26 October 2016Last updated

Food | Reviews

Our round-up of 10 places where you can treat your sweetheart like royalty

From fine dining under the stars to a feast next to fountains, treat your sweetheart to these decadent dinners this Valentine’s Day

5 Feb 2016 | 12:00 am
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Villa Beach, Jumeirah Beach Hotel

Be star-crossed lovers this Valentine’s with the ultimate in romance – a moonlit dinner on the beach. 
And what better recipe for a perfect evening than a table for two on the golden sands overlooking the Arabian Gulf against the stunning backdrop of the Burj Al Arab?

Throw in a five-star four-course set menu, impeccable service, and a band playing modern and classic love songs and – like us – you’ll fall in love with cupid’s culinary affair at Jumeirah Beach Hotel’s Villa Beach.

The food is Mediterranean – we dined on melt-in-your-mouth creamy burrata from the classic caprese starter, paella for sharing (well it is V-day after all!), a seafood platter with lobster, and a myriad of Italian-inspired desserts, all set in a magical atmosphere that makes for an unforgettable Arabian Night.

Never before have I dined under the stars feeling the sand squidging between my toes (who wants to wear heels on the beach?) while feasting on award-winning cuisine, surrounded by twinkling lights. The sound of the waves lapping the shore were our background music long before the band arrived to serenade us, and our table – the only one on the golden sands – was sprinkled with glittering stars and rose petals.

I couldn’t imagine anything more incredible – until I heard about The Ultimate Way dinner, where couples are whisked to their own beachfront cabana in a limousine and served by a personal team under the stars.

Both packages include gifts for the couple at the end of the meal to remember their own starry, starry night.

It was the perfect setting for the most romantic day of the year with your very own sun and stars and if I wasn’t already married, I’d have been expecting a box to appear between courses, and a marriage proposal.

Measures of Mediterranean at Villa Beach at Jumeirah Beach Hotel on Valentine’s Day evening 6.30pm-11.30pm, for Dh1,999 per couple. The Ultimate Way with private beachside cabana 7pm-11pm for Dh25,000 per couple all-inclusive. Call 04 4323 234 or email

- Karen Pasqualijones

Segreto, Souk Madinat Jumeirah




They say those in love create their own little world within the world. An elegant Italian restaurant nuzzled in the labyrinthine streets of the atmospheric Madinat Jumeirah, Segreto lives up to that ideal, summoning the other-worldly magic of Venice in the bustle of Madinat’s rustic Arabian setting. Framed by aquamarine waterways and canals with elegant stairways and bridges leading up to it, you’d be forgiven for believing you’re stepping into a watercolour painting.

That’s just the beginning of the charm and artistry that set the tone for the evening. The specially designed four-course Valentine’s Day menu exudes romance like only delicate – yet hearty – Italian food can do, served on tables dressed in rose petals. Bond with your better half while breaking bread over sumptuous gribiche bread jelly and red peppers coulis; coffee-scented home-made pasta, red prawns and lobster ragout; Balik salmon that falls off the bone with black bream quenelle and Sevruga caviar; and soffice di lampone – moist raspberry cake with caramel popcorn.

Since romantic intrigue goes with the city of canals – also legendary for its masquerades – couples will receive ornate Venetian masks on arrival. Don them and fill hearts with a romantic stroll under starry skies on the restaurant’s newly refurbished terrace. After all, isn’t mystery the spark that ignites romance?

From February 7-14 at Dh650 per couple, inclusive of beverages. Call 04 432 3232 or email

- Shreeja Ravindranathan

Treehouse at Taj Dubai





Harken back to a bygone era and swish into a gorgeous Parisian night next weekend, with a view that trumps the Eiffel Tower – it’ll be the Burj Khalifa that will be twinkling ahead in all its glory instead. At the Downtown-overlooking Treehouse lounge – set in Taj Dubai’s terrace fenced by ornate trees – grandeur, glamour and romance will be served up old-world style this V-day.

