Christmas 2021: the best brunches and dinners in Dubai

If you’re planning to spend the festive season in the UAE this year, make sure to book that meal well in advance

Festive brunches and dinners, delicious dishes and meet-and-greets with Santa himself are all on offer this Christmas. Photo: McGettigan's, Time Out Market, The London Project
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It’s that time of the year to eat, drink and be merry. And the fact that Christmas falls over the weekend this year is another reason to celebrate.

So, whether you’re looking to put on your ugliest Christmas jumper for a casual meal out, or suiting up for a fine dining experience, there’s something to suit all tastes, budgets and dress code preferences throughout the Christmas weekend.

Here’s a look at some of the best festive occasions around town …

Cheap and cheerful (Dh300 and less)

McGettigan’s

Christmas Eve and Day brunches

McGettigan's will be serving its famous roast turkey with all the trimmings during Christmas Eve and Day brunches. Photo: McGettigan's

The Irish favourite claims it has launched the “ultimate festive line-up”. Get started with a Christmas Eve brunch taking place at the JLT and Souk Madinat outposts — complete with roast turkey and beverages with a festive twist.

On Christmas Day, there will be two sittings, in the afternoon and evening, at both venues, where guests can expect roast turkey and all the trimmings, plus live entertainment.

Friday and Saturday, December 24 and 25; Dh249 at JLT venue and Dh299 at Souk Madinat venue for Christmas Eve brunch; Dh225 and Dh249 onwards for the JLT venue and Souk Madinat venue for Christmas Day brunches; mcgettigans.com/festive

Palm Tree Garden, JA Hatta Fort Hotel

Christmas Day brunch

Fairy lights, rustic picnic-style tables and boho furnishings await. Expect salad and seafood stations alongside main courses of roast turkey, herb-crusted fillet of beef with sauce bordelaise, braised lamb shoulder in Christmas spices, Scottish salmon and a dessert buffet. Hajar Mountain views ensure a picture-perfect backdrop.

Noon to 4pm; Dh295; Palm Tree Garden, JA Hatta Fort Hotel;

8145 400; jaresortshotels.com

Qwerty

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day brunches

If you have a Christmas jumper you’ve been wanting to show off, Qwerty should be on your radar. The restaurant in Media One Hotel is hosting two brunches over the weekend, with a line-up of festive dishes on offer. Christmas crackers and hats will be handed out to guests, and the best (or should that be worst?) two jumpers receive a free New Year’s Eve voucher to boot.

December 24 and 25; 11am to 2pm; Prices start at Dh199; Media One Hotel, 04 427 1000; qwerty@mediaonehotel.com

Time Out Market

Festive dishes

Giant Yorkshire pudding with roast turkey leg, a festive offering from Folly Workshop. Photo: Time Out Market

The market will be decked to create a cosy winter Christmas setting reminiscent of traditional European festive markets this season, so expect real trees, fairy lights and musical performances throughout the month, Christmas Day and Eve included.

Santa will be on hand to meet and greet the little ones at his grotto on Friday and Saturday, December 17 and 18, as well as on Friday and Saturday, December 24 and 25. Guests can tuck into festive menus from all 18 vendors, with dishes including folly Workshop’s giant Yorkshire pudding with roast turkey leg, and Reif Japanese Kushiyaki’s turkey ramen on offer.

Daily throughout December; festive a la carte menu; www.timeoutmarket.com/dubai

Tipsy Lion

Christmas Eve brunch and Day barbecue

The quintessentially British venue is ringing in Christmas with a Home Alone theme on December 24. There will be a screening of the movie on the terrace outside where guests can feast on festive specials alongside a carving station and barbecue.

Apart from watching Kevin McCallister defend his home against bumbling intruders, guests can also enjoy a range of live entertainment. Plus, anyone wearing an ugly sweater will get a discount of 25 per cent.

The venue will also host a barbecue brunch on its spacious terrace come Christmas Day, complete with live entertainment and music.

December 24 and 25; 1pm to 4pm; Prices start at Dh299 for Christmas Eve brunch and Dh199 for Christmas Day brunch; Tipsy Lion, Sofitel Dubai; 050 896 0045; hello@tipsyliondubai.com

The Eloquent Elephant

Christmas Day brunch

A roast with all the trimmings at The Eloquent Elephant. Photo: The Eloquent Elephant

The British venue will carve up a sumptuous four-course Christmas menu with all the trimmings. To make things more fun, the best-dressed guests will get a Christmas hamper from Santa himself.

December 25; 12.30pm to 4pm; Prices start at Dh299; Taj Dubai; www.tajhotels.com

The Market Place

Christmas Eve buffet and Day brunch

The lobby-level restaurant at Marriott Hotel Al Jaddaf will lay out a Christmas Eve buffet dinner and Christmas Day buffet brunch, both with live stations offering traditional dishes such as turkey, mince pies and puddings, served amid glittering trees and festive decor.

