Trio of wagyu burgers at Cin Cin: If you didn’t know better, you might think Dhs95 for three burgers is a steal. Unfortunately, the portions you get at Cin Cin for that price are minuscule, but they’re worth the cash because they’re also exceptional. They’re each topped with a different haute ingredient (short rib and foie gras, for example), and are delicious, though the act of eating them ends far too soon. Sob.
The Fairmont (04 332 5555). Dhs95.
Mussels and fries at Belgian Beer Café: One of the things we love about the mussels at BBC (as it’s affectionately known) is that as bar snacks go, they’re pretty different. They’re also fairly healthy compared with the sinful deep-fried feasts on offer at some other venues. There are also several marinades to choose from. Order a portion of Belgian fries for dunking, and you’re set.
Crowne Plaza, Dubai Festival City (04 701 1127). Dhs30-50.
Boerewors at Nezesaussi: The flame-grilled, spicy South African sausage stands out as the ultimate reason why you should always let South Africans take care of the barbecue. In a city where good sausage can be hard to find, these are drooling with flavour and possess a hint of spice – there’s something strangely addictive about them. As a bonus, they’re served with pap, a smooth South African maize-based porridge.
Al Manzil Hotel, Old Town (04 428 5888). Dhs50.
Chicken lollipops at Caramel: We just adore these bite-sized chicken lollipops. They’re rudely plump and have a luscious coating that’s both seductively sweet and slightly spicy, and are served with a cooling ranch dip to take the edge off the heat. While they fall firmly into the bar snack category, they’re also a little more sophisticated than your average plate of chicken wings, much like Caramel itself.
Building 3, level 2, DIFC (04 425 6677). Dhs65.
Guacamole at Loca: What can we say? We’re a sucker for fresh guacamole, especially when it’s so ripe it’s made tableside. Chunky and with a spicy kick, the guacamole at Loca may just be our favourite version of the avocado dip. It’s creamy and lush, and makes the perfect accompaniment to a plate of Loca’s crispy nachos and a game of footie (which will likely be playing on the establishment’s multiple TV screens).
Dubai Marine Beach Resort & Spa, Jumeirah (04 346 1111). Dhs42.
Spicy calamari and wasabi mayonnaise at Trader Vic’s Mai-Tai Lounge: Once you’ve tried Trader Vic’s rendition of this seafood favourite, you’ll never want to eat calamari anywhere else. The octopus is coated in a lightly spiced breadcrumb crust and is perfectly cooked – neither rubbery nor stringy, it positively melts in the mouth. The side of wasabi mayonnaise adds a tangy zing. Yum!
Al Fattan Tower, Dubai Marina (04 399 8993). Dhs38.