Time Out Dubai is the guide to the best brunch in Dubai. Here we profile the pick of outdoor brunches in Dubai. Get reviews, contact details and more
Served on a bed by the pool, or on a terrace with views of the Dubai Fountain, Burj Khalifa or famous Marina, brunching outdoors brings the holiday vibe to a weekend. These places in the city make great use of the sunny weather by giving diners the option of having their food and drink al fresco. So who says doing brunch means being holed up in the dark for 3+ hours? It may not quite qualify as ‘exploring the outdoors’ but our list helps you get close to it if brunch is your kind of weekend activity.
In a tweet: A Thursday night out with great music at one of Dubai's coolest venues. Best for Thursday night party time.
The venue: Zero Gravity is now one of the best locations for a night out in Dubai, and it may have struck gold with its House Party brunch. Located on the first floor, brunch here is quirky and drink heavy. The food is decent, but it’s the music, entertainment and drinks that make this brunch stand out.
The food: The choice isn’t massive and the portions are on the small side; it’s almost a canapé brunch. We’re fans of the wait staff bringing around trays of food, so if you want to prop yourself up in a corner and wait for the food to come to you, that’s absolutely possible. But if you want to stuff your face with food, this isn’t one for you. We expect the food variety will increase as the brunch matures. We should say, too, the food is pretty good – we just wanted more of it.
The drinks: There’s a variety of quirky drinks here, served in test tubes and tea pots and mixed with Skittles and so on. The standard hops, grape and mixed drinks are available as normal. Specialist mixed drink bars are dotted around the venue.
The crowd: The crowd is here to party, so don’t expect to sit and have a quiet chat. This is a lively and mobile brunch – you know, like a house party.
The dress code: Nightclub door policy applies from 9pm. Mixed groups and smart dress required. So Dubai.
The service: The food service is great, thanks to the staff who pop around with trays. Drink service can be slow, so we suggest you find a bar.
Extras & entertainment: DJ Soulninja, one of Dubai’s unsung DJs, spins an incredible set. Expect character actors to pop up, too. On our visit, we had a grandma giving the place a spring clean – we guess this was her house party. There’s also table football, giant jenga and other games adding to the fun.
Highs & lows: This is a different kind of brunch and it’s quite refreshing. The music plays a big part and the DJ’s set is really very good. Drinks are interesting, but the food, while good, lacks variety and range when compared to a traditional brunch. But that’s its strength and hook: it's not a traditional brunch. Plus it's fantastic value for party-goers.
The after party: You’re in safe hands here; the brunch finishes at 11pm, but you can stay and party right where you are 'til 3am.
In a tweet: Beautifully-presented food and lively entertainment at Latest Recipe. Best for a vibrant and varied brunch.
The venue: This brunch is set out on the ground floor of the hotel - you'll walk through bubbles to get into the restaurant. Buffet spreads are spaced around the Latest Recipe dining area and there are also live cooking stations where chefs grill fish and meat or customise pasta dishes.
The food: There’s a huge variety laid out and beautifully presented. The sushi and oyster stations are particularly impressive, and our eye was drawn to the whole salmon that almost looked too perfect to slice into. There’s a commendable cheese station and even a separate foie gras area that has its own chef ready to get things sizzling.
The drinks: Head to the mixed beverage station located at the back of the room, or wait for soft drinks to be served to your table.
The crowd: This seems to be the spot where couples in Dubai go on a Friday night. It’s also popular with families staying at the hotel.
The dress code: Smart casual, but with a little more effort than usual.
The service: A bit stilted in places as they cope with the bustle.
Extras & entertainment: Think guitar-strumming singers taking requests, plus contortionists and speedy jugglers that get kids gathering around in awe. Highs & lows: As there are so many dishes to choose from, the layout is slightly confusing. Make sure to do a full tour of the place so you don’t miss out on starters before moving on to the mains. Unfortunately, the dessert selection is meagre in comparison to the rest of the spread.
The after party: You’re right next door to Barasti should you wish to continue the party on the beach.
In a tweet: A chilled-out afternoon by the Creek with a stunning array of food. Best for sophisticated foodies.
The venue: It’s all about the theatre of the cooking here, with numerous open kitchens dotted throughout the venue. Inside it’s not quite as bright and airy as Traiteur next door, but the lighting and mood, as well as stylish South East Asian art on the walls, heightens the sophistication. In the cooler months, head outside to the plant-lined terrace.
The food: There’s a reason Thai Kitchen is so often mentioned among the best Thai restaurants in the city (it was shortlisted for a Time Out Dubai Restaurant Award in 2015), and the quality isn’t compromised at brunch. The à la carte menu is essentially a long taster list, from where you can order an unlimited selection – which is great since some of the dishes are little more than finger food.
