Between a legendary musical continuing its run at Dubai Opera, an alternative Arabic music festival taking up residence at d3, a short-play festival returning to Alserkal Avenue, and plenty more events promising to entertain this weekend, getting organized and making plans feels like a must – but there’s still something to be said about JOMO.
Sometimes, the only real antidote to a particularly long and arduous week involves a whole lot of doing nothing accented by a relaxed catch-up with friends, good weather, and great food. Enter: Club Vista Mare, a 120-meter dining destination that features seven very different eateries – all licensed. It opened just as 2016 was drawing to a close, but still feels like somewhat of a hidden gem thanks to its discrete location on a waterfront stretch in Palm Jumeirah.
Plenty of cuisines aside, the combination of shisha, al fresco seating (loungers included), and spectacular views of the city skyline means you’re off to a great start, regardless of where you choose to park. Here, Savoir Flair gives you a little glimpse into what you can expect and helps you decide where to dine based on your mood.
Breeze Beach Grill
If You Have a Few Hours to Kill
Boasting the best (read: corner spot) location at Club Vista Mare, the Caribbean-inspired Breeze has evolved from a simple beach shack to the kind of laid-back venue where you’ll want to while away the hours. Besides a raw bar and an ice cream counter, it serves deli staples like assorted cheeses, cold cuts, and all manner of wraps and sandwiches. However, anything grilled rules the roost at Breeze – think: lamb cutlers, tiger prawns, steak medallions, and more.
If You're Not Over Fusion Cuisine
A restaurant boasting a mash-up of two different cuisines may get a few eyes rolling by now, but Ají does so with perfection. Serving Nikkei fare – dishes created as a result of Japanese families migrating to Peru during the end of the 19th century – in the form of small plates, it’s the definitive spot in which to reacquaint with fusion cuisine. The menu is an extensive one, its highlight being the selection of raw options like sushi and ceviche, all unbelievably fresh. Prefer something with a little more fire? The sizzling ‘Ebi Teppan’ is the one to beat.
If You Take Seafood (Very) Seriously
“Owned by fishermen” is Ibn Al Bahr’s claim to fame, and for good reason. The Lebanese restaurant satiates with the popular likes of hot and cold mezze alongside staples like lentil soup and chargrilled chicken, but why on earth would you bypass the seafood? The catch of the day is priced by kilo and served with a simple but flavorful sauce made with lemon, garlic, and olive oil – bliss. You can also order fish-based dishes suited to a more demanding palate, such as curry served with white rice or quinoa.
If You're the Traditional Type
You can’t throw a rock in Dubai without hitting a Lebanese restaurant, but Abyat has the added bonus of a prime location and massive shisha terrace. At first glance, the menu may not seem particularly revolutionary, but peppered throughout are a few creative spins on traditional dishes. There’s a mutabbal option made with beetroot, the soujouk rolls are served with ranch, and the grilled fish fillet is topped with a Mediterranean-style salsa.
The Tap House
If Hearty Is What Your Heart Wants
Gastropub fare accented by oversized portions, industrial décor, comfy booths, and the latest football game – The Tap House is an easy winner if you’re dining with boys (or total tomboys) in tow. Bar bites such as parmesan and truffle fries, crispy calamari, and chicken wings are perfect for big groups, as are the sharing platters. There are healthier options like soups and salads on the menu, but you’ll want to turn a blind eye to them once you spot the outrageously decadent ‘Heisenburger’.
If You're Craving Carbs on Top of Carbs
Simply Italian serves exactly what its name suggests: simple Italian dishes. Cheeky wall art, checkered floors, and a bright ambiance set the tone for comforting menu options like pizza, pasta, and risotto. Regulars at Simply Italian rave about the meat-based dishes too, the homemade pumpkin gnocchi with duck ragu and black trufﬂe in particular. Saving room for dessert at this spot in a must thanks to the cinnamon-and-cocoa cannoli, complete with sweet ricotta, pistachio, and orange compote.
If You're Feeling Adventurous
We’re spoiled for choice in Dubai when it comes to cuisines like Italian, Indian, Thai, Japanese, and more – but Ethiopian? Not so much. Enter: Gursha, a restaurant that serves authentic Ethiopian fare in a relaxed, rustic-chic setting. Be sure you step in with an open mind and clean hands; the restaurant is all about dining family-style. You’ll use injera – a crêpe-like bread considered a staple in Ethiopia – to scoop up dips and sauces, while the tangy curries and seasoned vegetables will challenge your palate.