7 brilliant business lunch deals in Dubai's DIFC area
Ah, the business lunch. Where people in neatly pressed, dark clothes take 45 minutes out of their schedule to eat things like olives, plates of carpaccio and hunks of bread dipped in balsamic vinegar while they debrief that presentation to HSBC.
As a place of almost ceaseless commerce, Dubai doesn’t lack for great venues for a midday meal with colleagues. In fact, it has so many, we’ve restricted this list to the city’s business heartland – DIFC. If you can’t get a good two-course meal here, there’s no pleasing you.
The breezy and beautiful aesthetic of this famous spot provides a nice midday sanctuary, and it also serves up its award-winning Asian food in a very reasonably priced business lunch. For AED130 per person, you get a hearty miso soup with tofu and wakame, black cod marinated in hoba leaf and, for the mains, a choice between spicy beef with sweet soy or the fragrant miso marinated baby chicken roasted on cedar wood. The portion sizes are surprisingly generous, too.
Where: Podium Level, Gate Village 6, DIFC
Price: AED130 per person
Contact: +971 4 425 5660, website
This European café is a celebration of Belgium’s glamorous 1920s. The décor is suitably extravagant, which compliments the classic Belgian flavours and hospitality. The business lunch priced at AED100 for two courses is a neatly composed affair in which diners can choose one starter from three options (usually including a soup and a salad), one main course from three options (often beef, chicken or chef’s special), and one of two mocktail options. A dessert can then be added for AED20. Reserve a table here to impress a difficult client or attract that star employee who has been killing it with your biggest rivals. You’ll thank us.
Where: Ritz Carlton, Gate Village, DIFC
Price: From AED100
Contact: +971 4 372 2323, website
Another DIFC darling, Boca’s cuisine is an enticing blend of Italian, French and Spanish flavours and between 12pm-3pm they serve up their daily market lunch to give you a taste of a fair few of them. It is changed each morning, depending on what the chefs retrieve from the local fish and vegetable markets, which does ensure things are kept interesting and, importantly, fresh. Diners can choose any three dishes out of six, which usually consists of two starters, three mains and a dessert.
Price: AED120 per person
Where: Gate Village 6, DIFC
Contact: +971 4 323 1833, website
Carnival by Tresind
With 11 individual, contemporary Indian dishes for just AED99, you could say this is a genuine team favourite. Carnival by Tresind can best be described as a post-modern take on north Indian cuisine, with plenty of experimentation and creativity on display. The business lunch is certainly quite a feast: as soon as you are comfortably seated, the plates start coming, beginning with six small plates of bite sized snacks including their take on the taco and a peanut butter paneer tikka served with jelly chutney and corn cutlets. The non-vegetarian snacks include a kebab slider, a mini lamb dosa and ginger prawns. The more substantial plates that follow include a portion of rich butter chicken and a steamed sea bass with coastal flavours. Look out for the vanilla cake served with burnt bananas and mini sugar cookies to finish.
Where: Podium Level, Burj Daman, DIFC
Contact: +97152 242 4262, website
A massive slab of meat might not be the ideal meal for an afternoon of productivity, but you might change your mind after sampling Gaucho’s “Feel Good” menu, which starts with a light chickpea or crayfish starter, followed by a butternut squash pansotti or spicy rump main. If you opt for dessert there’s chocolate chia pudding or fruit salad to choose from. The more sumptuous “Feel Great” menu is a little heavier, featuring starters like fugazza or beef empanadas and mains that include a good old burger or a steak of your choice. The dessert options are dulce de leche crème brûlée and white chocolate and ginger cheesecake. You might want to leave this for Thursdays.
Where: Gate Village 5
Price: AED120 for two courses
Contact: +971 4 422 7898, website
Caramel Restaurant and Lounge
A great atmosphere and even better food make the Caramel Restaurant and Lounge one of the more coveted lunch spots in the vicinity. The two-course business lunch costs just AED69 and diners can select one starter from a wide variety of options like kale and feta salad, sriracha shrimp, chicken wings and sushi rolls, and one main dish from options like prawn spaghetti, pan-seared chicken, risotto, burger and steak. You can also add a side of pommes frites or forest mushrooms for AED10.
Where: Balcony, Level 2, Building 3, DIFC
Contact: +971 4 425 6677, website
A great casual lunch spot for die-hard sushi lovers, this edgy restaurant has mastered the sushi with its elaborate options and creative combinations. With a more practical approach to a business lunch, Sushi Art does seven types of sushi lunch box, each brimming with 14-18 pieces of three different types of sushi roll. That ought to be enough at this time of day.
Where: Marble Walk, Building 5, DIFC
Contact: +971 4 448 9592, website