Dubai Marina’s best restaurants, bars and nightlife 2019

We take a look at what’s going on in the area

Dubai Marina’s best restaurants, bars and nightlife 2019

THE NEWCOMERS
La Carnita

If you, like us, love Mexican food, then it’s time to make like Speedy Gonzales and hotfoot it to this super-cool new taqueria. We’ve waxed lyrical about the tacos earlier in this issue (see page 25) but they really are top-notch (our kingdom for the achiote chicken). The interiors are as impressive as the food – with massive murals, low-lighting and red leather banquettes to while away a cosy evening in. Undoubtedly one of the coolest spots to open in the area in a while, one to book right now.
Open daily 5pm-1am. InterContinental Dubai Marina (04 425 4030).

Le Frenchy
Ooh la la, je ne sais quois, mais oui [insert favourite French cliché here]. There’s a brand-new French restaurant and bar in the Marina now – and it’s called, unoriginally, Le Frenchy. However, it does what it says on the tin by serving up a wide range of traditional French food including escargot, and pain perdu served 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”. Bold claims.
Open daily 5pm-3am. Marina Byblos Hotel,Dubai Marina (04 282 8944).

Loca Lito
Mexican food fans are being thoroughly spoilt at the moment. Along with La Carnita, Loca Lito, has also opened recently, too. The food truck version of popular Mexican restaurant Loca is now open in the area and we’re digging out our sombreros for the occasion. You might not get that famous guac made tableside, but thanks to the takeaway service you will be able to eat it at your own table. Which is almost as good. (And a lot closer to the TV when you’re too full to move.) The menu also boasts tacos, quesadillas and burritos, so next time you have a craving for Mexican fare, you know where to go. Plus, it opens at 10am. Breakfast burrito, amigo? 
Open daily 10am-midnight. Marina Walk, Dubai Marina, www.locauae.com.

Wagamama
“But this is just a chain,” we hear you cry. Yes, but next time nothing but a comforting chicken katsu curry will do when you’ve traipsed around the shops for hours, you know where you’ll be. Not only does this brand-new branch serve up all the classics, it is the only one in Dubai to open at 8am and serve breakfast. We’re talking about a mix of eastern and western dishes such as a classic eggs Benedict and full English (no, you first, we insist), alongside okonomiyaki – a savoury Japanese pancake.
O Open daily 8am-10pm. Dubai Marina Mall, www.wagamama.ae.

WHERE TO EAT
800 Pizza
There’s never a wrong time for a pizza, and this Italian restaurant not only serves up a mean one in-house, Marina residents will know the doughy delights are also excellent for takeaways. And, in a power move for vegans, the chain has also launched a dairy- and meat- free version, so you no longer need to miss out on the pizza party.
Open daily 11.30am-11.30pm Dubai Marina (800 74992).

Asia Asia

You can smell Asia Asia as soon as you step out of the lifts at Pier 7. In the best possible way, of course. The delightful lemongrass-scented interiors are as stunning as the views out across Dubai Marina. Venture through the dimly lit corridor you’ll find a spacious, classy bar with plush seating and cool décor. As well as the food this trendy Asian spot has a cracking ladies’ night – so good in fact that it’s one of our former Best Ladies’ Night winners. This one is as much where to eat as where to party, but we love the food so we’re sticking it in this part of the list (don’t miss the tempura prawns).
Open Sun-Mon, Wed 4pm-1am; Tue & Thu 4pm-2am; Fri 2pm-2am; Sat 2pm-1am. Pier 7, Dubai Marina (04 276 5900).

Marina Social
This swanky British restaurant from British Michelin-starred chef Jason Atherton is a popular spot for many a reason – not least for the food. Classic dishes get a modern twist and the restaurant also serves up deals including a roast dinner with proper, crispy roast potatoes (be still our beating hearts) and a twice weekly Social Club – in essence a night brunch where you’ll get unlimited drinks and a three course meal for Dhs350. In the winter the terrace is a perfect spot to watch the boats below.
Open Sun-Wed 7pm-midnight, Fri-Sat noon-midnight. InterContinental Dubai Marina (04 446 6664).

RÜYA
If you’re looking for a particularly pretty spot – and love a pide (like a boat-shaped Turkish pizza-pie hybrid) then make a date here. We named this place Best MENA Restaurant at our Restaurant Awards 2018 (it also picked up the 2017 Best Fine Dining Newcomer gong). The stylish Turkish restaurant at Grosvenor House Dubai boasts views over the Marina, and winter is the time to go as the terrace is decked out with twinkling fairy lights and Anatolian furnishings. There’s also an amazing deal on right now – every night you can get two drinks and a pide for just Dhs99.
Open Sat-Wed 6pm-1am; Thu-Fri 6pm-2am. Grosvenor House, Dubai Marina (04 399 9123).

