From stunning fountain views to cosy Italian restaurants with Michelin-worthy dishes…
In a city saturated with restaurants, lounges and bars, we’re truly spoiled for choice when dining in Dubai.
But if you’re looking for a real treat – whether it’s for date night, wowing visitors or you’re just wanting to make all your mates back home jealous of your life in Dubai – we’ve rounded up some of the city’s most stunning restaurants that everyone needs to try at least once.
Beachfront location? Check. Elegant setting? Check. Inventive cuisine that’s served with pizazz? Check. Sea Fu at Jumeirah Four Seasons has got it all. As well as a sprawling terrace that extends out to the shores of the Arabian Gulf, the restaurant also boasts an intimate indoor space, that offers diners front row seats to the open kitchen, to watch the chefs at work. There’s an extensive selection of sushi, sashimi and nigiri on the menu, that extends past your core California and shrimp tempura rolls to offer inventive options such as duck foie gras, lobster dynamite and sea urchin. It’s given added wow-factor when served over dry ice, and finished at the table. While the menu is mainly Asian, there’s evidence of Chef Pierre’s French background throughout, with options like the roasted wagyu cote de boeuf. Make your way down early for one of their tropical cocktails at the bar – you won’t regret it.
Sea Fu, Jumeirah Four Seasons, Jumeirah, daily 6pm to 11pm. Tel: (04) 270 7777. fourseasons.com
Inspired by the Amalfi Coast in Southern Italy, there’s something special about Alici. Walking inside feels like stepping into a cosy family-run trattoria on the Italian coast and contemporary cream interiors are blissfully interrupted by art and pottery. From the lovingly hand-painted decor that you’ll find throughout the split-level restaurant, to the floor to ceiling windows that gaze out onto some wow-worthy views of the blue waters and JBR skyline, Alici is one of those unforgettable restaurants that leaves an impression on its diners. And that’s before you’ve even had a bite of the delicious Italian cuisine. There’s a big focus on seafood, and the majority of the dishes on the menu are filled with ingredients found on the Southern Italian coast. The menu is extensive but not overbearing, food is flawless, service is engaging without being obtrusive, and while dishes aren’t cheap – they’re not overly expensive either. We’re calling it, Alici is a strong contender for Dubai’s best new restaurant.
Alici, Bluewaters, off JBR, Dubai Marina, daily noon to 3.30pm and 7pm to 11.30pm. Tel: (04) 2752577. alici.com
Perched on the end of a pier off the beachfront of Dubai’s luxury Jumeirah Al Qasr resort, Pierchic serves up the wow-factor before you’ve even arrived. During the day, you’ll be greeted by panoramic views across the sparkling gulf, while at night, it’s a short walk or buggy ride up the pier with twinkly lights to guide your way. Once you’re inside, it’s fine dining and creative cocktails on the menu, served up in everything from gold pineapples to brass mermaids. Unsurprisingly, the focus here is seafood and sustainable produce, and dishes on the menu won’t be available unless the freshest catches can be served. From oysters and caviar to fresh lobster and jumbo prawns, a three-course set menu starts from Dhs350 for lunch or an early evening dinner, or from Dhs595 for the Friday brunch.
Pierchic, Jumeirah Al Qasr, Madinat Jumeirah, daily 1pm to 3pm and 7pm to 11pm. Tel: (04) 432 3232. jumeirah.com
Tucked away on the ground floor of the Restaurant Village at Jumeirah Four Seasons is Scalini, an Italian restaurant brought to Dubai by way of London. The quaint restaurant is littered with pictures of celebrities who’ve frequented the London haunt, while an outdoor terrace is covered in leafy foliage and a central tree twinkles with fairy lights. The real shining star at this restaurant, though, is the staff, many of whom who’ve come to Dubai from the award-winning London spot. They’ve mastered fine dining in a refreshingly modern way, silver serving dishes of fresh beef carpaccio and creamy burrata while laughing and joking with guests. The menu is thoroughly authentically Italian, with each dish full of flavour and beautifully presented.
Scalini, Restaurant Village, Jumeirah Four Seasons, Jumeirah, daily 7pm to 2am. Tel: (04) 349 0068. scalini-dubai.com
Il Borro Tuscan Bistro
What makes Il Borro so special isn’t its stunning views (although it does have a lovely terrace that looks out to the waters of Jumeirah Al Naseem), nor its contemporary interiors which still manage to feel intimate. What gives Il Borro the wow-factor is its dedication to serving authentic Italian fare, made with Italian sourced products. Il Borro is drenched in history, and the Italian restaurant hails from a famous Tuscan estate which has more than 1,000 years of rich history, and is set amongst a sprawling 700-hectare estate. While its modern Dubai outpost may be world’s away from its Tuscan home, the team behind What’s On’s Restaurant of the Year 2017 & 2018 remain dedicated to creating a taste of Italy in Dubai, and do it to an unfalteringly high, and arguably Michelin-worthy standard.
Il Borro Tuscan Bistro, Jumeirah Al Naseem, Jumeirah St, Dubai, daily noon to 3.30pm and 7pm to 1am. Tel: (04) 275 2555. ilborrotuscanbistro.ae
At the waterfront of the Palace Downtown is Thiptara, a Thai restaurant and terrace surrounded by Burj Lake. Out on the terrace which laces round the restaurant, you’ll find what is arguably the city’s best view of the Dubai Fountain. Perch up against the balcony to tuck into a menu of home-made Thai dishes, which range from traditional Bangkok street food dishes such as satay and steamed dim sum, to Thiptara specials including Phad Char Soy Shell – a spicy scallop dish loaded with flavours in an oyster sauce. The whole menu is created by the Thai chef, and you’ll be able to make your way through the menu to the sounds of Dubai Fountain’s dramatic shows.
Thiptara, Palace Downtown, Downtown Dubai, daily 6pm to 11.30pm, Friday brunch 12.30pm to 4pm. Tel: (04) 888 3444. addresshotels.com
Want to see the city from 122 stories in the sky? You’ll want to make a reservation at At.mosphere, the city’s tallest restaurant. It serves up some stunning views as far as the eye can see, with Arabian Gulf views from the lounge side and Downtown Dubai serving as a backdrop to diners in the restaurant side. But it’s not just the views that are wow-worthy at this sky-high dining experience – its modern European menu is served up for breakfast, lunch and dinner in the restaurant, with an elegant afternoon tea available in the lounge during the afternoon, and an upscale a la carte lounge menu and expert cocktail list available until late night. While a seven-course tasting menu may set you back Dhs980 for food or Dhs1880 with wine pairing, you can experience a slice of At.mosphere’s stunning views for a fraction of that price if you’re female – a bottle of bubbly and complimentary canapés is available at their daily ladies’ night from 9.30pm to midnight every day for Dhs120.
At.mosphere, Burj Khalifa, Downtown Dubai, daily, 7am to midnight restaurant, 12pm to 2am lounge. Tel: (04) 888 3828. atmosphereburjkhalifa.com