Venture into these secret gardens…

Getting out of the city isn’t always an option, but there are plenty of places in Dubai that feel like green oases. Level up your date night with a trip to one these verdant alfresco spots.



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In a nutshell: Cosy, live-fire cuisine within the Al Keturah Reserve

From beloved pitmaster Hattem Mattar, FIYA – located in Nad Al Sheba’s new Al Keturah Reserve – features fire-licked wagyu steaks, fateer (a flaky Egyptian layered pastry, here served with pastrami), smoked brisket, mac ‘n’ cheese, and a standout double smash burger that are all perfect for enjoying in the restaurant’s fully alfresco locale. Come at sunset, snuggle up with your date on one of the outdoor sofas, and enjoy the peace and quiet while surrounded by olive trees, natural vegetation and nothing but the faint sound of a fire crackling away at the slick central kitchen.

 FIYA, Al Keturah Reserve, Nad Al Sheba, Tue to Fri 5pm to 10.30pm, Sat 2pm to 10.30pm, Sun noon to 10.30pm (Mon closed). Tel: (052) 306 6739. @fiyadxb

Eugène Eugène

eugene eugene

In a nutshell: A new garden in the city from the team who brought us Tagomago

A garden oasis in a mall? Only the Rikas Group could pull off something like that in Dubai. Eugène Eugène is the first of many new openings in the city this season from the minds behind some of the best restaurants in town, including Tagomago, Twiggy, and Mimi Kakushi among others. Drawing inspiration from lush country greenhouses, Eugène Eugène is a true garden in the heart of the city stuffed to the glass-ceiling with palm and olive trees, laurels, sage, and rosemary both inside the restaurant and out on the terrace. The licensed brasserie is a hidden gem in Mall of the Emirates serving a selection of authentic French ‘souvenir’ dishes, each meticulously prepared with a modern twist.

Kempinski Mall of the Emirates, daily. @eugeneeugenedubai


In a nutshell: A chic rooftop rainforest overlooking DIFC

Amazonico’s three-storied Latin American restaurant and bar is designed to make you feel like you’re smack bang in the middle of a rainforest, and that vibrant aesthetic stretches out onto its rooftop. A particularly fun date night spot, the stylish rooftop is covered in Copacabana tiled floors, yellow umbrellas, leafy trellises and palm-leafed plants, so that when nights go off – as they often do with the resident DJs spinning electro-pical beats – you’ll feel like you’re dancing in the jungle. Top tip: Order the Save The Jungle cocktail (Dhs60) with Brazilian rum, lime, tamarillo and anise, and for every sale, one tree is planted in the Amazon rainforest.

Amazonico rooftop, DIFC Pavilion, daily 6pm to 3am. Tel: (0)4 571 3999. @amazonicodubai

Mythos City Walk 


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In a nutshell: Award-winning Greek cuisine with a larger patio than the OG

Alex and Fay Economides’ hit Greek restaurant Mythos in JLT has been a favourite dining destination since the day it opened its doors. But the restaurant’s newest branch in City Walk is not just bringing delicious souvlaki, saganaki and spanakopita to the north, its delightful courtyard is a new worthy alfresco option to add to your date night repertoire. Inside, the aesthetic is deep rooted in natural materials, earthy colours and raw, unfinished textures, while the huge courtyard is engulfed in plants that border the restaurant’s perimeter. A fantastic place to order up a spread of Med favourites and a Greek inspired G&T. The Ancient (Dhs65) with cinnamon, cloves, anise and cardamom is a revelation.

Mythos Urban Greek Eatery, The Square, City Walk, daily 12.30pm to 3.45pm and 6pm to 11.30pm. Tel: (0)4 225 3313. @mythosdubai

High At The Towers

In a nutshell: A picnic in the park with peacocks, crinkle-cut fries and excellent burgers

Before homegrown burger emporium High Joint took over a chunk of patio space in the manicured grounds of Jumeirah Emirates Towers, the only creatures that roamed these gardens were the resident peacocks. But now as the weather finally cools, foodies are set to flock to High At The Towers – a self-proclaimed hidden oasis – for a fun picnic in the park fuelled by High Joint and friends. Aside from typical High Joint burger favourites, you’ll now find a range of indulgent breakfast items, including Turkish eggs, grilled cheese sandwiches and avo on toast. Plus, keep an eye on their Instagram page for special evening dinners that promise to elevate High Joint dishes to gourmet status.

