In Memoriam: 10 Of Dubai’s Most Missed Restaurants

Over the years this city has seen some of the best restaurants come and go, and plenty that weren’t so great less than gracefully bow out; but there are some restaurants who’s departure from the scene left us with heavy hearts and craving stomachs…


1. Don Corleone’s, Metropolitan Hotel

Pizza, pasta and plenty of wine, this little Italian trattoria was the it place for dates, celebrations or just a really good meal. In the now flattened Metropolitan hotel it over looked the gardens, softball pitches and was the perfect spot to watch the ladies of the night and their punters stumble in and out of Rattlesnake while  you sipped on a pinot noir.


2. The Chalet, Jumeirah Beach Road

Before it’s horrific death The Chalet was the ideal roadside eatery. While it has been brought back to life in recent years – after a long time left smouldering – it’s just not the same. From their mouthwatering shawarma to fresh juices it was everything you have come to expect from a cafeteria with the added bonus of a show – queue Patrol revs and screaming Ferraris.

3. The Kitchen, Al Diyhafa Street

Hidden off a little side street round the back of Al Mallah this India restaurant served some of the best food this side of Mumbai. From the low ceilings that barely accommodated anyone over 5’7″ to the huge fish take in the entrance this little hidden gem was a family favourite for dine in and take away.


4. Hard Rock Cafe, Opposite Emirates Golf Course

Yes, there is a Hard Rock in Dubai but the new one just doesn’t have quite the same charm as the original. From it’s towering crossed guitars to the Empire State like structure of the building it was hard to miss on the long drive out of the city (before Media City made an appearance). Inside the flash car on the ceiling and the walls of memorabilia kept us all enthralled for hours and it was the place of so many a birthday party and whipped cream to the face.


5. The Red Lion, Metropolitan Hotel

From their house brewed beer to the live sports coverage this classic British pub was everything you needed when you were craving a little piece of home. Having opened in 1978 it has played host to many and expats’ mid-week hangovers.


6. Planet Hollywood, Wafi

Greeted by the Terminator and the Soul Gatherer this American import was ever movie lover’s favourite spot. Located inside a large Sphere behind Wafi this restaurant’s untimely closure left a lot of  long time patrons confused and the rumours of it’s reopening left us filled with hope but to no avail. Though the blue ball stood for many more years our beloved Planet Hollywood was no more.


7. The Lodge, Al Nasser Leisureland

Be it brunch or bevvies late into the night The Lodge was a family favourite, boasting a kids activity room, a futuristic club room complete with smoke machine and a bar that had that classic British pub smell of stale cigarettes and stale beer it was a favourite for roast dinners and full English breakfasts. Plus with the iconic Cyclone just around the corner you never had to stumble far for a good night out.


8. Spectrum on One, The Fairmont Dubai

Dubai is known for it’s champagne brunches and fancy buffets but where did it all come from, who first thought: you know what would be really good, let’s just give these guys so many bubbles they can’t walk straight for three days. Spectrum on One that’s who.


9. Pizza Inn

Hidden in the corner of Choithrams by Safa Park this unconventional pizza joint flipped the best pies in the city. While your mum was doing the weekly shop you were put in charge of getting the pizzas – and they were always piping hot! From their overly yeasty dough to their gooey cheese and tangy tomato sauce you just couldn’t got wrong.


10. Cactus Cantina

Who doesn’t like margaritas and a good dance? Cactus Cantina was an old Dubai haunt synonymous with a really good night, never mind the delicious food and friendly staff, the music kept feet tapping – sometimes even tapping right onto the tables – and the drinks just kept flowing. You can still visit this cantina at it’s new home in Wafi but we will always miss the original.


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