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Dubai Travel Guide: Drinks & Dining

As a companion to the Dubai 5-day Itinerary, this is a drinks and dining guide. Considering the high turnover in Dubai restaurants, this will be updated more often.

Keep in mind these are my PERSONAL recommendations, i.e. where I like to spend my time. They may not be the hippest/coolest/place du jour but I enjoy them.

NOTE: Visitors should know that Dubai laws require restaurants to have a liquor license to serve alcohol. Unique to the Middle East, these restaurants must be next to/inside a hotel so don’t expect to get that beer/wine at any restaurant. If this is important to you, plan ahead. I’ve noted which restaurants (the majority) are licensed here.

Dining – High End

Think fancy when it comes to these choices. You’ll want to dress up for all these options – business casual and spending at least $150 per person. I suggest advance reservations, which can mostly be made online. All these options are licensed.

Bistro des Arts (Dubai Marina) – French
JB’s (JBR) – Gastropub
La Serre (Downtown Dubai) – French (Licensed)
La Petite Maison (DIFC) – French (Licensed)
The Maine (JBR) – Seafood
Marina Social (Dubai Marina) – British/Mediteranean
Mythos (JLT) – Greek
Ruya (Dubai Marina) – Turkish
Très Ind (Sheikh Zayed Road) – Indian
Weslodge (Business Bay) – Canadian
Zuma (DIFC) – Japanese

Dining – Casual

Casual fare and generally not licensed so plan the drinks before/after. I also recommend using the Zomato  or Foursquare app to discover restaurants in Dubai.

Al Safadi (Multiple) – The best shwarama’s in Dubai
Eat Greek (Multiple) – Casual greek
Kulfilicious (Karama) – Traditional Indian ice cream and chai + cute decor
Mom’s Food (Dubai Marina) – Another Middle Eastern restaurant with a homely feel
Rasoi Ghar (Karama) – Vegetarian, Indian food with a thali (seated buffet) concept
Reem al Bawadi (Multiple) – Casual traditional Lebanese food with shisha/hookah – a Dubai institution
Sind Punjab (Karama, Bur Dubai) – The original Indian restaurant – great kebabs and chaat
Zaroob (Multiple) – Levantine street food
P.S. Dubai’s resident food expert – FOODIVA – has an annual list and some great recommendations and reviews.

Going Out

Dancing/clubbing – whatever you call it. Expect to wait in line if you arrive late and the place to fill out after midnight. Most clubs stay open till 3 am. Table service recommended if your budget allows. Thanks Seher for some of the recs!

Atelier M (Pier 7, Dubai Marina) – Old School Hip-Hop, RnB – Thursday
Billionaire (Taj Dubai) – Sunday
Blue Marlin – Friday
Boa – Friday
Cirque le Soir – Monday
Little Black Door – Thursday, Friday
Mahiki (Jumeirah Beach Hotel) – Tuesday, Thursday
Miss Lily’s (Sheikh Zayed Road) – Any Night
Movida – Wednesday
Provocateur – Wednesday, Friday
Ramusake – Ladies Night on Wednesday
Stereo Arcade – Thursday, Friday
Toy Room – Monday
Vii – Wednesday
VIP Room – Tuesday, Thursday
White – Thursday, Saturday


Bars, lounges, etc. The perfect place to unwind after a day of touristing. These options serve great cocktails and for whiskey aficionados, check-out my Dubai Old-Fashioned Guide.

The Scene (Pier 7, Dubai Marina)
At.mosphere (Burj Khalifa) – alternate to buying tickets to the observation deck (book in advance)
Toro Toro, Siddhartha (Grosvenor House)
Hendricks (Four Seasons Jumeirah) – Gin, whiskey and cigars

Friday Brunch

A Dubai institution and number 1 on my itinerary, which some people may disagree with. But nothing summarizes Dubai better than an overindulgent Friday brunch. Expect to pay minimum of $150+ per person for unlimited food and drink. Tread carefully if you have evening plans.

Al Qasr (Madinat Jumeirah) – Perfect for all occasions
Bubbalicious (Westin Mina Seyahi) – Good for families
Cafe Belge (DIFC) – Seafood lovers
Saffron (Atlantis the Palm)  – Party brunch
Traiteur (Park Hyatt) – Romantic/chic
Yalumba (Le Meridien Deira) – The original brunch

Saturday Brunch

A new category with some “lighter” options.

Vida (Downtown Dubai) – Casual, hangover recovery with a pool option
La Cantine du Faubourg (Emirates Towers) – Good food, gorgeous setting


Last Updated: December 20, 2016