Brunch in Dubai is a must. Friday brunches are sumptuous, festive and tend to drag on. It's not cheap, especially if you opt for real champagne, but it's a taste experience worth every dirham.
Why brunches have become such a big deal in Dubai is unclear. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that brunches offer a welcome opportunity for all the city's expats, foreigners living and working in Dubai, to unwind after the working week, eat, socialise and drink.
Friday brunches mark the start of each weekend - Friday and Saturday are weekends in Dubai - and many brunches include unlimited wine, bubbly and drinks.
Because alcohol is such a central part of brunch in Dubai, brunches are served exclusively by restaurants located in hotels - because those are the restaurants that have the licenses to serve.
Brunch in Dubai - our tips!
We mentioned at the beginning that brunch in Dubai is not cheap - and it is. But not all brunches are crazy expensive. There are everything from fairly reasonably priced brunches in pubs and pizzerias - to complement the expensive, but often absolutely fantastic, Friday brunches of luxury restaurants.
Which one you choose may depend on the size of your travel budget, so we suggest different price ranges. Bear in mind that you can get away cheaper if you go non-alcoholic.
Please note that this is a small selection. Hundreds restaurants in Dubai serve - and new ones are added almost every week.
The most important tip of all - book early. Of course, the popularity of the restaurants, and their brunches, varies. But it's often difficult to get a table on the same day. At the more popular places, it's wise to book a table three to four weeks in advance.
Jumeirah Al Qasr
Al Qasr is one of the hotels in the palace-like Madinat Jumeirah complex. The brunch here is considered one of the best in Dubai - and therefore probably on this planet.
The selection is huge (three of the hotel's restaurants cater) and the dishes are extremely tasty, from the grilled wagyu burgers to the yummy desserts.
Open for brunch: 12.30 - 16.00 on Fridays.
Cost: AED 480 without alcohol, AED 577 with bubbly and AED 674 with real champagne.
Reserve a table at: email@example.com
Lock, Stock & Barrel
Nice gastropub in the Grand Millennium hotel, which has a really awesome Friday brunch. No buffet. Dishes are served on large plates, meant to be shared by the whole party.
Buffalo Wings for starters, Blank Angus sliders and flatbread pizza for main course, fabulous cheesecake for dessert, are just a few examples from the menu.
Open for brunch: 13.00 - 16.00 on Fridays.
Cost: 199 dirhams with table water or soft drinks, 299 dirhams with alcohol.
Reserve a table at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bubbalicious at The Westin
Bubbalicious at The Westin has the motto "the more the merrier" - the impressive brunch is perfect for large groups who don't want to settle on just one type of food (there's plenty here).
The hotel's three restaurants serve everything from first-class sushi to succulent steaks and seafood. Should you still have room for dessert, Bubbalicious boasts a huge selection in that area too. While you digest your food, there's entertainment including live bands, DJs and circus acrobats.
Open for brunch: 13.00 - 16.00 on Fridays.
Costs: 420 dirhams with table water or soft drinks, 520 dirhams with bubbly or 620 dirhams with real champagne. Children under 12 eat free.
Book a table at: email@example.com
Toro + Ko
For tapas and other Iberian delights, the popular brunch at Toro + Ko on City Walk is recommended. Whether your favourite is patatas bravas or paella, you won't leave disappointed.
On the lovely patio, you can feel the relaxed mañana atmosphere with a carafe of sangria, made to a secret recipe.
Open for brunch: 12.00 - 16.00 on Fridays.
Cost: 350 dirhams without alcohol, 450 dirhams with house drink and 550 dirhams with bubbly.
Reserve a table at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Brasserie 2.0 at Le Royal Meridien
After a few days in Dubai, it can feel like you can't take in any more grand impressions, but that's quickly remedied when you step through the doors of Brasserie 2.0. With ten dining stations, you'll be treated to a unique dining experience with dishes from all corners of the world.
The price varies from expensive to very expensive, depending on whether you want free access to real champagne through the brunch, or settle for non-alcoholic. In addition to the wonderful view of the Arabian Sea, the brunch is accompanied by entertainment, including a live band.
Open for brunch: 13.30 - 16.30 on Fridays.
Cost: 450 dirhams without alcohol, 595 dirhams with bubbly and other beverages or 795 dirhams with real champagne and other beverages.
Reserve a table at: email@example.com or on their website
The Little Belgian
Brunch at Le Petit Belge is relatively cheap by Emirati standards. Here you'll be tempted by traditional Belgian treats such as exciting beers, Moules Frites and freshly baked waffles. If you're crazy about chocolate, you'll love the dessert selection here.
Le Petit Belge has three branches around Dubai: the Pullman Hotel in Jumeirah Lake Towers, the DoubleTree by Hilton in Business Bay and the Park Inn by Radisson in the Motor City.
Open for brunch: 13.00 - 16.00 on Fridays
Cost: 199 dirhams without alcohol, 390 dirhams with house drink and 450 dirhams with bubbly
Reserve a table at: Jumeirah Lake Towers: firstname.lastname@example.org | DoubleTree by Hilton: email@example.com | Park Inn by Radisson: firstname.lastname@example.org