Club Vista Mare restaurant and bar strip on The Palm
Time Out introduces Club Vista Mare restaurants and bars on The Palm. Discover seven new restaurants in Dubai, all licensed with beach side seating
If you haven’t heard already, there’s a new spot in the city taking the al fresco dining experience to a whole new level. Known as Club Vista Mare, it’s only just opened next to Palm Jumeirah’s Tiara Residence and is unlike anything else in the city.
The 120 metres of beachfront promenade houses seven licensed restaurants, each one very different to the other in terms of food and style, but with one super asset in common: amazing sea and cityscape views that can be enjoyed from the more than 1,000 outdoor seats, or if you really want to let your hair down, take your food and drinks down to the beach.
Time Out Dubai takes you on a tour of Club Vista Mare’s trendy but affordable selection of world cuisine and discovers the epitome of Dubai’s dining dolce vita.
It’s not often we’ll admit to being blown away. But Ají, along Palm Jumeirah’s beach-facing Club Vista Mare, has done it. The Japanese-Peruvian Nikkei restaurant manages to balance creativity, palate-thrilling execution and, perhaps most significantly, value for money. Try starting with shiromi taco, filled with a sea bass and yuzu ceviche, and the oributako causa, one of the menu’s more classically Peruvian dishes. While the former are light, zesty and packed with meaty fish, the causa owns the table. Fat, tender slices of octopus line up along a dollop of dense, whipped (and slightly lemony) potato, all encircling a tangy, creamy black olive mayonnaise. The robalo – a medley of seafood served with a light, smoky sauce and a black rice fritter – and artfully presented miso salad (cubes of wilted spinach sprinkled with puffed quinoa) merely confirm that this is one of the best places you can eat in Dubai. Food this good is rarely this accessible. Prepare to be swept off your feet.
There is no shortage of Lebanese food in this city, so much so that we introduced a category especially for the cuisine in this year’s Time Out Dubai Restaurant Awards. But that’s not to say we don’t get excited when a newbie sets up in town.
Abyat serves traditional cuisine in a less traditional setting – nestled in between Italian and Ethopian eateries in the trendy new(ish) Club Vista Mare.
Next to some of the other venues on the waterfront stretch, the interiors of Abyat aren’t overly welcoming, with bright lighting and a canteeny feel. Outside is, of course, much more inviting, with views stretching across the water and a chilled-out vibe.
We opt for a mix of dishes from the extensive mezze menu.
The hummus is smooth, flavoursome and neatly presented – dotted with chickpeas and parsley – and the stuffed vineleaves are packed with a tangy rice filling.
Our halloumi salad comes with decent chunks of our favourite squeaky cheese and mounds of lettuce, but the “figs” translate to fig slice, singular, in reality.
Everything is nice enough, without being particularly outstanding. We might be drawn back by the delightful setting, but for Lebanese food, we’re sadly not wowed. There are plenty of other options in the city that will do just that.
The bottom line
Picturesque setting outshines the food.
If you’re unfamiliar with Ethiopian cuisine (and given its scarcity in Dubai you’d be forgiven for being so), Gursha is an excellent place embark on your education.
On the Palm, the restaurant affords pretty views over the water and there’s a laid-back vibe, which fits with the style of dining.
Gursha roughly translates as “mouthful” and is also the act of eating with your hands, and sharing food. This creates a connection with your meal, making you focus more on what you’re eating – traditional Ethopian food.
The staff happily step in to guide us through the menu, even showing us a YouTube video on how injera (a staple of the cuisine) is made – it is, in essence, a gluten-free sourdough bread that’s kind of an egg-free crêpe.
We start with BuTicha, a chickpea dip, spiced perfectly and scooped up with injera.
We move onto a vegetarian platter (there’s a plethora of meaty dishes on the menu, too). Azifa (vinegar-soaked lentils), a delicious beetroot salad, a tangy chickpea stew, fosolia (sautéed green beans) and a sunflowery, tomatoey dish with a punch are all eagerly dipped into.
Not everything will suit everyone’s palate. Some of the dishes are overly tangy and sharp for our taste, but for a bite of something new, it’s certainly worth a visit.
The bottom line
Traditional, tasty and an experience to try.
Finding a good Lebanese restaurant in Dubai isn’t all that difficult. Lebanon’s cuisine is well represented and very strong here. But when a restaurant tags itself as a fishermen-owned spot, it shoulders great responsibility to serve some of the best seafood this city has seen. Located on the beach-facing shores of the Palm Jumeirah, Ibn AlBahr is handling this foodie pressure rather well.
The restaurant has that feeling of a balmy night in Beirut. Both the hot and cold mezze platters are flavoursome, with classic dishes like stuffed vine leaves and kibbe samak being the stand-outs. The catch of the day range is priced per kilo (come hungry) and is tastefully displayed within the blue and white interiors of the dining room.
The chargrilled cashew nut prawns are also not to be missed, while the fish curry main course, served with quinoa, will please the palate of those keeping things healthier in the New Year.
Whether you’re after a relaxed midweek dinner with your best mates or celebrating an anniversary with your better half, this picturesque spot on the Palm will serve you well.
The Bottom Line
Tasty and healthy meal full of the authentic flavours of Lebanon.
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