Dubai, once a sleepy port town on the Arabian Gulf, is now wide awake and begging for the world to come and play. It’s often dubbed the “Las Vegas of the Middle East, ” but Dubai feels more opulent, luxurious and futuristic than its American casino-centric counterpart. And its diverse culinary scene is worth tapping in to.
Located in the luxurious, jaw-dropping Atlantis Resort (which also happens to sit on the world’s largest man-made island, the Palm Jumeirah), Seafire Steakhouse is ranked as the best spot in Dubai to savour a steak.
Seafire offers an extensive menu for meat lovers. The signature eye-popper is the Tomahawk—a 1,200-gram Canadian Beef Heritage grain-fed angus served with a selection of savoury sauces and sides. The mammoth steak is luxury on a plate, clocking in at over US$200!
Located in the world’s tallest building, Dubai’s iconic Burj Khalifa, the Armani Hotel offers an unforgettable fashion-meets-food experience. The hotel’s Armani Ristorante concept serves up the city’s finest contemporary Italian cuisine matched with impeccable tableside service.
Chef Alessandro Salvatico perfects risotto with a hearty helping of porcini and black truffle. Be sure to order the restaurant’s trademark dessert, La Sfera as your sweet finish. It’s,a stunning gold leaf-dazzled orb with vanilla cream, violet crème brulée and cassis sorbet.
The Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding opened in 1995 as a welcome centre for those eager to learn more about Emirati history and customs. Every Dubai itinerary should include a visit to the SMCCU, which includes a fantastic heritage tour of the Al Fahidi Historic District and a visit to the Jumeriah Mosque. Guests finish with a traditional Emirati meal served on the floor from ornate silver platters.
I had my first sip of Arabic coffee at the SMCCU (roasted coffee spiced with cardamom and saffron) and enjoyed a hearty feast that included chicken biryani, fish machbous, vegetable salona stew and lugaimat—a round, sweet dough ball covered in date syrup.
The best way to explore desert life is by rollercoasting your way through it! Arabian Adventures offers a fantastic tour dubbed The Sundowner, which includes a falcon show, dune bashing in a 4x4 (hold onto your hat!), camel ride and belly dancing show at a Bedouin-style camp.
The desert feast under the stars includes Emirate BBQ, fresh salads and a cold beer. Before heading back to the city, be sure to slouch into a pillow at the hookah bar and relax as belly dancers entertain into the wee hours of the night.
One of Dubai’s top Indian restaurants can be found in the palatial Grand Hyatt Hotel. iZ Restaurant offers a chic, contemporary dining room that boasts a dedicated Wall of Fame: framed photos of Bollywood stars who have popped by for dinner and drinks at iZ.
iZ Restaurant specializes in tandoor and curries, also offering up freshly baked naan and biryani. The Salmon Tikka is the texture of a buttery marshmallow, while crispy prawns and soft and subtle paneer are perfectly spiced with aromatic chili and carom seed. The restaurant also has a signature cocktail, the iZ Fusion, which offers a nice kick of Chivas Regal paired with spicy masala infusion and tart ginger ale.