Outdoor restaurants in Dubai: Al fresco spots across the city

As temperatures cool, turn the heat up with Dubai’s best al fresco dining spots

Outdoor restaurants in Dubai: Al fresco spots across the city

Hurrah, thermometers are slowly turning from melting back to positively lovely. And, with that in mind, restaurants are flinging open patio doors, dusting off the terraces and preparing to welcome hordes of hungry diners back, with appetites at the ready. So, take your pick from the following list of Dubai’s outstanding outdoor restaurants: from rooftops to stunning skylines, sea breezes to secret sunset settings, you’re spoilt for choice. See you on the terrace.

101 Dining Lounge & Bar
This Palm Jumeirah favourite boasts a lovely location by the sea and a great selection of Spanish and Italian dishes. With all that Mediterranean cuisine, it’s one of Dubai’s most romantic spots. However, be prepared to pay a premium for it.
Open daily 11.30am-2am. One&Only The Palm, Palm Jumeirah (04 440 1030).

Ají
It’s not often we’ll admit to being blown away… but Ají, along Palm Jumeirah’s beach-facing Club Vista Mare, does it. The Japanese-Peruvian Nikkei restaurant manages to balance creativity, palate-thrilling execution and, perhaps most significantly, value for money. Oh, and the shoreline views of the city’s skyline are pretty spectacular to ogle out while you sit back and digest.
Sat-Wed noon-1am; Thu-Fri noon-3am. Club Vista Mare, Palm Jumeirah (04 552 0244).

Asado
Asado may arguably be one of the most sophisticated fine dining experiences in Dubai. When arriving, staff lead you onto the terrace where you’ll be treated to outstanding views of the Burj Khalifa. Steak is king here, with tenderloin, sirloin and rib-eye the specialities. However, there are plenty of fish, chicken and even goat dishes on offer. Be prepared for stunning dishes with views of Burj Khalifa
to match.
Open daily 6.30pm-11.30pm. Palace Downtown Dubai (04 428 7888).

Asia Asia

Asia Asia is consistently heaving, so book ahead to secure a table on the terrace – a sweeping balcony overlooking Dubai Marina with yachts parked up below and glittering lights as far as the eye can see. The view is spectacular – as is the sleek and stylish décor with its sophisticated oriental theme, complete with low lighting, dark interiors and chrome light fixings. The menu is split into seafood, sushi, small plates, skewers and mains, and the selection is excellent. The dim sum basket is a must-try – particularly the creamy sweet potato – and the 12-spice calamari is crispy and well-seasoned.
Sun, Tue 6pm-1am; Mon, Wed & Thu 6pm-2am; Fri-Sat 2pm-1am. Pier 7, Dubai Marina (04 276 5900).

Boardwalk
Spoiler alert: this is Time Out Dubai’s reigning Best Outdoor Restaurant of the Year. So, get set to mosey on down to Dubai Creek, because this is an ideal pit-stop while exploring one of the city’s best neighbourhoods for tourists. With a massive terrace jutting out over the water, the views are sublime. The vibe is deeply laid-back and it’s the perfect place for an afternoon soaking up the sunshine. Order a pizza, sit back and admire the views.
Open daily noon-midnight. Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club, Deira (04 295 6000).

Bussola
Set over two levels, each offering different – but equally stunning – views of the Arabian Gulf (and the occasional smattering of super-yachts), this Italian spot offers two distinct, separate dining experiences. Head to the al fresco upper deck for authentic (reasonably priced) pizzas and a more casual experience, or book a table downstairs and tuck into some Italian fine-dining. Cosy, atmospheric and busy, the food is elegant and well-balanced, and the mains are generously portioned.
Pizzeria open Sun-Thu 6pm-11.45pm; Fri-Sat noon-11.45pm; restaurant open daily noon-3pm, 7pm-11pm; lounge open Sat-Wed noon-1am; Thu-Fri noon-2am. The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina, Al Sufouh (04 511 7136).

