Posted by: englishdubai | August 6, 2008

My Little Black Book – Dubai Marina Edition


Dubai Marina is fast becoming a mature development. What I mean by mature is that there are facilities (shops, restaurants, dry cleaners) and that people are actually walking around to these places. When I first moved to Dubai Marina a couple of years ago this could only be said about the area of Phase one and the first six towers. Now two years on things have changed and continue to change at a rapid rate. Sure there is a lot of construction going on but with the completion of the Jumeriah Beach Residence last year and a number of other major residential complexes the supporting commercial entities are setting up shop.

The Walk is a shopping/dining area that sits on the Plazas and beach front of the Jumeriah Beach Residence. It has come under attack recently by some of the store keepers that there is little footfall going through their premises. I would agree with them – however it is the middle of a hot summer and there are still plenty of outlets yet to open so give it time is all I would say.

Here is my list of places to go out to eat and drink in Dubai Marina as it stands today and one or two to avoid. I will come back and revisit this as more of  The Walk opens and when Marina Mall opens early next year:

Best Place to go to impress work colleagues:

Frankie’s is an Italian restaurant owned by racing Jockey Frankie Dettori situated at the Al Fattan Marine Tower. Going inside reminded me of some type of exclusive drinking club. The menu while serving the regular pizza and pasta dishes comes alive if you go for one of their meat of fish dishes. The food presentation is exemplary and when I went the roasted Sea Bass I had was sensational. Expect to book and if you go for wines and A La Carte expect to pay a small fortune.

Best Place to go on a budget

I first visited Chowking in Satwa last year when my Mom was over and we enjoyed it and I was delighted to see it open opposite the Hilton Hotel. The Chinese food which is prepared with a filipino palate in mind is always fresh and hot not to mention cheap. For only 18AED ($4) you can have rice with three delicious BBQ Chicken skewers.

Best Place to have a nice cocktail:

Hidden at the back of the Al Fattan Shopping mall is a branch of trader vic’s called Mai Tai. My top tip is to get there for happy hour between 6-8pm every night which makes the eye watering prices more affordable. The food served is great but the portions a little on the small side however the same can not be said of the cocktails which are large and lethal. If I am feeling in the mood then the famous Tika Tika Puka rum cocktail with its over proof rum soon sorts the men from the boys. As with other trader vic’s there is an excellent live band playing all your favourite Polynesian hits. The combination of the bouncy music and flavoursome cocktails might make you want to dance. But watch out – they have no license for dancing.

Best Place for Noodles:

A close call between Wagagamas (Al Fattan Marine Towers) and the Noodle House – but I will give it to the Noodle House as I am a sucker for their Curry Laksa and also it has a fantastic location beneath the Damac Marina Terrace Tower which affords a fine view of the First Six towers and all the luxury yachts.

Best Place I am looking forward to opening up

I have written before about how much I enjoyed going to the Butchers Shop and Grill when I was in South Africa. There is a branch of this restaurant in the Mall of the Emirates however its location is often described as having fine steak in a bus stop. The new location in a prime spot on the JBR walk will soon fix that.

Place to avoid

I had high hope for this place but my visit last month to the Fish and Chip House I was disappointed. The food while predictably expensive was poor. The fish was rubbery with the batter not being crispy and the chips were undercooked. I will put it down to them have opening up bugs and will give it another go in a month or so.

The full list of what is going to open up in the JBR walk can be found over at the rather excellent JBR community forum here.


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