Weirdest restaurant experiences
Some of the weirdest dishes, locations, menus and more you’ll find in Dubai
Each year Time OutDubaipaysdues to the emirate’s diverse restaurant scene, recognizing places that work hard for your dirhams and satisfied smiles at the end of a meal. In and amongst our research, we couldn’t help but notice a few gems that deserve celebrating for something odd, unexpected or extreme that they can do better than anyone else. From Dubai’s best toilets, to its most dangerous dishes, here’s our alternative list.
Tong Thai, set in the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai, Business Bay, is a huge venue that seems to go on forever while you’re walking to your table.
The journey is worth it, though, as the dining room has a great vibe and is almost always bustling. Being a stylish venue in a high-end hotel, Tong Thai is, as you’d expect, at the upper end of the spectrum when it comes to prices, but the food is all very good indeed.
Try the steamed, purple chicken dumplings – the casing is just the right thickness to give it some bite and the filling is superb.
From the signature dishes section of the menu, the crispy tiger prawns are a solid choice, with a punchy green peppercorn sauce. Grilled red snapper wrapped in banana leaf is another highlight.
All the classics are on the menu and you won’t go far wrong with anything you pick. Tong Thai has won a Highly Commended award at our Restaurant Awards more than once for many good reasons, and we expect it to keep hitting those heights.
The bottom line
Classic Thai food, done well, in a fancy setting.
For casual beachside fare, you can’t get much better than Dubai institution Bu Qtair. Set along Jumeirah Beach Road, it’s not fine dining but we neither expect nor want it to be. You’ll find plastic seating outside and you can’t reserve a table at this fuss-free seafood spot. There’s no menu, either. What you’ll get is the catch of the day, or prawns, in a curry sauce. Simple, fresh and delicious. Service is friendly and fast too. There are no fancy touches but the food is so tasty you won’t notice.
With its lofty perch some 68 storeys up the imposing JW Marriott Marquis, some people come to Prime68 for the stunning vistas of the Dubai skyline. But we say it’s a long way to go just for a nice photo opportunity. This place is superbly stylish and if you’re feeling romantic, grab one of the booths lent a sense of privacy by the silk strings that drape down from the ceiling. Once seated, the welcoming staff will help you pick through the inventive line-up of hot and cold appetisers. Appetite whetted, it’s time to hit the “Butcher’s Block”, the nuances of which your server will delight in explaining. Prime68 takes immense pride in the meat it has sourced. The main menu has a solid selection of steaks, epitomised by the Signature Prime68 Fillet Sampler. This trio of 130g cuts – USDA, Irish dry-aged and wagyu – lets you sample the chef’s magic touch when it comes to seasoning and grilling in the Josper. All three are satisfyingly juicy and should be savoured alongside some crunchy sweet potato fries. If you’ve left room, order the Prime chocolate journey for afters – it’s the perfect pick-me-up if you’ve slipped into a food coma.
Equal parts restaurant and bar, CLAW BBQ serves up a hearty slice of Americana, from the flags and paraphernalia on the walls to the songs playing and, of course, to the food. It’s a place that doesn’t take itself too seriously and there are often fun, themed nights. Always present are fajitas and burgers with all kinds of toppings, and buckets of seafood (including crab, obviously). It’s the kind of joint to go with a group of friends who you don’t mind getting a little messy in front of.
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