Chic and Cheap
Ten chic places to eat, without paying a hefty price...
When you want a tasty bite to eat, without it taking a bite out of your finances... Ahlanlive.com recommends ten of the best chic and cheap restaurants in Dubai...
BELGIAN BEER CAFÉ Go: This beer oasis is a brilliant place to go for a night out with a difference – particularly if you have a fondness for beer. There are over 20 varieties of imported Belgium beer (including peach and cherry) to keep you going all night long. Some are served in traditional glasses with wooden holders which all adds to the fun. Sit: Grab a seat on the creekside terrace. Eat: The food is hearty and traditionally Belgium (think steak frittes and cheese croquettes) and it’s worth coming just for the chips, which are big, fat and golden: just how real chips should be. Wear: Smart/casual attire. Pay: From Dhs 200-300 for two. Contact: Call the InterContinental, Festival City on (04) 701 1111.
THE CELLAR Go: While the Cellar bar is a popular haunt for post work beverages, it’s definitely worth spurning the bar snacks and checking out the adjoining restaurant which is something of a hidden gem. The dark, medieval looking interior with its stained glass windows and dripping candles resembles a gothic chapel, and the food is seriously good. Sit: Take a cosy corner under the medieval arches, or if the weather’s good head to the pleasant terrace for views of the Irish Village duck pond. Eat: The food is homely and straightforward European style – try the duck leg and potato puree. There’s also a great selection of wines by the glass at reasonable prices. Wear: Straight from work chic. Pay: Around Dhs 300 for a meal for two. Contact: Call The Aviation Club on (04) 282 4122 for more information.
CHINA TIMES Go: After an exhausting trawl around the mall with the girls, don’t even think about heading to the food court for a greasy burger – try China Times. It may be located in a shopping centre but it’s a great place to devour a bowl of noodles for a post-shop pick me up, before unleashing yourselves back on the sales once again. Sit: Grab a window seat and watch the other shoppers pass by. Eat: Singapore chicken noodles, chicken and sweet corn soup, dim sum and fluffy fried rice all finished off with a cup of jasmine tea. Wear: Something comfy and flat shoes for tackling the shops. Pay: Dhs 100-200 for a meal for two. Contact: Call Deira City Centre, (04) 295 2515 or the Jumeira Plaza branch, Jumeira Beach Road, (04) 344 2930.
FRANKIES Go: With its tinkling piano, warbling singer belting out Stevie Wonder hits, luxurious deep piled carpets, crystal chandeliers and tasteful upholstering, Frankies is a pretty classy place to spend an evening. No wonder Italian jockey Frankie Dettori has put his name in lights above the door. Sit: We’d recommend somewhere not too close to the piano, the live music is a nice touch but the singer can get a tad over enthusiastic. Eat: Celebrity chef, Marco Pierre White, has created the Italian-inspired menu for the restaurant and as a result the food is beautiful. Go for the homemade ravioli with duck meat and smoked ricotta and the wicked chocolate soufflé to finish. Wear: Something understated. Pay: Meal for two, Dhs 200-300. Contact: Call the Al Fattan Marine Towers, opposite Oasis Beach Hotel, Dubai Marina on (04) 399 4311.
THE MEAT COMPANY Go: Whatever night of the week you choose to visit, its best to book in advance as the Meat Company is always packed out. Its popularity is down to the fact that you are guaranteed a perfectly decent slab of beef in a great location. Sit: Take a table on the outside terrace set on the shimmering waterways of the Arabian-themed Madinat. Eat: The menu has a wide selection of cuts to choose from, but we recommend the New Yorker steak – it’s the perfect size and beautifully tender. Wear: Dress for a night on the town – with the restaurant’s close proximity to the dozens of bars in the Madinat you won’t be able to resist an after dinner cocktail or two. Pay: A meal for two costs about Dhs400. Contact: Call the Souk Madinat Jumeirah on (04) 368 6040 for more information.
