Caribbean 04 356 2900 Sheikh Zayed Road

Brightly coloured and filled with the sounds of modern and old-school reggae and dancehall, Miss Lily’s may be one of the city’s smaller restaurant, but it’s all the better for it.

Feeling like a funky, urban Jamaican canteen-meets-American diner, this New York import serves up an intimate, convivial atmosphere with a massive wallop of fun.

While it may not have delivered Dubai its first taste of Caribbean food, it’s undoubtedly the city’s favourite.

Service is swift, personable and attentive, the atmosphere is electric on any given night, and the food is superb – a savvy blend of authentic and inventive.

For Caribbean-meets-Middle Eastern, don’t miss the ackee hummus, served with grilled roti flatbreads, while the crispy fish tacos with spicy escovitch dressing are knockout.

Everything impresses. There’s West Indian curry prawns (uber-fragrant), curry goat stew (fall-apart delicious) and, of course, Miss Lily’s “world famous” jerk grilled chicken.

Bigger groups can also order the likes of garlic-roasted lamb shoulder, hot pepper lobster and slow-roasted pimento short rib. And visit in a big group you absolutely should. A restaurant like this deserves a party, and you deserve to taste as many dishes as possible.

The bottom line
Fun hangout with spot-on food.

American 04 301 7600 Umm Suqeim

Just arriving at the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah will fill even the hardiest of Dubai dwellers with excitement, so the chance to dine at prices that won’t leave you crying into your beans on toast for the next month is one that should be taken up. Scape opened in 2016 as the hotel’s most relaxed, casual dining venue. And it’s surprisingly chilled-out for such a fancy location. Set poolside, the wide ranging terrace is the perfect spot to take a seat in cooler weather. During summer there’s a bright and airy interior, with views from floor-to-ceiling windows. With views out to sea ahead of you, and back towards the iconic building, it’s a delightful place for a lunch or dinner date. Food doesn’t disappoint either – with a selection of dishes from the Americas. Opt for some Baja fish tacos to start. Flaky fish with creamy avo sauce makes the perfect combo of flavours and textures. Next, move on to Angus beef tampiqueña – cooked just right with chimichurri, crispy shallots and a side of moreish truffle fries. It’s a big enough portion to share, and we recommend a side of arugula (rocket to the Brits) salad, too. The vibe is relaxed, the staff are friendly, and for a fun, informal meal at one of the world’s most famous buildings it’s one you shouldn’t miss.

The bottom line
Top-quality dishes, excellent views and a laid-back but chic vibe. One for your next date night.
Bar & pub food 04 376 6000 Palm Jumeirah

From its idyllic setting right on the beach Key West offers a slice of tropical island life in Dubai.

Set within the stylish Nikki Beach Resort on the Pearl Jumeira, it’s relaxed and a world away from city life.

Inside it’s all crisp whites flecked by azure blue, in keeping with the colours and feel of the rest of the super-chic resort.

Take up a seat outside on the beach-facing terrace, where the sounds from the sea make for a peaceful dining experience.

And since the venue opens at 5pm, it’s the perfect spot for sundowners.

Dinner is served from 7pm and the menu offers a mix of Floridian, Latin American and Caribbean cuisine, with some inventive twists that will either pique your sense of adventure or shock your sensibilities – quinoa paella with sweet potato and corn, anyone?

Staff have a cool, easy-breezy air and offer up creative suggestions to those willing to experiment, which seems to be what Key West is about.

To start, we head straight for the crab cakes. The three dainty, bite-sized mounds served with a smattering of avocado cream and mango salsa are a dream, brought right back to reality by an unexpected whack of chilli.

The Floridian sea bass from the ce(la)viche list (geddit?) is also a hit. Meaty chunks of raw fish drenched in a zesty passion fruit, key lime and orange juice mix, it’s a refreshing medley of punchy flavours.

Another classic given an interesting spin is the Caribbean goat curry, which here is served inside a spinach tortilla, mixing up traditions and tastes.

And it’s a winner. The bread soaks up the mild curry, adding an extra layer of gooeyness to the gamy chunks of goat, with cubes of carrot and potato adding bite.

Overall Key West is brilliant and well-priced. Head here for a delicious slice of Floridian life.

The Bill (for two)
1x Floridian ceviche
Dhs77
1x Key West crab cakes Dhs75
1x Gros Islet fish in oil Dhs89
1x Choiseul curried goat Dhs89
1x Cocoa Carib chocolate experience to share Dhs89
Total (excluding service) Dhs419

The bottom line
Traditional dishes given a winning spin.

04 457 6719 Jumeirah

This US-style oyster bar and grill is fast becoming a hotspot in JBR. Coming Highly Commended in this category, it also has a lively ladies’ night and a popular business lunch among its offerings. But we’re here to talk food. Whether you sit inside or out, the vibe here is great. We love the terrace for its high tables and casual vibe (the lobster roll is great for a snack). But for a more formal evening, such as a meal with friends or family, then inside is great too. There is a typically American feel about the place, from the oyster bar in the corner to the dark wood furnishings, and of course, the menu. The oysters are great here. However, the menu holds further treat. Everywhere seems to do a cephalopod dish these days, but the chargrilled octopus here one of the best we’ve tried. It’s tender and meaty, not a bit rubbery or stringy, and sits atop a tomatoey, tangy puttanesca sauce. The smokeyness of the grill really comes through. The linguine with prawns is a classic, and the grill part of the menu is also done with style if you opt for a steak.You won’t leave disappointed.

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