Al fresco dining in Dubai
There’s nothing better in life than eating al fresco. Amy Mathieson and Christopher Maxwell bring you 16 of the best places to eat outdoors
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 consistency in all areas.
In cooler months the doors are flung open to make the terrace and main dining area one, but in summer the cosy vibe and warm décor make the inside dining room a treat to visit, too.
The atmosphere is relaxed, convivial and romantic. Service is slick, as are the innovative dishes fired out of chef Colin Clague’s kitchen, which take diners on a journey through Turkey, from northern Marmara to the Aegean coast.
Lamb cutlets with creamy, smoky aubergine, grilled octopus with black-eyed beans, meatballs with baby artichoke – each dish is beautifully presented, deeply fragrant and rich in classic regional flavours. The pide is stunning, too.
A touch of Turkish sage here, a sprinkling of zaatar there, sumac, saffron… This feels like a real, modern journey through the celebrated cuisine of an ancient nation.
And if you get lost on your travels, the staff are never far from hand to make recommendations. Trust them – they know what they’re talking about. And trust us when we tell you this is one of the best restaurants in town.
The bottom line
Inventive dishes in a slick setting.
THE FARM IS TEMPORARILY CLOSED UNTIL OCTOBER FOR RENOVATION
If you’re craving some fresh air and peace and quiet away from the madness of the city, head out to the idyllic setting of Al Barari, and more importantly, book yourself a table at The Farm. While it may not be the easiest to get to, this is definitely a hot spot among families and young couples. it’s located right in the heart of Al Barari, and surrounded by manicured gardens and lakes. You should come to The Farm for the breakfast menu. Its simple offerings include eggs cooked in any style, traditional shakshouka, pancakes, waffles and paleo frittata. The staff are alert and responsive. The standout dish on the menu is the Arabic breakfast of assorted manakish, falafel, grilled halloumi, foul medames, labneh with zaatar and mixed greens.
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 on holiday. Service is excellent – polite, friendly and efficient – which matches the food. The menu is small, but everything on it is worth a try. To start don’t miss the citrus poached prawns, partnered by a sharp and spicy sriracha and pomegranate dipping sauce. Move on to something from the grills, we recommend the salmon steak, which comes perfectly cooked and served with grilled veggies for a healthy and satisfying main. If you’re eating at lunch take a stroll back along the beach to complete the staycay feeling. Dining here is a leisurely experience.
riding itself on good old-fashioned hospitality and flavours of the Deep South, Perry & Blackwelder’s serves some great food, but the overall experience doesn’t quite match up. Some staff are attentive and know their stuff, while others seem disinterested and forget parts of orders. It can also take a long time to place your order, and for the food to arrive. The vibe of the venue is spot on, though, with its US-style décor, sport on the TVs and funky tunes providing the atmosphere. When it comes to the food, we’d say steer clear of the Texas BBQ nachos (not a great deal of flavour) and loaded potato skins (they seem cooked from frozen) and instead go for the chicken wings or burgers, which are excellent. There are also a selection of sauces on the table, which help liven up some of the duller dishes. A good place for drinks with friends, especially if you sit outside, but to be a destination for dining, things need to improve, especially with such competition nearby.
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