While Australian chain The Coffee Club, the various Caesar's Palace eateries and the eclectic London Project were some of the first few eateries to open their doors on Dubai's Bluewaters, the island off JBR is now abuzz with many more restaurants and cafes. Here are five spots to scope out.
1. Puerto 99
The shore-facing Mexican restaurant sources its dishes and cooking styles from various states in Mexico, from Baja California to Yucatan. On the menu are the usual guacamole (Dh75), tacos (from Dh50) and churros (Dh55), a long list of steak and seafood classics (up to Dh380), as well as innovative options such as baked Mexican cheese fondue in a lava stone molcajete (Dh80) and chicken with black Oaxacan mole toasted sesame (Dh100).
This one's strictly for meat and seafood eaters, though; vegetarians have but a handful of options under sides, soups and salads, including stewed black beans with toasted avocado, onion and garlic and mesquite baked cauliflower and pumpkin seeds with poblano cream (both Dh35).
Desserts include the aforementioned churros, plus spiced chocolate lava cake, Mexican flan with guava syrup and a papaya & piloncillo tart (between Dh40 and Dh80).
2. Sah El Nom
The second branch of the Syrian eatery launched on Bluewaters in March, and offers views of the Ain Dubai wheel.
On the menu are the best-loved staples from Damascene cuisine, including lentil soup (Dh28), kibbe and kafta (Dh68), and hummus and mutabbal (Dh27) to start with. Mains and grills include chicken as freekeh or with harissa sauce, lamb chops and seafood biryani (between Dh70 and Dh100).
The eatery boasts a dozen desserts to appeal to all tastes, combinations of cakes, puddings and kunafa dough with caramelised figs, dates, cherry, walnuts, pistachios, sweet cheeses and more. These are priced from Dh28 to Dh55.
The licensed Italian restaurant comes from the team behind Dubai's Il Borro Tuscan Bistro (at Jumeirah Al Naseem) faces the water and specialises in seafood. The blue and white interior channels the Amalfi Coast, while the menu has a raw section dedicated to oysters, tuna tartares and various styles of shrimp.
Within, you'll be spoilt for choice with dozens of antipasti, zuppe, pizza and pasta options, which include Alici's namesake dish, anchovies, freshly fried for Dh65; plus a truffle pizza (Dh165), various risotto, ravioli and spaghetti dishes (up to Dh175); and grilled Wagyu with all the trimmings (Dh295).
If you still have room for dolci, don't miss the classic Italian lemon cheese cake (Dh50), served here with wild berries and almond soil.
4. London Slide
The "misunderstood cousin" of The London Project, London Slide channels the underground art scene, and the graphical interior is courtesy of British street and pop artist Rich Simmons.
On the fast-food-style menu are a variety of gourmet baos and burgers, including tofu buns and a vegetable rosti. On our wish list is the battered cod slider and brisket bao with kimchi. Each is priced between Dh40 and Dh45, and named after a quintessentially British landmark – think Covent Garden, Fleet Street Fillet, The Duke and Big Ben.
The rest of the menu is made up of all styles of fries, handcrafted lemonades and milkshakes that double as dessert.
5. Basanti & Co
The fusion Indian restaurant is currently serving its preview menu, but there's enough on there to feed a table-full of foodies. The small plates are made of typical Indian street food, from Bombay vada pao (Dh25) to tangy chaat (Dh30). Kebab lovers will find a meaty galouti (Dh40), a sweet-sour dahi kebab (Dh35) and veg and lamb seekhs (Dh40).
Mains include black cod wrapped in a green chutney-infused banana leaf (Dh50), tandoori masala prawns (Dh80), Delhi lamb chops (Dh110), and the classic butter chicken and Kashmiri mutton rogan josh (both Dh60)
Vegetarians are well-catered to, too, with options such as Lucknow mushroom cakes (Dh45), paneer tikka masala (Dh40), daal makhani (Dh40) and achari bhindi (Dh30).
The only dessert there as of now is a plate of three gulab jamuns, for Dh35.