Dubai isn’t like any other destination. Yes, hungry holidaymakers can play it safe with pizzas, pastas and steaks served inside ice cold, air-conditioned restaurant chains. But, away from the familiar franchises, there is also a wealth of unique, adventurous and exhilarating eateries that can give any other food scene on earth a run for its money. Naysayers, you have been warned - dining in Dubai has got the lot.
The sheer diversity of different options can make choosing dinner incredibly difficult for anyone visiting the city for the first time. Worry not, intrepid travelers - Twisted has got you covered. We’ve gathered together the inside scoop on eight of the city’s most unmissably cool eating experiences. From the dreamy to the daring, this bucket list is as delicious as it gets. Belafya!
If eating in a truly unforgettable dining room is on your bucket list, the subterranean space at the incredible Burj Al Arab is a must-visit. The restaurant is a temple to seafood, and offers an experience that is arguably as close as you can get to eating under the sea without actually getting wet.
Stunningly plated seafood dishes are enhanced by the presence of a giant 260,000-gallon fish tank, where enchanting deep-sea creatures float past at eye level every few seconds. Eating in an aquarium has never been so magical.
There are two things that make eating at Al Hadeerah a treat. The first is the restaurant’s location, inside a traditional Arabian fort in the middle of the desert. Sandstone walls house an entourage of dancers, singers and master falconers, who variously prance, bellow and swoop at you as you eat. It’s intense, but awesome.
The second is the food itself. Despite the theatrics, Al Hadeerah remains one of the few high profile restaurants in the city serving traditional Arabian cooking, including dishes such as kebbeh, sambousak and kebabs. Coupled with the entertainment, Al Hadeerah is the complete dining package.
Located on Level 122 of the Burj Khalifa - the tallest building in the world - At.mosphere has the distinction of technically being one of the highest restaurants on the planet. As befitting such a distinguished location, the dining is seriously special.
The restaurant offers unparalleled views over the rest of the city, as well as a spectacular menu stuffed with cold seafood platters and sliced Japanese wagyu. If anything can distract you from the view, it’s going to be the world’s best beef.
It might sound like a supergroup made up of baking blacksmiths, but Aprons & Hammers is easily one of the most enjoyable ways to spend an evening in Dubai. The restaurant, which operates in two locations around the city, is arguably the most thrilling way to enjoy seafood, short of heading out to the open ocean and sourcing it yourself.
When it comes to the cooking, Aprons & Hammers encourages you to get your hands dirty, serving up mountains of steaming shellfish from deep within the kitchen, including buckets of mud crabs, giant prawns, and lobsters. Factor in the arsenal of small hammers provided to every diner for smashing and cracking, and you’ve really got a restaurant worth writing home about.
It’s one thing enjoying spectacular views as you eat. It’s quite another when those views change with every bite. The incredibly picturesque Al Dawaar restaurant provides an elevated dining room that slowly rotates, proving that sky-high feasting is just as special as it sounds.
The restaurant itself, which is actually among the oldest eateries in the city, serves a range of buffet salads, dim sum and cold cuts for lunch, as well as a more comprehensive hot buffet and “live” tandoori station for dinner, but it’s the ever-changing view that makes Al Dawaar truly unforgettable. Pull up a pew and get an unparalleled perspective on the amazing scenery below.
What’s better than a barbecue? Enjoying one as you drift around the totally flat, pleasantly temperate turquoise waters of Dubai Creek, of course. BBQ Donut takes the concept of maritime dining to new extremes, allowing customers to drive themselves around in a giant, floating plastic disk. Weigh anchor!
In addition to the adventure afforded by a self-driven, inedible dessert, BBQ Donut provides a selection of pre-marinated meats, veggie skewers and seafood, all of which can be tossed on the in-built grill at the drop of a hat. Eating on the ocean doesn’t get more exciting.
It’s been called the most romantic spot in the city and it’s easy to see why. Situated at the end of an isolated pier, jutting out into the gently lapping waters of the Arabian Sea, Pierchic is a seriously special seafood restaurant. The exclusive location grants privacy, while the sensational food provides everything else you need for an amazing evening.
The menu itself features surprises such as whole Galician octopus and wild Mediterranean seabass, making it a must-visit for traveling seafood aficionados. Factor in the swoon-worthy setting and you have a recipe for something truly spectacular.
You don’t always have to pay top dollar for an unbelievable experience - sometimes simplicity is simply unbeatable. At Bu Qtair, as unassuming an eatery as you’ll find anywhere, the secret to an awesome dinner is just fresh fish, cooked to perfection by a master. It’s a formula that works wonders.
Serving local seafood seasoned with a secret recipe that’s as closely guarded as Coca-Cola or KFC, Bu Qtair attracts clientele ranging from local fishermen to the hundreds of holidaymakers staying nearby. That it’s now more popular than ever just goes to show that there really is no substitute for quality cooking.
This collection of amazing eateries proves is that you dismiss Dubai at your peril. Whether you’re after a taste something sublime, or a dinner location that will take your breath away, this incredible destination has definitely got you covered. It might not be immediately obvious, but trust us - it’s well worth digging below the surface.
This is a sponsored article in association with Dubai Tourism.