A! List Al Fresco Restaurants
Thai on the terrace at Mango Tree
Best for: Business lunch
The terrace of Mango Tree, with traditional Thai cuisine and gorgeous views of the Dubai Mall fountains and Burj Khalifa, is a perfect venue for lunch with friends or a midday break from work. Explore the restaurant’s new lunchtime set menu filled with traditional Thai delicacies – we recommend the Yum Som O, a fresh pomelo salad with coconut and peanuts, followed by Nua Nam Man Hoi, which is wok-fried beef with kale and mushrooms tossed in oyster sauce and served with a choice of rice, and the homemade dark chocolate mousse with mango compote for dessert.
The à la carte menu is pricey, depending on what you order, but the set menu is good value for money. Next time your boss offers to buy you lunch, suggest Mango Tree – just make sure you leave some time to digest!
INFO: Dhs79 for two courses, Dhs99 for three courses, 12.30pm to 4pm daily, Mango Tree, Souq Al Bahar, Downtown Burj Khalifa, 04 426 7313.
Fine dining at 101
Best for: A pay-day splurge
Treat yourself with a meal at the luxe dining lounge and bar situated on the very tip of the The Palm’s outer frond, with unbeatable views of the Marina and JBR. Comparable only to 360° in the Jumeirah Beach Hotel, you reach the striking venue by buggy from the One&Only The Palm or by private boat from the One&Only Royal Mirage.
101 serves lunch and dinner menus specialising in Mediterranean cuisine including seafood and fresh salads and tapas is served all day long at the seaside lounges. Spring is the perfect time to go, and while the daytime vibe is chilled, evenings are more lively with a DJ playing for the fashionable guests. Note the smart casual dress code, where men must wear full length trousers after 7pm.
INFO: 11am to 1am daily; lunch, 12.30pm to 3.30pm, dinner, 7pm to 11pm, 101 Dining Lounge and Bar, One&Only The Palm, 04 440 1030, www.thepalm.oneandonlyresorts.com.
BBQ by The Beach House
Best for: Big families and groups of friends
Head to Beach House to try out the new Friday barbecue on the sands of Saadiyat Island’s luxe beach.
As a DJ plays chill-out music, explore the live cooking stations serving favourites such as beef short ribs with marinated barbecue sauce, lamb cutlets with olive oil and whole marinated tiger prawns. There are also salad and dessert stations, and the food is so scrumptious you won’t feel guilty for not stoking the charcoal yourself.
Beach House also has a new rooftop venue that is open till 1am every night, serving food, cocktails and bubbly. With views over Saadiyat Beach and the Arabian Gulf, this is a perfect spot for a few sundowners.
INFO: Dhs300 per person, Dhs390 including house beverages, 12.30pm to 4pm, Beach House, Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi, 02 407 1234, www.abudhabi.park.hyatt.com.
Creekside dining at Boardwalk
Best for: Visiting rellies
Boardwalk is a great place to take visitors because of the gorgeous views over the Dubai Creek, which is a great talking point. The wooden tiered terrace has now reopened so you can sit creek-side under umbrellas by day or candlelight by night.
Boardwalk has a casual atmosphere and serves a wide variety of dishes including traditional barbecue as well as Lebanese and Mediterranean favourites. Encourage visitors to try the local cuisine and brush up on your Dubai history so you can impress your guests even further.
INFO: Sunday to Thursday, 12pm to 12am, Friday and Saturday, 8am to 12am, Boardwalk, Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club, 04 380 1234, www.dubaigolf.com/dubai-creek-golf-yacht-club.
Lobster night at Blue Orange
Best for: Date night
Blue Orange has just launched a weekly Thursday night al fresco barbecue on the terrace, specialising in lobster and a variety of seafood including freshly shucked French oysters, mussels, smoked fish, sashimi, unagi, nigiri, maki and temaki.
Enjoy fab views over the pools and the sea from the terrace as you choose your own lobster from the North Atlantic, Persian Gulf and Indian oceans, which will be cooked right before your eyes.
INFO: Dhs250 per person, Dhs350 per person including selected house beverages, 6pm to 11pm, Blue Orange, The Westin Dubai, 04 511 7136, www.starwoodhotels.com.
More Al Fresco dining options
25°55° Café Bistro
Get a taste of the high life at this bistro which serves contemporary European seafood. While the terrace looks across the marina and million dirham yachts. But you don’t need to be a millionaire to eat here, as it’s surprisingly reasonably priced.
INFO: Dubai Marina Yacht Club, 04 362 7900, www.dubaimarinayachtclub.com.
This quaint restaurant is set on the beach, overlooking the sea, with great views of Jumeirah Beach Hotel and Burj Al Arab. The candlelit setting makes La Veranda great for a romantic date, but make sure you book in advance because the restaurant is small and gets booked up quickly.
INFO: Jumeirah Beach Hotel, 04 406 8999, www.jumeirah.com.
This rooftop terrace overlooking The Palm serves traditional Arabic and Lebanese cuisine, with a huge array of traditional Arabic starters and grilled meat-based main courses. In the evening, a live band and dancer entertain diners and shisha is available too.
INFO: Atlantis The Palm, 04 4262626, www.atlantisthepalm.com.
Nestled in a tranquil setting overlooking palm trees and a beach, White Orchid specialises in Asian-fusion cuisine. As most of the customers are guests of the hotel and golf course, the menu is pricey, but it’s worth a visit if you are willing to travel and want to experience a mix of South-East Asian flavours.
INFO: Palm Tree Court and Spa, Jebel Ali, 04 8145604, www.jebelali-international.com.