Hard Rock Café

You'll forget the food but not the experience Reviews

© ITP Images

It’s here. It’s huge. It’s open. Granted, there’s no record-breaking neon guitar stuck to the roof, but after months of speculative opening dates and subsequent delays, Hard Rock Café has finally reopened in Festival City.

Of course, Hard Rock isn’t just a restaurant, or a café, for that matter; it’s an assault on the senses that starts at the Hard Rock shop through which we were channelled en route to the restaurant. Those with short-term memories are then reminded that they can purchase Hard Rock-emblazoned memorabilia from the shop by friendly (too friendly?) bar staff. Within the space of five minutes my date and I had already been reminded of the shop twice and offered the mixed drinks menu once, despite having already ordered our drinks.

Happily, we were saved by the Village People. Not the actual Village People, mind, rather their rendition of ‘YMCA’, which had every last staff member leaping onto tables to contort themselves to the chorus.

With all this singing and dancing going on, we couldn’t help but wonder how and when our burgers would arrive. ‘Soon,’ assured our bouncy waiter, who jingled with pin-badges and reeled out quips faster than
a stand-up comic. It was fun, if a little forced, but certainly added an extra element to the meal.

True to the assurances of our wise-cracking waiter, our jumbo combo platter soon arrived, bringing with it an array of deep-fried treats, including potato skins, chicken wings, spring rolls, onion rings, tupelo-style chicken (boneless chicken wings) and enough blue cheese sauce to induce a coronary. It was about halfway through the platter that I realised everything tasted pretty much the same, with each dish differentiated only by texture. Regardless, we greedily finished the whole plate, a feat that was rewarded by a high-five from the waiter.

The burgers were big, juicy and overflowing with filling, but the patties in both the SOB Burger (1,410 calories, according to the Hard Rock NYC’s online menu) and the Hickory Burger (1,648 calories) were worryingly pink, despite us asking for them to be served medium. It also appeared that neither burger was designed to stay together, resulting in our plates, hands and (I’m ashamed to say) faces being covered in the contents. We weren’t expecting haute-cuisine, so we were relatively satisfied, yet there was still something missing.

But remember, you don’t go to Hard Rock to have a gourmet meal – you go to have your ears, eyes and palates rudely assaulted with music, bright lights and artery-clogging diner food. Take this as you will.

The bill (for two)
1x Jumbo combo Dhs69
1x SOB burger Dhs57
1x Hickory burger Dhs57
Total (including service) Dhs183

By Oliver Robinson
Time Out Dubai,

Time Out reviews restaurants anonymously and pays for meals. Of course, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or independence of user reviews.


  • Location: Dubai Festival City Mall, Festival City, Dubai
  • Tel: 04 232 8900
  • Travel: Al Rebat Street

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Hard Rock Café On The Map

User reviews

  • Users voted this restaurant most suitable for: Family friendly

User reviews:

Posted by: Andrew Younan on 21 Feb ' 13 at 08:35
  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

Great service, great atmosphere, great music...
And most importantly probably the best food in dubai...
Especially for families... and to David, your judgement of a good restaurant fails completely. Sorry

Posted by: David on 22 Nov ' 12 at 11:54
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? No

I have not even got into the restaurant and I already dislike it. I called to make a reservation for a company xmas party and was advised that they don't take reservations but we should come early and the should be space. So am really going to take 22 people to a restaurant in the hope we'll get seated. I think not. Ridiculous policy, business taken elsewhere.

Posted by: loubilou on 17 Nov ' 12 at 16:14
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

fantastic atmosphere band is top rate, food lots of very loud hard rock stands for its name !!!!

Posted by: Ben on 15 Apr ' 12 at 07:59
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? No

Edited by TimeOutDubai.com

The new Festival City branch is an absolute disgrace to the Hard Rock brand. I've been to the London, Las Vegas, and Moscow branches and the new Dubai branch pales in comparison. I left with the feeling it was more akin to a school hall that had been decorated as a fake Hard Rock Cafe for a dance night than the real thing. There is no atmosphere - unless you count the annoying and cringeworthy birthday announcements that seem to happen every ten minutes. The dancing on stage to songs such as Shakira's Waka Waka, and Jai Ho is an affront to the very values and experience you are supposed to have at a branch of Hard Rock Cafe. If I was the franchise director at the owners, the Seminole tribe of Florida, I would strip the Dubai branch of its licence, or force it to shut it down in its current location and open it in a location that is closer to Hard Rock's target audience, and one that allows a true Hard Rock Cafe experience.

Posted by: john on 22 Dec ' 11 at 06:26
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes


Posted by: Lara on 21 Dec ' 11 at 05:18
  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

I love this place! Since its opening I've been there at least 5 times. Their food is delicious and flavorful (although as said above, very messy!). Not only is it good for lunch but also evening drinks with friends, or just hanging out on the terrace once the weather is good. The staff are friendly and entertaining! And their music is different from all the repetitive tunes you hear playing on the radio, its so refreshing. However, speaking as an interior designer, I would say they made it a bit too modern, it kind of lost that authentic Hard Rock feeling. Nevertheless, its an awesome place and Im so glad they reopened. It was about time!

Posted by: Mital on 30 Nov ' 11 at 11:02

Love the bar, absolutely amazing. They should start having rock band nights asap , a karaoke till then wil do :D :D .

Posted by: Mounir Hassoun on 28 Nov ' 11 at 07:14

what a great place. it is the best Hard Rock Cafe i ever saw around the world. Great atmosphere, amazing food; open theatrical sapce...
Hard Rock will certainly spread the word of peace in among Dubians... we missed it the last 3 years...

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