From dining in the dark to food tours in Old Dubai and hidden gems everyone has to try at least once…

Living in Dubai, we’re spoiled for choice when it comes to dining out, with every kind of cuisine imaginable right on our doorstep.

But whether for a special occasion, entertaining visitors or just an alternative date night, there are also a handful of brilliant, must-try more unique dining experiences available across the city.

Here are the best unique dining experiences in Dubai.


It really doesn’t get much more idyllic than a romantic picnic right on the beach. Put that at luxury beach resort Anantara The Palm and you have ‘Sunset Dining’ – a spectacular evening that you definitely will not forget in a hurry. The setting is stunning, with views out across the water as you relax against the soft cushions laid out on the sand, watching the sun go down, and tuck into Mediterranean antipasti, cheeses, a bottle of house wine and a delicious dessert to follow. Your favourite wine and cheese date night just got a serious upgrade. If you’re looking for the same beachside location but with a more formal sit down meal, you could opt for their ‘Dining by Design’ package where you’ll have your own private dining experience at a beautifully set table under a dreamy white canopy.

Sunset Dining, Anantara The Palm, East Crescent, Dubai, Dhs750 per couple, pre-booking required. Tel: (04) 567 8888.

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Ever imagined what it would be like to dine in total darkness? Well that’s exactly what’s in store for you at Noire. The restaurant is pitch black – even the waiters need to wear night vision goggles to guide you to your seat. Once inside the restaurant, you’ll make your way through three courses along with drinks, and you’ll have no idea what you’re eating or have eaten until the end, when the chef will talk you through the menu. The experience is designed to heighten your senses and bring your taste buds to life.

Noire, Fairmont Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road, Trade Centre Area, Monday to Saturday, 7.30pm sharp, Dhs360. Tel: (04) 311 8316.

Elevator Dining Experience

If you’re looking for an alternative date night, why not give elevator dining a go? At Jumeirah Emirates Towers, you can dine in a glass elevator that will take you on a culinary journey over five levels of Jumeirah Emirates Towers, with a different Italian course at each. Dishes include chicken liver mascarpone terrine, pan seared prawns, roasted codfish and a delicious mango creme brulee for dessert. The experience is priced at Dhs4000 for two, or add a Rolls Royce chauffeur, an overnight stay in Jumeirah Emirates Towers and a spa treatment for two, and it’s Dhs5,500. 

Elevator Dining Experience, Jumeirah Emirates Towers, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, Dhs4000 for two, booking required 24 hours in advance. Tel: (04) 330 0000.

Dinner In The Sky

Dinner in the sky might typically mean dining in one of Dubai’s impressive skyscrapers, but this Dinner In The Sky in Dubai Marina sees diners seated around a rectangular table, suspended by a crane, 50 metres above land. You can book in for lunch, dinner or afternoon tea and enjoy the epic skyline views as you feel the wind blowing through your hair. It’s been shut during the summer months, but it’ll open again on October 17.

Dinner In The Sky, Skydive, Al Seyahi Street, Dubai, 2pm to 10pm, from October 17. Tel: (058) 819 3296.

Dine around at Burj Al Arab

There are few places more iconic in Dubai than the sail shaped seven-star Burj Al Arab, so if you’ve got that special guest in town their Culinary Flight experience is worth booking for the wow-factor. The culinary journey will take you around four of the incredible restaurants there; kicking off at Scape, then to Al Mahara, Al Muntaha, finished off at Skyview for dessert. Over the four different destinations, you’ll try seven courses, with beautiful dishes presented at each course. The culinary flight menu is Dhs995, Dhs1350 for the non-alcoholic pairing and Dhs1750 paired with house beverages. Advance booking is required.

Culinary Flight, Burj Al Arab, Dubai, from 7pm daily, Dhs1350 soft drinks, Dhs1750 house drinks. Tel: (04) 301 7777.

Secret LED Menu

Japanese fine-dining restaurant, ONI, have launched their ‘Osaka Nights’, which has a specially curated set menu waiting for you, but you won’t know what’s on it until you’re sat at your table and are handed an LED light to shine on the page. It’s not publicised on their website or social media, so no peeking. This cool new concept is available every Friday night until September 30 and there’s some expertly crafted cocktails to try, too.

ONI, 2nd Floor, Shangri-La Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, from 6pm, Fridays, until September 30. Tel: (04) 405 2333.

Private dining on the beach

If you’re looking to pull out all the stops for that special date or occasion (cough cough), Nikki Beach Resort and Spa offer up the most idyllic of settings. You can get a private dinner served in your own contemporary cabana on the beach, looking out across the waters of the Arabian Gulf. They’ll even decorate it with romance in mind, complete with a bouquet of flowers. Choose from the soft drinks package for two at Dhs2500, add a bottle of champagne and a bonfire for Dhs3,500 or go the full mile and throw in your own personal guitarist to serenade you all evening.

Nikki Beach Resort & Spa Dubai Pearl Jumeira, UAE. Tel: (040 376 6290.

Frying Pan Adventures

Dubai’s first food tour company is all about the alternative dining experiences, taking you on a journey unravelling the cultural secrets of Old Dubai, that visitors often don’t get chance to see. From a Dubai food tour on wheels where you’ll visit four different old Dubai neighbourhoods, hearing local stories, seeing local street art and tasting traditional dishes to a Creekside food walk with Arabic, Indian and Iranian food tastings. You can also opt to join a Middle Eastern Food Pilgrimage, visit Dubai’s oldest Indian neighbourhood with a traditional food tasting or organise your own, tailored group party – perfect for visiting family and friends.

Frying Pan Adventures, 10am to 5pm, Sunday to Thursday. Tel: (056) 471 6244.

Bu Qtair

Love nothing more than a fresh seafood dinner? It doesn’t get much fresher than Bu Qtair, located at the Old Dubai fishing harbour, which serves up just-caught local seafood. Pick your catch from full fish to mountains of jumbo prawns, and then have them cooked-to-order by Bu Qtair’s team of chefs. It’s no fuss, no frills but certainly a lot of deliciously cooked fresh food.

Bu Qtair, Old 32B Street, Fishing Harbour 2, Dubai, 11.30am to 11.30pm daily. Tel: (055) 705 2130. facebook.comBu-Qtair

Images: Supplied