Restaurants and bars
The menu at this brand-new restaurant contains a “contemporary fusion of Lebanese flavours, with an array of seafood specialities”. So you can expect a twist on authentic mezze dishes such as hummus, shrimps Beiruty and a range of kibbeh. There’s also a seafood selection including salmon sashimi, fattet shrimps and calamari à la Provençale, and it all sounds delightful. The restaurant, which was set up in Dbayeh, Lebanon, in 2009, now has three branches in Lebanon as well as one in Kuwait, and now this newest branch in La Mer. Babel’s sister eatery, Bebabel, has also just opened in The Dubai Mall (see page 26), as a “casual, chic café” serving light bites.
Open daily noon-midnight. La Mer, Jumeirah 1 (04 419 0220).
Former Time Out Dubai Best Party Brunch winner Candypants is now in a hot new location. After several years at XL Dubai, the party has now moved to Maiden Shanghai. The “Dim Sum Disco” takes place every Friday from 1pm until 4pm, coming in at Dhs395 per head, including MSG-free Chinese food, house beverages, mixed drinks and free-flowing bubbly.
Dhs395. Fri 1pm-4pm. FIVE Palm Jumeirah Dubai (04 455 9989).
Girders Garden is now its very own outlet separate from Girders, having undergone a huge renovation to make it a fully-fledged sports bar. The overhaul comes with new features, including comfy lounge seating and benches for around 150 guests, with the feel of an al fresco setting but with the joys of indoor air-conditioning.
Open Sat-Tue & Thu 4pm-1am; Wed 4pm-3am; Fri noon-3am. JA Ocean View Hotel, The Walk, JBR (056 216 5057).
Guy Fieri’s Kitchen and Dine-in-Cinema at The Dubai Mall
We all love tucking into our favourite cinema treats when watching the latest flick, but Guy Fieri’s Kitchen and Dine-in Cinema at The Dubai Mall takes cinema snacking to a whole new level. The recently opened Dine-In Cinema has room for 170 moviegoers to chow down on some belt-busting dishes, including bacon mac ’n’ cheese burgers, New York strip steak, Guy’s signature milkshakes, lobster lollipops and more.
Dhs50 (ticket), Dhs160 (package). The Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai, www.reelcinemas.ae (800 38224 6255).
Forget about sparklers, forget roped-off VIP tables. You can also forget about luxurious furniture or décor, because Industrial Avenue is for real fans of music, with the venue providing a stripped-back edgy vibe. Check out our review on page 34 to find out more.
Open Wed-Fri 9pm-3am. The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina, King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud Street
(04 511 7139).
Head here to be beamed back 5,000 years to Ancient Egypt and dine like a pharaoh. Spread over 7,500 sq m, KHOFO features majestic columns, hieroglyphics and plenty of gold. Best of all is the chance to enjoy some authentic Egyptian flavours including soups, salads, stews, tagines, seafood, and desserts.
Sun-Thu 8am-2am; Fri-Sat 8am-3am. Al Seef, Bur Dubai (04 388 5005).
Now open in the place of former post-brunch party hotspot YNot is a lively, fun-loving Mexican restaurant. That’s right, it’s tacos galore at the InterContinental Dubai Marina and it’s not just the food that’s set to wow. From tacos to churros there’s a tasty menu to tuck into, plus the place is virtually unrecognisable from its previous form thanks to some funky murals and furnishings. See page 33 for the lowdown.
Open daily 5pm-2am. InterContinental Dubai Marina, www.lacarnita.com (04 425 4030).
This brand-new French restaurant only opened this month, and there’s set to be live entertainment, too. From Acoustique Mondays to Le Hip-Hop Fridays, as well as a La French Party on Wednesdays, there’s certain to be something to take your fancy. The menu boasts traditional dishes such as escargots, côte de boeuf accompanied by ratatouille, truffle fries and a choice of sauce as well as pain perdu with vanilla ice cream and salted caramel sauce. Apparently the aforementioned sauce is “so delicious it surely deserves its own Arc de Triomphe in celebration of its magnificence”. We shall find out if these bold claims are true.
Open daily 5pm-3am. Marina Byblos Hotel, Dubai Marina (04 282 8944).
Nara Pan Asian
Sitting proudly in the spot once occupied by JLT favourite Spice & Ice, this new funky Asian restaurant serves up dim sum and pan-Asian classics, including many a vegan option too. With hand-painted decorations as well as Thursday night and Friday brunches, there are plenty of reasons to try this one out.
Open Sat-Wed 5pm-1am, Thu-Fri 5pm-3am. Cluster A, JLT (04 421 1356).
