04 501 8777 World Trade Center Area

PERMANENTLY CLOSED

If you thought Okku was a swanky Japanese restaurant, well, you’d be right, but it also houses a very cool bar.

Set in The H Dubai (just along from the ill-fated Zahira), Okku is moodily lit and trendy. With swish décor (we love the slim curtain of hanging lights that divide the bar from the dining area) and dim lighting, it’s an ideal place to catch up with friends or for date night.

Pull up a high stool and you’ll be mesmorised by the jellyfish serenely floating around in the giant fish tanks behind the bar.

Alternatively, opt for one of the cosy corner tables in the lounge, for more privacy.

On our visit the bar is busy (which for January is a feat in itself), boasting an upbeat vibe, with a pleasant buzz of chatter.

We take a seat at the bar, where service is slick and friendly. The drinks selection is decent, plus, if you visit on a Tuesday, ladies, you’ll be treated to unlimited free drinks (including sparkling grape). As part of the deal you can also get an eight-course sharing menu for Dhs198 a head, which is cracking value, as admittedly Okku is on the pricey side.

With an upbeat vibe, classy drinks and delicious food (which we definitely recommend you try) this is a restaurant bar well worth a visit.

The bottom line
Chic, cool bar with an upbeat vibe.

04 213 1221 Deira

This Deira café had a head-to-toe makeover in 2016, revealing itself as a health-conscious, industrial venue that you’ll certainly want want to make the journey for. The rustic interiors are accented with reclaimed wood features, metallic lampshades and abstract art pieces. While the “health” tagline might scare some away from dining at this café, know that it’s not all chia seeds and quinoa down here. You can get a hearty almond butter and jelly sandwich that’s wrapped in protein bread and served with a scoop of Nutella. And there’s a courgette “spaghetti” dish on the menu that adds to the hipster appeal. However, also on the varied menu is a burger served with melted brie, and a sweet potato gnocchi casserole, which will have you loosening your belts. The smashed avocado on toast comes on a wooden chopping board (very Instagrammable), and it’s one of the best in town.

This stylish café tempts you at the entrance with its glass cabinets full of French pastries, fruit-topped galettes, rainbow coloured macaroons and glistening cheesecakes. You’ll be obsessing over dessert before you’ve even ordered a main. The staff are friendly and nothing is too much trouble; tea and coffee is kept topped up and they happily guide you through the menus. Guests are offered newspapers and magazines, and the ambience is leisurely and comfortable. There are large yellow contouring chairs and gentle music played, meaning one can happily spend time sipping a caffeinated brew without feeling rushed. Breakfast, lunch and dinner is served, though it’s very easy to find yourself here through more than one sitting. Afternoon tea is also served and comes with a range of speciality teas and accompanying cakes. Choix, with its stylish decor, welcoming staff and excellent food, brings the best of French café culture to this corner of Festival City.

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