North American and Caribbean
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.
At Souk Al Manzil in Downtown Dubai, a funky, lively and friendly Jamaican eatery sits within a windowless façade with blackened doors.
Step inside, however, and you’re greeted by an explosion of colour, smells, music and an upbeat vibe.
Ting Irie adds to the city’s Caribbean restaurant scene, and stands out alongside Miss Lily’s (Time Out Dubai’s Best North American & Caribbean Restaurant) as a great place to get your hands on some authentic Jamaican grub.
The staff are friendly and fun, and the place is more often than not pleasantly busy, adding to the funky vibe.
We (and the staff, trust them they’re right) recommend you get a handful of dishes from the brilliantly named “Likkle Bites” menu. Don’t miss the “world-famous” Jamaican patties, some stuffed with beef, some with curried veggies. They’re flavoursome, authentic and a great start to your meal.
Try your best not to scoff the whole lot down in one undignified shovelling session (it will be hard) but reserve some space for what’s left to come. Jerk hummus, which is super spicy but incredibly moreish, is followed by the butta corn – topped with lime butter and charred spring onions.
Round off your plentiful meal with some deliciously tender and flavoursome roasted plantains, and the pumpkin and kale salad – crystallised pumpkin seeds, quinoa, roasted pumpkin and a delightful peanut punch vinaigrette. Healthy, yet delicious.
It may be a bit pricey, however there are deals, including a Tuesday ladies’ night, where you can get your hands on the authentic dishes for less.
Don’t miss it – this place is too cool not to visit at least once.
The bottom line
Cracking Jamaican street eats.
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.
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.
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