PLACES TO EAT
While Dubai World Trade Centre is home to many cafes and restaurants ideal for a post-event refreshment, conference-goers keen to see more of the city won’t have to stray too far. Here are the coolest cafes, restaurants and nightspots within a 10-minute drive of the Trade Centre.
BEST SPOT FOR LUNCHES
Where to seal the deal - In town for business? Swap the boardroom for one of these swanky restaurants, and you’re sure to set the right impression.
In Dubai's fast-changing, big business scene, no location in the city is more vibrant than Dubai International Financial Centre. And when it comes to the best restaurants for wooing business associates or potential clients, nowhere is better equipped than the sleek sushi restaurant, Zuma. With its clean-lined furniture, striking feature staircase made from glass and wood, and simple layout, the venue is very much in alignment with its key clientele: modern, sophisticated and chic professionals. And when it comes to the food, the experience loses none of its allure. The Ebisu Lunch (AED130) is served from Sunday to Thursday between 12.30-2.30pm and showcases the restaurant’s contemporary Japanese fare – including assorted sashimi, seared ginger, garlic and soy beef and the house special of miso-marinated black cod.
Zuma, Gate Village 6, Podium Level, Sheikh Zayed Road
+971 4 425 5660
Intersect By Lexus
If you’re nervous about what to talk about other than business, then this venue provides all the talking points combining technology, art, music, cuisine and, of course, cars, all under one roof. This Lexus boutique-café located in the Dubai International Financial Centre is the second branch in the world (after Tokyo). And with its set business lunch (two courses AED90 or three courses AED110) served from 11am to 3pm, there’s no need to speed through the proceedings.
Intersect by Lexus, Gate Village 7, DIFC, Sheikh Zayed Road
+971 4 355 9524
A spectacular view is sure to set the tone for an impressive business meeting, and the one from high on the 52nd floor of the Dubai Marriott Harbour Hotel – looking out over Dubai Marina and Palm Jumeirah – is hard to top. Once diners have torn themselves away from the floor-to-ceiling windows, they can look forward to modern classics such as prawn cocktail, herb-crusted rack of lamb, and crème brûlée with a hint of espresso to leave guests office-ready after a sumptuous meal, which is available from Sunday to Thursday between 12-3pm and is priced from AED90 for two courses.
Dubai Marriott Harbour Hotel, Dubai Marina
+971 4 319 4795
With a Parisian-style boulangerie on the ground floor and a crisp white bistro on the first floor, this is a popular spot among the business fraternity. There’s not a set lunch menu, leaving diners free to choose from the a la carte menu - whole roasted chicken with foie gras and truffle anyone? Bon appetit!
VIDA Downtown Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Blvd
+971 4 428 6969
Choose a table in the open dining room or the chic lounge of this Spanish imported restaurant within the Four Seasons hotel in Dubai’s financial district. Indulge in a four-course menu at just AED130 any afternoon, featuring a selection of Mediterranean flavours. The interior and graphic design is a talking point before you’ve even looked at the menu.
Four Seasons DIFC, Dubai International Financial Centre
+971 4 506 0000
NEW RESTAURANTS TO TRY OUT
With a revolving door of new restaurants opening up yearly in Dubai, if your favourite eatery is not here yet, there’s no doubt it will be soon. Here are just some of the picks from the past few months that have caught our eye.
Fish Beach Taverna
Description: Fish Beach Taverna is one of Dubai’s latest seafood establishments, with an ambiance reminiscent of sitting at a cafe in Santorini. Adorned in blue and white decor, Fish Beach Taverna serves up authentic Aegean sea fare that is traditional along Greece and Turkey’s coastline. With today’s ever-popular sharing culture in mind, this restaurant offers small plates along with fresh daily catches that the chef is ready to cook up to your liking.
Le Meridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina
+971 4 511 7139
Description: Known for their innovative selection of both ceviche and guacamole, Zoco’s modern Mexican and Latin American cuisine is one of the newest additions to The Atrium at Al Habtoor City. Boasting views of the Dubai Water Canal, Zoco’s all-brick interior makes this unpretentious venue the epitome of cool. Stop by to visit one of Dubai’s newest districts, take a stroll along the canal to see the new waterfall and spice it up at Zoco.