The urban hideaway offers a menu of some scrumptious Mediterranean food – from artichoke frittata and seared scallops with 
sauce vierge to poached lobster with apple salad, grilled prawns and sea bream with ratatouille, followed by caramelised brioche with pistachio ice-cream or berry trifle and tiramisu – while you sway to the electro swing beats of DJ Tayllor.

Just for the day of love, Treehouse has created a special beverage-and-oyster pairing for Dh795. From 5pm. Dishes off the 
menu range from Dh50-Dh110. Call 050 648 3083 or email

- Sangeetha Sagar

Forty Four Bistro & Lounge, Warwick Hotel Dubai



Take your Valentine’s celebrations to new heights at a French restaurant on the 44th floor of the Warwick Hotel, offering panoramic views of the Dubai skyline that are almost as incredible as the food.

Forty Four is already a firm favourite among foodies in the know and French expats in the city, because it serves up authentic dishes with a Belgian twist. Now it’s offering a Valentine’s evening promising plenty of ooh-la-la with a scrumptious, lavish four-course menu.

The managing director Olivier is Belgian with a fine-dining pedigree, and experience serving up a feast of Michelin-star proportions, and he now has introduced this ‘flavour with no frills’ policy to Dubai. Reminiscent of a New York eatery, Forty Four doesn’t go in for fancy decor and silver service. Instead, it serves up some of the best dishes I’ve ever tasted here 
with the finest ingredients and oodles of Gallic charm.

The menu starts in typical French style with a mise en bouche, followed by lobster salad and taboule and skate wing (which is obviously a fin!) served with glazed carrots. The main course is a mouth-watering veal medallion (devoured by my Italian husband while Olivier kindly made me a vegetarian dish!) followed by my favourite – a cheese selection. For those with 
a sweet tooth, there are chocolates and a special dessert.

Sadly missing from the menu are the best buratta you’ll taste outside Italy – made in Al Ain with milk imported from Italy apparently, and duck confit, which all my friends rave about. But there’s a bouquet of flowers and chocolates for the ladies to make it up for it. Très bon!

Dh544 per couple for the Valentine’s menu. To book, call 04 506 9890 or email

- Karen Pasqualijones

Rang Mahal by Atul Kochhar, JW Marriott Marquis Dubai




A bit of spicy heat, a rich ambience and royal treatment – this Valentine’s Day, give your happily-ever-after fairy tale an Indian tarka (flavouring). At Rang Mahal by Atul Kochhar, which is renowned for 
its elegant yet cosy setting and food packed with flavour, the Valentine’s seven-course menu is fit for royalty. 
No exaggeration. The award-winning restaurant will pay tribute to seven royal love stories from India by creating exquisite dishes inspired by the spices of the region they represent. From a perfectly grilled lamb loin served with a smoked curry sauce, to a divine seafood platter that includes saffron-infused scallops, crab kofta and baked shrimps with cream served with an almond-rich korma, each course is a happy marriage of taste and textures. But if that isn’t wow enough, the chef is creating a dessert menu that promises to leave you speechless. Love sure got us hungry!

The 7 Royal Love Stories Valentine’s set menu includes luxury limousine pick-up and drop off and special gifts for the lady. Dh950. For reservations, call 04 414 3000.

- Mrinal Shekar

Al Badia Golf Club, Dubai Festival City




For Valentine’s Day, the Al Badia Golf Club has a definite edge over the other dining destinations in the emirate. For it is one place that does not have to do much to create a romantic ambience. After all, which place can top the crisp breeze, twinkling stars and the serene hush that this place has to offer? Yes, you guessed it right – this restaurant’s Valentine’s setting is outdoors.

And if that is not enough to inspire you to write your own love story, the low tables, plush bean bags and soft lighting will instantly transport you to a romantic wonderland where you’d like to kick off your killer heels and make yourself comfortable with your plus one.

