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Dubai Restaurants

Al Mahara
Burj Al Arab
Jumeirah Beach Road
Dubai
United Arab Emirates
Tel: 971 4301 7600
www.burj-al-arab.com/dining/al_mahara

Eating at the flagship seafood restaurant in what is still the most opulent hotel in the city is as much about the experience as it is about the cuisine. An elevator gussied up to look like a submarine takes you down to the "underwater" dining room, where tropical fish ogle diners from the massive tanks that line the walls. Yes, it's tacky, but it's kind of fun, too, and there's plenty of opportunities for people-watching: sheikhs, expense-account power brokers, and rich tourists partaking of multiple courses of vastly overpriced (approximately $250 per person) piscatorial delights such as Omani lobster and tuna carpaccio drizzled with truffle oil. Portions are large, given the number of courses, so come famished.

Open daily 12:30 to 3 pm and 7 pm to midnight.

Almaz by Momo
Harvey Nichols
Mall of the Emirates
Sheikh Zayed Road
Dubai
United Arab Emirates
Tel: 971 4409 8877

This combination tea salon, shisha bar, restaurant, boutique, and Wi-Fi lounge, opened on the third floor of the Dubai Harvey Nichols' branch by London restaurateur Mourad Mazouz, a.k.a. Momo, is the haunt of new Arabian yuppies. Amid strains of Arabian music (CD for sale, of course), Momo serves exquisitely prepared classics such as pigeon pastilla and lamb tagine with prunes and almonds from a broad menu of North African specialties, which can be washed down with faux champagne "mocktails" of sparkling pear or apple juice and "desert pearls cabernet rose"—grape juice tinged with rose water essence, strawberries, and sour cherries. After dinner, segue into Almaz's own romantically dark shisha bar to smoke a hookah.

Open daily 10 am to 1 am.

Al Nafoorah
Jumeirah Emirates Towers
Sheikh Zayed Road
Jumeirah
Dubai
United Arab Emirates
Tel: 971 4319 8088
www.jumeirahemiratestowers.com/dining/al_nafoorah

Al Nafoorah is another regular haunt of the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammad, who loves its authentic Lebanese food (and doesn't seem to mind the dark, slightly dingy interior). Use the constantly replenished baskets of hot pita to scoop up creamy, olive oil–topped hummus, moutabel (a spicy eggplant dip), and traditional fattoush, a slightly sour mixed salad with crunchy croutons and a local pomegranate-seed dressing. Steak tartare fans should try the local variation, kibbeh nafoorah, made of bright-pink raw minced lamb. They also serve delicious, crispy falafel accompanied with a smooth tahini sauce, as well as fried kibbeh, parcels of minced meat, seasoning, and pine nuts. The mixed grill is a carnivore's dream, with pieces of char-grilled lamb, shish taouk (chicken), and minced kebabs.

Atmosphere
Burj Khalifa
Emaar Boulevard
Dubai
United Arab Emirates
Tel: 971 4 888 3828
www.atmosphereburjkhalifa.com

On the 122nd floor of the world's tallest building, Burj Khalifa, the world's highest restaurant has the air of a cruise ship in the sky. The decor of its two dining spaces channels an ocean liner and the Starship Enterprise. In the vertiginously priced Grill, a chef sears prime cuts of beef and seafood on a charcoal-burning Josper stove in open view (a good distraction if you discover a fear of heights while dining at 1,350 feet). Prices are more down to earth at The Lounge (try the Wagyu mini burgers). Note that sundown drinks will only cost you twice the general admission to the Burj Khalifa observation deck just two flights up.—Susan Hack

Grill open daily 12:30 to 3 pm and 7 to 11:30 pm. Lounge open daily 12 pm to 2am.

Buddha Bar
Grosvenor House
West Marina Beach
Dubai
United Arab Emirates
Tel: 971 4399 8888
www.grosvenorhouse-dubai.com/en/eat-and-drink/buddha-bar.html

Adored by Dubai's society set, the Buddha Bar is done up in sumptuous burgundy and gold velvets, dark woods, and rich red chandeliers, giving an illusion of intimacy despite the sheer scale of the place (it's one of the Grosvenor House hotel's many eating options). The extensive Asian-inspired menu includes crab salad with crunchy pomegranate, Thai green chicken curry, or spiced lamb chops, but admittedly it's more about the scene than the cuisine. At night the restaurant—complete with gargantuan Buddha—has fantastic views onto the twinkling marina. Choose your table carefully, though: You'll feel cut off if you're sitting in one of the lounge areas, while the buzzy bar can get a bit noisy late in the evening, especially when they crank up the Arabian fusion house music. Still, it's an experience watching Dubai's beautiful people pose and play. Advance reservations essential.

