You must have noticed that the weather’s very pleasant right now, which means it’s prime time to take a table outdoors. Here’s a list of some popular restaurants that are suitable for al-fresco dining. We considered the vibe, the food and the view, and categorized them by area, so wherever you are in town you’ll know where to go. Bon appetit!
40 Kong, The H Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road – As the name would suggest, this rooftop bar is 40 floors up. It can be slightly windy if you catch it on a bad day, but usually the chic cocktail lounge and restaurant is a beautiful outdoor option. Although it’s a favourite for sundowners, the food menu is extensive, so try it out for dinner before the warm weather takes over.
Ramusake, Hilton DoubleTree in Jumeirah Beach Residence – The London izakaya restaurant brand has opened in Dubai, serving up the likes of tuna sashimi pizza, fried truffle and cheese dumplings with truffle ponzu, and fried chicken kara-age sliders with kimchee mayo. Ramusake also has a theatrical robata counter, where the chefs fling around your food as though they were auditioning for Arabs Got Talent.
Iris, Oberoi Hotel, Business Bay – If you haven’t tried Le Brunch yet, we highly recommend this all-you-can-eat. The live cooking stations include truffle risotto, pasta, handmade sliders, and sushi. It’s a slick atmosphere, and the impressive buildings of Downtown, including the Buj Khalifa, set a striking backdrop. The cocktails are a cut above the rest too – one of them is florescent green and served in a light bulb. The best part? It lasts from 1pm to 5pm. Advance booking is recommended as this place is extremely busy.
Trattoria Toscana, Souk Madinat Jumeirah – Trattoria Toscana has an authentic Tuscan menu, as the name gives away. Along with a rustic menu, a warm and welcoming vibe and enthusiastic staff direct from Italy, the restaurant is an ideal place to gather friends and family. Inspired by the laid-back lifestyle of rural Tuscany, diners can enjoy long meals outside on the terrace, along Souk Madinat Jumeirah’s waterway. Perfect for a long, lazy lunch.
The Maine, Hilton Double Tree – Fast becoming one of our favourite places in Dubai due to its suave décor, reasonably priced menu and excellent food, The Main is comfortably one of JBR’s best restaurants. Make sure you visit for the ladies’ night which is wonderfully titled ‘The Clam Jam’.
BiCE Mare, Souk Al Bahar – A nautical themed restaurant with a nautical themed menu, BiCE Mare is the place to go for fresh seafood. The restaurant’s terrace is so close to the Dubai fountains that you’re almost sprayed with water every time the jets shoot up, adding to the seaside-themed dining experience.
Pierchic, Madinat Jumeirah – The pearl in the oyster shell that is the Madinat Jumeirah complex, it might actually be the law that couples must leave this most romantic of restaurants newly betrothed. It’s a curious paradox of a place; it looks like an oil rig from afar – hint, it was once used as a jetty by a construction firm – and the bill could come close to the price of the one, but its unbeatable setting at the end of a 100-metre pier with the Burj Al Arab for a neighbour, paired with mouth-watering seafood and top-notch service, make Pierchic a winner.
Bussola, The Westin Dubai – The terrace at the ever-popular Bussola remains one of the premier spots for outdoor amongst marina residents. It also has a generous deck overlooking the azure waters of the Arabian Gulf and the sprawling Palm Jumeirah. In terms of food, Bussola has won plenty of admirers – and awards – for its creative approach to Italian cuisine. When even the humble pizza can surprise you (with no less than five seafood options to pick from), you know you’re onto a winner.
Café Belge, Gate Village DIFC – Offering fancy Belgian comfort food, like chunky chips and mussels, Café Belge is chilled out and atmospheric at the same time. The 20’s themed restaurant has a large outdoor area which is great for dinner or drinks.
Pai Thai, Dar Al Masyaf Hotel, Madinat Jumeirah – One of the nicest settings of any restaurant in Dubai, half the beauty of Pai Thai lies in simply getting there. Arriving at the Al Qasr Hotel you hop on one of the abras, the small dhow-like boats, and reach your destination after a delightfully circuitous route around Madinat Jumeirah’s canals. Start with the crispy marinated chicken wrapped in a pandan leaf, follow that with deep-fried dory fillet with garlic and chili sauce and finish with a lemongrass sorbet and you’re set.
Mekong, Anantara Palm Jumeirah – Restaurants need not specialize in one cuisine to be given fine-dining wings, but if you’re going to mix it up, a more eclectic menu must not be at the mercy of Doing Things Properly – and this is where Mekong wins. Dining at Mekong, within the sprawling Asia-inspired Anantara resort, takes diners on a vibrant journey through the food of Vietnam, China and Thailand. Here, chicken satay or dim-sum shunners and pad thai or crispy duck lovers can all dine in harmony.