The crowd: To say it is a place for couples would suggest it’s all candlelit dinners, which is not the case. However, it’s probably not the type of place you’d head with a large group. The atmosphere is more sophisticated.
The dress code: On our visit, everyone certainly looked like they’d put some effort in, but it’s not over the top. Smart casual jeans and shirt, or a dress would fit best.
The service: You’re well looked after, although delivery of drinks can be a little slow.
Extras & entertainment: The food is the primary focus of this brunch.
Highs & lows: Make no mistake, this is one for foodies. If Thai is your thing, you’ll be hard pushed to find better, and the open kitchens make sure there’s some of your typical brunch atmosphere. A shortage of traditional Thai drinks perhaps let the restaurant down slightly.
The after party: For those who want to continue the party after brunch, head next door and mix with the Traiteur crowd at The Terrace.
Cargo is Asian-inspired, with a contemporary and sophisticated red and black colour scheme. The brunch package offers a wide selection of Asian starters, which are brought to the table on platters for sharing. Meat and vegetarian spring rolls, sushi, bowls of salted edamame beans, and skewered chicken are included. Diners can request more of the starters and there’s also a choice of tom yum and noodle soups. When ready to move on to mains, diners can order one dish each from the brunch menu, which includes curries, stir fries and seafood. All the food is served to your table. Beverages here include a selection of juices and house shorts, but a downside to this brunch is that teas and coffees are not included in the soft drinks package. Cargo attracts a varied crowd, being popular with large groups, families and couples. It’s not particularly family friendly, though, as there are no designated areas for young children. Dhs195 (soft drinks), Dhs295 (house beverages), Dhs350 (bubbly). Fri 12.30pm-4pm.
Served outdoors when the weather is agreeable, Girders brunch has a strong Scottish vibe and diners can tour various buffet options. The venue also has six televisions showing live sport.
Food and drinks: A salad station serving coleslaw, Greek salad, chicken caesar salad and seafood pasta salad. Main courses range from jacket potato with sour cream to butter chicken curry. They even serve Irn Bru, a popular Scottish soft drink.
Dress code: Casual.
Family friendly? No.
Post brunch: Guests can stay at Girders and enjoy discounted drinks, or head to The Whistler nearby for a change of scenery
A small corner of contemporary Spain exists on the lobby level of The Westin Mina Seyahi. If at all possible, sit out on the walled terrace and look across the top of the palm trees to the sea beyond. Inside is roomy and stylish, with the decor, thankfully, avoiding a faux tavern feel and instead going for simple understated European elegance. This one doesn’t follow the usual brunch route of a self-service buffet, and instead offers a small selection of tapas followed by a choice of seafood or chicken paella. Sharing platters and small plates are sent out by the chef and Spanish meats, cheeses and olives are among the variety of interesting sides. The tapas outshines the paella, which although generous, is a touch salty. Jugs of either red or white Spanish beverages are fruity and add to the authentic atmosphere, which attracts fun-seeking but civilised birthday parties and dining couples. Dhs195 (soft drinks), Dhs295 (selected beverages and Spanish mixed beverages). Fri 12.30pm-4pm.
Head downstairs from the chic white lobby of the Vida Downtown and you’ll end up at 3in1, a bright and airy restaurant with floor-to-ceiling windows that open out to a small courtyard pool. It has the same whimsical, dreamy decor as the rest of the hotel, but for the brunch it’s dressed up in a quaint and tasteful picnic theme. The theme carries through to the food, and buffet tables are laden high with cheese, bread, mini sandwiches, pizza, toasties, little jars of fresh salads and seafood ceviche. The best part (especially for cheese lovers) is the fondue station. Steak, lamb chops and a seafood basket are also served to the table. Our advice is to grab all the Alaskan crab in sight before anyone else catches on; it’s truly outstanding. A fun dessert selection includes cheesecakes, crumbles, mini chocolate milkshakes, macaroons and grasshopper cake – a mint and chocolate fudge mousse-like dessert that’s light and fluffy and tastes like an Aero. As a nice touch, bottles of grape can be selected buffet-style from a display of bottles and glasses. The venue itself is quite small, and tables aren’t packed together, so even when booked to capacity, it doesn’t feel too crowded. A spirited and talented singer performs, whose covers strike a balance between jazzy, upbeat and mellow. Dhs265 (soft drinks), Dhs295 (selected beverages), Dhs495 (bubbly). Poolside cabanas can be booked for an additional Dhs100 per person. Fri 1pm-5pm.
