Dubai is a city of plenty, and the cuisine is no exception. In the many hotels, bars and restaurants you will quite literally be spoilt for choice, especially if you’re after a top notch fine dining experience. Here’s our guide to what to wear, how to behave and where to go for a real culinary treat.
Where to go
There’s places to suit all budgets, from fast food joints to mall dining areas to the classiest restaurants. If you’re on a budget, stray off the beaten track into the older areas of town where you can pick up a fabulous curry for around 20 USD. Brunches (all you can eat buffets) in hotels are also great value for money.
If you really want to push the boat out, book a table at the much talked about Reflets par Pierre Gagnaire, a classic French fine dining establishment run by Michelin-starred chef Pierre Gagnaire. The food is exquisite, but at £160 per head it doesn’t come cheap. For a more modest budget, you can’t beat Noodle House at Emirates Towers. Fast, delicious and healthy Asian food is the speciality and it never fails to deliver on flavour. Those looking to dine in a spectacular location should also head to the new area around Pier 7 at Dubai Marina, where there are plenty of Dubai marina restaurants and ultra cool bars to choose from.
What to wear
As a general rule, smart casual is fine for most evening dining. The finer the restaurant is, the more formal patrons will dress. Remember to be respectful of Dubai’s strong religious context, so no bathing suits or low cut dresses, particularly in places where Emirati families are dining.
How to behave
Being loud and lary in public in Dubai is a big no-no, as are overt displays of affection. This is helped somewhat by the absence of alcohol from most restaurants, the exception being those joined on to hotels or leisure centres. Licensed restaurants add on a 10% surcharge to your bill as standard, while in unlicensed establishments it is customary to leave a tip for the service of 10% or more.
Of course, in the month of Ramadan, a large population that are observing this religious month are fasting between sunrise and sunset. During this time you will find public restaurants cover their windows at lunchtime out of respect.
While it may not be the most obvious culinary destination, increasingly foodies are flocking to Dubai, as more top notch chefs take up camp. Get ahead of the game, and enjoy dining out in this eclectic and vibrant city.