December 24; 7pm-11pm; December 25; 12.30pm-3.30pm; prices for both start from Dh295 and Dh150 for children between 6 and 12; Marriott Hotel Al Jaddaf; 04 317 7777; marriott.com

The Daily

Festive menu

The signature restaurant of the various Rove Hotels properties around Dubai has been decked out in Christmas colours and will serve a set menu this season. On offer are appetisers such as steak tartar with Parmesan, garlic crostini, and mint labneh; smoked salmon wreath with fennel, caper berries, frisee, creme fraiche and dill; mains such as turkey, beef tenderloin, salmon and roasted butternut squash with all the trimmings; and desserts such as dark chocolate tarts with cookies; and smashed Pavlova with mixed berries.

December 15 to 26; 6.30am to 11.30pm; Dh129 for two courses, Dh149 for three courses; Rove Hotels; rovehotels.com

Rumba Cuban Bar & Kitchen

Christmas Eve brunch and dinner, and Christmas Day brunch

The upbeat venue at Club Vista Mare promises a a backdrop of salsa rhythms, Latin American tempos and energetic dancers as guests enjoy its Cuban cuisine this Christmas. On the set menu for both days are dishes such as croquettes, ceviche, guacamole, melted cheese with chorizo, smoked turkey with cranberry sauce, beef brisket with peach-pineapple barbeque, butter-fried cauliflower, ferment kumquat, congri, fried yucca, coconut flan and pina colada ice cream.

December 24; 1pm-4pm and 9pm onwards; from Dh230 for brunch and Dh250 for dinner; December 25; 1 pm onwards; Dh250; Palm Jumeirah; 04 570 8111; rumba.ae

Yoko Sizzlers

Festive menu

The Mumbai-headquartered restaurant and Dubai's oldest sizzler house is updating its offerings to include three types of turkey dishes this season, all served on a sizzling hot plate with accompaniments such as boiled veggies, French fries or mashed potato, plus signature sauces including garlic, pepper, mushroom, asparagus, oyster or spicy Indian schezwan. Orders must be placed six hours in advance.

Until January 1; noon-4pm and 7pm-midnight; from Dh75; opposite Burjuman Centre; 04 396 8668; yokosizzlers.com

Anantara The Palm Dubai Resort

Christmas Day brunches

Santa arrives on parasail at Anantara the Palm.

The resort is hosting Christmas Day lunches at two of its venues - Crescendo, which will serve international sweet and savory dishes; and Bushmans, which will whip up Australian delicacies (prawns on the barbie, anyone?). The highlight here, though, is the arrival of Santa Claus, who will splash his way to the resort via parasail much to the delight of revellers of all ages.

December 25; 1pm-4pm; from Dh299 for adults and Dh199 for children; East Crescent, Palm Jumeirah; 04 567 8999; www.anantara.com/en/palm-dubai

L'atelier de Joel Robuchon

Christmas Eve and Day lunch

Vollaile de Bresse at L’atelier de Joel Robuchon.

The DIFC restaurant, dedicated to famous French chef Joel Robuchon, will serve a limited-time Christmas dish from the Bresse region in France. Vollaile de Bresse is a traditional festive chicken dish, roasted and stuffed with chestnut and foie gras.

December 24 and 25; 11.30am-3.30pm; Dh290; Dubai International Financial Centre; 04 297 7729

Festive family affairs (Dh300 to Dh499)

Bread Street Kitchen

Christmas Eve and Day brunches, dinners, and a Boxing Day roast

British pies and a traditional roast are part of Bread Street Kitchen's festive meals. Photo: Bread Street Kitchen

The family favourite has a slew of offers throughout Christmas weekend.

Guests can indulge in a festive brunch on Friday and Saturday, December 24 and 25, filled with all the favourites – think classic British pies, a roast, live entertainment and a visit from Santa.

There will also be festive a la carte specials available for dinner during the weekend and a Boxing Day roast on Sunday, December 26, with all the trimmings.

December 24-26; 12.30 to 4pm for the Christmas brunches; prices start at Dh290 for adults, Dh195 for children aged 4-11, free for those under three; Dh135 for Sunday Roast; Atlantis The Palm; 04 426 1000; atlantis.com/dubai

Cordelia

Christmas Day brunch

Roasted chicken, with oranges, rosemary and cranberries at Cordelia. Photo: St Regis Dubai

The all-day dining restaurant within the newly-opened The St Regis Dubai The Palm will transform into a winter wonderland this Christmas.

While the adults indulge in a delectable brunch spread, complete with roast turkey and chicken, the little ones can head to the kids’ corner for plenty of festive sweet treats.

