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So you got to Dubai. Where to eat?

Dubai may not be as renowned as Singapore for its gastronomical delights – but does it surprise you that there’s no shortage of excellent dining options here? This is a world-class destination, after all! If you’re spending some time in Dubai, you have to make it to at least one of these restaurants; ideally, all of them! 

● At Al Mahara, in the Burj Al-Arab, Dubai’s swankiest hotel, star chef Nathan Outlaw – awarded two Michelin stars – carries you in a make-believe submarine ride to a restaurant with wall-high aquariums that make it appear like it’s underwater. The theme – as one might expect – is seafood, and the top-rated chef is constantly coming up with great dishes, making this one of the best places to eat in Dubai. 

● Al Hadheerah is the restaurant of the Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa, set out away from the city in the midst of the sand dunes. This restaurant has fourteen live cooking stations, where skilled chefs prepare authentic Arabian food, while guests are serenaded with live entertainment. If you’re looking for local flavours, look no further! For an extra helping of culture, the Emirati Heritage Museum is nearby. 

● If you like Asian fusion, you’ll adore Zheng He’s, where traditional Chinese flavours blend with modern Western presentation. The food is authentic – some of the best Chinese food you’ll find outside of China – and the ambience is spectacular, with mellow-lit tables out on the dock, overlooking the splendid Burl Al-Arab hotel. For any true foodie, this is a must-stop – and for anyone who just likes Chinese!

● Fancy Japanese food? You can find it in Dubai, at the Atlantis Hotel’s star restaurant, Nobu – a chain created by globally renowned chef Nobu Matsuhisa. Here you’ll get the best and most modern take on Japanese, blended with the Arabian influence that makes food in Dubai so special. Try seared black cod served with sweet miso sauce, or yellowtail topped with jalapeño. And if you want to learn the restaurant’s secrets, sign up for one of their cooking classes! 

● At Choix Patisserie and Restaurant, three-Michelin-star-rated French chef Pierre Gagnaire takes creative cuisine to its limit. Located at the InterContinental Dubai Festival City, this restaurant is famous in the city – and beyond – especially with its high tea. Enjoy European and British flavours like the fish of the day, beef rib eye, or mushroom tortellini. 

● Trust Dubai to offer something a little unique – which it does at Table 9, where Gordon Ramsay-trained chefs Nick Alvis and Scott Price have created a casual but memorable dining experience. Here a multitude of different chefs showcase their creativity and try to outdo one another. Table 9 is famed throughout Dubai for the entirely unique quality dishes that it brings to the table – each with personalized service. Options include a four-course menu, or seasonal favourites like king crab ravioli and portobello mushroom carpaccio. 

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Our top ten things to do in Dubai

In this latest edition of Paul’s Picks, I’m featuring Dubai.

As always in my Top 10 lists, you will find links to information about the things to do, see, and eat in each location. I started doing lists in college to help me learn and study easier so that’s why I use them when I’m helping people learn about all the great things they can do when they travel.

Where do I get my information? It’s a mix of studying for certifications, personal experience, research, or client recommendations.

Have something more that people should know about this location? Add your thoughts in the comments below.

1. Shopping

” Dubai is a shopper’s dream and with multitude of malls boasting fun attractions, there’ much to explore”

2. Ski

“Snow peaks, Chairlifts and penguins in the middle of an Arabian desert. Might sound like a wild midnight dream? But yes, with Ski Dubai its a reality today. A huge resort spread over 22,500sq meters located in Dubai, makes ice skiing actuality in the middle of the fiery sun.”

 3. Beaches

“Dubai is renowned for its towering desert metropolis, where you’ll find extravagant hotels, Michelin-star dining, first-class shopping and world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa. But, as one of the Middle East’s premier beach destinations, it is also a fantastic place for those wanting sun and sea.”

4. Global Village

“The Global Village is a sensational shopping spectacle and a seasonal attraction that happens every year, during the winter months of the city of Dubai. As a shopping extravaganza, this annual event features more than twenty five international pavilions, each showcasing a particular country’s products and culture.”

 5. Al Marmoom Camel Race Track

“A few decades ago, Dubai was nothing but a fishing and pearling town along the creek. Life was tough in this harsh desert. They reared sheep and goats for food and wool. Wool was a necessity during winters. They used falcons for hunting and horses for wars. But above all, one animal became an integral part of their daily life. If not for these beasts, it would have been impossible for them to survive the desert. I am talking about the camel — the ship of the desert.”

6.  Al Fahihi Historical Neighborhood

“Dubai is known for its beautiful modern architecture.  Yet permanent structures are relatively new to the region. Historically most of the Arabs who lived here were nomadic and did not leave behind physical monuments or buildings.  As such, older regions of Dubai are quite limited.”

 7. Queen Elizabeth 2

“Dubai offers a host of experiences that cater to your every mood, however this time around there’s a much more promising addition that ensures to be the highlight of your trip. Docked permanently at Dubai’s Mina Rashid, Queen Elizabeth 2 (QE2) stands refurbished and ready to welcome in a sea of eager visitors. Whether you wish to dine with a backdrop of the pristine ocean and the expansive Dubai skyline, or you’d rather prefer lounging in one of her opulent suites — there’s no reason why you should hold back from indulging in QE2 Dubai’s top notch luxury. Skim through her valiant battles, historic milestones and embark on a unique cultural journey aboard the QE2 Dubai.”

