Dubai Marina restaurants
Time Out Dubai guide to Dubai Marina restaurants; best places to eat in Dubai Marina defined by price and cuisine, with reviews, details, hours and deals.
The Dubai Marina Walk is almost entirely restaurants, cafés and supermarkets, serving up almost every imaginable cuisine. You’ll find Mexican, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Middle Eastern and American, fajitas, curries, noodles, sushi, shawarmas and burgers, plus bagels, pies and a whole lot more. This is a destination for dining and strolling along the water. Relax with a drink at one of the many establishments in and around Dubai Marina Mall, step into hotels that offer views of Jumeirah Beach and the Palm, or onto a rooftop putting into focus the urban jungle around it. Whether you’re after a pub vibe of something fancy, you won’t run short of options here.
In Dubai, there are so many sky-high bars that stunning views just aren’t all that unique. Fiftieth floor? Been there, done that. Nineteen storeys up? Next!
So it’s a pleasant surprise to walk out on to The Scene’s terrace, which despite being on the measly fourth floor boasts spectacular Marina views.
You won’t want to leave the British eatery until sunrise – although you might not have a choice because it will probably take that long for your waiter to bring the bill.
The bar service here is excruciatingly slow and erratic, with much of the attention focused on the restaurant inside. The Scene is by TV chef Simon Rimmer of Something For The Weekend fame and promises “proper British pub food”. Thank goodness we’re so good at queuing patiently.
To be fair to venue, the restaurant inside is indeed cosy and homely, with vintage lampshades and patchwork seating galore (not to mention the cool comic books adorning the walls). But we’re here for the nightlife, not the food – and it’s not as good as the grub.
The menu has creative mixed drinks and plenty of decent offers – including a three-hour happy hour Sunday to Thursday where drinks are just Dhs25, but there are better bars out there.
The bottom line
Visit for a meal, not for a night out.
One of the major draws of dining at Pier 7 is the view. There are few better night time spots in the city than this tower of restaurants and bars, and Abd El Wahab makes the most of its fifth floor location. Get a seat on the wraparound terrace and the food will be a secondary thought. But it needn’t be. While Abd El Wahab isn’t pulling up any culinary trees, it accomplishes the basic mezze dishes comfortably. Watch out, though, for the options that boast of their spiciness – they aren’t kidding. The shrimp and potato mezze options pack a significant chilli punch. If you’re sitting inside, it means you’ve left it too late to book or the summer heat is at its max. But the décor is still attractive, with lots of silver tableware and dark, Arabesque motifs separating different sections of the dining area. The small army of informative and efficient staff ensure that nothing goes astray along the way as they cope with an often very busy restaurant.
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. The lower portions of the venue are split into the restaurant and lounge bar, both best enjoyed during Dubai’s cooler months, when the indoors-meets-outdoors Mediterranean setting really comes into its own. Cosy, atmospheric and consistently busy, the food is elegant and well-balanced, and the mains are generously portioned. Try the wafer-thin octopus carpaccio, tender and petal-like, to start, before moving on to dishes including a beautifully rich Milanese risotto with saffron and ossobucco, and the taglioni allo scoglio – home-made pasta coated in a tangy tomato sauce, studded with cuttlefish, tiger prawns, clams and baby squid. Whether you want to kick back with a pizza or swoon over spaghetti alle vongole, it’s hard to beat Bussola.
There’s no doubt about it, the balcony of Zafran, with a view of Dubai Marina, is a romantic spot. That’s if you can visit when there aren’t children running about, as this is also a popular spot for families. From a simple to follow menu, there are plenty of enticing options that arrive well-presented. The dahee kebab appetiser (deep-fried yoghurt dumplings) is one of the standout dishes, as is the papdi chaat, a sweet yoghurt with pomegranate and tamarind chutney. More substantial dishes that also shine are the fish tikka, which comes with chunks of white fish flavoured with chilli, turmeric and mustard oil. We also recommend the saag gosht, an aromatic mutton curry with fennel, coriander and ginger. With good food, friendly service and a lovely setting, Zafran can be an occasion to remember.
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