Dubai is a strange place. It’s like being back on Long Island, where the only thing there is to do is go to the mall. (Before my fellow Strong Islanders jump all over me, I realize this is a sweeping generalization. I grew up by Jones Beach, after all, and thus spent many a weekend not at the mall.)
But in Dubai, you really do spend a lot of time going to the mall. Talking about how you’re going to get to the mall. Getting to the mall and figuring out where exactly you’re going to go in the mall. Trying to find what you need in the mall without getting lost–or buying stuff you don’t need. And then figuring out how to get home from the wall.
And after you’re done with the mall, you start talking about dinner and drinks. Where are you going to go for dinner? How will you get there? Do they serve alcohol there? And what time will you be coming back and how will you get back?
Oasis Beach Tower
Dubai Marina, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Date of Only Visit: Thursday, January 7th
The Victims: Rutton, Richard, Mireia, Chris, Evelien, Al, Louise
The Damage: A confusing amount of Emirati Dirham.
Our first real dinner was Thyme, mainly because it was conveniently located in our hotel, the Oasis Beach Tower. And also because we had heard the food was pretty decent. And it was decent. But the service was crap.
My sea bass, on the other hand, was terrible. Half of it was undercooked! Undercooked! Ridiculous. More ridiculous still was the amount of time it took to get our mains. We basically had to tell them that we were cancelling our order before they would deliver the food.
Thyme is a food court, really. A food court with table service. I’m not so sure how I feel about that.
The Dubai Mall
Downtown Burj Dubai
Date of Only Visit: Friday, January 8th
The Victims: Jose, Roman, Sherry
The Damage: Unknown because it was all Monopoly money to me.
The next day, we found ourselves at The Burj, the world’s tallest building. We took a table in the shade at the Dubai Mall and ordered ourselves some hummmus and labneh. Very generous portions.
Other places we visited in Dubai include…
On the Border, a Mexican chain close to our hotel. They make guacamole right at your table, and that’s a good thing. We spent a happy hour or two here, drinking non-alcoholic beers (who knew they’d be so good?) and downing three bowls of guac and chips. Also, very excellent service. Almost too excellent for a place akin to TGI Friday’s. (And much better, for example, than the service at Thyme, which was much more expensive.)
400, the nightclub at The Fairmont. Largest bottles of vodka I’ve ever seen. My friends Dev and Connie got yelled at for kissing. I don’t want to ask how much our evening here cost. Luckily, I wasn’t paying.
Barasti Bar, at Le Meridien. It’s on the beach sort of. But it reminded me of being at spring break in Cancun. In a bad way.
Pai Thai in the Madinat Jumeirah. Worth it for the boat ride alone. And the hotel is LUSH. All the restaurant staff were Thai, which was impressive. Lovely colonial feel to the whole setup. Food better than good, less than excellent. (Too dark for photos.)
The Verdict: Dubai is interesting. Good people watching. Good shopping. I’m sure I only just scratched the surface, but would I go back? Not sure.