The Blacksmith
If you’re a carnivore and haven’t yet visited The Blacksmith, firstly you need to rectify that right away, and secondly, when you do go, make sure you order the Texas Brisket sandwich. Layered with thick slices of 14-hour-smoked meat, green beans, onions and sauce, it’s a tasty, meaty monster that comes in two sizes. Also worth checking out are the armadillo eggs (we won’t spoil the surprise). However, we heartily recommend you visit at brunch time. This smokehouse lays on a Friday feast that’s just Dhs299 for house beverages and enough grilled beef to give a five-a-side team the meat sweats.
Open Sun & Mon 5pm-2am, Tues-Thurs 5pm-3am, Friday 1pm-3am, Sat 5pm-3am. Brunch: Dhs299 (house beverages). Fri 1pm-3pm. Wyndham Dubai Marina (04 407 8873).

Ultra Brasserie
As we’ve declared earlier in this issue – veganism is massive in Dubai right now. And Ultra Brasserie is a great place for plant-based folk. It is especially busy for breakfast with Marina gym-goers (swish studio Karma is in the same building), as well as for lunch with office workers in Marina Plaza, so there’s always a pleasant buzz about the place, too. There are also loads of healthy non-vegan dishes – including a mean avo, goat’s cheese and mushrooms on toast.
Open daily 7am-10pm. Marina Plaza (04 277 5644).

WHERE TO DRINK
Atelier M
This restaurant, bar and rooftop lounge offers a comprehensive night out (drinks, check; snacks, check; free pool, check). And that’s before we even get to the views. At the weekend it turns into a banging party spot with DJ, dancing and a lively crowd. Meanwhile Tuesdays mean ladies’ night, and the bar is buzzing. Women get three free drinks, while DJ Dane Bowers (of Another Level fame) takes to the decks. So if it’s ’90s stars are your vibe, shimmy on over to Pier 7.
Open daily 6pm-2am. Pier 7 (04 450 7766).

Barasti
It’s our Best Beach Bar, and there’s every chance you’ve been to Barasti at least once. As well as ladies’ days deals, happy hours and, of course, a beach to lounge on – there’s also a great line up of live entertainment. Visiting for Halloween is world-famous DJ Jazzy Jeff (well of course he is) while the Sunsets Festival is back from Thursday October 25 and Saturday 27. A top flip-flop friendly location.
Free. Open Sat-Wed 10am-1.30am, Thu-Fri 9am-3am. Le Méridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina, Al Sufouh (04 318 1313).

Cargo
This bar, although not the fanciest in the Pier 7 tower, has a buzzing atmosphere and stunning views from the sprawling terrace, which is great in cooler weather. It also has a bustling ladies’ night Tuesday, largely due to the fact that the whole of Pier 7 throws open its doors and lays on offers for the females on the same night. Ladies get three free drinks including house grape and mixed drinks, though you might have quite a wait at the bar here unless you arrive early. One for a party crowd, it gets pretty busy.
Open daily 4pm-2am. Pier 7, Dubai Marina (04 361 8129).

The Scene

For a quirky, British watering hole, The Scene ticks all the boxes. Again in Pier 7 (why not make a crawl of it?) this laid-back bar has a top terrace for winter months. And in October it’s running the final of three month-long festivals in the cute indoor garden (complete with picnic benches and bunting) so expect all things juniper based. The food is also pretty decent, as you’d expect from British TV chef Simon Rimmer (you know, from Sunday Brunch). It boasts a menu of classics including chicken kievs, pies and more. Plus there’s a range of great deals including a two-course lunch for Dhs75 and curry and a pint for Dhs99 on a Monday. We also recommend the roast – which comes adorned with a Yorkshire pudding the size of your head. (Almost.)
Pier 7, Dubai Marina (04 422 2328).

Siddharta Lounge by Buddha-Bar
With views overlooking Dubai Marina, a cool and laid-back vibe, a funky soundtrack and sleek décor, there’s a lot to love about Siddharta Lounge. The bar – perched on the rooftop at Grosvenor House Dubai – has long been a go-to place to take visitors. The centrepiece is the swimming pool, around which sit sofas and comfy chairs. The lighting is moody and mellow, making it ideal for a pre-dinner drink. And if it’s dinner you’re after, you should continue your evening at Buddha-Bar (in the same hotel) – which serves up some chilled-out party vibes along with a mean Thai curry. It’s also has one of the most impressive interiors in the Marina – check it out to see.
Open Sat-Wed 6.30pm-midnight, Thu-Fri 6.30pm-12.30pm. Grosvenor House Dubai (04 317 6000).

