Entree: Dubai

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 19 September, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 September, 2007, 12:00am

If you feel that burgeoning Dubai isn't enough of a theme park already, try Jumeirah Beach's themed restaurants.

Al Mahara

G/F Burj Al Arab Hotel, Dubai (burj-al-arab.com/dining/al_mahara)

A visit to this showy upmarket seafood restaurant (right) starts with a three-minute theme-park ride in a lift that simulates a submarine. The 'submarine' navigates a multi-coloured ocean bed as marine life races past the portholes. Tables at Al Mahara are laid out around a 360-degree floor-to-ceiling seawater aquarium, complete with sharks. Table decorations continue along the marine theme and while the food is good, this restaurant definitely wins the prize for novelty. A three-course dinner for two (without wine) costs about 1,200 dirhams (HK$2,500).

Zheng He

G/F Mina A' Salam, Madinat Jumeirah (madinatjumeirah.com/mina_a_salam/dining/zheng_hes)

Named after Chinese explorer Zheng He, this restaurant is dedicated to exploring fusion Chinese cuisine. Executive chef Leong Chee Yeng recently published his first cookbook, Zheng He's: A Culinary Journey, featuring a collection of his signature recipes, such as orchid shrimp dumplings and pepper salt-baked eight-treasure duck. Set menus cost from 130 dirhams per person.

Al Muntaha

27th floor, Burj Al Arab (burj-al-arab.com/dining/al_muntaha)

An express lift that zips up to the 27th floor at six metres per second has you dining with your head in the clouds with sweeping views of the rapidly expanding Dubai skyline and Arabian Gulf. Mediterranean cuisine is the theme, and 'mixologists' glide from table to table with a drinks trolley, from which they invent tailor-made cocktails. Cocktails cost from 80 to 150 dirhams, main courses from 300 to 640 dirhams.

Al Hambra

G/F Al Qasr, Madinat Jumeirah (madinatjumeirah.com/al_qasr/al_hambra)

Step into Moorish Spain, with its vaulted ceilings and terracotta floors, at this Spanish restaurant named after the palace and fort in Granada. This is the place to linger over a long lunch of seafood paella, lobster and prawn croquettes served with vizcayna sauce, rosemary-flavoured rack of lamb with milk cubes, apricots, apple ragout and foie gras sauce. Three courses cost 270 dirhams per person.


G/F Dar Al Masyaf (madinatjumeirah.com/dar_al_masyaf/paithai)

Arrive at this waterside Thai restaurant by abra and soak up the water views from the al fresco terrace. The pomelo salad with crispy fried taro, roasted coconut and peanuts in lime dressing is delicious. Try the outstanding braised duck in five spices on a bed of pak choi or scallops in red curry with baby spinach. Three-course set menus start at 250 dirhams.