The Atrium, Al Habtoor City
+971 4 437 0044
Description: La Môme is a nostalgic daydream taking guests back to 1950s Paris. Inspired by iconic French musical sensation, Edith Piaf, La Môme is a homegrown establishment bringing traditional French dining to Dubai’s modern culinary scene. Situated on the 49th floor of Nassima Royal Hotel on Sheikh Zayed Road, this restaurant’s atmosphere extends past the interior with its beautiful views of the financial district’s urban skyline.
Nassima Royal Hotel, Trade Centre Area
+971 4 308 0470
Description: Situated on Palm Jumeirah, the AED120 million retail complex Club Vista Mare has recently launched with seven new restaurants, all set directly on the beach boasting of great views of the city’s landmarks. Top picks include Aji, a restaurant that’s creating a fusion of Japanese and Peruvian flavours, a blend known in the culinary world as Nikkei. With a trendy interior and outdoor seating situated on the Palm’s eastern shore, this restaurant is a must-try for foodies seeking a combination of atmospheric dining and great eats.
Vista Mare, Palm Jumeirah
+971 4 552 0244
Il Borro Tuscan Bistro Dubai
Description: The newly opened Jumeirah Al Naseem brings Il Borro Tuscan Bistro Dubai to the table. At this first international outpost of the famous Tuscan estate owned by the Ferragamo fashion family, fresh fish, aged meats and fine cheeses form the backbone of a menu you’ll enjoy in stylish environs. To add even more authenticity to the mix, much of the new bistro’s produce will be sourced directly from the famous estate itself, like olive oil, honey and more.
Madinat Jumeirah, Jumeirah Al Naseem
+971 4 366 5165
Description: Located in the swanky new Palazzo Versace, Enigma is more than just a restaurant - it's a new dining concept that overhauls its menu - chef included - every three months. And these are no ordinary chefs, either - mostly they hail from Michelin-starred eateries to include Spain's Quique Dacosta and Sweden's Björn Frantzén, who have been given the challenging task of creating a bespoke food narrative. Guests must pre-book and can select seating, but bring your curiosity and your appetite as the food remains a mystery until it's on your table.
Palazzo Versace, Umm Hurair
+971 4 556 8888
Description: This sassy new place is the latest venture from food heroes Tom & Serg who've brought us some of Dubai's favourite cafes (Tom Arnel is Australian, Sergio Lopez is from Spain). The turquoise-hued eatery offers Mexican staples, including the duo's take on tacos, quesadillas and chili beef, all served in fresh and playful ways. Ask for diablo shrimps served on a cut pineapple, or a signature charcoal chicken. Feeling brave? Opt for the Muchachas fiesta menu, where the chefs will do the thinking for you.
Holiday Inn Express Dubai, Safa Park, Al Safa
+971 4 3275878
Description: The clashing flavours of Asia come together in this high-rise restaurant in the edgy W Hotel. Namu brings the best of rival Japanese and Korean cuisine together, ranging from sushi and sashimi to barbecued steaks and wagyu ribs, cooked in live stations. Located on the 31st floor, guests can also enjoy the sweeping views over Sheikh Zayed Road.
W Hotel, Al Habtoor City
+971 4 4366677
Carnival by Tresind
Description: Newly opened in September, Carnival by Tresind promises to bring post-modern Indian cuisine to the Dubai food scene. The DIFC eatery is the second venture from the minds behind Tresind, one of the top-rated restaurants in town. With items on the menu including Happy Halloween (a soft Indian bread stuffed with pumpkin) and Life is Short, Eat Dessert First (a yoghurt-based dish served with the traditional Indian sweet, jalebi), Chef Himanshu Saini puts on a festive show, served with a touch of theatre and packed with flavour.