Making the most of its Pier 7 location, Asia Asia sits directly over the water and boasts impressive views of Dubai Marina. There is also booth seating on the other side of the restaurant, from where diners can take in the colourful decor inspired by Thailand, China, Japan, Persia and Bali. The spinach, date and cashew nut dumpling is a surprising winner from the dim sum basket, while you won’t want to miss out on the charcoal grilled asparagus with kaffir lime oil from the Asian tapas, either. Order the shrimp soba noodles served with chilli and black olives, plus the Persian-style black cod from the signature dishes. For dessert, you’ll be presented with a selection including panna cotta with berries, ice cream, sorbet and cakes. Dishes are a mix of those with indulgent flavours and milder, palate-cleansing options, so you’ll be ready to order seconds and thirds if your waistband will allow. Make sure you keep an eye on the clock, as last orders are at 4.45pm. Minimal house music is provided by a DJ, keeping the atmosphere relaxed. There are no real lows, other than the sometimes slow service. Continue the fun at Cargo on the third floor of Pier 7, which has a happy hour on Friday from 5pm to 8pm, then Atelier M on floor eight has its ladies’ night from 8pm to 11pm. Dhs295 (soft drinks), Dhs395 (house beverages), Dhs449 (bubbly). Fri 2pm-5pm.
The Friday brunch is something of a Dubai institution.
Scroll down for more details on theGrand Grill.
Price: Dhs295 with red, white and rosé plus hop-based beverages; Dhs225 with soft drinks.
Food: Meat, and lots of it. A small buffet holds starters, sides and desserts, while you order your choice of steak, chicken wings and barbecue ribs to be flame-grilled in the open kitchen or on the barbie when weather allows.
The set up: A lively crowd chows down on the tasty meats and then, with the help of the free-flowing house bevvies and the DJ playing ’70s and ’80s music, replace the food on the tables with their dancing feet. Yes, honestly.
Post-brunch plan: If you need to wind down after all that craziness, head to The Underground Pub to catch the latest sports and play a few rounds of pool.
Positioned within upmarket gated community The Lakes, Reform Social & Grill is a Marylebone-born gastropub, transported to sunny Dubai. Expect stylish, retro pub interiors, a spacious patio and large garden overlooking an artificial lake, where the kids can roam freely. The eating commences with a ‘posh ploughman’s larder’, designed for sharing and featuring nibbles such as cold cuts, pâté, battered scallops and haggis fritters. Choose your main course from a selection of the ‘best of British’ – the steamed Shetland mussels in particular is a monstrously generous portion (though with no sides, it probably should be), while other options including roast chicken for two, lamb shank, fish and chips and a full English breakfast. Finally, another sharing plate arrives, featuring desserts including toffee pudding, strawberries and cream mess, and a rhubarb and custard crumble – sadly, it’s the weakest part of the event. The evening brunch slot from 6pm to 10pm is quieter than the noon to 4pm one, but at no point do things get rowdy. Generous mains are the high point, but service can be disappointing. Dhs250 (soft drinks), Dhs350 (selected house beverages), Dhs395 (bubbly). Fri noon-4pm and 6pm-10pm.
Perched on a terrace overlooking The Dubai Fountain and the Burj Khalifa, it’s clear to see that the location is this brunch’s main selling point. It’s the perfect venue for entertaining guests, with a view that doesn’t disappoint. Diners are served a set menu of Japanese cuisine, including miso soup, sushi, sashimi, black cod miso and wagyu beef. It’s all very refined and the portion sizes are perfect for sharing, especially the generous sushi and sashimi platter. Despite not being a Japanese restaurant, the cuisine on offer is high quality and sure to impress. A dessert tray featuring mochi ice cream, sorbet and plenty of fresh fruit rounds off the meal nicely. Zeta serves up a refreshing array of fruity mixed beverages, served in huge glass jars to be shared with the table. There are also mocktail versions of these drinks, which pair well with the light Japanese food on offer. As Zeta is positioned next to the hotel’s pool, it tends to have a more casual vibe. There’s no entertainment, but The Dubai Fountain starts up mid-way through the brunch, providing a regular show. From October. Dhs290 (soft drinks), Dhs425 (mixed and selected beverages). Fri 12.30pm-3.30pm.
Unwind at this beach club concept, the first Blue Marlin outside of its Ibiza home at the Ghantoot Al Jazira Island Hotel. Brunch here is served on the terrace or beach beds.
Extras: Resident DJs take to the decks, with live singing as well. Through the season, Blue Marlin Ibiza UAE also offers themed brunches; past themes include ‘Brazilian’, ‘Summer of Love’ and ‘Water Activities’.
Food and drinks: Blue Marlin’s chefs take over the terrace with live cooking stations serving up Mediterranean dishes, including a selection of tempting meats from the barbecue. There’s also fresh sushi and a dessert station.
Dress code: Casual.
Family friendly? Yes, entertainment available for kids.
Post brunch: The venue stays open until 11pm with entertainment from the resident DJs.