 8. Dubai Fountain

“The deserts of the Middle East have long been a setting for regional folklore that has wooed the world. It is still wondrous as to how an urban haven can develop in the middle of the barren land in a matter of decades. Landmarks from the desert city have now made their way to the “best” lists of the world. The Burj Khalifa, Burj al Arab, Palm Jumeirah, World Island, Marina Walk are all common entries in global bucket lists. One of the greatest and most frequently videographed attractions in Dubai is the Dubai Fountain Show. This performing fountain has set a standard in its field since its inception and it stands today, as famous as the Las Vegas’s Bellagio Fountains.”

 9. Etihad Museum

“After experiencing the glam and glitz of the United Arab Emirates, ever wondered about the humble beginnings of the bedouin country? There is no better place than the Etihad Museum to delve into the past. Situated in Jumeirah, Dubai the Etihad Museum is a spectacle offering a series of interactive pavilions and cultural offerings of the United Arab Emirates contemporary history. Through a panoply of photos, films and original documents, one can witness the evolution of the United Arab Emirates at the Etihad Museum and walk out better enlightened.”

10. Jumeirah Mosque

“The most iconic landmark in Dubai is the Jumeirah Mosque. The mosque welcomes visitors of all faiths to admire the surroundings and learn about Islam and the local culture with “open doors, open minds” idealogy.”

Top ten

Dubai Top 10

I am often asked how I have chosen the top 10 list, that I put up on my blog.  While in college I found it much easier to create a list when I started studying for a test or writing a term paper. Knowing that it is easy to understand why I create a top ten list, now as to how do I decide what goes on the list, simply put it is things I would like to do or have done in Dubai.  I have chosen things on this list either because I have come across them while studying for certifications, personal experience, research, or client recommendations. Each of the item on the top 10 has a link, which will open a new window for more information.

 Let us know what you think of our list in the comments below the list. 

  1. Shopping
  2. Ski
  3.  Beaches
  4. Global Village
  5.  Al Marmoom Camel Race Track
  6.  Al Fahihi Historical Neighborhood
  7.  Queen Elizabeth 2
  8.  Dubai Fountain
  9.  Etihad Museum
  10. Jumeirah Mosque
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Make a trip to Dubai into a beach getaway

Dubai is better known for its oversized malls than as a spot to spend a relaxing day at the beach. But Dubai has beaches! Situated right on the Persian Gulf, Dubai is a prime destination for soaking up the sun – dressed modestly, of course!

 Here’s a list of the city’s best beaches:

 ● The Beach at JBR. As the name might suggest, the beach is here. The Beach is near the Dubai Marina in the south, and offers a Dubai-sized variety of restaurants, retail, and fun. There’s a cushioned jogging track and outdoor gym. Then, when you’re tired from the workout, there are cabanas for hire. When the temperature isn’t murderous (i.e., October to April) there are also open-air markets, and free yoga sessions four mornings a week. 

● Kite Beach. This beach is named for the flocks of kitesurfers who frequent the area. It’s Dubai’s top spot for water sports: wakeboarding, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding. Fully equipped with washrooms and changing facilities, free Wifi, beach tennis or volleyball, cafes, and a fleet of food trucks serving burgers and kebabs. 

● La Mer. La Mer is a lively dining, shopping, and entertainment precinct, located in the heart of Old Dubai. It’s got colorful cabanas for hire. A trampoline playground for the kids. Restaurants galore. And a water park – for when the beach itself isn’t fun enough – with five water slides and a surf machine. 

● Sunset Beach. This beach – also known as Umm Suqeim Beach – is right next to Umm Suqeim Park. It’s a good beach for families, and you’ll probably see some local kids while you’re there.There are washrooms, showers and changing cubicles, plus Smart Palms that supply free Wi-Fi to beachgoers. It’s also Dubai’s only real surfing beach – for beginners – with small to medium swells. And, as the name might suggest, it’s an ideal spot to watch the sun go down!

 ● Riva Beach Club. Want to go to the beach on the palm? Riva is one of Dubai’s private beach clubs, with affordable day passes – which often include free drinks and other perks. Swim in the ocean, and then freshen up in a pool that’s chilled during the hottest time of summer. Eat at an excellent Mediterranean restaurant, and then stop for cocktails at the gazebo bar. 

● Nikki Beach. If you didn’t think of Dubai as a beach resort spot, that means you haven’t been to Nikki Beach yet. This place takes luxury and relaxation to the next level, complete with white sand, turquoise water, endless palm trees, and a swim-up bar. However, you’ll have to leave the kids in the hotel room for this one. Anyone under twenty-one is not permitted. 

● Black Palace Beach. This may not be the easiest beach to find – but it’s well worth it when you get here! It’s squarely between Palm Jumeirah and Burj Al Arab in Al Sufouh. (Your phone or your travel agent can help you get here.) Black Palace Beach lacks the facilities common in most Dubai beaches – but that’s part of this place’s secretive nature. It’s a haven for locals and expats who are in the know, and not at all a spot overrun by tourists. 

● Al Mamzar Beach Park. North of the city, near the border to the emirate of Sharjah, lies a whole complex. Al Mamzar has five sandy beaches, a swimming pool, playgrounds, and 260 acres of gardens. Bring the whole family. Eat a picnic at one of the 25 designated spots – each complete with barbecues. Rent bikes and zip around on the bike paths. Take the kids on the train. But men, be aware: Mondays and Wednesdays are “Ladies’ Days”, when males over age 4 aren’t permitted to enter.

 It’s worth noting a couple of things about Dubai’s beaches – that apply to the rest of the country, as well! Dress conservatively; no string bikinis, please! Regular bikinis are okay, but shouldn’t be worn outside the resort areas. NO topless sunbathing, and NO alcohol in public. 

That said – as long as you’re respectful of the local customs outside of the resorts – Dubai can be an incredible beach getaway! What better to do in the sweltering spring or autumn?

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