Dubai Restaurants / Bars sneak preview
In this section you will see over the following month a current up-date on my all time favorite fueling places in Dubai as well as re-views over some new places. Dubai has such an overwhelming amount of bars and restaurants that it is almost impossible to try them all. In Dubai you can basically dine around the whole globe and even the small street restaurants often offer an amazing quality. Just emerge into that great foodie journey and get wasted. No calories count here :-)
On a general note it is important to know that in Dubai alcohol is only served in restaurants belonging to a hotel or special entertainment area like for example Souk Bahar beside Dubai Mall. Of course prices are higher in those restaurants than the street ones without an alcohol license - but both options are worth to try.
Here is a very short selection of some of my favorites.
Healthy Eat - Comptoir 102
This is basically a Concept Store which is selling design clothes and Interiors, but also has a lovely small restaurant with a nice outdoor area and a chilled terrace for the hotter month. They are serving great breakfasts and lunches all freshly made and with all your beloved healthy ingredients like Quinoa Salad, Avocado Toasties, Chia Seed Pudding and amazing fresh juices and Smoothies. They have one basic menu and then a choice of daily dishes. www.comptoir102.com
Meals on a Budget
One of my favorite street food places is Zaroob on Sheik Zayed Road. They serve delicious Lebanese street food and especially their filled flat breads are just to die for. This place gets super busy late night, when all the clubs and bars are closing and the Dubai party crowd get their hang-overs fixed - so if you arrive there after 3.00 am in the morning expect long queues for a table. www.zaroob.com
Arabian Tea House Bastakiya
Due to its location in the old Heritage area of Bastakiya for sure this place is often crowded with tourists - however I still like it, as it is far away from a tourist trap. It has a lovely setting in one of the traditional courtyards within the Old City and if you come early before the crowds, you can enjoy a tranquil and purely Arabic atmosphere. The food is also very good with some of the most popular Arabic dishes plus healthy options with salads and juices. Try their mint and lemon juice, which is refreshing you on a hot day. www.arabianteahouse.co
For a casual Arabic dining experience and also nice for visitors who like to taste real good Arabic food without any frills - I can recommend Reem Al Bawadi restaurants, which have several outlets around Dubai - my favorite is the one on Jumeirah Beach Road, where you can mingle with Locals and have a nice Outdoor Sheesha after dinner. Mezze - the Arabic selection of cold and hot starters is the main thing over here and also their Mixed Grill for main course is delicious. www.reemalbawadi.com
Here we are actually not talking about Michelin Star dining - but restaurants which are a bit more up-marked and serving alcohol. So their price tag is higher than the previous ones.
I like this Thai restaurant for special occasions as it is nestled within the Madinat Hotel and even as a non-hotel guest you are allowed to use the small Abra boats that are connecting the different hotel parts with a canal system. So it is very romantic to reach there and with a table on the terrace you can for sure impress your date. But to Pad Thai you are not only coming for its great location, but also for its outstanding Thai food. For sure a place to remember in all aspects. www.jumeirah.com
Also an Asian dining restaurant, but with more Fusion dishes and with a very lively vibe. Located in Souk Bahar opposite Dubai Mall and with a great outdoor terrace facing the Dubai Fountain, so you can enjoy the water show which starts every 30 minutes during your dinner. Food is a mix of different Asian cuisines and you can enjoy solid drinks here as well. Later at night the indoor bar is heating up with a DJ and the night ravellers are taking over. The interior is all Asian styled inspired from its bigger brother the Buddha Bar. www.karma-kafe.com
Friday Brunches are a big thing in Dubai for expats and tourists alike - almost all hotels are offering them and you can see a big variety of arrangements and prices. Of course the best ones are also the most expansive, but they are worth every single Dirham. My long time favorite is the brunch at the Al Qasr Madinat Hotel (around 550 AED pp for food and drinks) - it goes over a couple of different restaurants and you can choose between indoor or the much better outdoor seating. The variety of food is overwhelming and then we haven't talked about the drinks yet - it already starts with a glass of bubbly while entering and then you can find drink and cocktail stations all over the place, sometimes with amazing cocktail creations. No need to say that most of the people won't arrive here with their own car. You also have a live band entertaining the crowds - so at the end the brunch will transfer into a party. www.jumeirah.com
Drink Pit Stops
One of the nicest places for me to have a sunset drink is again at the Madinat Hotel (no, they are not paying me to promote them, they just have some of the best places in town :-))- this time the Mina Salam hotel part. At the Al Samar Lounge you can also celebrate the real art of an Afternoon Tea and stay over for a sunset drink outside on their beautiful terrace. www.jumeirah.com
If you are up for drinks with some more entertainment move over to Business Bay, where you can find one of the most popular bars in town IRIS at the Oberoi Hotel- if you check my Beirut article you will come across that name as well there and yes that is the small Dubai sister. Which is actually not so small as it goes over a huge outdoor terrace - with some small indoor space as well. So this place is basically for the cooler winter month. Always full at the weekends with a nice mainly Lebanese crowd and the barkeepers know their job well, trust me. During the more quiet weekdays they sometimes have a live band playing. You can also get nice but quite expansive fingerfood and Sushi there. www.irisdubai.com
Moving over to clubbing same as Iris and some other bars and clubs - best nightlife places in Dubai are done by Lebanese (yeah, I need to raise that flag here now)- often with their mother bars/clubs back home in Beirut. Said that also my favorite club falls under this category and is WHITE at the Meydan Hotel. Super impressive open-air rooftop club that is only open Thursday to Friday during the winter month. They usually bring in a huge line-up during the season and are running great dance performances every night. This place gets packed after midnight, so try to arrive there before. As with all other main clubs in Dubai - entry can be a challenge if you do not have reserved a table with a minimum spend. Most likely they will let you in as a couple or small group of girls - male groups can be difficult without a reservation. And be aware that all night clubs in Dubai are strictly above 21 years and have smart to fancy dress codes. www.whitedubai.com