Dinner only, 8 p.m.–2 a.m.

New Café Bateel
Building 2 (South)
DIFC
Dubai
United Arab Emirates
Tel: 971 4 370 0404
www.bateel.com

Launched by Saudi Arabia's gourmet date company, Café Bateel is a casual breakfast, lunch, and dinner spot with branches across the city (including the Dubai Mall and Dubai Marina). Opt for the Bateel at the Dubai International Financial Center, which has an outdoor terrace and is a good place to recharge after a tour of the art galleries there. Omelets come with date-bread toast, pastas, and salads with date-balsamic vinaigrette, and dates replace or complement chocolate in exquisitely constructed Opera cakes, Sacher tortes, and pear tartes. You can drink alcohol-free date cider or sample the date variety degustation—Barjeel's orange-peel-stuffed dates are particularly delicious—with a cappuccino.—Susan Hack

Okku
Monarch Hotel
Sheikh Zayed Road
Dubai
United Arab Emirates
Tel: 971 4 501 8777
www.okkudubai.com

Youthful media types head to Okku for modern Japanese seafood, including seared sea scallops with figs and truffles and exquisitely presented sushi. The interior is a stylish, split-level room illuminated by a fiber-optic wall divider and an aquarium filled with giant iridescent jelly fish.—Susan Hack

Open Sundays through Thursdays noon to 3 pm and 7 pm to 12:30 am, Fridays through Saturdays 7 pm to 12:30 am.

Ravi's Restaurant
Al Dhiyafa Road
Dubai
United Arab Emirates
Tel: 971 4 331 5353

This Pakistani fast-food institution on the Satwa roundabout existed well before the era of artificial islands to serve laborers from the subcontinent who built Dubai's infrastructure. Recent arrivals now rub shoulders with millionaires to savor butter chicken and parathas at plastic chairs and tables. A multicourse meal of kebabs and fresh mango juice will set you back the equivalent of $7.—Susan Hack

Open daily 5 am to 3 am.

Sammach
Beach Centre Mall
Jumeirah Beach Road
Dubai
United Arab Emirates
Tel: 971 4349 4140

Locals flock to this low-key Lebanese seafood haunt, despite its shopping-mall location and hackneyed maritime decor; both the food and service are better, if not the view, than a newer branch on the plaza surrounding the Burj Khalifa. Focus instead on the fresh food and low prices ($25 per person). Start Lebanese-style with crunchy bread, hummus, eggplant purée, tabbouli, and fried squid. Entrées depend on what's fresh that day from the market; highlights include meaty char-grilled prawns, fried red snapper, and grilled hamoor (a local fish that tastes a bit like cod). Better still, call in advance to order the specialty, a whole fish encased in a salt crust and slow-baked in the oven—its excavation, using chisels and hammers, is a spectacle in itself. This place is most fun on a Friday, when large families create a convivial atmosphere; it can be a little soulless during the week. No alcohol served.—Updated by Susan Hack

Sarai
Dubai Marina
Dubai
United Arab Emirates
Tel: 04 438 0640

Sarai serves fresh-baked pita, Levantine mezes, and specialties from Syria, Armenia, and Turkey. Grab a seat on the terrace at one of the umbrella-shaded tables. Sarai is a good place to relax and refuel on a shopping splurge—it's located on The Walk, an upmarket winter shopping boardwalk at the Jumeirah Beach Residence backing the Ritz Carlton Hotel.—Susan Hack

Open daily noon to 11:30 pm.

