Finding restaurants with exceptional views and panoramas in Dubai isn't difficult. I was travelling with a friend who hadn't visited Dubai; her only experience of the area was a trip to Oman last year – chalk and cheese comes to mind! So on a recent visit, my aim was to sample eateries with a range of views.
On our first night in town, a "dhow cruise" with dinner was suggested as a good introduction. Not my cup of tea from my previous experiences, however my friend liked the idea so off we went. I was relieved to find the dhow, a traditional sailing boat, and the food far excelled what I had tasted before. We were allocated a table for the two of us and the service was excellent. As we sailed along this historic waterway, we enjoyed an evening view of Old Dubai's historic landmarks, together with the shimmering new structures that surround the Creek.
The buffet dinner offered a varied selection of salads, meats and fish, with a choice of International plates and Arabic delicacies. Tempting deserts followed, in particular a traditional dish of rice. If sweet deserts aren't to your taste, there's a cheese board – I of course sampled both! There's also entertainment and a young woman who is happy to paint your hands with henna.
Our next venture was another buffet experience but this time, in the Armani Hotel's Mediterraneo, in the Burj al Khalifa, the world's tallest building. We had taken morning coffee in one of the restaurants opposite the Burj al Khalifa, so decided to enjoy an evening meal inside this amazing structure. Armani does not disappoint and between the two of us, we enjoyed rich flavours of the Mediterranean, whilst watching the dancing fountains that come to life every 30 minutes, they are directly outside the hotel. I haven't yet seen the world's most famous fountains in Las Vegas so can't compare but this was spectacular. There's a terrace that leads from the restaurant outside for an even better view of the fountains, a great spot and excellent for photographers.
The Souk Madinat Jumeirah is a favourite spot to relax and watch the world go by. Located in the souk, beside the canal and facing the world's only 7star hotel, the Burj Al Arab, sits the Anar Restaurant where you can enjoy the views and savour delights of traditional Persian recipes from over 2000 years ago.
We started with fabulous fresh flat bread and a plate of walnuts, feta and leaves. The mirza ghasemi (eggplant dip), is the best I have tasted in a long time, traditionally served with an egg. The shirazi salad was fabulously fresh. The Bakhitiary kebab was outstanding, delicate cuts of tender lamb and chicken that had been marinated in saffron and served with a lime and shallot sauce. The kebab was served with a good portion of rice and was big enough for us to share. We also selected the char-grilled vegetables, which were amazing. I finished this delightful dinner with Sholleh Zard, a sweet rice pudding flavoured with saffron, pistachio and almond and my travelling companion chose Bastani ice cream with pistachios and rose water.
Our last dinner was at the Jumeirah Zabel Saray on The Palm. The casual atmosphere, sound of the sea lapping and the view of the Dubai sky line were the reasons we chose to eat at the Plaj. It is the hotel's all day restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Our evening coincided with the weekly barbeque, so we could select from an array of meats and fresh fish. For such an exotic location and grand hotel, the price was reasonable.
Overall, the Madinat Jumeirah came tops, a very close call as they are all excellent. The bonus is there are a multitude of mouth-watering eateries to choose from so don't miss out on a visit to Dubai.