Burj Daman DIFC
+971 4 421 8665
Firebird Diner by Michael Mina
Description: This new eatery serves American favourites with a regional twist. At the helm of the diner (located in the swanky Four Seasons Hotel), is Michelin-starred Egyptian-American chef Michael Mina. With its comfy booths and a 1950s jukebox, Firebird offers a relaxed eating environment, transporting you to old-school USA, with an added layer of luxury. Diners can enjoy hearty meals of classic buffalo wings, corn dogs and burgers, and polish it off with a sweet sundae or a cup of coffee.
Four Seasons Hotel, DIFC
+971 4 506 0000
Description: The latest Jamaican restaurant is a New York City export, pitched as beach shack-meets-diner (it’s nowhere near the beach, though). With a soundtrack of smooth reggae and walls plastered with vinyl records (do we hear Bob Marley?), diners can enjoy Caribbean favourites such as jerk chicken, curry goat and a highly recommended coconut-flavoured jerk corn platter, while sipping on Jamaica’s signature grapefruit soda, exclusively available here.
5th Floor, Sheraton Grand Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road
+971 4 354 4074
Description: Japanese flavour with a Western twist: that's how this London-run restaurant bills itself. Ramusake puts its own spin on the laid-back tradition of a Japanese izakaya (an informal eatery). Its varied menu offers everything from traditional sushi rolls to the out-there “chilli j-dogs” - a hot dog packed with wagyu beef and pickles, to a sashimi pizza.
DoubleTree by Hilton, The Walk, JBR
+971 4 559 5300
Winter is the time to head to the rooftops of Dubai - the ultimate place to catch a sunset over the Gulf or watch the twinkling lights of the big city. Whether you want to dance, chill, eat or admire quirky décor, there’s something for all tastes. Here are some we especially love.
Mercury Lounge - Head down Jumeirah Beach Road to find one of the coolest rooftops in Dubai – the Mercury Lounge. Yes, there are extraordinary views - on one side the Burj Khalifa and downtown and on the other the Arabian Gulf – but it’s more the chilled-out atmosphere and comfortable seating that makes this one of Dubai’s best roof spots. There’s an elegant selection of Mediterranean-inspired bites including sharing plates and light entrees, and an extensive drink menu accompanied by a chilled Ibiza-vibe from the resident DJ and a transfixing saxophonist. Although the Dubai skyline is all around you, Mercury’s aim is to make you feel that you’ve been transported to a white-washed island in Greece – something they achieve remarkably well.
Four Seasons Resort, Jumeirah Beach Road, Jumeirah 2
+971 4 270 7804
Pure Sky Lounge - JBR (Jumeirah Beach Residence) is another of Dubai’s highly successful acronyms. This buzzing hotel and residential hub packs more high-rises into one kilometre than most international cities. But it’s also on the beach and, along with the nearby Dubai Marina and JLT (Jumeirah Lake Towers), makes up Dubai’s “party triangle”. In the middle of this is the elegant and relatively chilled Pure Sky Lounge. It is aptly named, with stunning, near 360-degree views, taking in the Palm Jumeirah, JBR and miles of beaches. The décor is simple and unobtrusive with seating on white cane couches and views unobstructed as glass protective barriers maximise the sightlines. The food is light and healthy with options such as white tuna ceviche and pickled beetroot carpaccio with goat cheese dip. Note for beginners: JBR is on the other side of town from Jumeirah Beach, which stretches over 40km. Make sure you say “JBR” clearly to the driver, or take the Metro to Damac Properties station.
35th Floor, Hilton Dubai, The Walk, JBR
+971 04 374 7888
Vii Lounge - “Eclectic”, “bizarre”, “Alice in Wonderland-ish” – these are just a few of the phrases thrown around about this very original rooftop destination. The name itself is a clever double act, and they don’t mind if you call it Vii, using the symbols as letters, or Seven (Vii/VII is located on the seventh floor of the Conrad Hotel). The club, too, is a double-act, with an intermezzo. It starts with the entry area, encircled by zebra-themed couches running the length of the walls, all polished timber and sleek lighting fittings. You then pass through a futuristic tunnel, more exposed wood and mood lighting, and emerge into the real delight – a lush green garden literally hanging off the side of the building. This comes complete with a huge archway hedge encircling the modern-looking decor, including a golden chandelier hanging from the middle, more quirky furniture, ample space to dance and mingle, plus a great view of the downtown skyline. At the other end there is another lush green wall spotted with gilt-edged mirrors. Make Vii Lounge your after-dinner rendezvous - it stays open until 3am every day.
