Where to find the best Arabic fine dining right here in the UAE.
The UAE has a multitude of different cuisines with everything from European to Asian to American. However, most of us have come to live in the Middle East – firstly for work – but secondly and most significantly to have a new cultural experience. If you spend your life only eating hamburgers (which I love by the way) then you will miss out on the spectacular dishes to sample from the surrounding regions.
We are fortunate to have a multitude of decent Arabic fine dining restaurants around the UAE; however, here are a few that I feel deserve special mention.
Al Hadheerah – Bab al Shams Resort (Dubai)
The Bab Al Shams desert resort is a stunning getaway, nestled away in the sand dunes away from the hustle and bustle of the city. This is an absolute must-see whilst you are in Dubai. There are many restaurants within the complex, however, for Arabic food you should go to Al Hadheerah. Offering stunning views and an experience to never forget, this is an immersive experience. Described as a 1001 Arabian Nights; you know you can expect something magical. The food is very classic Arabic with spit roasts, open fire pits and live cooking stations. This is a great destination restaurant, especially if you have guests visiting.
Al Iwan – Burj Al Arab (Dubai)
Al Iwan at the Burj Al Arab offers an eclectic mix of Arabian cuisine in a luxurious and sumptuous surroundings. Plush red sofas with gold trim and low hanging lamps provide a cozy and authentic feel to this restaurant. Of course, we all expect the best from the Burj Al Arab and Al Iwan fits right the bill. A delicious and deceptively simple menu of Arabian classics with hot and cold mezzas and main courses including: babaganoj, fish sharmola and lamb ouzi. The chefs understand how to get the most out of the delicious flavours this region provides.
Qbara – Wafi City (Dubai)
Dubai wouldn’t have its culinary reputation if there weren’t a little experimentation and unique spin on a variety of dishes. Qbara’s menu hosts a number of unique ingredients possibly unfamiliar to many expats living in the UAE. The menu is mouthwateringly enticing and almost makes you slightly wish there was less of it to make the decision-making easier! The pan-fried lamb with sour cherry kofta and barberries deserves special mention. Delicate and packed chock full of flavor – it is a taste sensation.
This can all be enjoyed in their super modern and moodily lit interior; the spectacular feature wall and chic furnishings really do set the mood and make you feel confident of a great evening.
Khaymat Al Bahar – Al Qasr Madinat Jumeirah (Dubai)
The Madinat is an absolutely stunning location in the heart of Dubai, beautiful Arabic styled architecture, with mood lighting, a peaceful atmosphere and romantic sunsets. If you are craving some Arabian delicacies then I heartily recommend booking a table at Khaymat Al Bahar in the Madinat Jumeirah.
Amaseena – The Ritz-Carlton JBR (Dubai)
I would like to personally recommend Amaseena at The Ritz-Carlton on JBR. Open only during the winter months this restaurant is hidden outside, and is a delightful escape from the busy city even though you are still technically in the city. The food is excellent, Syrian cuisine with Moroccan elements makes for a fresh and appetizing spread. Freshly baked breads and a traditional mehdi oven produce slow cooked lamb and beef – mouth wateringly tasty! There is always some light entertainment, live music and a belly dancer.
The Terrace on the Corniche – St Regis Hotel (Abu Dhabi)
Refined food in a modern and elegant setting is the order of the day at The Terrace on the Corniche in Abu Dhabi. December is a lovely time to enjoy the corniche, a serene stretch of sand and sea stretching out, people happily ambling around, nothing is more peaceful for a chilled out evening.
The Terrace takes full advantage of this, with perfectly balanced dishes using ingredients carefully selected from the Middle East and the option to either sit in the contemporary dining room or the garden overlooking the view. This is a highly enjoyable way to spend an Abu Dhabi night.
Byblos Sur Mer – Byblos Hotel (Abu Dhabi)
This is an award-winning restaurant offering superb Lebanese cuisine. Lebanese food is healthy, tasty and seriously moreish. The menu at Byblos Sur Mer features all the favourites, expertly cooked. The super selection includes labneh phoenician mixed with olives, green onion and basil, a refreshing cold bean stew called loubieh or maybe a hot mezza including lobster kebbeh stuffed with saffron. There is so much to choose from and the prices are very reasonable.