Where to have dinner before Dubai Opera

Time Out answers your question; where to have dinner before Dubai Opera? The list contains some of the best restaurants in Downtown Dubai

Dubai Opera is the hottest new venue in the city. But before settling down to a performance, check our pick of pre-show dining options and where to go for a post-concert debrief

French 04 428 6969 Burj Khalifa Area

La Serre’s Bistro feels bright and airy, thanks to the crisp white colour scheme. On any given night you’ll find it buzzing, and staff deal adeptly with the throng of diners – you won’t even notice the wait between ordering and being presented your food, and requesting and receiving your bill.

Start with the shaved cauliflower salad with Manchego cheese, citrus and almonds. Light and refreshing, it’s a great precursor to some of the bigger flavours you’ll tuck into. The beetroot salad starter is one. It’s full of taste, texture and heat contrasts that we love. It comes with small rounds of warm goat’s cheese, studded with pistachio nut crumbs, mixed in with the cold cubes of beetroot. An absolute delight.

Mains are split into pastas, seafood and meat, making it easy for the indecisive to navigate. All the classics are present, including beef Bourguignon, baby chicken and fillet steak, plus scallops glazed with balsamic reduction and parsnip purée, and piquillo peppers. Of that the baby chicken is a standout, with its creamy, flavourful truffle Hollandaise sauce. A side of rich gratin Dauphinoise and steamed broccoli will go down a treat, too.

This is one of the most impressive French restaurants we’ve had the pleasure to eat in. Book a table and you’ll see why.

Asian 04 888 3444 Downtown Dubai

With views over The Dubai Fountain, and moodily lit dining room and terrace, it’s no wonder Thiptara took home our gong for Best Romantic Restaurant 2018. However, it’s not style over substance here, as the food is excellent, too, which is why it’s a worthy winner of the Best Thai Restaurant Award too.

The menu offers such delights as black cod wrapped in pandan leaf and soft-shell crab served with a spicy home-made sauce to start, and both will leave you craving more.

The menu also offers authentic salads including som tum Thai – a green papaya offering with long beans, tomatoes, Thai lime chilli dressing and tiger prawns. It’s truly one for spice fans. The tom kha Thai soup also to start, with coconut, your choice vegetables, chicken or seafood, plus Thai herbs and mushrooms is heart-warmingly delicious. But the true showstoppers are in the main courses.

Seafood, meat and poultry, curries and tofu dishes are made expertly, and nowhere will you find a classic green, red or Paneng curry made better.

The pad Thai noodles are also a cut above the rest – wonderfully fresh, with crisp beansprouts and soft noodles, meaty prawns and fluffy scrambled eggs. The menu is nicely proportioned and concise, and staff are more than happy to guide you through it, which they do well here – they know it inside out. 

Since you can enjoy the show with some of the tastiest Thai food in town, there’s no better place in Dubai for a romantic evening out with some top-class cuisine.

The bottom line
Book in for a showcase of fantastic flavours and spectacular Fountain views

04 224 6663 Abu Hail

On its website, Wakame describes itself as “the hottest place in town”, but in reality it’s rarely more than lukewarm. It’s a stylish venue with modern décor and sleek furnishings, and it has a nice bar area, too.

However, whenever we’ve eaten here it’s too quiet to enjoy fully. Sometimes you can still enjoy yourself in an empty venue, but here staff go from the extremes of fawning all over you and hovering around the table to being absent just when you actually need them. It’s a shame, because the food at Wakame is mostly very good.

There are unusual dishes that pique the interest on the menu, such as the lobster taco with yuzu guacamole or the crispy Japanese aubergine with burrata, and everything that comes out of the kitchen looks great. We absolutely recommend trying a few dim sum; the chicken soup dumpling being a favourite of ours. The steamed bao buns are also worth investigating, especially the lamb shoulder. Main courses are surprisingly pricey, especially compared to the starters and small plates, but there are some fine cuts of wagyu and other expensive ingredients on there.

If busy, Wakame could be great fun. If you do head here, we reckon a table full of small plates to share is the best way to go.

Italian 04 888 3666 Downtown Dubai

Armani. Just the name alone creates images of classic, upmarket interiors, tailored clothing and high-end glamour. And that’s what you get at the Armani Hotel. It’s luxurious, it’s moody and it feels refined.

Armani/Ristorante is the same. It helps, of course, that it’s nestled at the base of the world’s tallest building and boasts stunning views of The Dubai Fountain.

This Italian is the ideal restaurant for a treat – and treat it will be, as have no doubt, along with high-end décor and a world-class setting comes comparable pricing.

As we’re settled into a massive cream leather banquette, we peruse the menu and tuck into the bread basket (an inventive and tasty selection, of which the goat’s cheese croissant is a highlight).

And despite being seasoned Dubaians, we can’t help but still be awed whenever the Fountain springs to life.

However, for a restaurant with such a slick appearance, the service, surprisingly, doesn’t quite match. At best, it’s haphazard, at worst disappointing.

What isn’t disappointing, however, is the food. We opt for burrata and giant prawns to start, both of which are excellent. Creamy burrata comes with chunks of juicy, sweet tomato, while the succulent prawns sit on a bed of vibrant crushed peas.

Everything is beautifully presented, as you’d expect from a brand renowned for aesthetics.

We move on to a delightfully tender beef cheek that falls apart at first sight of the knife and lobster spaghetti which is tasty, but a tad chewy (both the shellfish and the pasta).

A live singer is a nice touch, but the vibe never quite feels relaxed. But if it’s a special meal on a big occasion you’re looking for, then the food and setting won’t let you down, just make sure your wallet’s prepared.

The Bill (for two)
1x gamberi Dhs135
1x burrata Dhs110
1x lobster spaghetti Dhs200
1x guancia Dhs200
1x La Sfera Dhs100
1x still water Dhs35
Total (including service) Dhs780

The bottom line
Delightful dishes and top location.

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