11am-2am; Fri-Sat 7pm-2am. DIFC (04 425 6677).