GLASSHOUSE Go: With possibly one of the best meal deals on offer in Dubai (just one dirham-a-drink every Monday and Wednesday) its no surprise that the Glasshouse has such a loyal following. You might expect that a winning deal like this might be needed to make up for the food but in fact this isn’t the case at all – the food is fantastic and well worth a return visit. Sit: It’s popular with big parties so if you’re there with a smaller group try to get a table away from the hoards. Eat: Without a doubt the pick of the mains is the chargrilled lobster in garlic butter and accompanied by proper fat chips – delicious! Wear: Smart/casual is fine. Pay: Meal for two, Dhs 300. Contact: Call the Hilton Dubai Creek on (04) 227 1111 for bookings.
NOODLE HOUSE Go: The simple, top-notch Asian food and great service makes it the perfect spot for a quick lunch or dinner. It’s always buzzing and the open kitchen adds to the fun atmosphere. Sit: Take a seat at one of the long wooden tables and join in the lively chatter with your fellow diners. Eat: The noodles are what keeps people coming back for more but there’s a whole range of Asian food on offer. Wear: The style is relaxed and informal so feel free to come casual. Pay: Meal for two Dhs 100-200 Contact: Visit www.thenoodlehouse.com or call Jumeirah Emirates Towers Shopping Boulevard, (04) 319 8758; Bin Hendi Mall, Deira City Centre, (04) 294 0885; BurJuman, (04) 352 2146; DIFC, (04) 363 7096; Dubai Marina, (04) 422 2300; Souk Madinat Jumeirah, (04) 366 8888
SHOO FEE MA FEE Go: With its old world Moroccan vibe, richly decorated interior and peaceful and relaxed ambience, Shoo fee Ma fee is the perfect place to head for a chilled out evening. Lay back and puff on a shisha pipe while you take in the rooftop views over the sweeping Madinat. Sit: Head straight for the al fresco roof terrace for the balmy ambience and lovely setting. Eat: The menu is Moroccan so try the famous lamb and apricot tagine with piles of couscous, and wash it all down with pots of aromatic mint tea. Wear: Something comfortable, so you can lay back on the cushions and relax. Pay: From Dhs 400 for a meal for two. Contact: Call the Souk Madinat Jumeirah on (04) 366 8888 for bookings.
SPICE ISLAND Go: The all you can eat session at Spice Island with its vast mountains of Mexican, Chinese, Japanese, Italian and Arabic dishes makes for an entertaining night out with the girls. The great value for money means the atmosphere is always lively, bustling and fun (and also somewhat chaotic) as diners rush to pile food on to their plates from the various food stations. Sit: As near to the buffet as possible, it gets tiring having to get up and down all the time. Eat: It’s definitely worth queuing for a stir-fry whipped up by the chef from a hot plate in front of you. Wear: Something loose fitting! Once you’ve made it past the dessert trolley and onto the cheese board, you may regret donning those skinny jeans. Pay: From Dhs169 for the all you can eat and drink package. Contact: Call the Renaissance Dubai Hotel on (04) 262 5555 for details
TOKYO @ THE TOWERS Go: This Japanese eaterie undoubtedly offers one of the most entertaining dining experiences in Dubai. The chef will cook your dinner on a sizzling hot plate right in front of you in a dramatically theatrical performance, accompanied by huge whooshes of flames and gasps from the diners. After one too many sakes, you can round up the evening in Harry Ghatto’s next door for a spot of karaoke and a great night of Japanese-style fun. Sit: Make sure to book at the teppanyaki table to watch as the chef twirls his knives, slices veg at lightening speed, catches eggs in his hat, hurls ingredients through the air and drops your meal directly onto your plate – its all very exciting for a restaurant. Eat: You can choose a meat, seafood or surf ‘n’ turf set menu which all come with miso soup and crunchy salad. All the food is fresh, flavoursome and delicious. Wear: Smart/casual. Pay: Meal for two, Dhs400. Contact: Emirates Towers, (04) 319 8088.