04 425 1000 Dubai Land

This bar at Ernie Els’ golf club is both quaint and ideally placed to be a great local for those who live in the neighbourhoods of Sports City, IMPZ, Motor City and Jumeirah Village Circle.

The bar overlooks the course, and the best way to make the most of the rolling green views (in cooler weather) is to take a seat out on the balcony. Inside, tables are spread out enough across the spacious interiors to give diners a decent level of privacy for a relaxed catch-up.

It’s a cosy familiar space, and the friendly, helpful staff here are some of the best around – within a few visits they’ll soon know your order and make you feel right at home.

Considering the bar sits in a luxury golf course, prices are pretty keen – you can get a glass of grape for Dhs45 and a pint for Dhs42. And during happy hour, from 5pm to 8pm during the week and from 12.30pm to 8pm at weekends, there's 33 percent off house drinks.

If you’re hungry, don’t miss South African staples such as boerewors and lamb shank bunny chow, plus game meats including guinea fowl and even ostrich.

Ernie Els’ Big Easy offers a laid-back introduction to the flavours of South Africa. Time to get acquainted.

The bottom line
A relaxed slice of the Southern Hemisphere.

+971 4 331 1111 World Trade Center Area

PERMANENTLY CLOSED

Oscar’s is old school. It’s cave-like and rustic and has low lighting, and – being a grape bar – a large selection of bottles. It’s intimate and rarely attracts a hip crowd, but we like the cosy nature of the place. The menu won’t be winning any awards for innovation, but for retro stews, soups and cheese platters, the kitchen does a good job.

French +971 4 444 7444 World Trade Center Area

A grape bar that has always maintained a great level of service and quality, Cave continues to be a highly recommendable venue. The menu is tasty, and we’d particularly recommend the French onion soup – which comes loaded with nuclear levels of cheese and onion, and a great side of bread to mop it all up – and pan-seared foie gras, which comes with a lovely, tart chutney. But where it comes into its own is its terrific trifecta of décor, grape and cheese. The former, as the name would suggest, is all wood and cave walls, giving off a seriously intimate, cosy feel. The grape list, meanwhile, is diverse and interesting, and the selection of international cheeses to accompany them is the stuff of overly vivid dreams. It’s not cheap – far from it – but as a place to either start or end an evening out, Cave gets a big old thumbs up from us.

American 04 501 8888 Sheikh Zayed Road

The restaurant is situated in the elegant lobby area of The H Dubai and its décor is modern, giving the impression of a fine-dining venue. However, without a wall separating it from the sights and sounds of the lobby area, the dining experience loses a little exclusivity. We’ve found staff to be a bit slow off the mark, but once they click into gear, they’re attentive and efficient. The menu is refined and dishes are described simply and clearly. There are plenty of healthy choices across the fish, seafood and vegetarian main course options, too, but sometimes not everything is available. The organic kale and quinoa starter has a nice texture and taste – the fresh citrus and feta cheese dressing really lifts it. And it’s a generous portion, too. The pan-seared baby chicken main, with carrot purée and green vegetables is a sizzling delight, the herb-tinged flavours adding additional depth to the well-cooked meat. The sautéed wild mushrooms side dish is one of the highlights of the menu. Cooked in parsley garlic oil, they’re a great match for the meat.

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