Restaurant awards pub food
With three prime spots across the city (and one airport venue), McGettigan’s is one of the most popular watering holes in Dubai. The newest venue at Madinat Jumeirah is probably the best all-rounder. It has a great location next to the waterways, is excellent for sport, has good value (and long) happy hours and the food is a little more refined than the others. JLT is slightly rowdier with a huge outdoor area and the World Trade Centre location feels a little more grown up. All three have top breakfasts, good burgers and moreish chicken wings. We like.
A bona fide family-friendly Dubai institution, Reform Social & Grill is that rare thing – a community pub. Set in the Lakes, it is perfect for a weekend meal with a few drinks, mum and dad able to chill out in the garden while the kids play on the small playground and makeshift football pitch alongside it. In the week the place is also rammed, but with people popping in for a pint and bite to eat on the way home after work. And those bites are very good, by the way. Pâtés, steak tartare and salads pepper the starters – and the pear and stilton tart is a corker, too – while there are four packed sharing platters to choose from, top grills, good salads and a lovely ploughman’s. A special shout-out to the burgers as well. Juicy and fat. Just as they should be. Good breakfasts, too. This place is highly recommended.
This won our Best Pub Food gong at this year’s Time Out Dubai Restaurant Awards, so it’s fair to say we’re a fan. The Eloquent Elephant is a majestically classy pub in the Business Bay end of town, with some of the greatest interiors in the city – all cool lighting, top quality furniture and a curvy, metallic bar dishing out exceptional mixed drinks. The food is stunning, too. The burgers are brilliant, the curries delicious (it is set in an Indian hotel, after all), the gnocchi is infused with truffle and the grilled smoked paprika octopus with padron peppers and turkey chorizo is one of the greatest flavour combinations you’ll find in Dubai. Small bites include crunchy, soda-battered onion rings, triple-cooked, chunky hand-cut chips and Thai-spiced chicken crackers. And the sticky toffee pudding to finish is the stuff of hazy, nostalgia-filled dreams. Simply superb.
There’s something a bit New York in the roaring ’20s about this place – exposed brick walls dimly lit by low-hanging bulbs, smooth music playing in the background and a feeling in the air that everyone is having a ball. On the ample menu is a blend of European pub classics and more refined protein-heavy dishes. A generous portion of foie gras is a super starter, and make sure you ask the good-humoured waiters for some extra bread to wipe your plate clean. The pub’s readiness to cater for the most carnivorous palates may explain why the octopus and monkfish are distinctly meaty – tasty but they take a lot of chewing. Putting the “gastro” to rest, the pub really is the heart and soul of the venue, backed by décor that mimics the speakeasy bars of the US in the Prohibition Era as much as the modern obsession with all things stripped back. International hops and shorts fill the menu, many of them hard to come by elsewhere in Dubai. JB’s is a feel-good spot at which to share laughs and decent food in stylish surroundings with friends and family.
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