Remember when you were a kid and all you craved was a thick coating of Nutella on everything? Well, at Dubai International Airport, life is about to get even sweeter. The hub’s first-ever Nutella Café opened its doors in August and everything comes with a huge helping of hazelnut chocolate goodness — including crêpes, waffles, cookies, doughnuts and more. We’re nuts for this place.
Open 24/7. Near Gate B28, Concourse B, Terminal 3, Dubai International Airport.
STK Downtown Dubai
The second branch of international steakhouse STK opened at Address Downtown in July. It’s something a little different from its JBR sister, however all the classic STK design features are present, including the cherry blossom trees and wave-like ceiling. And, of course, the menu of lip-smackingly good steaks is as good as ever.
Sun-Thu 7pm-1am; Fri 1pm-4pm, 7pm-1am; Sat 2pm-1am. Address Downtown, Downtown Dubai (04 888 3444).
The House Party Bar
After much anticipation, The House Party Bar opened for business in June – bringing the 1990s back with a bang. The cool, retro bar is in the Fairmont Dubai and, you guessed it, goes along the lines of a house party. Think red plastic cups, Britney posters and all your favourite ’90s songs, movies and games. There’s hops pong, a ball pool, space hoppers, arcade games… The layout of the house is well thought out too, with everything from a kitchen to a garden. As if.
Open Mon, Thu & Fri 6pm-3am. Sun, Tue, Wed & Sat 6pm-2am. Fairmont Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road (050 995 5400).
After closing down in RODA Al Murooj in Downtown Dubai for a relocation, this top-notch hotspot has made its way over to party central Soho Garden in Meydan and re-opened its doors to the public. Head along here if you’re looking for heaving music and a dancing bear (well, sort of) that’s bound to get you in the mood for a boogie.
Open Mon, Wed-Fri 11pm-4am. Meydan Racecourse, Nad Al Sheba (052 463 3338).
This new sports bar has TVs lining the main area, large screens dotted around the venue and a master screen made up of nine individual screens at one end. Not only that, but the food menu is a shining star, literally, with gold-dusted chicken nuggets. With the Premier League season back, there’s an offer you won’t want to miss. Every time a goal is scored the price of drinks reduces by five percent every time. We have our fingers and toes crossed for a 10-10 thriller.
Open daily noon-2am. Fairmont Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 3118316).
The cute café has relocated from Business Bay to Wasl Vita Mall in Jumeirah, and it’s as just as mesmerising and pink as we could possibly have hoped for. So, what are you waiting for? If you can grab glittery blue lemonade Unicorn Tears, then you should be there already, really.
Open daily 10am-10pm. Wasl Vita Mall, Jumeirah 1, www.unicorn-vibes.com (050 555 0352).
Barry’s Bootcamp, the HIIT (high-intensity interval training) followed by stars including Jake Gyllenhaal, David Beckham and Jessica Biel opened a second location in Dubai this summer. The Trident Grand Mall space has Barry’s signature red-hued workout space as well as a shop and fuel bar for some post-workout regeneration. The idea is that you’ll continue to burn calories for hours after the workout ends, meaning you could genuinely be losing weight while eating a slice of pizza/a burger. Guilt-free holidaying anyone?
Dhs126 (per session). Trident Grand Mall, Dubai Marina (04 874 8476).
The Warehouse Gym
The brand-new fitness destination opened in Dubai Design District (d3) this summer and it matches the artsy vibes the location is known for. The hybrid-training focused gym is filled with pop art graffiti, along with gold accents and stone textures. As for the gym, the whole space is laid out across one floor so gymgoers have plenty of room to stretch and flex. You don’t have to be a member to visit either with single class passes available.
Dhs84 (class passes). Sun-Thu 6am-10pm; Fri-Sat 8am-5pm. d3, Ras Al Khor Road (04 424 9396).
Following a huge refurbishment after a fire in 2015, this enormous hotel in Downtown Dubai has reopened after almost two-and-a-half years. It has a thoroughly new look to go with it, too, as well as a raft of top restaurants to try. While gawking at top views of the Burj Khalifa and The Dubai Fountain, grab a bite to eat at the aforementioned STK Downtown, the second branch of the popular steakhouse. There are 220 different rooms and suites, set over 63 floors, with the hotel measuring a whopping-great 302m in height. There’s also a wildly impressive infinity pool which cascades over five different tiers, plus spas, steam rooms, lounges, kids’ clubs and more.