Breeze Beach Grill

Winner of our Best Outdoor Bar at the 2018 Time Out Dubai Music & Nightlife Awards, not only does this serve up cracking sundowners, it also has an excellent menu. From salads to sushi, sandwiches and burgers, it’s simple food done well, and is the perfect spot for a lazy weekend meal with sea views.
Open Sat-Wed 11am-midnight; Thu-Fri 9am-1am. Club Vista Mare, Palm Jumeirah (04 568 3000).

Café Artois at Bridgewater
This off-shoot of Bridgewater Tavern at JW Marriott Marquis Dubai is a top spot for a relaxed Canal-side meal. The al fresco venue serves up some top grub, especially barbecue dishes, as well as burgers, chicken, salads and more. Check it out at our Halloween Pub Quiz next week (Wednesday October 31), where not only will you enjoy the ambiance, you’ll be in with a chance of winning Dhs3,000 in cash.
Open Sat-Wed 4pm-midnight, Thu-Fri 4pm-3am. JW Marriott Marquis Dubai, Business Bay (04 414 0000).

Fish Beach Taverna
Set on the beachfront, this has a truly stunning setting. For those familiar with the Aegean, it will conjure up memories of lazy days spent enjoying course after course of fresh seafood, crusty bread, olive oil and crisp, colourful salads. It certainly feels special as the sun goes down and the pretty lights hanging from the trees start twinkling against the shimmering water. Dishes can be a bit hit or miss though, but the views are brilliant.
Open Sun-Thu noon-3pm, 6.30pm-11pm; Fri-Sat noon-3pm, 6.30pm-11.30pm. Le Méridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina, King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud Street (04 511 7373).

folly by Nick & Scott

The winner of Time Out Dubai’s European Restaurant of the Year, folly by Nick & Scott was also Highly Commended in the Best Outdoor Restaurant of the Year category. Why? Well, it has a cracking outdoor area that’s why. It really is one of the city’s best places for outdoor lounging. Relax and take in the scene across the Madinat from the pretty terrace while sipping on a sundowner. The food, mind, is absolutely delicious, too.
Open Sun-Thu noon-2.30pm; Fri-Sat noon-3.30pm; daily 5pm-11pm. Souk Madinat Jumeirah, Umm Suqeim (04 430 8535).

Ibn AlBahr
Whether you’re after a relaxed mid-holiday dinner with your best mates or celebrating an anniversary with your better half, this picturesque spot on the Palm will serve you well. Lebanese seafood joint Ibn AlBahr produces expertly cooked fish in a seafront setting at Club Vista Mare. Take a seat on the terrace and unwind with some freshly grilled seafood. The restaurant tags itself as a fishermen-owned spot, and lives up to its responsibility to serve some of the best seafood in town.
Open daily noon-midnight. Club Vista Mare, Palm Jumeirah (04 553 9575).

Il Borro
Set in a picture-perfect spot next to the Turtle Lagoon at Jumeirah Al Naseem, this classic Italian restaurant is simply stunning. From the romantic waterfront terrace, to the formal yet not-at-all-stuffy dining room, your experience here won’t be less than excellent. Sit outside in winter and enjoy the fresh, tasty produce, sourced from the Il Borro estate in Tuscany. Whatever you choose it will be excellent, it is our Restaurant of the Year, after all.
Open daily noon-3.30pm, 7pm-1am. Jumeirah Al Naseem, Umm Suqeim (04 275 2555).

Key West

From its idyllic setting right on the beach, Key West offers a slice of tropical island life in Dubai. Set within the ultra-stylish Nikki Beach Resort, it’s relaxed and a world away from the buzz of 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. The best bit... Take up a seat outside on the beach-facing terrace, where the sounds from the sea make for a peaceful and chilled-out dining experience.
Open Sun-Wed 4pm-7pm, Fri-Sat 1pm-11pm. Nikki Beach Resort & Spa Dubai, Pearl Jumeira (04 376 6000).

Luchador
This Mexican restaurant on the Palm boasts excellent views out to sea, with Burj Al Arab Jumeirah in the background. Though we’ve had mixed experiences when it comes to food, you can’t deny the views at this spot are top-notch, especially at sunset.
Open Sun-Thu 5pm-2am, Fri 1pm-midnight, Sat 1pm-2am. Aloft Palm Jumeirah (04 247 5550).