Shades
There aren’t a huge amount of cool pool bars in the Marina, but this is great. Address Dubai Marina has a massive infinity pool, which also has a trendy pool bar, in the form of Shades. There’s a sunsets sessions happy hour from 6pm until 8pm where drinks are 50 percent off, too. Or book the Dip and Dine package and you’ll get all-day pool access, sun lounger and Dhs100 towards food and drink. It’s a perfect, relaced date night spot. See our review on page 136 if you don’t believe us. 
Open daily 9am-1am. Address Dubai Marina (04 888 3444).

Zero Gravity

Time Out Dubai’s Beach Club of the Year is a top place to spend a day, or night, whatever your mood. It also hosts a banging brunch every Saturday from noon until 5pm. That’s five hours of chilling by the pool, grazing on unlimited snacks (think pizza, sliders et al) and free-flowing drinks from just Dhs249. Just there for the day? Arrive early to relax on the beach – or take that obligatory Insta shot of that famous infinity pool – and stay late to listen to the DJs. And it has recently kicked off its winter nightlife season with a cracking line-up including a visit from Basement Jaxx on Friday October 19. With a pumping vibe and a fun-loving crowd, party people, head here.
Open daily 10am-midnight. Sky Dive Drop Zone, Dubai Marina (04 399 0009).

WHAT TO DO
Dinner in the Sky
Dubai Marina is clearly a place for those with a head for heights. XLine Dubai, Skydiving – and even a dinner date. If you’ve never eaten dinner strapped into your chair roller coaster-style (and really, why would you have?), you can here. The dinner table is launched up into the air, where you’re the suspended in front of your meal admiring the view all around. The chef in the middle cooks up a feast though, so you’ll soon relax into it.
From Dhs599. Daily 2pm-11pm. Al Sufouh (050 925 6341).

Get pampered at We Nails
Want to feel bright, shiny and new? We Nails offers everything from massages and manicures to waxing and mop chops, with packages available if you want to go for the whole works. You can even treat yourself to a revolutionary new Gel-x manicure – a brand-new soft nail extension that fits over your own nail, protecting them from any damage and easily soaked off, because we all deserve new claws every now and again.
Open daily 10am-9pm. SkyView Tower, Dubai Marina (04 452 8226).

Marina Mall
Sure, it’s not as massive as The Dubai Mall, and it doesn’t have a ski slope like Mall of the Emirates, but Marina dwellers are really quite proud of Marina Mall. One word: Waitrose. There’s also a Reel Cinemas (with comfy Platinum Suites no less). If you’re after something specific (that black tie ball gown, specialist trainers or massive flat screen TV) you’re best off elsewhere, but if you’re after some cheap and cheerful sportswear (H&M), a burger (Five Guys), some designer underwear (Tommy Hilfiger), accessories (Accessorize) or make-up (Sephora) you’ll find it here.
Open Sat -Thu 10am-10pm, Thu-Fri 10am-midnight. www.dubaimarinamall.com.

Shop at M&S Food
When this crashed onto the supermarket scene last year there was a full-on stampede for crumpets and Percies. Although the crowd has died down a little, the Brits are still partial on stopping by for the pre-packed egg and cress sarnies to remind them of lunchbreaks and petrol station stops at home. Did we mention there’s a café, too?
Open daily 8am-10pm. Dubai Marina Walk (04 244 1614).

Skydiving

If we were going to throw ourselves out of a plane, then it would be at Skydive Dubai. Think of those views – the stunning Palm fronds, JBR beach, the Marina skyscrapers – surely that’s worthy of plucking up the courage for?
Open daily 10am-3pm. Skydive Dubai Drop Zone (04 377 8888).

XLine Dubai

Fancy plummeting headfirst from a great height towards the water and yachts below? You do? Book into XLine Dubai Marina. It’s the world’s longest urban zipwire, coming in at 1km, where thrillseekers experience speeds of up to 80kph, whooshing through the Marina at an incline of 16 degrees. You can book your place on the zipwire alongside your buddy, because there are two concurrent wires – and each of them will film your journey to the bottom, thanks to GoPros mounted on your helmet, capturing your zip from the top of the Amwaj towers in JBR through to the terrace of Dubai Marina Mall.
From Dhs650. Sun-Thu 10am-6pm, Fri-Sat 10am-7pm. Dubai Marina, www.xdubai.com/xline.