Address Downtown, Downtown Dubai, www.addresshotels.com
Al Seef Hotel by Jumeirah
This is a brilliantly unusual and wonderfully welcome addition to Al Seef, the dining and shopping destination on Dubai Creek. Set in the old town part of the neighbourhood, the hotel is designed to reflect traditional Arabic hospitality, and does so by separating its 200 guest rooms across 22 traditionally-designed Arabic buildings found across the district. It aims to blend modern Dubai with classic Emirati culture, coupled with Jumeirah’s flair for the spectacular and top notch hospitality. While you’re there, check out Saba’a, which serves up authentic, local breakfasts every day, or head out and explore Al Seef and Bur Dubai, which has tonnes of restaurants, bars, cafés and shops.
Al Seef, Bur Dubai (800 5863 4724).
“Reel Boutique” at Rove Downtown Hotel
Wouldn’t it be nice to come from a movie and slink straight into a cosy bed? Well, now you’ll be able to do just that as Reel Cinemas has opened a brand-new cinema at Rove’s Downtown Dubai branch, with sofa seating and a “Reel Boutique” concept. The intimate 46-seater cinema is showcasing all the latest blockbusters, too.
Rove Downtown Hotel, Downtown Dubai (04 561 9000).
Royal Central Hotel
This Palm Jumeirah newbie has 207 rooms, four top-notch restaurants and an infinity pool that stretches as far as the eye can see: this is Dubai after all and infinity pools are an absolute essential feature. Royal Central Hotel describes itself as “fun, funky and casual”, though we’d definitely throw fancy into the descriptive mix. The five-star resort features exclusive beachfront access, water sports and equipment rental, an outdoor swimming pool, gym and spa and even a hair salon to make sure you’re looking the part for all the swanning around you’re going to be doing.
Royal Central Hotel, East Crescent, Palm Jumeirah (04 454 4900).
Things to do
Bat cave at Green Planet
The Green Planet Dubai now has a brand-new bat cave experience, and no, not the one the caped crusader looms in. The new habitat for short-tailed fruit bats is located on a new trail through Dubai’s first and only bio-dome. The City Walk nature attractions mimics the rainforest environment by regulating temperature and humidity levels, and is home to 3,000 species.
Dhs99 (adults), Dhs74 (kids aged three-11), free (kids under three). Open Sat-Wed 10am-7pm; Thu-Fri 10am-8pm. City Walk, Al Safa Street (04 317 3999).|
The award-winning aqua acrobatics show is back with a brand-new show. After taking the city by storm when it opened last year, La Perle by Dragone underwent a series of changes that have only gone and turned the already enthralling show into a must-see attraction. We won’t spoil it, but there’s an entirely new ending.
Prices vary. Fri & Sun 7pm and 9.30pm; Sat 4pm & 7pm. Al Habtoor City, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 341 8844).
OUTDOOR cinema at Aloft City Centre Deira
Whether it’s the hottest time of the year or too chilly to be watching a movie outside, VOX Cinemas brand-new fully-licensed OUTDOOR cinema at Aloft City Centre Deira is the perfect place for al fresco movie viewing. Why, you ask? Because it boasts a retractable roof for winter nights and air-conditioning when the heat is all too much, making it suitable for all seasons. It’s also right next to Aloft Hotel’s shisha lounge and infinity pool if you’re looking for a place to chat about the film afterwards.
Dhs75 (single seat), Dhs150 (double seats). Times vary. Aloft City Centre Deira, Deira, www.voxcinemas.com (600 599905).
Reel Cinemas’ 270-degree Screen X at The Dubai Mall
If you want to talk about an immersive cinematic experience, forget about IMAX, as Reel Cinemas at The Dubai Mall has rolled out ScreenX – the UAE’s first multi-projection screening system offering audiences a 270-degree cinema screen. It means even your peripheral vision will be fully engaged in the latest blockbusters. The technology expands the image of films onto three of the cinema’s walls without distorting what’s onscreen, and is perfect for watching action-packed flicks or getting scared by whatever monstrosities are lurking around the corner in horror movies.
Prices vary. Open daily. Movie times vary. The Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai, www.reelcinemas.ae (04 449 1988).
Ripley’s Believe it or Not
The iconic museum of the world’s weirdest and most wonderful attractions is here in Dubai for a three-month stint this winter. Head to WAFI where this show, famous in New York and around the world, will be making its Middle Eastern debut. Weekly prizes are going to be on offer for visitors who come to see the exhibition, and there’ll be a grand prize giveaway once the show is all ready to wrap up and move on. The collection of artefacts, cartoons, photographs and pop culture memorabilia first debuted at a Chicago fair way back in 1933, and now boasts 150,000 individual items in its ranks. That’s a lot of oohs and aahs. Don’t miss this wonderful exhibit while it’s in town.
