Let’s face it, Dhs160 for a three-course meal in the Armani Hotel – which is set within the world’s tallest building – is an incredible deal, especially when you consider the quality of options on offer, such as avocado and lime salad with grilled chicken, buckwheat penne with cockerel ragu, black ink risotto with squid, sea bream with cannellini sauce and veal escalope. Pronto menu: Dhs130 (two courses), Dhs160 (three courses). Performance days only, 6pm-show time.
Turn the Italian dial all the way to 11 (should that be undici?) with Armani, opera and Italian food in one session. Time Out Dubai has a long-standing love for Armani/Ristorante and we reckon this is a price-conscious way to enjoy one of the city’s greatest restaurants. Choose a two- or three-course set menu with options including beef carpaccio and mustard sauce, spaghetti pomodoro with smoked ricotta and lemon confit, and tiramisu. Dhs250 (two courses), Dhs350 (three courses). Performance days only, 6pm-show time.
Opera, Wikipedia reliably informs us, has a more illustrious history in Argentina than you might think. That is all the encouragement we need to choose The Palace’s fine South American meat emporium. There is talk of set menus on show nights, so look out for those, or just follow your instinct and our recommendation of flinging yourself mouth-first at the excellent steaks on the à la carte menu. Priced à la carte.
As an art form, opera tends not to do things by halves. In fact, the more overblown, grand and over-the-top something is, the more operatic it can be. So a trip to the dining room up on the 122nd floor of the world’s tallest building and watching the sun set over one of the fastest-growing cities in history, while eating fancy food and sipping mixed drinks, could be the perfect pre-opera ritual. The pre-show set menu is quite pricey at Dhs325, but the view is almost good enough to miss your show for. Almost. Dhs325 (two courses), Dhs375 (three courses).
There is no set menu yet for Dubai Opera guests, but there is a lot to be said for a pre-show visit to Souk Al Bahar’s seafood-inspired Italian restaurant. Fountains, romance and a classy sense of elegance make it a good choice for a picture postcard proposal setting. Something a night at the opera will only enhance. Just don’t be put off by all the prawns, fish and seafood delicacies coming out of the kitchen. Grab a table on the terrace and you might even get an operatic theme tune on The Dubai Fountain to warm you up for the main event. Priced à la carte.
Here at Time Out Dubai, we have the greatest respect for people who turn up on time and will have our tuts at the ready for anybody stumbling into the opera late. Avoid such shame by eating virtually next door to the venue. This international restaurant isn’t the swankiest eatery in the neighbourhood and serves a bewilderingly large selection that includes burgers, curries, pastas and pizza. However, you’ll be unlikely to miss the opening notes of your show if you choose to dine here. Priced à la carte.
We have frequently mentioned La Serre as one of Dubai’s great French dining locations, but lamented the hefty price tag for a meal here. While à la carte and post-opera dining in this classy restaurant will stretch the purse strings as well as waistbands, the special pre-show menu that has been introduced is a delightful glimpse into La Serre’s kitchen at modest cost. At Dhs150, a three-course meal features buffalo mozzarella bruschetta with truffle dressing, mains of either baked grouper with Provençale ratatouille or grilled chicken supreme with creamy mushrooms. Finish off with a fresh pastry before heading over to your show. Priced à la carte. Bistrot: open daily 10am-12.30pm-3.15pm, 7pm-11.15pm; Boulangerie: open daily 6.30am-10.30pm.
We don’t want to get all philosophical here, but it is important to point out how much we love that in Dubai, you can scoff a mountain of Lebanese food, mezze and fresh warm breads before staggering just a few yards to sit enthralled and enchanted by fine drama, opera and contemporary dance. There might be a chance that you feel the meat sweats after eating too much, but the restaurant choice is a solid one, and also a good way to manage your finances if you’ve splashed out on premium tickets. Priced à la carte.
Spicy Thai food may not be the first cuisine that springs to mind when thinking of dining before the opera, but to be perfectly honest, we don’t really care. We’ve been fans of this magical waterside eatery and its Dubai Fountain views for years and we’re going to take any excuse to pop along. Especially when a set sharing menu includes seasoned delights such as a beef tenderloin and desserts including a tempura-fried banana with honey and ice-cream. Look out for drinks discounts from the sommelier, too. Dhs200 (two courses), Dhs250 (three courses). Performance days only, 6pm-show time.
This Sofitel Dubai Downtown restaurant skips across the cuisines of Asia with the grace and light-footed confidence of a ballet’s principal dancer. Think sushi, dim sum and a variety of small sharing plates including lobster tacos, soft-shell crab bites and beef gyoza, all of which are light enough to appeal to those heading to the opera in a big group, and who are just looking to whet their appetite with a few tasty morsels to share, before settling down for an evening of world-class entertainment. Priced à la carte.