Palm Grill
Sea views, sand between your toes and fresh fish. We love this al fresco grill at The Ritz-Carlton Dubai for many reasons. Take a seat on the front overlooking the beach and you’ll definitely feel like you’re well into the swing of well-deserved holiday mode. Service is excellent – polite, friendly and efficient – which matches the food. If you’re eating at lunch take a stroll back along the beach to complete the staycay feeling.
Open daily noon-11pm. The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai, The Walk, JBR (04 318 6150).

Pai Thai

Another Highly Commended restaurant at Time Out Dubai’s Restaurant Awards this year, the terrace at this classy Thai restaurant is simply lovely. Plus, the food is some of the tastiest in the city, too. And the best bit? You arrive by abra. It’s stunning, offers spectacular views and the food will leave a lasting impression. If you have someone to impress, there are few better ways to do it than here.
Open Sun-Thu 6pm-11.15pm; Fri-Sat 12.30pm-2.15pm, 6.30pm-11.15pm. Jumeirah Al Qasr, Madinat Jumeirah (04 432 3232).

Pierchic

The place that comes up when anyone asks about a romantic restaurant in Dubai. A multiple winner of our Best Romantic category, this one has a picture-perfect setting, out on a pier in the sea. Stunning views of the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, sparkling water around you and some tasty seafood dishes means this is one for special occasions (it’s pricey, as you’d imagine, however).
Open Sat-Thu 12.30pm-3pm, 6pm-11pm, Fri 12.30pm-4pm (brunch), 6pm-11.30pm. Jumeirah Al Qasr, Madinat Jumeirah, Umm Suqeim (04 432 3232).

RÜYA
Winner of Time Out Dubai’s Best Fine Dining Newcomer award in 2017, the fact this superb Anatolian eatery claimed Best MENA in 2018 is testament to its continued consistency in all areas. Not only that, now the cooler months are here doors are flung open to make the terrace and main dining area one. The atmosphere is relaxed, convivial and romantic. Service is slick, as are the innovative dishes fired out of the kitchen. So, head here for a memorable meal, guaranteed. Trust us when we tell you this is one of the best restaurants in town. There’s also a cheese pide and grape night, every night.
Sat-Wed 6pm-1am, Thu-Fri 6pm-2am. Grosvenor House, Dubai Marina (04 399 9123).

Sea Fu
This is an excellent Asian seafood restaurant that boasts sea views and delightful dishes, it’s only open in the winter so is well worth a visit now cooler climes are upon us. And if you haven’t experienced the “it’s pretty amazing to live here” feeling in a while, then you could do a lot worse than heading to Sea Fu.
Open daily 12.30pm-4pm; 7pm-11pm. Four Seasons Resort Dubai, Jumeirah (04 270 7802).

Thiptara

There are few things more romantic than The Dubai Fountain by night. And the al fresco terrace here juts out into Burj Lake, offering unrivalled views. And when the show starts – dramatic music surrounding you, the world’s largest dancing waters beside you – it really is a special moment. Happily, the food is as good as the show – it’s not only our Best Romantic Restaurant 2018 it’s our Best Thai, too. It comes at a price, but it’s worth every dirham.
Open daily 6pm-11.30pm. Palace Downtown, Downtown Dubai (04 888 3444).

The Backyard
There are plenty of bars in Dubai that offer great views of the city. After all, the skyline is pretty much stunning no matter where you are. However, most of those venues are swish, swanky high-end lounges, where you have to make a reservation in advance and dress the part to get in. Now, we love those places, but every now and then we want something a bit more casual, where we don’t need to worry about our outfits and can just rock up whenever we want. At The Backyard you can, and you’ll be rewarded with some good value, tasty grub, too.
Open daily 5pm-3am. Steigenberger Hotel Business Bay (04 369 0000).

