With the cool nights most certainly at their end, turn to Dubai’s latest indoor restaurants replete with to-die-for interiors
Dubai diners are notoriously difficult to please, yet fiercely loyal to restaurants that receive a stamp of approval; Basko is one such restaurant. Housed front-and-centre at Opus by Omniyat in Business Bay, stepping into Basko’s whimsical world is like transporting back in time. A sixties-inspired splash of prints, artworks and colour fill the electrifying space and spill onto the wrap-around terrace – now enclosed for summer – where an Art Deco-inspired bar is situated alongside ample seating and spectacular city views. If you can peel your eyes from the joyful interiors, peruse the Mediterranean-inspired menu and stumble upon Dubai staples — burrata and beef tartare, we’re looking at you — alongside Basko’s unique eats. The crispy tuna tartines are a one-bite wonder that pairs perfectly with welcome drinks and makes for a delicious segue into starters — opt for the sea bass ceviche topped with basil ice cream followed by the rich langoustines risotto and succulent octopus straight off the robata grill for mains. Be sure to leave room for the zingy lemon tart — you won’t regret it.
Once you’ve finished your meal, ascend the mirrored spiral staircase to Suave for after-dinner drinks. Suave only opened three months ago but has become a go-to for those looking to let their hair down in stylish surroundings. A sultry speakeasy, the walls are covered in vinyls and velvet, with plush sofas and ruby red tassels suspended from the ceiling. Suave’s offerings are crafted by expert mixologists and include reinterpreted favourites and speciality concoctions perfect for a weekend wind-down.
When to go: Basko has quickly become a favourite in Dubai’s culinary scene and is bustling any time of day, but the Saturday brunch is an opportune time to sample the chef’s picks and the bartenders’ creations. Alternatively, head down for late-night dinner and a nightcap. Book Now
Ninive’s urban majlis has made its highly anticipated return this summer, transforming Emirates Towers’ iconic grounds into a desert oasis. Inspired by the Hanging Gardens of Babylon and Bedouin architecture, the space features luxurious hues, wooden beams, draped ceilings and plenty of foliage. The inviting atmosphere is made warmer still with soft candlelight and Moroccan lighting, resulting in a dreamy escape in the heart of Dubai’s financial district.
Throughout the scorching summer months diners can seek refuge and tuck into traditional fare that celebrates the region’s colourful culinary history. Stand-out dishes include comforting tagines; couscous; tashreeb; and mixed grill comprising lamb chops, wagyu tenderloin and saffron rice, best enjoyed alongside signature beverages. Not a destination for quick bites, Ninive encourages savoured evenings with loved ones until the early hours – there’s even a DJ to entertain from 8pm.
When to go: Settle in on a weeknight if you’re searching for a relaxed setting for an overdue catch-up, romantic evening or gathering of loved ones. Book Now
Chef Li Yuan Hui of Hakkasan Qatar and Mumbai introduces Bluewaters Island to Chinese cuisine in spectacular fashion. The first Chinese restaurant on the island, Shi serves elevated Chinese favourites: think Peking duck alongside a dollop of caviar and king crab soup with truffle. The extensive menu features a selection of shareable plates, moreish dim sum and heartier mains, including the signature rice stone pots topped with wagyu, seafood or vegetables. If you’re dining with a picky eater, there are plenty of Japanese options, too. The sprawling two-storey restaurant — split into a lounge and fine dining area — has up-close views of Ain Dubai and is dotted with the usual terracotta decor. However, explore the sleek surroundings and you’ll find playful pieces galore, from pop art and graffiti murals to a room divider stacked with multicoloured Bearbrick figurines.
La Maison Ani
The latest culinary adventure from Chef Izu and Eygeny Kuzin — of Gaia and Scalini fame — is already receiving rave reviews. Serving relaxed French- Mediterranean cuisine in a stylish setting, La Maison Ani is home to an exquisite boulangerie and patisserie inspired by the daily rituals of French culture with a British and African touch. Diners can expect everything from freshly baked artisan breads, viennoiseries and pastries alongside organic- roast coffee to larger Mediterranean dishes served in the botanical conservatory. With panoramic views of the Dubai Fountain from the La Maison Ani’s windows and direct access to Dubai Mall’s Fashion Avenue, a culinary experience here is a treat for both the eyes and the tastebuds.
When to go: Best visited first thing for a light breakfast or during the lunchtime rush when Dubai’s most discerning dressers descend. No booking? Don’t even bother. LMA is fast eclipsing the likes of LPM and Zuma. Book Now
Welcome to the jungle. A favourite with DIFC dwellers, The Ritz-Carlton DIFC’s outdoor lounge Flair 5 is bringing the outdoors in this season. The summer pop-up is adorned in foliage, with intertwined vines cascading from the ceiling and pillars covered in plant-print wallpaper. The jungle theme doesn’t stop at decor, either. Browse the Japanese-Peruvian menu and find flower-inspired appetisers alongside generous sushi platters and signature desserts.
When to go: Avoid the after-work crowds and book a spot at the Secret Garden Brunch on Saturdays where you’ll tuck into sharing-style dishes while deep house keeps you dancing. Book Now
A destination for the rule-breakers – the name itself is a nod to those swimming against the stream – Salmon Guru lands in Dubai from Madrid, where it boasts the 24th spot on the World’s 50 Best Bars. Founder Diego Cabrera personally designed the fantastical space, comprised of three sections of varied themes, filling it to the brim with delightfully bonkers accents from neon signs and pop art to the Instagram-friendly glassware modelled after jungle creatures. Shareable starters include baba ghanoush, wagyu carpaccio (served under a cloche of smoke, no less) and moreish edamame, and are the perfect complement for cocktails.
When to go: Take advantage of Salmon Guru’s Business Bay location and pop by for after-work drinks; there’s no better place to ignore your inbox. Book Now
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