Seventh floor, Conrad Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road
+971 50 169 6777
Uptown Bar - Be grateful the Uptown Bar has such a prosaic name – we like to think that adds to its hidden gem status (despite the kitsch boat design on the façade that makes it look like you are on a billionaire’s cruise). Located on the 24th floor of the Jumeirah Beach Hotel, it’s upstairs from the ever popular Jamie’s Italian. There are always comfy lounges or high tables to sit at to soak up the extraordinary views of the sea and skyline. It might sell itself on style and sophistication but the best thing about the Uptown Bar is how relaxed it is, meaning you can literally stroll straight off the beach – although you may want to put on a shirt first. There is a snack menu, but the smart tip is to have dinner first at Jamie’s or Latitude downstairs then head to Uptown. Don’t be put off by the smoky interior as you enter – go straight through and out onto the expansive terrace.
24th Floor, Jumeirah Beach Hotel, next door to Madinat Jumeirah
+971 4 432 3232
Atelier M - The Dubai Marina at night is one of the most exquisite locations in the city, with dhows, luxury cruisers and party boats slowly making their way up and down the wide canal. And the Marina is best observed from the roof of Pier 7 – a block of restaurants and clubs in the centre of the Marina – with a different restaurant theme on each floor. At the top of Pier 7 is Atelier M, rooftop lounge, restaurant and one of Dubai’s most popular night spots, with good reason. On the first floor there is an opulent lounge area, while upstairs the roof offers stunning vistas along with cool sounds, a dance floor and table and sofa seating. The quality Mediterranean-style menu features scallops, smoked tomatoes and garlic crostini and air-dried beef pizza with taleggio, wild arugula and shaved parmesan, which you can enjoy on the terrace downstairs or on the roof.
Seventh floor, Pier 7, Dubai Marina
+971 4 450 7766
The Treehouse - Take a breather in the Burj Khalifa’s spectacular backyard. Located on the top floor of the sleek Taj Dubai hotel in Business Bay, the world’s tallest building towers overhead, offering a stunning backdrop and an even more stunning lighting display. The Mediterranean-infused menu, designed by Chef de Cuisine Aabhas Mehrotra, offers light tasty treats while the drinks menu is also wide-ranging. The Renaissance-style décor is unique (note the randomly placed fireplace). The Treehouse has recently undergone an upgrade with the opening of a new greenhouse, making it a leafy oasis in the middle of an ever busier city.
Third floor, Taj Dubai, Burj Khalifa Street, Business Bay
+971 4 438 3100
Luna Sky Bar at the Four Seasons, DIFC - With a casual, contemporary vibe, the Luna Sky Bar is another venue making the most of a superb location. From this rooftop at the Four Seasons Hotel in DIFC, you can take in captivating vistas of Dubai’s financial district, the Burj Khalifa and Downtown Dubai. There are two seating options: inside or out on the terrace. The food menu is short but well selected with a Japanese and South American feel - we love the black mint and soy marinated chicken with lime. Simple, stylish with a real DIFC edge, this hotspot is perfect for a pre- or post-dinner catch-up and also offers an in-house DJ, who keeps the volume at a level allowing conversation.
