If there’s one thing Dubai has, it’s taste. From becoming one of the world’s favourite shopping destinations, with year-round sales and festivals, to an expansive culinary landscape, the city certainly has an appreciation for the finer things.
Gourmands from far and wide flock to Dubai for its eclectic dining scene, which represents the city’s residents and visitors through its multicultural display of dishes, traditions and ambience.
Lucky for local foodies, you don't have to travel too far to enjoy a delicious meal that can transport you to unique parts of the world. With the summer sun over us, tropical vacations are the way to go, and Dubai has food haunts that deliver in both, flavours and feel.
1. Make way for Mama Zonia
Gourmand central Pier 7, a seven-storey food and nightlife destination, is home to an Amazonian-style restaurant overlooking Dubai Marina from the second floor. Mama Zonia's vibrant vibes and scenery excite the little ones, while its weekend deals and upbeat ambience are popular amongst Dubai's youngsters.
Girls' night out, birthday dinner with the family or a quick catch up with friends – it's a hotspot for all occasions.
Pier 7, Dubai Marina, +971 4 240 4747
2. Let it rain
Family-friendly vibes are at an all-time high at Dubai's The Rainforest Cafe. Housed right by the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo at The Dubai Mall, this multi-sensory restaurant brings the tropical outdoors, inside. Feast on an international menu that satisfies all tastes while the aquarium's mesmerising wildlife floats by you. Children will certainly love this spot, which brings all the sounds and scenes of the wild to the urban centre – and if this is a hit, consider checking out The Green Planet, the region’s first indoor biodome.
The Dubai Mall, +971 4 330 8515
3. It’s always a fiesta
Suspended 72 stories above Business Bay, Hotel Cartagena in JW Marriott Marquis is amongst the most popular dining venues in Dubai. Great for groups, this Bohemian Latin American paradise is as delicious to the taste buds as it is delightful on the eyes. Perched in the clouds, you can enjoy remarkable views of the city below you while a live DJ and cheerful dancers decked in colourful, feather-laden costumes raise the energy. JW Marriott Hotel, +971 4 560 1799
4. Embark on a culinary adventure
No such list is complete without a mention of the award-winning, audience-favourite Coya. This upscale restaurant pays homage to its Incan heritage through its ambience, with a dash of luxury that makes every night here unforgettable. The food is truly marvellous – an adventurous blend of Peruvian and Japanese traditions – and the vibe will lure you back on the weekend. Restaurant Village, Four Seasons Resort Jumeirah Beach Road, +971 4 316 9600
5. Find a middle passage
Another Dubai Marina gem is Toro Toro, a more elegant take on the tropics. With subtle Latin American influences in the decor – including a life-sized charging bull statue – this earthy, foliage-splashed eatery by Chef Richard Sandoval is perfect for special occasions and feasts. Grosvenor House Dubai, +971 4 317 6000
6. Taco-bout a good time
Enjoy a night in the town at Cantina 1810. It’s one the city’s top-rated Mexican haunts that delivers a hearty blend of art, live Latin entertainment and flavourful food. A hidden gem in the heart of Bur Dubai, it promises a dynamic evening for all ages. They offer all the quintessential Mexican favourites, but you can’t leave without ordering a plate of their Supremo Nachos, which features crunch tortilla chips topped with a heavy serving of seasoned ground beef, pickled jalapenos, melted cheese and fresh guacamole deliciousness. Kuwait St, Al Mankhool, +971 4 359 9992
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