As part of a series of culinary guides to various areas of the UAE, The National explores Dubai's Bluewaters Island, to which visitors will flock over the coming months thanks to new attractions such as Ain Dubai and Madame Tussauds.
Here, you can expect upbeat and upmarket venues that offer fine dining experiences as well as a good and lively time.
Although this is not all the destination has to offer foodies, it's a selection of the best, newest and most popular.
This London-inspired spot, located directly at the foot of Ain Dubai, serves up some seriously cool vibes thanks to its Instagrammable interiors and creative menu. Split across two levels, the bar and lounge is filled with greenery, and its outdoor terraces boast impressive JBR views during the cooler months. On the menu, you’ll find everything from contemporary takes on British classics to gourmet dishes and extravagant desserts. With a weekly brunch and drinks deals, the spot remains buzzing all week.
Saturday to Wednesday, 12pm-midnight, Thursday and Friday, 12pm-1am; The London Project, Bluewaters Island; 054 306 1822, thelondonproject.com
This lively spot, from the team behind Meshico, serves up Mexican seafood and steak, with a side of light-hearted entertainment. From street-food bites to freshly grilled seafood, chef Ivan Puc’s menu is fun and authentic. Puerto 99 hosts a series of weekly events, from Taco Tuesday to a popular Friday brunch, where the Mexican-themed entertainment guarantees a good time.
Daily, 1pm-2am; Puerto 99, Bluewaters Island; puerto99.ae
Alici, meaning ‘anchovies’ in Italian, is a Mediterranean restaurant inspired by southern Italy and the Amalfi Coast. This upmarket restaurant offers a fresh and changing seasonal menu that can be enjoyed with a side of sea views thanks to its position overlooking the Arabian Gulf. Its light and airy interiors paired with white-clothed tables are almost enough to leave you feeling like you have escaped to Italy for real.
Daily, 12.30pm-3pm, 7pm-midnight; Alici, Bluewaters Island; 04 275 2577; alici.com
A newcomer to Bluewaters Island is Shi, a swanky Chinese restaurant headed by chef Li Yuan Hui, who previously worked at Hakkasan Mumbai and Qatar. The split-level venue offers a high-end restaurant downstairs and a buzzy lounge upstairs where you’ll find live entertainment and an outdoor terrace offering prime views of Ain Dubai. On the menu, you’ll find dishes such as roasted duck with fresh black truffle and signature Peking duck with a side of caviar.
Tuesday to Sunday, 1pm-1am, Monday, 1pm-midnight; Shi, Bluewaters Island; 04 718 1189; @shi.dxb
Havana Social Club
Found at the luxury Caesar’s Palace Bluewaters Dubai, Havana Social Club and Lounge offers a cool and laid-back space that pays homage to 1920s Cuba. Enjoy a curated menu of authentic tapas and drinks while chilled Latin beats set the tone and the colourful interior leaves you feeling like you’ve stepped back in time.
Daily, 5pm-1am; Havana Social Club, Caesar’s Palace Bluewaters Dubai; 04 556 6466; caesars.com
For fans of Gordon Ramsay, Hell’s Kitchen will need no introduction. Inspired by the celebrity chef’s popular TV show of the same name, this theatrical restaurant serves up some of Ramsay’s classic signature dishes, with an experimental twist. Sample the beef Wellington, Eggs in Purgatory and the sticky toffee pudding, or stop by for Friday brunch in which the kitchen’s Red and Blue teams go head-to-head.
Daily, 7.30am-10.30am, 12.30pm-3.30pm, 6pm-midnight; Hell’s Kitchen Dubai, Caesar’s Palace Bluewaters Dubai; 04 556 6466; caesars.com
Basanti & Co
Enjoy a taste of India at Basanti & Co, a gourmet restaurant and lounge that aims to offer diners an experience across its extensive menu. With a terrace that looks out across to JBR, the menu features a mix of snacks, tandoori grills, dals and biryanis.
Daily, 12pm-midnight; Basanti & Co, Bluewaters Island; 04 557 6947; basantiandco.com
This mega entertainment venue is more than just a bowling alley and arcade games. Brass Monkey features a bar and restaurant, each serving up something different. Americana, located on the ground floor, is a casual joint that serves tacos, nachos, sliders and pizzas. Upstairs, you’ll find Japanese restaurant Bushido, with dishes such as sea bass, chicken ramen, charred miso salmon and spicy lamb noodles.
Sunday to Tuesday, 4pm-1am, Wednesday, 4pm-3am, Thursday to Saturday, 12pm-3am; Brass Monkey, Bluewaters Island; 04 582 7277; brassmonkeysocial.com
If it’s a hearty burger you’re after, Ketch Up has got you covered. This American casual dining spot offers a creative menu that features some colourful (quite literally) twists on staple US fare. From giant steaks to indulgent desserts, Ketch Up is well-priced, offers plenty of variety and has some incredible views from its outdoor terrace.
Saturday to Wednesday, 12pm-midnight, Thursday and Friday, 12pm-1am; Ketch Up, Bluewaters Island, Dubai; 050 750 7424; ketchupdxb.com