Friday Brunch is the highlight of the week in Dubai. People gather at the city’s restaurants to relax and unwind with good food and great cocktails. Most brunches in Dubai are all inclusive (also alcohol), so even though the prices seem steep, it’s usually a good deal, but make sure you come hungry and thirsty. For Friday Brunch, a table reservation is crucial, if you want a table at the most popular restaurants, and for most the places mentioned below, you will have to call in weeks in advance to secure your spot.
Friday brunch typically starts around 2pm, which is a bit later than we’re used to in Denmark. Even though I don’t think any of the places have a dress code (other than the standard Dubai smart casual), most people dress up as if they were going out clubbing.
Some places do the Friday brunch as a buffet, but I prefer when the food is served at the table, which is also the case for the restaurants featured here.
Most of the brunches mentioned here are around 300-500AED with alcohol, but please contact the restaurants for exact prices and conditions.
The Rib Room at Zabeel Saray
There are two Rib Rooms in Dubai, but I like the Zabeel Saray one the best. You can choose between different brunch menus, and while I’ve forgotten the name of the one I usually go for, I can tell you that it includes oysters, lobster and steak, and that’s all you need to know, isn’t it?
The brunch at The Rib Rib Room feels more like an ordinary sit-down dinner and the crowd also tend to be a bit more mature than at the other places, but this doesn’t mean that The Rib Room doesn’t know how to throw a party. Come buy Friday at around 4pm and you will most likely feel like you’re at a downtown bar around midnight. The food is delicious, the portions are generous, and the staff among the friendliest I’ve encountered.
The Rib Room, Zabeel Saray, The Palm Jumeirah, Dubai, Tel: +971 (0)4 453 0444
I’ve been a long-term fan of the tasty, carefully crafted cocktails at Cocktail Kitchen, but it was only recently that I discovered that their food is pretty amazing too. The brunch menu has the kind of dishes you would expect to find at an upscale gastro pub, and everything is – warning, food blogger cliché – finger-licking good.
Cocktail Kitchen is tucked away in the basement of a hotel building, so it isn’t just a place you stumble upon, which leaves the restaurant remarkably free from tourists. Instead, Cocktail Kitchen is a great spot to mingle with the hipper segment of the Dubai expat crowd.
Cocktail kitchen, Armada BlueBay Hotel, Cluster P, Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT), Dubai, Tel: +971 56 828 0727
To get to Cocktail Kitchen, go to the Armada Bluebay Hotel reception and take the elevator down to B1. Cocktail Kitchen is at the same level as Mythos and NOLA. Signs along the way will lead you in the right directions, and on weekends, there are usually staff members down there to guide you
I love the trendy nikkei (Japanese-Peruvian) cuisine at this up-and-coming hotspot right by the water at Vista Mare, Palm Jumeirah. First, you’re served a range of delicious starters including different kinds of amazingly delicious ceviche. Then you pick your main from the menu, but try not to over-order, because you want to make sure that there’s space left for the dessert platter.
The first couple of times I was there, the service was very good with attentive staff who made sure that our glasses were never empty. Though the last time I was there, our table had to wait forever for both drinks and food, and the service seemed rushed and impersonal. I choose to believe that they just had a bad day and that your experience will be just as marvelous as my first visits.
Ají, Club Vista Mare, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai. Tel: +971(0)45520244
Asia Asia is probably the hardest place to get a reservation for brunch in Dubai Marina, which explains why I’ve only been there twice. I’ve wanted to go back forever, but I haven’t managed to call in well enough in advance to score a table. This makes me a bit ambivalent of sending even more people their way, making it even harder to get a table in the future:)
You order from what seems like a full menu of pan-Asian dishes, and the food is really, really good. The dark interiors and the crowd of 20-30-somethings also makes Asia Asia the most party-ish brunch of the ones mentioned here, so dress up and wear heels.
Asia Asia, 6F Pier 7, Dubai Marina, Dubai, The Spice Route Brunch Friday 2pm-5pm