Al Mahara is known as Burj Al Arab’s signature restaurant. Although the so-called “submarine journey” into the dining room is nothing more than an elevator ride, and the “underwater” element is simply a floor-to-ceiling aquarium, the ambiance is unique enough to warrant a visit (unless watching sea creatures swim around as you devour them will make you uneasy). Here, the food is all about decadence and presentation, from Beluga caviar to Wagyu beef served with bone marrow and Alaskan king crab and foie gras, all served in picture-perfect platings. The seafood dishes in particular are heavenly.
Don’t miss a meal at the spectacular Lebanese restaurant Al Nafoorah, considered by many to be Dubai’s best example of local Arabic cuisine. The restaurant has two locations in Jumeriah properties: the original at Jumeirah Emirates Towers, a buzzy dining room with white tablecloth, and the more laid-back yet chic spot at Jumeirah Zabeel Saray at The Palm. Start with tasty hummus and spinach fatayer appetizers, then relish the chicken and beef shawarma and eggplant and minced lamb kabobs. Desserts here are to-die-for: don’t leave without trying the Muhalabiya, a classic Arabic milk, sugar and rose water pudding.
Situated on a wooden pier in front of the Madinat Jumeirah’s Al Qasr complex lies PierChic, a restaurant where the seafood offerings are fresh and delicious and the views are spectacular. Make your reservations for this small restaurant in advance: if weather permits, ask for an outside table. PierChic offers the best vantage point for photos of the Burj al Arab.
The French restaurant Traiteur at Park Hyatt Dubai features an architecturally dazzling, bi-level dining room connected by a metal staircase suspended from the ceiling. The restaurant also features a 1200-bottle wine cellar and gorgeous open kitchen. Although the room is a vast, loft-like space, those looking for intimacy will find it at one of the well-spaced, candlelit tables. Menu items are fresh and markedly tasty: of note are the artichoke salad followed by a gently seasoned braised brill and a side of lightly sautéed mushrooms.