Zero Gravity

This beach club-meets-lounge bar concept has grown in popularity as a hotspot for al fresco beverages. While the food is perfectly okay, it’s lost in comparison to others in terms of quality on this list. However, that’s not why we – and thousands of others every month – head to this beachfront favourite. The infinity, glass-walled pool is as Instagrammable as a vegan pug doing yoga. And, the views across the ocean, Dubai Marina, JBR and beyond are excellent. Expect a huge line–up of international DJs, to part to, too.
Open daily 10am-midnight. Skydive Dubai Drop Zone, Dubai Marina (04 399 0009).

Four of the best...
Spots for pre-dinner al fresco drinks

Iris Dubai
This famous spot offers the ultimate outdoor rooftop experience, featuring an extensive international dining menu, signature creative mixed drinks and mocktails, sophisticated ambiance, stunning views of the city, complete with a diverse live music line-up.  
Open Sun-Wed 5pm-2am; Thu 5pm-3am; Fri 1pm-3am (Brunch 1pm-5pm); Sat 3pm-2am.  The Oberoi Dubai, Business Bay (056 951 1442).

Jetty Lounge
A mainstay on the Dubai nightlife scene, this boasts low slung seating on the beach, moody lighting after dark and cracking views out over the Arabian Gulf. Dreamy.
Open daily 2pm-2am. One&Only Royal Mirage, Al Sufouh (04 399 9999).

Luna Sky Bar
A stylish rooftop lounge with a great terrace (be sure to book a table) and a cool indoor area, which is ideal for post-work drinks in DIFC.
Open daily 5pm-3am. Four Seasons DIFC, Gate Village 9 (04 506 0000).

Mercury Lounge
Make a date at this classy rooftop bar with views of the Arabian Gulf in one direction and Dubai’s skyline in the other.   
Open Sat-Tue 6pm-2am; Wed-Fri 6pm-3am. Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach, Jumeirah Beach Road (04 270 7804).

TOP AL FRESCO DEALS
99 Dizzle Dinners at Senara
Dig into battered cod, chips, mushy peas and tartare sauce every Thursday for just Dh99. What a bargain.
Dhs99. Thu 5pm-midnight. Ongoing. Palm Views West, Palm Jumeirah (04 451 6460).

Bento by the beach at Ají

Take a lunch break, al fresco. This bento box deal include veggie tacos and yasai itame, red snapper tiradito and ceviche limeño.
From Dhs125. Sun-Thu noon-7pm. Ongoing. Club Vista Mare, Palm Jumeirah (04 552 0244).

Business lunch at Günaydın Dubai
For Dhs120 you can get a four-course meal at this swanky Souk Al Bahar restauranty, with dishes including cold mezzes, lentil soup, salads, kebabs, meatballs and more.
Dhs120. Sun-Thu noon-2pm. Ongoing. Souk Al Bahar, Downtown Dubai (04 554 0700).

Fisherman’s catch at NOEPE
Enjoy a signature Martha’s seafood platter with two glasses of bubbly for just Dhs395 every day at this New England restaurant at the Creek.
Dhs395. Sat-Thu 5pm-8pm; Fri 6.30pm-8pm. Ongoing. Park Hyatt Dubai, Deira (04 602 1814).

Roast at The Scene
True, it might be on the warm side for a roast, but you’ll soon forget the meat sweats when you’re soaking up that Marina view. Choose from chicken, lamb or beef – all of which come with roast potatoes, parsnips, red cabbage and cauliflower cheese. Fancy something to wash it down with? You can get a bottle of grape for Dhs130 with every roast dinner purchased.
Dhs125. Fri-Sun noon-midnight. Pier 7, Dubai Marina (04 422 2328).

Sushi Saturdays at Asia Asia
If you’re after unlimited sushi and dim sum, with a side of Marina views, then Asia Asia is your go-to Saturday spot. Order up some platters of sushi (maki rolls, nigiri et al) and tasty dim sum and wash it all down with a bottle of grape for just Dhs329 for two.
Dhs329. Sat 2pm-7pm. Ongoing. Pier 7, Dubai Marina (04 276 5900).

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