December 25; 1pm to 5pm; from Dh400, Dh200 for those under 12, children under 6 eat for free; Palm Jumeirah; 04 218 0140; stregisdubaithepalm.com

Jones the Grocer, Emirates Golf Club

Christmas Day brunch

Christmas turkey at Jones the Grocer.

There will be a family-friendly Christmas meal to remember at the venue's Emirates Golf Club outpost, with a four-course meal, hot and cold starters, sharing platters, turkey and beef carvery and dessert boards.

A live choir performing Christmas carols will keep diners entertained, and there will also be a face painting station and Santa handing out goody bags for the little ones.

December 25; noon to 3pm; Dh245 for members, Dh295 for guests; Jones the Grocer, Emirates Golf Club; 04 417 9999; dubaigolf.com

Lah Lah

Christmas Day brunch

Lah Lah is having a festive brunch with Asian delicacies. Courtesy Jumeirah 

For an Asian twist on the traditional Christmas meal, head to The Greens venue which will be serving up delicacies such as Peking duck, dim sum, sushi, sashimi and pandan creme brulee. All this, plus a DJ playing a bumper set list of Christmas songs to sing along to.

December 25; 1pm to 5pm; Dh395 onwards for adults, Dh198 for children under 12, free for those under 4; Zabeel House by Jumeirah, The Greens; 04 519 1111; zabeelhouse.com

Lapita

Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas Day brunch

For Polynesian vibes in Dubai, head over to Lapita, where the all-day dining destination Kalea will host a Christmas Eve buffet. While you dig in, there will be carols playing and gingerbread house decorating for the little ones.

The restaurant will host a Christmas brunch the following day. A whole roasted turkey with all the trimmings, freshly shucked oysters, Christmas stolen, panettone and mince pie are all on the cards. There will also be carol singing and a visit from Mr Claus himself.

December 24 and 25; 6.30pm to 11pm and 1pm to 4pm respectively; Dh175 for adults for the Christmas Eve buffet, Dh85 for children; Dh350 for the Christmas Day brunch; Lapita, Dubai Parks and Resorts; 04 810 9999; Lapita.restaurantreservations@autographhotels.com

The London Project

Christmas Eve brunch and dinner; Christmas Day brunch

Santa Claus will be making an appearance at The London Project during its Christmas Day brunch. Photo: The London Project

The British venue on Bluewaters Island will host three brunches over the Christmas weekend.

On Christmas Eve, there will be two sittings, from 1pm to 4pm, and from 8pm to 11pm, with sharing-style starters, a main course, desserts and live entertainment in the form of a DJ and jazz band. On the menu find dishes such as beef tenderloin tartare with burnt onion puree, and turkey or lamb rack with fondant potato and vegetables.

On Christmas Day, there will be a brunch from noon to 4pm, with cheese platters, live entertainment, a magician and a visit from the main man himself.

A special menu awaits too, from hand-cut Australian beef tenderloin tartare and burrata salad with heirloom tomatoes and truffle yoghurt, to mains like rolled turkey with Brussels sprouts.

December 24 and 25; three brunch timings; prices start at Dh395 for the Christmas Eve brunches and Dh400 for Christmas Day brunch; Bluewaters Island; 054 306 1822; thelondonproject.com

Topgolf

Christmas Day brunch

Topgolf Dubai will be hosting a Christmas brunch. Photo: Topgolf

The entertainment and sporting venue is hosting a Christmas brunch where customers can indulge in traditional Christmas bay-side platters.

Tee off to festive music, and take little ones along for a meet-and-greet with Santa Claus. Those booking a bay for six people will be entered into a raffle for the chance to win a two-hour experience in their executive suite.

December 25; noon to 3pm; Dh350 for adults, Dh99 for children under 12; Topgolf Dubai; 04 371 9999; topgolfdubai.ae/christmas

Torno Subito

Christmas dinners and a Christmas Day brunch

The restaurant by celebrity chef Massimo Bottura is encouraging everyone to live la dolce vita this festive season.

The restaurant has prepared a festive set menu available from Friday to Saturday, December 24 to 26, with dishes such as homemade ravioli, organic roast meats and traditional panpepato on offer. On Christmas Day, there will be a brunch with live music that promises to “bring to life the 1960s Italian Riviera”.

December 24 to 26; 7pm to midnight; Christmas Day brunch, 1pm to 4pm; Dh499 for the dinners, from Dh379 for brunch; W Dubai — The Palm; 04 245 5555

The Pangolin

Christmas Day dinners

The Pangolin will be decking the halls for Christmas this year. Photo: The Pangolin

The Pangolin will host a 3-course Christmas day brunch with traditional dishes and all the trimmings.

There will be four sittings, each three hours long, so choose your time slot and let the fun begin. A live performer, a visit from Santa, Christmas songs, bouncy castle, face painting and more make this a family affair.

