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5 best restaurants in Dubai

Our favourite places to eat. Enjoy awesome food and stunning decor

1 Pierchic

Romance begins at the end of a pier

Many a love has been kindled at the end of a pier. Pierchic is no different. Set on stilts out at sea, the stroll along wooden planks towards this beautiful restaurant will set most hearts afloating. As you’d expect, surrounded by the ocean, the menu focuses on seafood and catches of the day, like crispy salmon with parsnip purée to black tiger prawns. Its dessert list, like many sweetheart establishments, is also extensive - and a great way to continue gazing into your partner’s eyes.

Al Qasr Hotel, Madinat Jumeirah        +971 4 366 6730

2 Bu Qtair

Five star food – without the prices

This popular restaurant is, in fact, a shack, set right on the beach, in stark contrast to its neighbour, the iconic Burj Al Arab. So don’t expect glitz. There isn’t any. Plastic chairs are what you get – and be grateful for them. Eateries like these provide welcome respite from Dubai’s luxurious onslaught. Popular with Asians who grew up on this food, the menu offers local fare, beautifully done, like prawns or hammour, combined with curry sauce, naan, rice and soft drinks.

Road 4d, Umm Suqeim        +971 55 705 2130

3 Cavalli Restaurant

High fashion on the high table

If there’s one thing Dubai does better than any other place, it’s attracting the world’s most fashionable labels to its shore, from handbags to shoes. So why not combine this flair with a restaurant? Like mixing Florentine fashion guru Roberto Cavalli with the most seasonal and freshest Italian ingredients? The restaurant screams glamour, glitterati and gold, with exotic zebra-print upholstery and Swarovski crystals dripping from the ceiling. And the food, prepared by Italian chefs, is just as creative.

Fairmont Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road        +971 4 332 9260

4 Ossiano

A restaurant 007 would be proud of

Set in Atlantis, on the top frond of Dubai’s man-made Palm Island, is Ossiano, its most slick and stylish restaurant. As if out of a Bond movie, you sweep down the staircase to be surrounded by crystals, chandeliers and high ceilings. There’s the obligatory sexy husky singer, and right in the middle, a huge aquarium with a roaming leopard-print sting ray. Try not to be fed to it by the bad guys!

Atlantis, The Palm        +971 4 426 2626


5 hottest bars in Dubai

Don't miss these awesome cocktail bars. The hottest places to unwind after dark

1 Barasti

Dubai’s most popular bar, ever

Admittedly, it’s put in the years to enjoy this reputation. Started in the early ’90s as a beach hut serving cold drinks to workers, in the following two decades, it grew into what is, easily, the most recognised and popular bar in Dubai. It’s easy to see why. Alongside its huge expansion, this wood-decked, sun-drenched bar with its views of the ocean serves food and drink to satisfy every taste. Best of all, it’s dress up or dress down, brogues or flip-flips. This is a bar well worth its place in the sun.

Le Méridien Mina Seyahi        +971 4 399 3333

2 Armani Privé

Bar in the world’s tallest building

Just the fact that it’s the world’s tallest building would be reason enough to visit, even if the bar was a dodgy dive. But this is Dubai, and dodgy dives, though not unheard of, are not the city’s style. So they’ve opted for Privé, a swanky bar in a fashion designer’s hotel, with uber-modern design, VIP-feel and glammed-up crowd. It’s pure theatre, of course, but beautifully so. They even have the region’s largest LED screen upon which to watch fashion or football, as you so please.

Armani Hotel Dubai, Downtown        +971 4 888 3308

3 The Irish Village

An Irish pub in Dubai. No, really!

Pleasingly down to earth, the Irish Village is an escape from the glitz and glam of Dubai. Extremely popular amongst Western expats, it’s your home from home, where you can sup a Guinness, enjoy bangers and mash and take in the craic! It also boasts a year round calendar of big-name gigs so be sure to check in while you’re there. And with a large outside space, it’s a great place to enjoy the balmy eves.

Dubai Tennis Stadium        +971 4 282 4750

4 The Cave

Wine and chic, Parisian style

With a wine list of over 500 choices, this Gallic-inspired nightspot covers all the vine’s bases. And its name? Well, the bar feels like a cave, but a luxurious one, with dark wood, backlit latticing and fashionable furniture. It’s so sophisticated, there are even sofa beds upon which to recline, Titian style (with your clothes on, of course), and savour the grape. It’s très French so, if you get peckish, expect bar snacks to include lobster, cheese and snails!

Conrad Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road        +971 4 444 7444

5 Al Sarab Rooftop Lounge

Open air lounge in the desert

Get out of the city! After all, there’s more to Dubai to skyscrapers. The city may be a jewel in a desert – but that desert is every bit as beautiful. You’ll be able to enjoy its vistas and accompanying hospitality at the Al Sarab Rooftop Lounge in the Bab Al Shams Desert Resort. Watch camel trains crest the dunes, smoke traditional pipes and enjoy the cavorting of belly dancers. This is an older, more traditional Dubai, which is as close to its roots as you’ll get.

Bab al Shams Resort        +971 4 809 6194