Dining, deals & more: Where to spend New Year's Eve in Dubai
With a decadent and diverse restaurant scene and fireworks springing up from all corners of the city, choosing where to spend New Year’s Eve in Dubai can be a tricky decision.
We’ll bring you all you need to know about the all-out parties soon, but if it’s food you’re after, here’s our top pick of the 21 places where you can dine your way into 2016 (and do a little bit of dancing too if that’s your thing).
1. Cafe Belge
This lovely Belgian restaurant (we adore their seafood) is putting on a special set menu this New Year’s Eve. From marinated tuna to pan-seared foie gras and chocolate cherry, you’re sure to leave full. A live jazz band will be bringing ample swing to the occasion.
If you fancy being right near all the action this New Year’s, this elegant Japanese restaurant in the Burj Khalifa is serving a degustation menu that features toto tataki carpaccio, sashimi six ways, charcoal-grilled prime Kobe beef and a delicate wild strawberry-filled matcha tea sugar sphere. There will also be select beverages and a guest DJ.
Armani Hotel, Burj Khalifa, Downtown Dubai, Dhs950 for degustation menu, Dhs690 for premium sparkling beverages, Dhs290 for non-alcohol package, 7pm to 11pm. Tel: +971 4 888 3705. dubai.armanihotels.com.
3. Fratelli La Bufala
This excellent unlicensed Italian restaurant (their pizza chef barely speaks a word of english and is about as Italian as it gets) is serving a four-course set menu dinner featuring Neapolitan seafood specialities on New Year’s Eve. Perfect for those who want to sit back, relax, and watch the fireworks at The Beach opposite JBR.
4. Les Cuisines
Not only will the international restaurant at Sofitel Downtown be serving up every cuisine you can think of at its gala dinner to celebrate the start of 2016, guests also get access to the pool deck for the best possible view of the fireworks at midnight.
Sofitel Dubai Downtown, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, 8.30pm to 3am, Dhs900, Dhs450 for children aged six to 12, Dhs250 for children under six. Tel: +971 4 503 6666. Metro: Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall. sofitel.com.
If the huge terrace with cracking views of the Dubai Marina isn’t enough to tempt you to ring in the New Year here, the Dhs400 unlimited house drinks deal probably will.
6. Great Gatsby Gala Dinner
Ring in the New Year with a glamorous beachside dinner on the Palm – the theme is ‘The Great Gatsby’. It promises to be a fabulous evening, with everything from an oyster and caviar bar to a live cooking station – and flawless views of fireworks to boot.
Waldorf Astoria Palm Jumeirah, Crescent Road, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai, December 31, 7.30pm, Dhs1,890 per adult (includes a glass of bubbles and house drinks), Dhs875 for children aged 6 to 12, free for children under five. Tel: +971 4 818 2222. Taxi: Waldorf Astoria Palm Jumeirah. waldorfastoria.com.
Fabulous new pan-Asian restaurant Wakame is hosting a New Year’s Eve dinner that will feature everything from oysters to Chilean seabass and miso and caramel cheesecake. The food here is excellent. The greatest thing about this option is that post-meal you’ll be able to head upstairs to the hotel’s roof terrace for dazzling views of the fireworks from the Burj Khalifa. Although, you do have to pay for the view, as the dinner package starts at Dhs1,850.
8. New Year’s Eve at Marina Social
To ring in the new year with some of Dubai’s best eats, head to Marina Social, one of the hottest dining destinations in town and the brainchild of celebrity chef Jason Atherton. For a minimum spend of Dhs850 indulge in the ‘Feed Me’ menu and tuck into inspired dishes while enjoying panoramic views of the marina.
9. Rang Mahal by Atul Kochhar
The food here is always exceptional, and so we expect big things from the five course New Year’s Eve set-menu that has been crafted by Michelin-star Chef Atul Kochhar.
10. Fortnum & Mason
There’s no denying Dubai Mall’s Fortnum & Mason offers a great view of the Burj Khalifa fireworks (the above pic is the exact perspective from the restaurant). Founded in London in 1707, their unlicensed New Year’s party will involve a jazz band, festive décor and a menu that includes lobster soup, roast rack of lamb and chocolate torte with clotted cream custard. Snacks will be served at midnight too. It’s pricey, however. Again, it seems you pay for prime Burj positioning.
11. La Serre
The fancier part of this excellent French restaurant – The Bistro – is transforming into a Midsummer Night’s Dream-style garden for a New Year’s Eve party. Expect an enchanted forest vibe, a glamorous crowd and fine food. Book a table, and then you’ll be able to stay on and hang in the boulangerie once your sitting is done to party the night away. You’ll also get ‘Boulevard Passes’ so that you can watch the fireworks with ease.
