Club Vista Mare is a new strip of restaurants on the trunk of The Palm. Here are our reviews and news on the seven new spots at which to dine by the sea…
In brief: An Ethiopian restaurant that’s big on bread and bold flavours.
Ethiopian food – with its strong flavours and distinctive taste – can be an intimidating meal for first-timers, but this beautiful restaurant at the end of Club Vista Mare has a friendly atmosphere that will send any naysayers reaching for the next piece of chewy injera.
For the uninitiated, that’s Ethiopian flatbread that’s used instead of cutlery. As a cuisine, it’s something that so many have yet to try, but its unique array of flavours, textures and various stewed bits all come together in seriously tasty mouthfuls. For newbies, your best bet is to go in with a few friends and order one of the big sampler plates.
The Taste Of Ethiopian (Dhs140) arrives as a huge platter divided into six smaller dishes. These include a very spicy but totally moreish chicken curry, which tasted very similar to Malaysian national dish nasi lemak, a juicy stir-fried beef with onions, a slightly stringy kale with beef curry, and misir, a delicious lentil curry.
The platter is served with the all-important and customary spongy, chewy injera bread, which you’ll eagerly use to scoop up all the tasty curries. A brilliant introduction to an exciting cuisine, we’ll be back to try more.
Price: Dhs250 to Dhs749
Club Vista Mare, next to Tiara Residences, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai, daily noon to 11.30pm. Tel: (04) 5542665. Taxi: Club Vista Mare. gursha-dubai.com
Breeze Beach Grill
In brief: Quality seafood and shisha on the beach
Breeze Beach Grill has a casual beach-hut vibe and a serious approach to seafood, cooking it every which way from meaty steaks to rotisserie grill, raw bar to tempura bites. Fuel your decision making with some sweet potato crisps (Dhs30), which will have you fighting over the last thin crispy morsel.
Anything with mango salsa is a tasty bet at Breeze. The trio of shrimp and mango tacos (Dhs82) hits the right balance of light cured meat and sweet salsa, making it far superior to its steak tartare counterpart, the spiced beef taco (Dhs84).
The black cod (Dhs146) was the catch of the night. What it lacks in size, it makes up for in melt-in-the-mouth meat – the miso marinade and crispy almost-sweet glaze actually makes the ginger soubise sauce redundant. Seafood is clearly where the restaurant shines, but the tender and juicy teriyaki beef and chilli skewer (Dhs40) makes a welcome turf to the surf.
Breeze Bar And Grill is a really chilled space with a fantastic décor (on just the right side of novelty), friendly staff and a menu that, excluding some hit-and-miss meat options, will leave seafood fans happy as a clam.
Price: Dhs250 to Dhs749
Palm Jumeirah, Dubai, Sat to Wed 11am to midnight, Thur and Fri 11am to 1am. Tel: (04) 5683000. Taxi: Club Vista Mare. facebook.com/breezebeachdxb
In brief: This one does what it says on the tin: it’s the place to go for a classic Italian meal.
Serving a selection of the most popular dishes from different regions in Italy, Simply Italian has the feel of a small family-owned restaurant that you’d perhaps stumble upon on the Amalfi coast. The inside has lots of monochrome with checkered floors, while the alfresco seating has red and white striped lounge chairs and colourful cushions. Sample a slice of Sardinia with gnocchetti sardi al brasato di agnello, handmade gnocchi with braised lamb shoulder (Dhs79). It’s simple and comforting.
Palm Jumeirah, Dubai, Sun to Wed noon to 1am, Thur to Sat noon to 2am. Tel: (04) 5539575. Taxi: Club Vista Mare. simplyitaliandubai.com
In brief: Another Peruvian venue, but this one’s by the sea. Is that enough to make it stand out?
With cocktails featuring ‘cryogenic ice powder’, an in-house DJ pumping out everything from funk to bossa nova, and more raw fish than you can shake a stick at, Ají is the hippest spot along the Vista Mare stretch. Go for sundowners (there’s currently a happy hour from 3pm to 7pm), and order sharing plates of food (even if you hate the thought), as the menu’s designed to be nibbled at.
