Widely regarded as one of Dubai's finest Thai restaurants, the distinctive Blue Elephant features a tranquil waterfall, exotic flowers and greenery, and intricate stained wood accents, creating the illusion that you're not in Dubai but in some quaint Southeast Asian village. The cuisine matches the decor stroke for stroke. Royal Thai dishes include herbs, spices and produce imported from Thailand, and the aromas of basil, chilies and lemongrass flow through the air, enticing first time patrons to order some of the spicier items (marked on the menu with red elephants). Saturdays feature an unforgettable lunch buffet.
Some venues score well on setting, others on food: the Bamboo Lagoon is one of the few to excel – and then some – in both categories. Why not impress your date by sashaying across this Polynesian retreat's wooden bridge, with water features underneath and leafy plants all around. Positive impression thus made, you may feast on all manner of Asian delights, including the sushi and sashimi bar.
Few Chinese restaurants boast such a grand staircase entrance, and the menu is equally appealing from top to bottom. Enjoy a feast of 'New Chinese' flavors from the à la carte menu while you soak up views of the resort's canal by day and illuminated Burj Al Arab by night. The spacious interiors can seat 102 diners and the 58 alfresco seats are hot property in the cooler winter months.
This is one of the most impressive chains in the city, with outlets in many of the major malls. If you're in one of those moods when you don't know what to eat, Japengo will give you plenty of food for thought with its abundant Italian, Asian and Arabian options as well as its own specials. With generous portions, freshly cooked cuisine and affordable prices, Japengo hits all the high notes, and then some.
For terrific Thai cuisine, look no further than the exotic Thai Bistro. Authentic dishes are prepared from scratch using traditional cooking techniques and fresh ingredients. Specialties include chicken and fish curries served with vegetable side dishes. Of course, the handmade spring rolls are out of this world, making them a sublime way to kick off your meal, and an extensive wine list is also available. For that added effect, ask for a table on the patio, where you can look out over lovely gardens and the enchanting Arabian Sea as you dine by the light of the moon and stars.
An ornate dining room featuring rich dark wood furniture, intricately designed pillars and molding, and elegant table settings, the Dusit Dubai's signature restaurant offers diners a chance to experience fine Royal Thai cuisine and hospitality in their most accommodating incarnations. Enjoy the chef's celebrated menu, which stands as the culmination of his more than three years of culinary "exploration" in places like Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and Japan. Ask for a table near a window, and you can enjoy an enchanting view of the desert whilst you dine.
Thai Kitchen seduces guests with arabesque arches and candlelit passages. Then it tantalizes them with wave after wave of aromas that emanate from the open kitchen. Finally, meals are presented in a variety of small celadon cups, plates and saucers, which all add to the exoticism and the atmosphere of an extremely well-heeled chimps' tea party. For the intrepid, dining is available in the adjacent covered terrace during the cooler winter months. Three words that could prevent embarrassment: watch the spices.
Mixing sushi with modern convenience – that is the shtick at Emirates Towers Sushi, one of business district's trendier lunch eateries. Colorful plates of maki sushi, nigiri sushi, matto maki, rainbow maki and California rolls ride out to customers on a conveyor belt, circling the seated area. Plates are color coded, so you can keep up with how much your bill is going to be – just be careful, everything is so enticing that it's easy to accumulate quite a bill. If you're in the mood for something warmer, ET also prepares excellent portions of Japanese chicken, grilled sardines and fried vegetables.
Some of Dubai's most highly regarded sushi is served here Tuesday and Friday-Sunday evenings. The view may be a disappointment (a wall blocks the bustling creek banks), but the authentic atmosphere and exceptional menu are sure to please.
The Noodle House serves up fun and affordable dining, with its 'tick box' menus and back-to-school-style lengthy benches and tables (the former are unfortunately not the last word in comfort). The unpretentious vibe and insistence on quality bridge the gap between fast food and fine South East Asian dining. An impressive à la carte menu features all the region's favorites complemented with authentic ethnic drinks, juices and cocktails. Other locations are: Souk Madinat, Dubai International Financial Centre and Burjuman.