I spent two months in amazing Dubai this summer for my other, less exciting job, and it very graciously provided me with the opportunity to check out this unique culture while scoping out the best places to eat and drink – and boy did I ever!
The Arabian culture is really built upon socializing, partying, and feasting, this is extreme Peacocking and they do it very well in Dubai. Everything is over the top, the service is impeccable, the architecture is extravagant, everywhere is pristine and clean, and the food is as good as you can get…anywhere in the world! Below I’ve provided the top hot spots to eat and drink when visiting this flamboyant oasis in the desert;
At.mosphere – Dubai is extreme, it features the tallest building in the world, among many other amazing buildings. Visit the Burj Khalifa‘s (the only 7 star hotel) observation deck for a true Peacock view of the city. If you want a one of a kind dining experience, go to At.mosphere. There is absolutely nothing else like it in the world. Take the swift elevator (travels at 26 mph) from the Armani Hotel to the 123rd floor (there is only 40 more above you) to witness the highest profile building ever built – standing at a hefty 2,717 feet it is almost TWICE as tall as the Empire State Building, this is not for the weak stomached – soak in the view and see why they call it the ‘City of Gold’!
Do yourself a favor a get a window seat and behold, the Arabian playground they call ‘Dubai’ is beneath you. The gracious staff anticipates your every need and they are world class. While dinner was underwhelming for the price; the view couldn’t be beat. So perhaps skip dinner, but don’t overlook dessert and drinks in the lounge. This is THE place to see and be seen in the ultra-hip Dubai. Go for the scene and view – and the meal if money is no object. Be sure to check out the amazing light/water show (which rivals the Bellagio), seen from 1,500 feet!
Buddha Bar – This venue personifies what Peacockin’ is all about for fine dining. Upon entering venture past the velvet ropes, the two doormen, and the cozily appointed majilis’ (arabic sofas), snag a spot at the bar where the bartenders will carefully prepare a delicious and alluring cocktail for you. The crowd here is trendy and upbeat which provides a high level of fraternization. Enjoy dinner under the watchful eye of the giant Buddha and be sure to rub his belly on your way out, and good fortunes will bring you back! Buddha Bar is located in the posh Grosvenor House Hotel in Dubai.
Bar 44 – Located on the 44th floor in the heart of “new” Dubai (Jumeirah Beach Residences/Dubai Marina area) where the city far below seems silent, one can get a spectacular view behind a nearly 360 degree “wall of glass” – simply mesmerizing! What a view it is inside this sleek, art deco inspired lounge where champagne is the specialty. The sophisticated crowd matches the interior, so dress smart, and let the bubbles flow! Bar 44 is located in the posh Grosvenor House Hotel.
Ushna – Indian food is one of my favorites, so my expectations were high – spicy, savory, rich in textures and aromas and Ushna takes it to another level. We went to the Ushna in Abu Dhabi, there is a wonderful view of the Grand Mosque, we loved the mixed grill, lamb being the star. As boring as it sounds, the best dish was the brown lentil, we dipped our garlic naan in it for a heavenly experience – trust me, you won’t be let down. We left happy, our mouths humming with the spices lingering on our tongues! Ushna is located in the Souk Madinat Jumeirah, Jumeirah, Dubai and in the Souk at Qaryat-al-Beri, Abu Dhabi, UAE.
Pearls and Caviar – Pearls and Caviar is located in the Shangri-La Hotel, Qaryat-al-Beri, Abu Dhabi (yes I know it is not Dubai, but it is all cool as it gets in Abu Dhabi). Understated and elegant, Pearls and Caviar exuded a quiet sophistication which is typical for Abu Dhabi and even Dubai. Perfect for a pre-dinner glass of champagne and a light selection of tapas. The impressive rooftop bar overlooks the Grand Mosque and serves up live DJ house tunes during the cooler months. Definitely a great place to mix and mingle if you’re looking to Peacock to a high level.
Unfortunately, we were there during July and Pearls Bar was closed for the summer. So we had to look elsewhere for a crazy Arabian night, but based on the set up they have and the pictures I saw – this place looks like it gets pretty crazy. There are five restaurants and four bars at the Shangri-La and at least ten bars/restaurants/night clubs at the adjacent Souk Qaryat Al Beri. If you are in Abu Dhabi – this IS the place to be!
Dubai is no doubt an extravagant playground for the discerning traveler which needs to be experienced at least once. This cosmopolitan oasis is constantly changing and expanding further and further into the desert. Make plans to visit this futuristic cityscape and elevate your next overseas vacation!