Sharpen your elbows for when the maguro taco (Dhs40) gets to the table, as the spicy, sesame flavours of this fresh tuna served in a gyoza taco shell are very moreish. There are ceviches a-plenty on the menu, but the added interest and honey-tones of sweet potato means the Limeño sea bass ceviche (Dhs55) is the one to order.
The punchy umami-heavy combo of truffle and miso meant that we adored the tako grill confit octopus (Dhs140), but it certainly won’t be for everyone. The purple corn shrimp tempura (Dhs65) will be more of a crowd pleaser though thanks to its tangy citrus dipping sauce, and the fact it’s deep-fried (yum) without being greasy and drippy.
End things with the sticky rice with coconut and mango (Dhs45), or, if you’re more into fads than soul food, try the yuzu cheesecake that has popping candy jumping atop it (Dhs45).
Yes, there are a lot of Peruvian restaurants in Dubai, but this one has the added USP of being right on the beach (and licensed). We’ll be back.
Price: Dhs250 to Dhs749
Club Vista Mare, next to Tiara Residences, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai, Sat to Wed noon to 2am, Thur and Fri noon to 3am. Tel: (04) 5520244. Taxi: Club Vista Mare. aji.ae
Ibn Al Bahr
In brief: A fish shop owned by fishermen.
If you ever wonder about how fresh your food is, head to Ibn Al Bahr where your mind will rest easy. A venue proudly owned by fishermen, here you can literally see the freshest catch of the day at the front of the restaurant on display. Huge sharing plates of grilled fish are served to your table to enjoy family-style or you can choose a dish just for yourself. Think simple hot bait bites of crispy sardines, locally plucked clams with black pepper and whole chargrilled fish with a special Ibn Al Bahr seasoning.
Club Vista Mare, next to Tiara Residences, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai, daily noon to midnight. Tel: (04) 5539575. Taxi: Club Vista Mare. ibnalbahr.me
The Tap House
In brief: A beach bar meets beer garden
The Tap House has something for everyone; while the dark colours, draught taps and cosy booths inside are reminiscent of an old-fashioned British pub, sitting outside enjoying the ocean breeze and sea views will firmly remind you that you’re in Dubai. Similarly, the food is a real mix, with pub favourites like a signature burger and fish and chips alongside European salads and southern comfort food like fried chicken and waffles.
The burrata (Dhs75) was a menu favourite: the gooey cheese paired nicely with juicy tomatoes, basil and fennel. Our Asian bao (Dhs60) was flavourful but needed more of the Peking duck and hoisin sauce stuffing.
Similarly, the moules frites (Dhs115) we ordered for mains could have done with more of the garlic cream sauce. Weirdly, it didn’t come with the ‘frites’ – we had to order a side dish, and went for the delicious Parmesan and truffle fries (Dhs35). The Black Angus tenderloin steak (Dhs160) was tasty but a bit overcooked, which we overcame by dousing it in the accompanying blue cheese and vodka sauce.
For dessert, the chocolate bacon rashers (Dhs45) won points for novelty, but the weird combo of taste and texture proved that you can have too much of a good thing. Try the Cheeton Mess (Dhs55) instead for a yummy twist on the old classic. Overall, we think this one has lots of potential – once the menu has been tweaked to match up to its fabulous location, the Tap House will be one of the Palm’s must-visits.
Palm Jumeirah, Dubai, Sun noon to midnight, Mon to Thur noon to 2am, Fri and Sat 9am to 2am. Tel: (04) 5143778. Taxi: Club Vista Mare. thetaphouse.ae
In brief: A casual Lebanese restaurant, but this one’s licensed…
A pretty Lebanese restaurant with a big shisha terrace overlooking the Palm’s coastline, Abyat is a casual and licensed Arabic restaurant where each traditional dish has been given a contemporary spin. It’s a busy restaurant since it’s one of only a few shisha spots on the Palm. We really enjoyed the purple beetroot mutabul served with sprinkles of walnuts. The signature soukouk rolls – stuffed with meat and mixed spices, and accompanied with a cool, Ranch dip – are perfect for sharing.
Club Vista Mare, next to Tiara Residences, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai, daily noon to 1am. Tel: (04) 5588428. Taxi: Club Vista Mare. facebook.com/AbyatDXB