As major seafood lovers, as soon as we heard that a restaurant called Crab Market was opening up in Dubai, we made a reservation almost immediately. Trying out the eatery’s buzzed-about fresh seafood offerings was firmly atop our to do list as soon as it threw open its doors earlier this month. And to put it simply, we weren’t disappointed... at all!
After a relaxed Friday in the sunshine, we arrive at DIFC’s Emirates Financial Towers but, honestly, we eye-roll. Another Dubai restaurant accessed through a cold, personality-free office lobby. But we have barely taken a step inside when a friendly Crab Market host finds us, makes sure we’re in the right lift, and whisks us away to the restaurant.
As we step into the eatery, we’re greeted by a seafood market-style set-up (the clue is in the name!), with more varieties of fresh crustaceans than we even knew existed! The downstairs lobby and duo of lift rides are now nothing but a distant memory, and are well worth it for this slightly hidden hot spot.
After a welcome drink at the laid-back bar, we’re shown to our table – complete with a stunning Burj Khalifa view – and a helpful waiter encourages us to browse the marketplace before checking out the menu.
We instantly know what we want – a platter of fresh oysters, followed by a blue crab and a portion of spaghetti alle vongole to share, please!
The oysters are an unexpected highlight of our meal. We are pleasantly surprised to learn that Crab Market serves local Dibba Bay farmed oysters. Something that, until this meal, we didn’t even know existed. We’re delighted to try some of the super-fresh, meaty and delicious local seafood. We’ll be ordering them again the next time that we see them on a UAE menu, for sure.
We trust our waiter to pick our crab, based on the weight necessary for two people. And, as we’re indecisive, he kindly offers to have half prepared in the signature black-pepper sauce and half in garlic chilli. The messy, hands-on dish isn’t a first-date choice, but it is 100% worth getting your hands dirty for, to get every last bite of the succulent seafood.
Had we not ordered the spaghetti, we would have been all over the mashed potato with truffle and the bok choy with garlic and ginger sides that accompany our crab, but we have to leave room for the pasta.
We should preface this part of the review by saying that spaghetti alle vongole is our absolute favourite dish – we’re talking last meal request, here. A garlicy, chilli, parsley-y fresh clam pasta, it’s the dream dish! But – cue the violins – until now, we hadn’t found anywhere that served a perfect version in Dubai (if you want to refute or challenge this claim, please email email@example.com!). But, like we said, that was until now!
The Crab Market version of the dish is some straight-from-Sicily food perfection. Buttery enough to feel indulgent and served with enough chilli to give it a kick, the dish comes loaded with clams and piled high with pasta. We’re already planning our return, just to see if it’s as good the second time around!
After essentially licking our plates clean, we’re ready to leave Crab Market, feeling very satisfied indeed with our seafood feast.
INFO: Open daily, 7pm–midnight, Crab Market, Emirates Financial Towers, North Tower, DIFC, 04 564 5525, crabmarket.com