Dining in Dubai is always a culinary adventure. These are the city’s finest gastronomic outlets to see and be seen at

Desert Dining: Bab Al Shams

An Arabian-nights themed fairytale setting with souq stalls, large Persian rugs and aromas of incense greet you as you walk along the path to the buffet and seating area. That’s what you can expect at the Al Hadheerah tent tucked away amongst tranquil sandy surroundings that’s taking dining in Dubai to new heights. Hummus, baba ghanoush and a selection of dips are placed on each table to tuck into with freshly baked bread, the minute you arrive. At the buffet, help yourself at the ten live cooking stations featuring everything from Omani, Emirati, Iranian and Syrian cuisine to Lebanese and Moroccan, to name a few that are available. You can begin with lentil soup, followed by freshly prepared fatayer, hot cheese rolls and kibbeh (meat croquettes), a selection of salads, cheese and meat manakeesh and shawarma. For mains, we highly recommend diving into the big pot of crab – you can’t miss the large steel dish – succulent kebabs and lamb chops, with a side of lamb ouzi, couscous, tagines, biryani, and koshari (an Egyptian dish with macaroni, rice, tomato sauce and meat) – it’s best to taste a little of everything, right? Sate sweet tooth cravings with homemade cakes, pastries or the irresistible Turkish ice cream, served by a Turkish man with a barrel of laughs. Oud players, a traditional Tanoura and a camel and horse heritage caravan live show offer entertainment for a mystical evening in the desert. Call 04 809 6100

Mexican Vibes: Peyote

Let’s begin by mentioning they serve cactus salad. That’s right, the modern Mexican restaurant named after a small cactus native to the Chihuahuan Desert, is a concept straight out of Mayfair that brings with itself the spirit and culture of the country, complete with everything from a cactus salad – with a texture slightly similar to aloe vera – to usual suspects including guacamole and crisp calamari. Four salsas ranging from mild to peanut butter and spicy, accompany all meals. Must-have starters showcase sharing-style dishes of roasted chicken adobo in a soft taco (made in-house) with pineapple pico de gallo lime and cilantro, alongside silky pieces of halibut in a tangy lime-cilantro dressing. The 24-hour braised lamb shoulder stands out, especially for carnivores, and it sure does impress. Cooked in a banana leaf and served with a side of salsa tatemada, the barbacoa is shredded tableside, after which you make your own taco filled with salsa, sides such as the highly recommended sweet corn with homemade mayonnaise and creamy queso fresco, and patatas bravas (baby potatoes with salsa). Leave room for desserts, as you can’t leave a Mexican restaurant without feasting on their churros dipped in chocolate and cajeta (thick goat’s milk caramel sauce). Don’t stop there though, two of our favourites feature a contemporary take on tres leches (a soaked vanilla sponge cake) with layers of red berry jam, and the Oaxaca chocolate, a chocolate sphere that hides within a warm chocolate and chipotle mousse with a hint of spice, toned down by the complementing raspberry sorbet. Call 04 521 6300

Arabian Ambience: Jumeirah Al Qasr

The gorgeous waterway eatery may have contemporary exteriors with white fixtures that sets a benchmark for dining in Dubai amidst beautiful architecture, however indoors, a traditional Arabian affair awaits diners. There are fresh juices, fattoush, cheese sambusek and freshly baked bread to scoop nutritious options including muhamarra and baba ganoush. Leave space for fall-off-the-bone lamb chops that arrive every few minutes fresh from the grill, and a selection of seafood specialities. Lamb ouzi and fish machboos are some of the other dishes you can tuck into with roasted vegetables, shish tawook and plenty of savoury dishes. For desserts, you can’t leave without trying the sticky toffee date pudding, cakes or fresh fruit, with a side of Moroccan tea, prepared on the spot. Call 04 432 3232

Contemporary Touch: Zahira

Australian-Lebanese celebrity chef Greg Malouf is back with his latest outpost at The H, giving diners a taste of modern Middle Eastern cuisine served in a sharing style manner. A relaxed lounge fitted with leather chairs, couches and high bar stools make up the area where cocktails such as the Kiss of Oud (a whiskey-based concoction), Beqaa Sour (avocado infusion) and the Amaya – served with a spritz of perfume – are prepared. Appetisers such as the creamy burrata atop warm foul medammes are apt for those who love the Arabic starter, while crisp hazelnut falafels with yoghurt tahini and pickled turnips break apart beautifully as you bite into it. The signature duck bisteeya with sweet spices and almonds, showcase stringy tender duck under pastry adorned with the hand of Fatima and is something you’re not going to find done as well as it is here when you go out dining in Dubai. The dish is best eaten on its own with the slaw it’s laid upon. If you do want to pair it with something substantial, we highly recommend the spatchcock fatteh; clay pot cooked French chicken with chickpeas, laban and wafer bread. You will be bursting at the seams by this point, but you can’t leave without nibbling on the warm and comforting kunafeh doused in rose water or peach pavlova, a messy meringue delight. Call 04 501 8606.