The Middle East may not be the most obvious getaway choice these days, but Dubai isn’t really the Middle East. It’s a fascinating world all its own: a cosmopolitan paradise of sun, sand, beautiful people, stunning architecture, and high-end luxury that boasts the planet’s tallest building (Burj Khalifa), biggest shopping center (The Dubai Mall), and five of the world’s tallest hotels. There’s also the Mall Of The Emirates, which features a massive indoor ski slope, complete with snow (and penguins!), in what’s basically a broiling desert with concrete poured over it. Why? Dubai’s answer: Why not? Here’s the lowdown on the best that this gleefully over-the-top Arabian oasis has to offer.
When it comes to food, Dubai follows its blueprint for pretty much everything else and imports the very best – acclaimed chefs Nobu Matsuhisa (Nobu), Pierre Gagnaire (Reflets), and Richard Sandoval (Toro Toro and Maya) all have restaurants here. And like Dubai’s inhabitants, the cuisine comes from all around the globe. In the old districts of the city, you can sample dishes from India, Thailand, the Philippines, Lebanon, the Caribbean, China, and Japan within a few blocks. For a late breakfast of poached eggs with spinach and truffles – and a hit of bracing Milanese espresso – head to Emporio Armani Caffè in the Dubai Mall. Just behind the mall, you get an unmatched, close-up view of the Burj Khalifa. For a good, cheap lunch in Bur Dubai, try local institution Automatic Cafe’s grilled lamb with tomatoes, onions, and rice doused in pine nuts and a rich tomato sauce. If you’d rather go upmarket, award-winning Japanese eatery Zuma offers standout sushi in a hip, relaxed setting. Come dinnertime, nearly all Dubai’s five-star hotels have at least one great restaurant. Acclaimed Argentine steakhouse Asado, in the shadow of the Dubai Fountain, is renowned for its tender cabrito (baby goat cooked over hot coals). Pierchic, located out in the ocean at the end of its own pier, offers top-rated seafood (try the yellowfin tuna) in a stunning location that’s perfect for date night.
For the full feature grab the December 2014 issue of MAXIM, in stores from November 20 to December 18.
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