Free. Until Fri Nov 30. Open Sat-Wed 10am-10pm; Thu-Fri 10am-midnight. WAFI, Oud Metha (04 324 4555).
The Museum of Illusions
If you fancy getting all disoriented and having your optics illusionated (that’s a real word now), then the world-famous museum’s new opening in Al Seef is one to get on your Dubai list. It opened this month, and is famed for its logic-defying attractions. You’ll be fooled to the point where you don’t know which way is up, thanks to features like the Vortex Tunnel, a rotating cylinder which tricks your brain into thinking the ground beneath your feet is moving, and the Ames Room, which makes you feel like you’re shrinking or growing. It’s all interactive, it’s
all thoroughly baffling, and it’s one you should definitely head over to the old side of town to check out.
Al Seef, Bur Dubai, www.museumofillusions.com.
The massive indoor theme park opened in Ras Al Kaimah in July – featuring the biggest indoor drop tower in the Middle East. As well as the aforementioned tower, which measures 130ft in height, Tridom also features the UAE’s largest covered play area and is the first of its kind in the Emirates. Plus, there is a ferris wheel, dodgems and a Super Spin, which twirls riders in mid-air through 360°. There’s also an Air Racer ride, which gives a realistic flying experience.
Open daily 10am-1am. Manar Mall, Ras Al Khaimah (07 227 0000).
Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi
The waiting is finally over, folks… Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi opened to the public in July. Okay, so it’s not in Dubai, but the US$1billion (Dhs3.7billion) mega-park has brought superheroes, villains, cartoons and your childhood favourites to life on the capital’s Yas Island. It is split into six distinct zones – Bedrock, Warner Bros. Plaza, Metropolis, Gotham City, Cartoon Junction and Dynamite Gulch. A colossal amount of effort has gone its creation. Don’t be surprised to bump into Looney Tunes’ Bugs Bunny, Scooby-Doo, Fred Flintstone and Batman when you’re walking around. We’re bowled over by the 1.65million sq ft facility, the theatrics and the rides – including ones based on Batman’s enemies The Riddler and The Scarecrow, as well as Roadrunner’s hunter Wile E. Coyote.
Dhs230 (children), Dhs295 (adults). Yas Island (02 612 9333).
Still to come in 2018
Axe House SZR
A brand-new branch of the wildly popular JLT bar is set to arrive in September (or October dates are still to be confirmed) promising to bring a whole bunch more edgy, East London hipster vibes to Dubai. The second instalment of the bar will be opening up in The H Dubai on Sheikh Zayed Road, with a larger capacity and is promised/threatened to be “50 times” more hipster than the JLT original. If its older sister is anything to go by, this is going to be another bar crammed full of riotous good fun, an epic ladies’ night and some cracking deals, nights out, brunches and a whole lot more. This is one opening we just cannot wait for.
Opening late 2018. The H Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road. www.axehouse.com.
Breeze Beach Bar & Grill’s new floating swimming pool
Ever been at Club Vista Mare and wished there was an icy cool swimming pool to plunge into? You’re in luck. Breeze Beach Bar & Grill is opening a swimming pool at its popular seaside spot. The pool (which isn’t sea water) is set floating in the sea off Club Vista Mare and is due to to open within the next couple of weeks, towards the end of September. In the meantime, it’s getting cool enough for al fresco sundowners (almost).
Opening September 2018. Club Vista Mare, Palm Jumeirah (04 568 3000).
Caesars Palace Bluewaters Dubai
You know what they say: “Whatever happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” Well, not anymore, as Dubai will soon see the Las Vegas-homed luxury hotel open Caesars Palace Bluewaters Dubai at the brand-new Bluewaters development. Expected to open by the end of 2018, the luxury resort will feature 575 hotel rooms, 12 restaurants and bars, a beach club and nearly 200 retail and entertainment venues – which is a given seeing how it’s coming from Las Vegas, the entertainment capital of the world. It’s also right next to Ain Dubai, the world’s largest observation wheel for spectacular views. Viva Dubai!
Opening end of 2018 Bluewaters Island, www.caesars.com/dubai (800 637227).
Daikan Ramen UAE
There are few things better than slurping up Japanese-style noodles in a delicious broth, and this new restaurant in JLT is keen on delivering just that. Daikan Ramen UAE has been promising to open for a couple of months now, and we’re eagerly awaiting its arrival. It will be adopting a “walk-in ramen bar-style” concept, focusing on serving various versions of the authentic dish, including chicken paitan ramen. The restaurant will offer “tapas-style shareables”, which include beef ribs, chicken wings, sashimi, fried dumplings and more. We can’t wait.
Opening soon. Lakeshore Tower 1, JLT, www.instagram.com/dkndubai.
