When it comes to restaurants at the Burj Al Arab, there is certainly a common theme: luxury. This 28-floor, five-star hotel is widely considered one of best hotels in the world. So much so in fact that it is often referred to as "the world’s only seven-star hotel", although such an accolade doesn’t actually exist.
The hotel, which sits on an artificial island and was completed in 1999, boasts 202 luxurious suites, Rolls-Royces to shuttle guests around, a helicopter and helipad, a private beach and six restaurants, this truly is a hotel like no other. The helipad has served as the backdrop for many media events, including Andre Agassi and Roger Federer playing tennis and David Guetta playing a DJ set.
Considering how utterly extravagant the hotel is, there is a surprising amount of choice when dining at the Burj Al Arab. Al Mahara restaurant is the most famous, mainly thanks to its giant (almost one million litre) aquarium and ever-changing Michelin-starred residencies. Guests are well-catered to throughout the day, with breakfast in Burj Al Arab being just as decadent as the other meals.
There are more relaxed options too though, as this is a family-friendly hotel after all. These offer more buffet-style dining, with a wider range of choices. Here you’ll be able to order children’s menu classics like pizza, pasta and burgers, alongside more grown-up dishes. Some of the restaurants at Burj Al Arab are Middle Eastern in terms of cuisine, while others lean towards a more modern European palate. Ingredients you’ll see all over the hotel are lobster, caviar and truffle, as these are favourites of the clientele. The plating is often highly elegant, matching the setting perfectly. Wines and Champagnes are similarly lavish, as are the beautiful cocktails.
Burj Al Arab has a lot to offer, and this guide is a great place to start. Below, you'll get a taste of each restaurant and bar, plus how to book.
Comfortably one of the most famous restaurants in the world, Al Mahara is located on the ground floor of the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah. The restaurant boasts a giant aquarium which, in conjunction with the soothing lighting, gives diners the feeling of actually being underwater. A roster of pretty phenomenal chefs has graced its kitchens, including Nathan Outlaw and Kim Joinie-Maurin. At the time of writing, Andrea Migliaccio (of Capri’s two Michelin-starred ‘Ristorante L’Olivo’) is at the helm, offering elegant Italian fine dining with a focus on seafood. The star of the show is arguably the king crab, which comes with carrot couscous, green apple and paprika mayo. It may sound wacky, but in such skilled hands it works.
Where: Ground floor
Book now: Al Mahara
Bab Al Yam
Located on the water side of the ground floor of the hotel, Bab Al Yam is a hotspot for locals and tourists alike. The open kitchen allows diners to watch as the magic happens, with the brick oven turning out delicious dishes. The terrace is a lovely spot to catch some sun, while the lounge offers a more elegant, intimate space for dinner. Groups are welcome, with the buffet offering a huge range of food including sandwiches, salads, soups, mezze, pasta, rice dishes, burgers, steaks, fish and more. Dessert comes in the form of baklava, fruit salad and other sweet treats native to this part of the world.
Where: Ground floor
Book now: Bab Al Yam
For something a little more relaxed, Al Iwan offers up delicious mezze and grilled plates in an elegant but more informal setting. Here, on the first floor, diners can start off with classic hummus or opt for the Beirut version, which features pickled cucumber, parsley, walnuts, tomato and cumin too. From there, there are other Arabic staples such as tabouleh, baba ghanoush, stuffed vine leaves and fattoush. Moving to hot mezze, there are delights like grilled halloumi, chicken wings and spinach pastries. From the grill (a must), enjoy hearty options like traditional chicken shawarma, grilled lamb chops or aubergine kofta. The restaurant even has a children’s menu, featuring fish fingers, nuggets or spaghetti bolognese to keep little critics satisfied.
Where: First floor
Book now: Al Iwan
On the first floor, you’ll also find Sahn Eddar, a family-friendly, casual dining lounge. Arabic for ‘reception of the house’, it’s a great spot for a relaxed lunch with the kids or even a place to to experience some of the best best afternoon tea in Dubai. That being said, it’s still the Burj Al Arab, so caviar is available as a starter for those so inclined. Other entrees include vitello tonnato, red prawn carpaccio with strawberries or foie gras terrine with white chocolate. Classic daytime bites are available, including salads, pasta and rice dishes, pizza and burgers, with luxury touches like truffle and wagyu making appearances too.
Where: First floor
Book now: Sahn Eddar
Even more luxurious than Al Mahara is Al Muntaha, located on the 27 floor. Although it doesn’t have a giant aquarium like Al Mahara, it does offer stunning views of the surrounding city. Headed up by critically acclaimed chef Saverio Sbaragli, who trained under Alain Ducasse, the restaurant offers diners sumptuously elegant Italian and French fine dining. As such, you can expect the epitome of luxury when it comes to the menu. You might see stuffed morels with consomme, veal filet mignon with rosemary ash and purple artichoke or Sevruga Imperial caviar with pumpkin veloute on the tasting menu. There’s plenty of choice on the a la carte as well, so all manner of guests are certainly well-catered to.
Where: Twenty seventh floor
Book now: Al Muntaha
More of a gastro bar than a restaurant, Gilt offers utterly stunning gold interiors, as well as scenic views. Overseen by world-famous mixologist Thibault Mequignon, the bar serves up truly unforgettable sips, featuring blends of exotic and perhaps more familiar flavours. For something earthy, the Toncafe cocktail features Irish whisky, tonka, almond liqueur, cream, coffee and black salt. For something more fizzy and fruity, try the Ume, made with umeshu, green tea, verjus, soda and absinthe. Elegant small plates include lobster bao, beef tartare with crunchy chips or truffle French toast.
Where: Twenty seventh floor
Book now: Gilt
Offering some of the most stunning views in the whole of Dubai, the Skyview Bar offers classic but supremely elevated cocktails, as well as signature house mixes and much, much more. There is a truly jaw-dropping range of Macallan whiskies, including rare casks, sherry oak bottles and even the M Lalique (the most expensive whisky ever sold at around £14,000 in today’s money). Elsewhere you’ll see top-range spirits from all over the world, as well as wines, fortified wines and Champagnes to match. This is probably one of the most distinctive bars in the world, where you can enjoy lavish drinks 200m above sea level.
Where: 27th floor
Book now: Skyview bar
If you’re still hungry, we highly recommend you check out the best Turkish restaurants in Dubai.