Dining out to a budget in Dubai

In Dining to Tell 
Dining Out To A Budget In Dubai - keep Dining Magazine

How to have a fine dining evening out without breaking the bank

Dubai has to be one of the best cities to go out for a date night, it has everything from romantic restaurants overlooking the beach, bars on the top of the world or places to go for live music and dancing. However, it can sometimes be a little on the pricey side, so it is always good to know what you are getting yourself in to!

Keep Dining has compiled a list of places to go for your specific budget in Dubai, we have tried to include at least 2 glasses of wine or cocktails, 2 main courses and starters (or some variation on this theme), we have included the happy hour pricing for the drinks, because who doesn’t love a deal!

We hope you enjoy!


Dine out for 300AED

Nola is a fun and atmospheric bar with great food, drinks and fabulous entertainment. They run a happy hour from 5 until 8pm, so it is a great opportunity to take advantage of this and book a table for dinner. The food is New Orleans inspired and is absolutely packed with flavour, I can tell you from personal experience their meatballs are some of the best I have eaten. The menu is very reasonably priced especially for the quality of the cooking and the location of the bar!

So here is my recommendation of the dishes and drinks to order. I suggest you start with 2 glasses of their house white wine on the happy hour (38AED), they usually offer Pinot Grigio and it does not disappoint. For starters you must order the hot spinach and cheese dip (38AED), I refuse to share this with anyone, it is seriously tasty! You should also try the shrimp beignets (67AED); coated in Cajun spices they are a perfect blend of spicy and smokey. For the main courses, of course, you should try the meatballs (76AED) with creamy mashed potato, and the cornflake chicken with delicate little Parmesan waffles (75AED), satisfying and tasty main courses! This whole meal will only set you back 294AED and I promise you will be back for a return visit.


Dine out for 400AED

For fine French and fusion cuisine there are few places better than the A.O.C Brasserie at the Sofitel on the Walk. The A.O.C hosts a daily dinner buffet from 7:30 until 11pm, which is priced at only 199AED per person including house beverages.

The buffet has been carefully thought out and the food always delivers on quality and flavour. They always have a certain amount of French influence on the food each evening, however, the overall theme changes, sometimes you will have Indian other times the dishes will be Asian inspired. This means you can return time and time again and always be in for a surprise. The restaurant also boasts spectacular view over the JBR walk, a perfect place for a romantic dinner out for two.


Dine out for 500AED

The At.mosphere Lounge is located on the 122nd floor of the Burj Khalifa and it boasts one of the most impressive views in the world. The lounge also has an excellent A La Carte dinner menu, perfect for a reasonably priced date night. If you choose a window seat then it is 350AED per person minimum spend, however, if you sit just back from the window then it is 250AED per person minimum spend. Even though you will not be seated by the window it is fairly easy to walk around the whole of the restaurant and experience the amazing view, I do strongly suggest you book a table just before sunset!

The menu is reasonably priced and between two of you 500AED is plenty for a couple of cocktails and tasty dishes. My recommendations for an enjoyable dinner would be to start with two classic Martini cocktails (180AED). At this Lounge bar I do feel like small dishes are the way to go and the portions are fairly generous. Start with the salmon roll canapés (55AED) and the homemade Duck Rillettes (60AED), lovely little starters. Follow this with the pop shrimp (120AED), simple but with a bit of a kick from the wasabi mayonnaise, and pair this with the decadent truffle fries (80AED). This may be a simple dinner but it is absolutely worth it, especially when you can enjoy the spectacular Dubai skyline!


Dine out for 600AED

What could be lovelier than siting on JBR with glass of wine in hand and a bowl of freshly shucked oysters. Well if this sounds appealing then head on over to Main Oyster Bar in the DoubleTree Hilton. Book a table on the terrace from 5pm until 8pm to take advantage of their 2 for 1 cocktail deal from Sunday to Thursday, and then sit back and watch the sun set over the horizon. If you are seated between 6pm until 8pm (same days) you can also dine on freshly shucked oyster at only 10AED a shuck, always good to start dinner with an aphrodisiac.

So here is my ideal menu of choice…bearing in mind I am a bit of a carnivore. Start with 4 freshly shucked oysters to set the mood (40AED), and then order two of the classic bloody Marys (60AED). For starters I would recommend the beetroot salad (55AED) and the perfectly grilled octopus (85AED). I would then think it is about time for another 2 for 1 cocktail, why not try the Press Gang, with Jose Cuervo and spicy pineapple (60AED). If you still have space after all of this, then for mains the steak frites (145AED) and the short ribs (115AED) are absolutely delicious. And all of this comes in for the reasonable price of 560AED for the two of you, and still with change!


Dine out for 800AED

In the heart of the DIFC sits the ever-popular Caramel, a combination of an expertly cooked pan Asian menu and buzzing atmosphere have created a restaurant that has sat at the top of best restaurant lists for a long time. It is easy to have an expensive evening out here; however, if you head over during their Sunday to Thursday happy hour from 5pm until 9pm (house drinks priced at 19AED a glass), it is easy to have a night out with plenty of food and a few glasses of wine for a reasonable price!

I would recommend starting with a couple of glasses of the house white wine (38AED) I would then suggest choosing a sharing plate for the table plate for the two of you, and trust me the TNT Shrimp (120AED) are delicious, I also think you should add a plate of the spicy tuna rolls (80AED) from the sushi menu, just because the garlic ponzu sauce is divine! After this you should probably order another 2 glasses of the house red (38AED), for the main courses I would recommend choosing the braised lamb shank (160AED) with creamed spinach with black truffle (45AED) on the side, and the surf and turf (260AED) with the pommes frites (45AED) on the side. So this amazing dinner for 2 will come in at only 786AED, which isn’t bad when you are eating out at one of Dubai’s best restaurants.


Dine out for 1400AED

Gaucho in the DIFC is famous for its great steaks and delicious wines. You and your date can enjoy a fabulous evening out for 690AED per person when you select their tasting menu with wine pairing. This beautifully designed menu will take you on a culinary journey through the flavours of Argentina. Start with a salty ceviche with soy sauce, enjoy meaty empanadas paired with a refreshing Rosé, dine on Lomo medallions with mushroom and finish with a cheese platter. The ingredients have been lovingly prepared to ensure that every course will impress, it is well worth the price.

This 8-course extravaganza will come in at 1,380AED for 2 people and it is a great way to experience the sublime food on offer at Gaucho without going overboard. The restaurant has a cozy ambiance and the wine is expertly selected; perfect for a sumptuous night out.

Craving for more? Here’s our Top 10 Gentlemen’s nights in Dubai.

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