The great outdoors – Dubai’s best al fresco dining hotspots
Celebrate the arrival of the cooler months by making the most of Dubai’s best al fresco dining spots
Fish Beach Taverna
After a brief hiatus during the summer months, Le Meridien Mina Seyahi’s popular seafood restaurant has returned. With its whitewashed furniture, relaxed beachside setting and casual menu, Fish Beach Taverna feels like a taste of the Mediterranean in the heart of Dubai. Here, it is all about the quality of the ingredients; the restaurant sources the finest, freshest seafood from Turkey and Greece, served alongside impeccably prepared produce. The menu combines inspiration from the Mediterranean and the Middle East. Start your feast with some hot and cold sharing plates – think grilled calamari, stuffed eggplant or mussels – followed by hearty fish casseroles, ranging from grilled tiger prawns with chilli flakes to pan-fried seabass cooked in white wine. Arrive early and linger late over dessert – there are few restaurants better placed for watching the sunset over the ocean and the Dubai Marina skyline.
Located in the luxurious Nikki Beach Resort & Spa, Key West brings the flavours of the Florida Keys to Dubai with a diverse culinary feast influenced by the Caribbean, Florida and Latin America. Having opened earlier this year, the restaurant comes into its own during the cooler months, thanks to its chic outdoor terrace with laid-back, minimalist furnishings – from benches to bean bag chairs – overlooking the sparkling waters of the Arabian Gulf. Guests can dig their toes into the soft sand as they tuck into a selection of tasty dishes and enjoy a riot of bright flavours. Some of the highlights of the menu include the fresh, zesty seabass ceviche with passionfruit, seafood sliders with blackened fish fillet, and crispy lobster mac and cheese tots. The BBQ spare ribs and jerk chicken drumsticks showcase the authentic smokey, spicy flavours native to the Florida Keys, and the casual yet elegant cuisine makes the perfect accompaniment to the stunning beachside setting.
When it comes to al fresco dining with Burj Al Arab Jumeirah views, not many restaurants can compete with Shimmers. This elegant eatery in Mina A’Salam has an enviable beachside setting, looking out towards the architectural icon, making it an ideal location for special occasions. The rustic tables sit on the hotel’s pristine private beach, so diners can gaze upon the waves of the Arabian Gulf as they work their way through the menu created by Greek chef Yiannis Katsikas. Shimmers is all about authentic food and flavours with a focus on fresh ingredients, from traditional lamb chops with roast potatoes and feta cheese to an authentic mousaka with minced beef and lamb, potatoes and spices, and the classic Greek salad. For seafood lovers, the daily catch of the day features freshly grilled fish served with steamed vegetables, wild greens and a fresh lemon and olive oil sauce. Complete the meal with a light serving of Greek yoghurt topped with honey and walnuts.
Fresh seafood is the order of the day at Sofitel The Palm, Dubai’s signature restaurant. With its picturesque setting surrounded by swaying palms and sparkling water, the elegant eatery feels like a tropical island paradise with a menu to match. The menu is heavily focused on Asian-inspired raw dishes, including salmon and tuna sashimi, as well as yellowfin tuna tartare and South Americaninspired ceviche. The mains also make the most of the bountiful seafood, from platters piled high with lobsters, oysters, king crab and more, to seasalted crusted seabass for two. Curries are a popular choice, and the chefs take their influence from all over the world, with hearty main dishes ranging from an Indian-style prawn curry to a seabass served in a spicy, Sri Lankan inspired coconut broth. The best place to savour the seafood feast is out on the terrace, where diners can soak up views of the French Polynesian-themed resort and, in the distance, a gorgeous private beach that makes the most of the Palm Jumeirah location.