Best for: Meat-lovers
Before our visit, we didn’t even know what a Brazilian churrascaria (pronounced chew-ross-ska-ree-ya) was. Now we do – endless skewers of barbequed meat and chicken carved at your table by passadores (waiters dressed like Brazilian gauchos), until you tell them to stop. Salad and dessert buffets are extensive, but the meat is the main event here. A Latin band and a feeling of being transported to Brazil make this one of the liveliest restaurants in the capital. Just make sure you have a very light lunch in anticipation and leave your vegetarian friends at home!
INFO: Dhs255 exclusive of drinks, daily, 6pm to 11.30pm, InterContinental Abu Dhabi, Al Bateen, Abu Dhabi, 02 666 6888, www.ichotelsgroup.com.
Méridien Village Terrace
Best for: A party atmos
Set in a piazza-style terrace, this is the ideal evening alternative to Friday brunch. The house band, Flames, provides the tunes, and guests get up to dance almost as much as they get up to visit the buffet. Live cooking stations were increased as of November last year, so if you haven’t been in a while, it’s worth going back to see what’s new. Our favourite is Friday Latino night, when you can dine on dishes like seafood paella and pineapple gazpacho. Olé!
INFO: Dhs209 with regular drinks, Dhs250 with premium drinks, daily, 8pm to 11pm; Le Méridien, Dubai, 04 217 0000, www.diningatmeridiendubai.com.
Best for: Those watching their waist lines
Themed restaurants can be super-kitsch, and Bamboo Lagoon is no exception – think straw huts, indoor streams filled with fish and fake rock pools. Luckily, the food is surprisingly sophisticated and includes unlimited house drinks served in seriously adult measures. Seafood is the name of the game and healthy grilled options like lobster and prawns are aplenty. There are also curries and roasted options, but we recommend trying the Thai soup that you can customise by picking your favourite ingredients.
INFO: Dhs199 with soft drinks, Dhs330 with house drinks, Saturday to Wednesday, Dhs230 with soft drinks and Dhs330 with house drinks, Thursdays and Fridays, 7pm to 11.30pm, JW Marriot, Deira, 04 607 7977, www.marriottdiningatjw.ae.
Best for: Value-hunters
Though it’s perhaps not as popular as it was a few years ago – when it was the place to go to stuff yourself silly – Spice Island still has one of the best buffet deals around. The ratio of live cooking stations to pre-prepared dishes is particularly high, so you can enjoy a freshly made stir-fry, grilled seafood and Mexican fajitas, among other delicacies. Our only grumble is the dessert selection that, while adequate, just isn’t as varied as the savoury options on offer.
INFO: Dhs179 with soft drinks, Dhs239 with house beverages, Dhs299 with premium beverages, daily, 6.30pm to 11.30pm, Crowne Plaza (formerly the Renaissance Hotel), Deira, 04 262 5555, www.ichotelsgroup.com.
Flavours on Two
Best for: Large groups
As the name suggests, Flavours on Two is on the second floor. And it’s got some imaginative themed buffet nights through the week. Sunday is sizzling salsa night, take a trip to India on Monday, traditional British fare is on Tuesday, Wednesday is all about seafood, Thursday and Friday feature Italian cuisine, and flavours from the Silk Road are on offer on Saturday.
INFO: Dhs179 from Saturday to Tuesday, Dhs199 on Wednesdays, Dhs189 on Thursdays and Fridays, all including unlimited house beverages, 7pm to 11.30pm, Towers Rotana, Dubai, 04 343 8000, www.rotana.com.
Best for: A girls’ night out
After heading to your favourite after-work ladies’ night venue, get a table at Toshi for unlimited sushi, prepared right in front of you. All the usual favourites like sashimi, makimono, nigiri and hand rolls are on offer, and the chef can also make tailor-made versions on request. It’s almost always packed, so make sure you book in advance. A great chance to catch up with the girls and stuff yourself silly with minimal calories!
INFO: Dhs169 including soft drinks and a glass of vino or hops, Dhs235 including house drinks, 7pm to 11.30pm, Tuesdays, Grand Millenium, TECOM, Dubai,
04 429 9999, email@example.com, www.milleniumhotels.com.
Best for: Visiting friends and family
Looking for a different way to give your visitors an authentic taste of Arabia? After all, there are only so many desert safaris you can do! Instead, at Ewaan’s new Layali Nights you can feast on delicious mezze, falafel, saj, ouzi and barbequed meats from a lavish buffet every Wednesday. Sit indoors amid the silk tapestries or go al fresco in traditional Arabic tents overlooking the pool. Belly dancers and shisha complete the experience, plus, you’re only a short walk away from the Dubai Fountains!
INFO: Dhs250 including soft drinks, 8.30pm to 11.30pm, Wednesdays, The Palace – The Old Town, Dubai, 04 428 7888, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.theaddress.com.
Best for: Awesome views
The only revolving restaurant in Dubai, Al Dawaar has truly spectacular views of the Gulf, the creek and the city. While the food plays second fiddle to the views, it’s still excellent, with a buffet that includes European, Middle Eastern, Asian and Japanese cuisines. It takes two hours for the restaurant to rotate 360 degrees, so make sure you stick around at least that long to enjoy the full experience. Our tip – check the weather forecast the day before to make sure there will be clear skies!
INFO: Dhs235 exclusive of drinks, daily, 6.30pm to midnight, Hyatt Regency, Deira, 04 317 2222, www.restuarants.dubai.hyatt.com.