La Serre, Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard, Downtown Dubai, first seatings from 7pm, second seatings from 9pm, minimum F&B spend Dhs750 for the first seating, Dhs1,100 for the second seatings. Tel: +971 4 428 6969. laserre.ae.
12. Gala dinner at Ritz Carlton JBR
Bring in 2016 out under the stars with this red carpet dinner party. Tuck into a Middle Eastern and international buffet while listening to the live music, and taking in the views across JBR beach, the Palm Jumeirah and the fireworks at midnight.
13. Rivington Grill
Getting a good spot to watch the Burj Khalifa fireworks can be tricky on the ground, so booking a table here well in advance is advisable. With a terrace overlooking the Dubai Fountains, there are few better views in the city come midnight, and the three-course menu looks pretty good too.
Souk Al Bahar, Downtown Dubai, from 8pm or 9pm until 1am, Dhs1000 with soft drinks, Dhs1,600 for four-hour package and Dhs1,700 for five-hour package with outdoor seats. Tel: +971 4 432 3232. Taxi: Souk Al Bahar. rivingtondubai.ae.
It’s one of Dubai’s most unique and picturesque party spots, and 360° really comes into its own on New Year’s Eve, when its packed dance floor enjoys a front row view of the Burj Al Arab and New Dubai’s firework displays. The venue will host a five-course gala dinner, and there’s a late-night package on offer too for those seeking a party.
Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Beach Road, Dubai, 8pm until 3am, Dhs1,400 for canapés and house drinks, Dhs1,950 for dinner, house drinks and a glass of champagne, or Dhs600 for entry and house drinks after the fireworks. Tel: +971 55 500 8518. Taxi: Jumeirah Beach Hotel. jumeirah.com.
If you’re looking to have a laidback yet luxe New Year with close friends or relatives, Thiptara’s gala dinner could be the place for you. The elegant restaurant is hosting a Thai banquet, while those opting for the premium package will get a lakeside seat to watch the Burj Al Arab fireworks.
The Palace Downtown, Old Town Island, Downtown Dubai, Dubai, 7pm to 3am, Dhs1,900 with soft drinks and indoor seating, Dhs2,200 with house drinks and one glass of champagne, Dhs3,500 with champagne and guaranteed lakeside seating. Tel: +971 4 428 7888. Taxi: The Palace Downtown Dubai. theaddress.com.
This Jumeirah Beach Hotel buffet is particularly plentiful – we remember being delighted to find what was practically an entire room dedicated to ice cream when we spent New Year’s there back in the noughties. There will be plenty of beverages on offer, loads of food and access to landscaped gardens with a view of the Burj Al Arab for the 2016 countdown.
17. Mercury Lounge
The Four Seasons’ Mercury Lounge will play host to a Great Gatsby themed gala dinner, and guests are being urged to dress to impress. The five-course menu comes with optional wine pairings, as well as a glass of champagne in time for the bells.
Four Seasons Jumeirah Beach, Beach Road, Dubai, 8pm to 4am, Dhs2,200 for dinner and a glass of champagne, Dhs2,800 with wine pairing. Tel: +971 4 270 7802. Taxi: Four Seasons Jumeirah Beach. fourseasons.com.
18. Pier Chic
Sitting at the end of the Al Qasr Pier, this is one of the most scenic spots in New Dubai to see in the New Year. Enjoy a luxurious six-course set menu before settling down with a glass of bubbles to watch the fireworks.
19. The Act
The world’s highest theatre club is promising a host of weird and wonderful performers this year, while the three-course dinner on offer features plenty of Peruvian influences. Music is solidly ’70 – bring your dancing shoes.
Shangri-La Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, 8.30pm to 3am, Dhs650 with house drinks only, Dhs1,490 for dinner and house drinks, Dhs1,950 for dinner, house beverages and a bottle of Moet & Chandon. Tel: +971 4 405 2703. Taxi: Shangri-La Dubai. theactdubai.com.
Japanese food, all-night dancing and a view of the fireworks – this trendy Japanese restaurant’s umbrella-roofed garden is gorgeous, so we say try and get a booking al fresco.
21. The Maine Oyster Bar & Grill
Get ready for a shucking good time at hip new hotspot The Maine. The four course New Year’s Eve feast includes oysters, steaks, music, an open bar and a whole lot of bubbles for Dhs699. Since it’s plonked right on the coast you’ll have a perfect view of the fireworks too.
DoubleTree By Hilton Hotel, JBR, Dubai. Tel: (04) 4576719. Taxi: DoubleTree Hilton. themaine.ae