Shabestan
Radisson Blu Hotel
Dubai Deira Creek
Bani Yas Road
Dubai
United Arab Emirates
Tel: 971 4 222 7171
ww.radissonblu.com/hotel-dubaideiracreek/dining/shabestan

Dubai's genesis as a regional trading hub started with 18th-century Persian emigrants lured by duty-free tax privileges. Their nostalgic descendents (and refugees from the ayatollahs' Iran) loyally patronize Shabestan, whose somewhat dour hotel setting is relieved by views of dhows on Dubai Creek and a live band playing Persian classics Sundays through Fridays. Try marinated kebabs, carpet-size fresh-baked flatbread, raisin- and cucumber-spiked yogurt, and the rosewater vermicelli with mastic ice-cream dessert.—Susan Hack

Open daily 12:30 to 3:15 pm and 7:30 to 9:15 pm.

Table 9 By Nick and Scott
Hilton Dubai Creek
Baniyas Road
Dubai
United Arab Emirates
Tel: 971 4 212 7551
www.hilton.com/en/hi/hotels/dining_detail.jhtml?ctyhocn=DXBDCHI&index=2

The former Verre, Dubai's first celeb-chef outpost, was launched by Gordon Ramsay. When he decamped (not that he was often in Dubai) in October 2010, sous chefs Nick Alvis and Scott Price, both veterans of Ramsay's restaurants, took the helm, redecorated with local textiles, and have since garnered kudos for original dishes such as an amuse bouche of a deep-fried hen's egg—a breadcrumb-crusted globe served on a bed of greens with a vinegar and caramel sauce—and a vanilla-infused lobster served atop mango cracklings.—Susan Hack

Open Sundays through Fridays 7 pm to 12 am.

Tagine
One&Only Royal Mirage
Jumeirah Beach Road
Dubai
United Arab Emirates
Tel: 971 4399 9999
www.oneandonlyresorts.com

You'll have to duck to enter the tiny doorway cut out of enormous wooden gates that lead to Tagine, a slice of Marrakech transported to Dubai's One&Only Royal Mirage hotel. The furnishings, ingredients, and wine—even the fez-clad waiters who flamboyantly whisk away silver lids off earthen dishes—are all imported from Morocco. We recommend the Couscous Royal, topped with tender lamb, chicken, and merguez sausage, which comes with a side of vegetables in a tasty clear broth. The portions are massive, so choose your meze wisely: Fresh, crunchy mixed salads, garlic-laden zucchini, and sweet tomato jam are highlights. Desserts are a little too sweet, but the smoothie-like Simply Arabic, a concoction of blended honey, milk, and dates, is a good alternative.

Closed Mondays; dinner only, 7 p.m.–11.30 p.m.

Zheng He's
Mina A'Salam, Madinat Jumeirah
Jumeirah Beach Road
Dubai
United Arab Emirates
Tel: 971 4366 6730
www.madinatjumeirah.com/mina_a_salam/dining/zheng_hes

If you feel like dim sum (no matter what time of day), get a table at Zheng He's, a sophisticated spot decorated with dark woods, red lanterns, and faux-Oriental antiques. Chef Chee Leong oversees the kitchen, turning out baskets of steamed taro seafood dim sum and black-ink squid dumplings, plates of fragrant sautéed eggplant in a spicy sauce, and decadent plump scallops with shavings of truffle and white asparagus. The wasabi-crusted prawns with a mango salsa and mayonnaise pack a sinus-clearing punch. If you can survive without AC, sit outside beside the water with views of the iconic Burj Al Arab.

Zuma
Gate Village
Dubai International Finance Center
Dubai
United Arab Emirates
Tel: 971 4 425 5660
www.zumarestaurant.com/zuma_db.html

Despite competition from Okku and the Dubai branch of Nobu, Zuma, the London-founded sushi house, still pulls in a clientele of Emirati sheiks (including Dubai's ruler), investment bankers, and fashionistas whose outfits are as ostentatious as the decor is minimalist. The main ticket is the combination of crowd and consistently good food, including miso-marinated black cod wrapped in hoba leaf, sea bass sashimi with shaved truffles, and a dessert of green tea, banana, and mango cake. Walk off your meal by browsing the adjacent art galleries.—Susan Hack

Open Saturdays through Wednesdays 12:30 to 3 pm and 7 pm to 12 am, Thursdays 12:30 to 3 pm and 7 pm to 1am, Fridays 12:30 to 3:30 pm and 7 pm to 1 am.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.