A trip to the Dubai Opera demands a certain, let’s say, etiquette. No, there’s formal dress code, but we wouldn’t recommend turning up in a Nirvana t-shirt and Converse – so while you’re in your best bib and tucker, it does make sense to make a night of it by adding a pre-show meal into the equation. To that end, ShortList has compiled a list of some Dubai Opera dining deals that you can take advantage of as a ticket holder.
Informal and affordable – those box seats weren’t cheap, were they? – Armani/Deli is a great option. For AED130, you can enjoy two courses from an extensive menu of starters, middle courses, mains and desserts, in which the black ink risotto with baby squid and the grilled seabream with cannellini sauce will vie for your attention. Add AED30 and you can tuck into three courses instead. All this, and you also get to enjoy the restaurant’s slick monochrome décor and great views of the Dubai Fountain. Lovely spot.
Where: Armani Hotel, Burj Khalifa, Downtown Dubai
Price: AED130 for two courses, AED160 for three. From 6pm.
Contact: +9714 453 5468
Opera? Italian? It sells itself, right? Armani/Ristorante delivers one half of that killer combination; its pre-opera set menu offers contemporary takes on Italian favourites, with starters such a burrata with heirloom tomato, fava beans and balsamic vinegar, and mains that include tagliata with sliced steak, mashed potato with truffle and spinach. You can then finish off with a generous helping of – what else? – tiramisu. Perfetto. They also have an aperitivo menu for those who are looking for a light bite instead; for just AED150 you can enjoy one glass of house grape or bubbly alongside one antipasto. Ideal.
Where: Armani Hotel, Burj Khalifa
Price: AED250 for two courses or AED300 for three. AED150 for the aperitivo menu. Available from 6pm.
Call: +9714 888 3888
You’d be hard pressed to find a restaurant with a bad view in Downtown Dubai, but there’s an argument that Thai restaurant Thiptara may just have the best of the bunch. This enduring favourite is offering opera-goers a set menu on show nights, which includes highlights such as phad grapao goong – a difficult-to-pronounce mix of stir-fried tiger prawn, chilli, garlic, hot basil leaves and oyster sauce. Then you can let the fat lady within you sing by treating yourself to the dessert of tempura-fried banana with honey and coconut ice cream. And as an added incentive, there’s 15 per cent off the sommelier’s premium selection of house grape. The occasion demands it, after all.
Where: The Palace Downtown
Price: Around AED250 per person
Contact: +9714 428 7961
Thiptara’s sibling restaurant Asado is also offering a pre-show set menu. Its show-stopping terrace aside, Asado has always been known for being the grand masters of steak, and, as such, you’ll be pleased to see it’s included on the set menu, served alongside a healthy dollop of mashed potato. For a total carb-loading experience, opt for their popular empanadas for starters; you can have a choice of three from beef, corn, onion, ricotta and chicken. For the curtain call there can only be one choice – the flan de caramel con crema y dulce de leche, crème caramel with whipped cream and homemade dulce de leche. Vegetarians and those with a gluten allergy can call ahead to ensure they’re catered for.
Where: The Palace Downtown
Price: AED250 for two courses, AED300 for three. Available on show nights only.
Contact: +9714 428 7888
We don’t really need to mention the view from At.mosphere, do we? Add the undeniable glamour of the Burj Khalifa and your night at the opera will have a special feel from the outset. As a ticket holder, you can enjoy a two- or three-course set meal, whose highlights include the foie gras with sea salt brioche and cherry liquorice for starters, and the Wagyu beef cheek served with shallot tatin, sweet potato and bordelaise for mains. There are also decent vegetarian options, too. In the lounge, ticket holders get 20 per cent off food and beverages – just don’t forget to ask for a table by the window when you book.
Where: Burj Khalifa
Price: AED325-AED375 from 6pm on show nights
Contact: +9714 888 3828
La Serre Bistro & Boulangerie
For pre-show French fancies, La Serre Bistro & Boulangerie at Vida Downtown Hotel certainly hits all the right notes. For a very reasonable AED150 you can enjoy a choice of crunchy salad with Emmental cheese, green apple and caramelised walnuts, or buffalo mozzarella bruschetta with truffle dressing for starters. Mains include baked grouper with Provençale ratatouille and grilled chicken supreme, creamy mushrooms and spaetzle. You can then round off the meal with a fresh pastry of the day while enjoying the views of the boulevard.
Where: Vida Downtown Hotel
Price: AED150, 5:30pm-8pm on show nights.
Contact: +9714 428 6969