Jumeirah Emirates Towers gardens, DIFC, Mon to Thur 8am to 1am, Fri 8am to 3am, Sat 7am to 3am, Sun 7am to 2am. @highattowers

Monkey Bar

In a nutshell: A jungle on the rooftop of 25Hours Hotel

This striking concept – a Berlin-imported watering hole and self-proclaimed rooftop jungle – is located on the sixth floor of the uber-cool 25hours Hotel featuring a concise Latin American-leaning food menu and cocktails with a touch tiki. Standout hot plates include the empanadas, chicken bao, and cheesy beef sliders, while must-try drinks include the pandan colada and the gin basil highball. Swathed in a palette of rich greens, oak, coral, and mustard, the colourful, lush-looking bar is an Instagram photo op waiting to happen, and the terrace, with its fantastic views of Museum of the Future and stunning latticed wooden domes, is no exception.

Monkey Bar, 25hours Hotel One Central, Sun to Thur 5pm to 2am, Fri and Sat 5pm to 3am. Tel: (0)4 210 2566. @monkeybardubai



In a nutshell: A glamorous Bedouin-inspired Middle Eastern restaurant

For superb DIFC views and a romantic setting, Ninive is a sure bet. Overlooking the iconic gate building and touting panoramic skyline views, the Middle Eastern restaurant’s chic Bedouin aesthetic is designed as a contemporary urban majlis between a garden and a caravanserai. Completely outside, Ninive consists of a succession of fabric tents arranged around a central open-air courtyard filled with rugs and lanterns, low tables and cosy sofas. A menu of classic cocktails and sublime Turkish and Middle Eastern delicacies, courtesy of chef Gilles Bosquet, make it a favourite among residents and visitors.

Ninive, Jumeirah Emirates Towers, Sun to Thur 6pm to 2am, Fri and Sat 6pm to 3am. Tel: (0)4 326 6105. @ninivedubai


In a nutshell: A fun downtown Italian cloaked in greenery and lemon trees

Enjoy your bluefin crudo and linguine vongole with a side of sweeping Burj Khalifa panoramas at this lively Capri-inspired restaurant in Address Sky View. The décor is jaw-dropping, particularly on the terrace, which is covered in vines, olive branches and lemon trees, with yellow booths and blue and white chairs. Dinner and brunch are raucous affairs with waiters waving enormous Italian flags to the tunes of Bella Ciao. What else do you need? Drinks? They’ve got those. Whether it’s a Capri gimlet, or a glass of signature Prosecco, Lucia’s has ‘special occasion’ written all over it.

Lucia’s, Address Sky View, Sun to Fri 7pm to 3am, Sat 1pm to 3am. Tel: (0)4 422 4321. @luciasdubai

Tiki’s Canary Club 



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In a nutshell: A glam hideaway in JLT with Tulum vibes

 With its plant-strewn, open-air rooftop terrace, fans of this Palm Springs-meets-Acapulco hotspot from The Maine man Joey Ghazal, absolutely live for alfresco season. This hidden gem, located on the second floor of JLT’s Canary Club, promises a pocket of lush tropical foliage overlooking the city. A superb place for sundowners for the well-heeled, Tiki’s Canary Club has its own drinks menu with 12 exclusive cocktails and a range of sushi sharing platters. It practically screams perfect date night.

Canary Club, Banyan Tree Residences, JLT, Mon to Thur noon to 1am, Fri and Sat noon to 2am, Sun noon to 1am. Tel: (0)4 584 5999. @canaryclubdxb


Nette What's On Review Dubai

In a nutshell: A pretty courtyard café in a gorgeous wellness club

 Hidden among warehouses and construction sites in Al Quoz sits Nette, an Asian-leaning café and restaurant within the leafy and effortlessly chic Matcha wellness club. Best laid plan for a daytime date: sign up for a padel coaching session together or book in for a wellness class, then take a seat in Nette’s bright courtyard to refuel with a miso Benedict, Japanese-inspired avo toast, or miso croque madame. It makes for a lovely alternative to the usual dinner-date ideas.

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Nette, Matcha Club, Al Quoz, daily 8am to 10pm. Tel: (0)4 548 8369. @nettedxb

Seva Table 


In a nutshell: Quirky décor, wellbeing workshops and a vegan menu at this unique lifestyle centre

With its pretty rugs, tree stumps for tables and colourful plants, all hidden behind high walls, entering the garden of Seva feels a bit like Alice In Wonderland meets a zen garden. The wellness destination could be the perfect romantic hideaway for happy, healthy, hippy folk, with an outdoor space dedicated to fitness classes to its extensive vegan and gluten-free food menu and regular reiki and chakra healing workshops.

Seva Table, Villa 5/1b, 27b Street, Beach Road, daily 8am to 10pm. Tel: (056) 534 2899. @sevatable

Images: Supplied