La Serre’s Bistro feels bright and airy, thanks to the crisp white colour scheme. On any given night you’ll find it buzzing, and staff deal adeptly with the throng of diners – you won’t even notice the wait between ordering and being presented your food, and requesting and receiving your bill.

Start with the shaved cauliflower salad with Manchego cheese, citrus and almonds. Light and refreshing, it’s a great precursor to some of the bigger flavours you’ll tuck into. The beetroot salad starter is one. It’s full of taste, texture and heat contrasts that we love. It comes with small rounds of warm goat’s cheese, studded with pistachio nut crumbs, mixed in with the cold cubes of beetroot. An absolute delight.

Mains are split into pastas, seafood and meat, making it easy for the indecisive to navigate. All the classics are present, including beef Bourguignon, baby chicken and fillet steak, plus scallops glazed with balsamic reduction and parsnip purée, and piquillo peppers. Of that the baby chicken is a standout, with its creamy, flavourful truffle Hollandaise sauce. A side of rich gratin Dauphinoise and steamed broccoli will go down a treat, too.

This is one of the most impressive French restaurants we’ve had the pleasure to eat in. Book a table and you’ll see why.

04 369 0000 Business Bay

There’s a casual feel at this German bakery and restaurant. It sits in the café section because of the abundance of coffees, cakes, sandwiches and salads on the menu, but as a licensed venue it's also suitable for an evening meal with drinks, when the kitchen cooks up more traditional German fare and main meals. We like the look and feel of the place and staff are fairly well-versed in the offerings, but not all of the dishes are up to scratch. The Brotburger is pretty good, but comes smothered in an industrial-strength barbecue sauce that totally overpowers any other flavours in there. But the meat is very good and the toppings of veal bacon and a fried egg make it a filling meal. That barbecue sauce makes another appearance on the corn-fed chicken breast stuffed with spinach and feta. The menu doesn’t mention it at all – perhaps because it really shouldn’t be on there. It certainly doesn’t work with the chicken’s stuffing (which is a little on the mean side, too). The bulgur the dish comes with is also not executed well. We say stick tot he German pastries and other tradtional dishes. Brothaus does those really well and has some great deals on during the week as well as on certain evenings.

Although this café is open all day, we recommend visiting for breakfast. Eggs, pancakes, cereals, fruit and baked goods: every possible morning option is covered here. There’s an extensive all-day à la carte menu, but also a full buffet that runs until 11am. It’s packed with doughnuts, croissants, cakes, muffins and traditional fry-up items, and later in the day, it’s replenished with more cakes and sweet treats, all baked in-house. For the health-conscious, there’s a wide selection of salads available for lunch or dinner, as well as a “power foods” and “watch your waist” section. Dishes are fresh, tasty and well presented, although this place has a business-hotel vibe, so it’s not somewhere you’d want to go for an occasion. You can sit outside in the cooler months and it’s a decent enough spot to grab a coffee. (We should also mention that it’s licensed). But it’s not in the most exciting part of the wider Marina area, so if it’s a quiet break you’re after, this could be the ticket.

Middle Eastern 04 258 2003 Jumeirah

This canteen-style spot could easily blend into the scenery as part of the food court at Mercato Mall, but it has a speciality sweet treat that sets it apart. Brought from the streets of Beirut to a stall in a shopping mall in Dubai, the ka’ak is a sweetly-baked sesame bread that is a mealtime staple in Lebanon. The national dish comes with a range of fillings that can serve as a starter, main course and a dessert. Service is swift and delivered with a smile. Kick off with an akawi cheese ka’ak that is melt-in-the-mouth good. The spicy chicken fajita is crammed with tender morsels of meat lathered in a hot sauce that is a sizzling success. For dessert, try the peanut butter and jam ka’ak, which is great for the kids, and older customers, too.


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