Yacht party

What’s more “Dubai” than a yacht party? Charter your own with your mates for a bash (hen do? Birthday? All bases are covered with this) or if you’re after a massive shindig book into the Mega Yacht Party Brunch, which takes place every Friday. Whichever you choose, you’ll have a blast, and some pretty sweet views of Atlantis The Palm, Burj Al Arab Jumeirah and Bluewaters Island. If you’re after something swifter and more exhilarating, check out The Yelllow Boats for a fast-paced rib ride taking in all the sights. Or, if you’re looking for a fishing trip, charter a boat with Xclusive Yachts and catch your own dinner.
Various companies including Cozmo Yachts: www.cozmoyachts.com. Mega Yacht Brunch: Pier 7, Dubai Marina, dubai.platinumlist.net/event-tickets/67332/the-mega-yacht, The Yellow Boats: Open daily 8am-8pm 800 8044, Xclusive Yachts: open daily 9am-10pm, www.xclusiveyachts.com.

HOW TO KEEP FIT
Barry’s Bootcamp
Want a body like Jessica Biel? We can’t guarantee that, but you can train at Barry’s Bootcamp, famed workout spot for the stars. Be warned, it isn’t for the feint-hearted. The workout combines cardio and strength training with alternative bursts of intense anaerobic exercise with recovery periods to keep the heart-rate elevated– so every class is a mix of weights and running. The idea is that you’ll continue to burn calories for hours, so you could be losing weight while even eating a slice of pizza. (Maybe.) Now you’re interested.
Dhs126 (per session), Dhs1,207.50 (monthly 12 class membership). Trident Grand Mall (04 874 8476).

F45
There’s not a great deal you can get done in 45 mins – apart from burn 750 calories, that is. F45 is an intensive workout formula has made its way over to Dubai from Australia, combining HIIT, circuit training and functional training. There’s a two-week free trial to coax you into your gym gear, too.
Free (two-week trial). Trident Grand Residence, Dubai Marina www.f45training.ae/dubaimarina.

FLOAT UAE

“But squats and lunges are hard enough on solid ground!” you cry. We feel you. However, if you don’t mind getting your gym kit soggy, look no further than a high-intensity interval training session – on a mat in the pool. You might even have to attempt a burpee on the water. Good luck with that one.
Dhs75. InterContinental Dubai Marina (055 713 4925).

Karma Yoga
For total zen, head to this beautiful Bali-inspired studio on the 33rd floor of Marina Plaza. The interiors are all cherry blossom, and floor-to-ceiling windows that will work wonders for your Instagram, if not your chakras. Saturdays are free for first-timers when attending with a member, too.
Dhs100 (one class). Marina Plaza www.karmayogadubai.com.

NRG
Boxing? HIIT? Spinning? Pole? Yoga? Whatever your fitness fancy you’ll find it here. Winter (and beach body season, gulp) are impending, so there are also personal training sessions on offer to push yourself to the limits if you need the motivation.
Dhs84 (one credit). Marina Walk, www.nrgfitness.me.

TOP DEALS
Brunch at Bistro Des Arts
Sometimes you want brunch in the traditional sense of the word. Eggs, pancakes, maybe a mixed beverage thrown in too, but nothing of the scale of the vast buffets and parties that are widespread across the city. This brunch is served at the classic time (10am until 2pm) and features a breakfast with three drinks. Délicieux.
Dhs99 (including one hot drink, juices and water), Dhs174 (with three mixed drinks). Fri and Sat 10am-2pm. Dubai Marina Walk (04 551 1576).

Drunch at The Social Room
You’ve partied the Friday away at #WeBrunch at Accents, but where next? The Social Room Drunch is handily just upstairs in the same hotel and the cool, dimly lit bar turns into a full-on rave from 4pm. Plus, you’ll get six drinks for Dhs150.
Dhs150. Fri 4pm-7pm. InterContinental Dubai Marina (04 446 6664).

Early bird on 52 at The Observatory
Most times dining in a sky-high location can come at equally lofty prices. It’s time to take advantage of an early bird special at this swanky restaurant where you’ll get amazing views and a three-course menu for Dhs250, every day between 5pm and 7pm. Now that’s worth clocking off work early for.
Dhs250. Daily 5pm-7pm. Ongoing. Dubai Marriott Harbour Hotels & Suites, Dubai Marina (04 319 4000).

Ladies’ night at Ruth’s Chris Steak House
Steak sisters, this is one of the best deals out there. Not only will you get four free drinks, you’ll enjoy a whopping 50 percent off food, too. Pass us the steak knife, we’ve never heard of a better time to get stuck into that juicy fillet steak and creamy mash.
Wed 6pm-11pm. Ongoing. Address Dubai Marina (04 454 9538).

Men’s night at Nezesaussi Grill Dubai Marina
Although there are more ladies’ nights in the Marina than you can shake a stiletto at, gents, all is not lost. You can enjoy a pie and a pint for Dhs99 every Sunday at this fun sports bar
Dhs99. Sun 8pm-2am. Ongoing. Address Dubai Marina (04 888 3444).

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