December 25; 11am to 2pm; 12pm to 3pm; 1pm to 4pm; 2pm to 5pm; from Dh295 for adults, Dh120 for children up to 12; The Els Extension — Dubai Sports City; 058 573 2594; thepangolindubai.com

Koko Bay

Christmas Day brunch

Boasting an idyllic waterfront location, Koko Bay promises to make yours a merry Christmas, with plenty of delicious free-flowing food. Feast on five cold and five hot appetisers, two rolls, four mains and three desserts. Dishes include: foie gras mousse on choux bun with fig ruby port chutney; festive maki rolls such as Scottish smoked salmon and crispy organic quinoa with asparagus; roast turkey breast with maple-glazed Brussels sprouts and cranberry sauce; and even a vegan kung pao nigari tofu.

December 25, noon to 4pm; from Dh495 for adults, Dh195 for children between 6 and 12; West Palm Beach, Palm Jumeirah; 04 572 3444

Piatti by the Beach

Christmas Day

Inspired by Positano, this elegant beachside venue comes complete with cascading bougainvillea and pops of colour interspersed with whitewashed walls. Its sharing-style brunch on Christmas Day follows a Mediterranean theme, with black truffle pizza and paccheri pasta with lobster on offer alongside gourmet appetisers such as Wagyu beef carpaccio, king crab tacos and salmon sashimi with fennel salad. A roast turkey with all the trimmings is part of the main course as are a wild mushroom risotto and grilled langoustines, while desserts are more traditional – think panettone and a chocolate yule log.

December 25; 1pm-5pm; from Dh540; Raffles The Palm, West Crescent Palm Jumeirah; 04 248 8889

Splurge (Dh499 and over)

Nikki Beach Resort & Spa Dubai

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day brunches

Nikki Beach Resort & Spa Dubai is hosting Christmas brunches with a DJ. Photo: Nikki Beach Resort & Spa Dubai

If your idea of Christmas includes being barefoot on the beach, Nikki Beach Resort & Spa is the spot for you.

The resort is hosting festive feasts on Christmas Eve as well as Christmas Day. Expect a bounty of seafood, a turkey carving station and plethora of seasonal desserts, all to be enjoyed with live music.

December 24 and 25; 1pm to 4pm; prices start at Dh500 per person, Dh250 per child; 05 6545 4039; restaurantreservation.dubai@nikkibeachhotels.com

Nobu

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day brunches

For a delectable and unique Christmas celebration, why not infuse the celebrations with some of Chef Nobu Matsuhisa’s signature Japanese-Peruvian fare?

The Christmas brunches at Nobu are a far cry from your traditional roast turkey dinner — so you can celebrate with dishes such as black cod croquettes, chicken and avocado tacos, beef and foie gras gyoza, and black miso cod. The resident DJ and a paired drinks menu will be also be on hand.

December 24 and 25; noon to 3pm; prices start at Dh555; Atlantis The Palm; 04 426 1000; atlantis.com/dubai

Secret Brunch x Burj Khalifa

Christmas Eve brunch

Secret Parties is hosting a Christmas-themed meal at 3BK, Armani Hotel, Burj Khalifa.

Guests can indulge in a lavish four-course brunch consisting of a variety of delicious festive dishes, and be dazzled by entertainment from a live singer, dancers, drummers, a saxophonist and acrobats.

To keep the celebrations alive long after brunch, there will be an afterparty until 7pm.

December 24; 1pm to 4.30pm; prices start at Dh399; secret-parties.com

Tasca by Jose Avillez

Christmas Eve and Day brunch

The restaurant helmed by Michelin-lauded chef Jose Avillez will serve a traditional Portuguese sharing-style menu this Christmas (think pastel de nata, cod cakes and stewed black beans) alongside melodious Portuguese music and live entertainment.

December 24 and 25; 12.30pm-4pm; Dh450 on Christmas Eve and Dh595 on Christmas Day; Mandarin Oriental Jumeira; 04 777 2231; mandarinoriental.com

Soho Garden

Festive menu

Food is very much the focus at Soho Garden this Christmas, as evident from its set day and evening brunch menu that's stacked with, as it claims "a feast fit for three kings". On offer are shared starters, including baked Brie, rocket salad with honey and pine nuts, Christmas soup with galets pasta and truffle meatballs. For mains, choose among pan-fried sea bass with seafood sauce and green asparagus; whole chargrilled Wagyu beef tenderloin with potatoes; and beef terrine with home-made beef burned sauce. End the meal with a Christmas trifle with Baileys ice cream and gingerbread with buche de noel.

8pm-midnight on December 24; 3pm-7pm on December 25; 2pm-6pm on December 26; Dh500; 052 388 8849

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