Eighth floor, Four Seasons DIFC, Building 9, Gate Village
+971 4 506 0000
Time Oak Urban Garden - For a rooftop with a twist, head to The Urban Garden at Time Oak hotel. Launched by organic food guru Laura Allais-Mare, as part of the Slow Food Dubai initiative, the Garden on the rooftop of the Time Oak Hotel and Suites in Barsha Heights is Dubai’s only volunteer-run organic garden. Located on the pool terrace of the four star hotel, the garden produces fruit, vegetables and herbs grown in organic compost and fertilisers. The first heirloom seeds were planted last year and since then a small army of volunteers has toiled away to prove that organic food can be grown and farmed sustainably in the heart of a city, even one as modern as Dubai. Birds and bees are attracted to the thriving edible oasis. More than 50 types of fruits, herbs and vegetables are being grown. All produce is used locally, fulfilling Slow Food’s goal of recognising the link between “people, plate and planet”.
Time Oak Hotel & Suites, Barsha Heights (formerly Tecom)
+971 4 437 7888
While Dubai World Trade Centre is home to many cafes and restaurants ideal for a post-seminar refreshment, conference-goers keen to see more of the city won’t have to stray too far. Here are the coolest cafes, restaurants and nightspots within a 10-minute drive of the Trade Centre.
Lemonade - Lemonade is a unique cafe serving both hearty and healthy meals, and a few sugary treats, too. The cafe serves six types of lemonade, hence the name, including tangy guava and lime, and the surprisingly delicious combination of watermelon and rosemary.
Al Safa Tower, Sheikh Zayed Road
The Sum of Us - The hipsters of Dubai have long since been banging the drum for Al Quoz coffee house Tom & Serg which now has a cult following in the city, and in The Sum of Us, the talented duo behind Tom & Serg have struck gold once again. With 20 different blends of coffee and a food menu that changes daily to accommodate the fresh local produce, The Sum of Us is every bit as cool as its Al Quoz counterpart.
Street 6 (behind the Sheraton, Sheikh Zayed Road)
+971 56 445 7526
Tresind - With a kitchen team lead by executive chef Himanshu Saini, who was crowned ‘Best Young Chef’ at the 2014 Delhi Gourmet Club’s Top Chef Awards, Tresind serves up classic Indian flavours, elevated to levels of modern brilliance using molecular gastronomy. The “textures of mushroom” dish is truly out of this world.
Radisson Royal Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road
+971 4 308 0440
Okku - Super-sleek sushi restaurant Okku is famous in Dubai for delivering Japanese cuisine that the city’s foodies go absolutely mad for. Headed by executive chef, Hugo Sato Gardiner, the restaurant has won a clutch of awards - including most recently the prestigious Caterer Award for Restaurant of the Year and TimeOut Dubai’s award for Best Japanese - which brings with it a distinctly A-list clientele. It's not cheap – but with caviar and black truffle in the sushi, it’s certainly memorable.
H Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road
+971 4 501 8777
The Stables - A relaxed nightspot that is great at getting the basics right, The Stables has carved out a reputation as a particularly safe pair of hands when it comes to an evening venue to please everyone. With sport on the televisions, live music performances, excellent food and reasonable prices, it is a great all-rounder, ideal for quenching a think-tank conference thirst.
Next to Radisson Royal, Sheikh Zayed Road
+971 4 342 5571
Cave - Walk across the metro footbridge outside DWTC and you’ll end up at Cave, a cool lounge that oozes sophistication, from the trendy décor with dim lighting (for the ‘cave’ effect), to the regular clientele of young professionals. Pull up a stool at one of the communal tables or head off to a private lounge by the fireside, and work your way through an extensive menu of drinks, tasting platters and gourmet bites – with specials every day of the week.
Conrad Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road
+971 4 444 7444
Cafe Belge - Best for: European flavour. Nestled in The Ritz-Carlton DIFC sits Cafe Belge, where luxury meets relaxation. This Gatsby-esque establishment, designed as a throwback to Belgium’s golden era of the 1920s, will transport you to another time. Think a grand selection of delectable moules – or mussels – and classic beverage pairings. If the weather permits, take your evening outdoors to The Ritz-Carlton’s Sunken Garden, situated just outside of Cafe Belge, for a late-night snack beneath the impressive water wall.
The Ritz-Carlton DIFC, Gate Village
+971 4 372 2323