Han Shi Fu
From the brains behind cracking dim sum joint Din Tai Fung, comes Han Shi Fu, a brand-new Chinese restaurant which is coming to Aloft City Centre Deira, and we can’t wait to try this place. It’s positioning itself as a trendy place serving up authentic dishes with an “infusion of bold flavours”. Our interest is piqued, for sure, but what can you expect. Well, there are curiously-named dishes like crystal ray crab dumplings, charcoal gold dust umami baos, Grandma Han’s duck congee and matcha green tea velvet cake for pudding. If you’re just nibbling at the bar, try ramen burgers or foie gras sliders for a real fusion experience. After sunset, a resident DJ will kick out some beats, and this place looks funky enough to make a proper night of it.
Coming soon. Aloft City Centre Deira, www.aloftcitycentredeira.com.
The Galliard is well-known in Istanbul, boasting a range of local dishes as well as French and Spanish cuisine. Now it’s set to come to Dubai, opening in the newly refurbished Address Downtown, and we are waiting with bated breath for sizzling steaks, creamy risotto and paella by the bucket-load. The restaurant is named after the galliard dance, which is a court routine comprised of four hopping steps and one leap, and the views alone of the Burj Khalifa from this restaurant will have you clicking your heels.
Opening soon. Address Downtown, Downtown Dubai (04 436 8888).
OSH is a central Asian-inspired restaurant from London and it’s set to open in La Mer imminently. The restaurant is set over two floors, with both indoor and outdoor seating. There’s no hints on the menu yet, except that “it draws inspiration from East to West, showcasing the intercultural culinary art from the legendary bazaar cities along the famous silk route”. If it’s anything like the London menu, though, we’re in for a treat. Dishes on the Knightsbridge list include pickled Asian cherry tomatoes, tiger prawns, soft shell crab, aubergine tartare, marinated peppers and Uzbek tomato carpaccio.
Coming soon. La Mer, Jumeirah 1, www.oshrestaurant.com.
Emerald Palace Kempinski Dubai
Emerald Palace Kempinski Dubai is opening on The Palm, evoking the great European palaces of the past with its sweeping atrium, towering marble columns and crystal chandeliers. Located on the West Crescent, the 100,000 sq m beach resort has 389 rooms and suites, eight top restaurants and bars, a 3,000 sq m spa, a state-of the-art gym and yoga studio, a 500m private beach and an 80-seat private cinema. Phew. The super-swanky interiors of the hotel are inspired by the 18th century and the ballroom (you read that right) even comes walls in hand-painted gold leaf. There’s also an imposing foyer, outdoor terrace and views across the Arabian Gulf and Palm Lagoon. Not too shabby, then.
Opening late 2018. East Crescent, Palm Jumeriah, www.kempinski.com.
FIVE Jumeirah Village Dubai
A second luxurious hotel opening from FIVE is penned in for a 2018 opening, and this could well be one of the city’s most ambitious hotels to date. The operators behind the premium FIVE Palm Jumeirah Dubai hotel will be opening a second Dubai location before the end of the year. It will be coming to Jumeirah Village Circle, as a range of construction projects in the area begin nearing completion. The biggest selling point for FIVE Jumeirah Village Dubai, by far, are the 271 swimming pools constructed in this sweeping, 800ft tower. Impressive stuff.
Opening late 2018. Jumeirah Village Circle, www.fiveglobalholdings.com/five-dubai-jumeirah-village.
This massive new Lebanese club is set to open in d3 later this year, joining Time Out Dubai’s Club of the Year, BASE Dubai. Not many details have been annoucned as yet, but watch this space, clubgoers.
Opening late 2018. d3, Ras Al Khor Road, www.facebook.com/SKY20.
The London Project
The London Project, billed as “an immersive dining destination and social movement” is due to open later this year and it sounds super-exciting. The restaurant will be on Bluewaters Dubai – the site across from JBR that houses Ain Dubai, next to Caeser’s Palace. It promises a mish-mash of global cultures, celebrating London’s affinity with art, music and fashioning. So far, so interesting.
The food will take a starring role, too, although no clues have yet been given to dishes, except that flavours will be “pulled from a truly cosmopolitan spice rack”. It will be sharing dishes, though, and expect to see an open kitchen, too. The new project is set to be a restaurant, bar and social space, and has “urban chic décor” from designer Julian Peter Floyd. And each of the spaces within The London Project has its own focal point. “The Living Ground Floor Dining Bar is inspired by the form of a living tree”, he said, while there’s a juniper garden inspired by “a wild, enchanted English country garden”.
Opening late 2018. Bluewaters Dubai, www.thelondonproject.com.