48 hour food fest tips
Over the years I have made a list of must have short stopovers for food that I need to do whenever I make it to Dubai with my better half or a member of close family.
Figure 1 PQ – The Belgian organic breakfast place
This weekend, the long awaited and planned trip finally materialized. A work related meeting that tied in with a long weekend at the earlier end of the school calendar with the kids settling down in their August schedule. A search for cheap tickets and hotel rooms also came out positive and within a few hours we were booked for a 48 hour whirlwind tour of the perennial favorites that Dubai has to offer in terms of food.
If you have been a regular on this blog, you would know that food plays a central part in my life. Over the years my list of menu items and restaurant locations has shifted. Soy and Royal Orchard in New Dubai, Anar at Souk Madinat, Jumairah as well as a number of Lebanese restaurants are now off the list. The current itinerary is based on a 2 day trip with recommendations for breakfast, lunch and dinner. While three of the four choices can be tweaked to range from a budget (share a dish) to mid range meals (order a meal per person), there is one that can and should be used to leave an impact as well as a lasting impressions. It also doubles up as a great comfortable location for a private personal or professional conversation. But it is a little pricey.
For hotel stays I recommend a place either in Diera or the beginning of Sheikh Zayed road immediately after the Trade center Dubai metro station. This way you are within easy reach of the bigger malls as well as completely connected with the old city center. Since a large number of my financial services customers are in old Dubai that is my default choice. If you don’t have a problem with a dry hotel, I heartily recommend any of the newer or recently renovated properties in the Rotana chains. If you are a little flexible they sometime offer great value for money especially if you can find one near a mall. Both Tower and Rose Rotana are very near Dubai mall and two of the restaurants on my list. In city center I would recommend Al-Ghurair Arjan, right next to the newly renovated Al-Ghurair center.
And now for the food fest.
Breakfast in Dubai.
Figure 2 PQ Banoffee tart with banana cream and caramel
You just cannot go wrong with PQ. With locations on Sheikh Zayed road, JBR, Marina Mall, Dubai Mall Mirdiff City Center and the Airport, this organic all day breakfast chain has some of the best all day breakfast meals in town. I have been a dedicated fan for over three years. From the quality of their servers to their breakfast tarts, PQ just stands out. The non-Mall outlets open at 7:30 am sharp. The mall based stores open at 8:30 am. If you are around Zayed road, I would recommend the store right next to starbucks right in front of the Financial center metro station. The store is on the same side of the road as Rose Rotana and Dusit and is a short walk from both.
Figure 3 PQ’s Egg Benedict with smoked salmon, baby spinach and organic English muffins
The two must have items on my list at PQ are their Banoffee tarts and Egg Benedict with smoked salmon and baby spinach leaves. If you are not a big fan of banana cream you could play tag with mixed berry tarts, strawberry tarts or the PQ chocolate éclair.
Lunch at Miyabi – Sushi on a budget
Figure 4 Miyabi – Sushi on a budget
Sushi on a budget sounds like a really risky paradox and for any other chain in any other city in the world it would be an instant turnoff. Not so for Miyabi, Dubai.
Figure 5 Free delivery, open till 3 am, every morning
With two outlets on Sheikh Zayed road (right next to four point Sheraton) and Tecom (walking distance from Du, Duniya and Grand Mid West Hotel), Miyabi’s coverage is a bit thin but they do delivery. Look out for their specials offer on week days and weekends where you can consume a king’s ransom in 49ers’s and crunchi California rolls for less than 150 dirhams.
Figure 6 Crunchi cali roles
The Tecom outlet is better suited for a romantic getaway or a professional meeting. The Shiekh Zayed one is a little iffy but the Miyabi maki rolls and sashimi platters are decent enough on both locations. The best bit. Both stores are open till 3 am in the morning. So if you need to grab a really late dinner and you have a hankering for instant sushi, Miyabi is the way to go.
Lunch – Al forno, option two
If sushi or sea food is not your thing, take a look at Al forno, the Italian restaurant with an outlet in Mirdiff City Center as well as Dubai Mall. Al forno does the little Italy impression quiet well. It gets mixed reviews when you experiment with the entire menu. However the only reason to do Alforno is their lamb shank. If you are a meat person and you like your lamb try the Stinco di Agnello Brasato
Figure 7 Lamb shanks at Al forno
Dinner – Persian delights at Al Shayan
There are some restaurants that are there just for the sake of it when you put up a 5 star property. And then there are those rare places around which an entire wing of a hotel can be built. Shayan at the Al-Ghurair Rotana is certainly one such restaurant.
Figure 8 Kebab Sultani at Shayan
Live music on weekends, 50% off meals on weekday on orders booked before 7:30 pm and outstanding hospitality. It is the priciest restaurant on my budget list but you save a meal at Shayan for a special occasions. Celebrating a deal, an anniversary or a birthday.
Figure 9 Grilled veggies
Here is the deal.
Almost everything is great, but nobody does or serves meat the Persian way. If you are having an issue translating try Tikke Masti (in beef or lamb) or Kebab Sultani. Both are extremely safe choices. If you off rice, opt for a skewer of their grilled vegetables.
Figure 10 Tikke Masti – Beef or lamb
But whatever you do please don’t leave your table without ordering the rose tea. I am not a tea drinker but after Shayan, I will follow you to the ends of the earth for a cup of Shayan’s rose tea.
Figure 11 My kingdom for a cup of rose tea
To beat Shayan’s prices make sure that you get there by 7 and your order is placed by 7:30. To be safe confirm the special offer before you reserve the table. They had the 50% deal going for about a year after launch and its possible that by the time you see this post, it is no longer available.
There you go. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner in Dubai. 48 hours. The next time you are transiting through Terminal 3, give it a spin.