As you take in the stunning view of Dubai’s night skyline and sample the variety of breads, dips and refreshing beverages that make up the delicious picnic hamper, along with a huge feast of mains and desserts on offer, the restaurant’s guitarist will have you closing your eyes and gently swaying to his renditions of classic 
love songs.

Your soulmate by your side, delicious food in front of you and a picture-perfect starry night for company – now this is what fairy tales are all about, isn’t it?

Twilight picnic is Dh580 per couple. For reservations, call 04 701 1127 or email

- Mrinal Shekar

Fogueira, Ramada Plaza Jumeirah Beach Residence





Love, the Latin way, is a passionate affair. You’re in it all the way, or you get out, all guns blazing. Either way, it envelopes everything in its all-consuming folds, including food, drink, music and dance.

This V Day, get a taste of Latin love at Fogueira, the Brazilian churrascaria. The celebration isn’t just limited to February 14 – it stretches through the weekend, with brilliant all-you-can-eat cuts, roses for the ladies and strawberry-flavoured traditional drinks thrown in for good measure. Relax in a quiet corner on the terrace with charming views of the city, while the lovely sea breeze takes you to a dreamy place – think a beach in Brazil, blissful solitude with the love of your life, a drink on the side and barbecued meats on open fire, charred and crackling with perfection. And fret not; if you’re missing music, just book a table for dinner on V Day and enjoy romantic Latino songs and a sizzling samba performance to get adrenaline pulsing through your veins. Plus, enter a raffle whenever you dine from February 12-14 and you may just win a one-night stay for two at the hotel. Who says love doesn’t have benefits?

Valentine’s Weekend brunch and dinner from February 12-14 start at Dh335 per person. Brunch timing: 12.30-4pm. Dinner on Thursday and Friday from 6.30pm-1am and on Saturday until midnight. Call 04 439 8888 or email

- Tania Bhattacharya

BiCE Mare





History’s great romantic? Giacomo Casanova, a Venetian with an eye for the ladies in 18th-century Italy. One of the most romantic restaurants in the UAE? An Italian one, of course, with a clutch of awards for the way it teases your palette.

BiCE Mare, with creative chef Leonardo at the helm and boasting stunning views of the Burj Khalifa 
and Dubai Fountain, showcases the very best that Italian cuisine has to offer in the UAE and their San Valentino menu is no exception.

The very friendly and talented Leonardo hails from south Italy and that comes through in his dishes. From the oyster starter – what else for V Day? – served with tuna carpaccio and Mazara red prawns through to the calamarata pasta with sea urchin and burrata, monkfish fillet with apple wood smoke, green olives and potatoes, and lamb noisette with semi-dried cherry tomatoes 
and Italian herbs, everything is done with a fine dining but definitely southern flourish.

His hospitality isn’t just confined to the kitchen in Souk Al Bahar; he came to our table and served me my pumpkin risotto – deliciously creamy and al dente – after tossing it in a hollowed-out Parmesan cheese chunk. No graters needed here!

His food sticks to his Michelin-inspired roots. Leonardo has worked with some of the best Italian Michelin chefs, including Pasquale Palamaro and Moreno Cedroni, so the lobster my Italian husband ordered was served Catalana style with toasted almonds and a yogurt dressing.

Between mouthfuls, we took in the fountain dancing just metres away, while sitting on the terrace of this chic, contemporary restaurant that has been winning myriad best seafood and best restaurant awards every year since launching over five years ago.

There’s more than just savoury dishes to fall in love with though – there is a sweet selection to rival anything from the motherland, all hand-made by pastry chef Angela. Leave room to try them all – at BiCE Mare, it’s a sweet life.

Dh1,200 per couple on February 14, from 7pm. Call 04 423 0982 or visit

- Karen Pasqualijones

Mint Leaf of London, DIFC




For some of us, going out on February 14 is a nightmare of epic proportions. All that expectation of romance, an element of surprise, a heart-stopping gift and the cosy comfort of the love bubble – irrespective of crowded eateries, choked roads, and the boss’s inability to understand why leaving early on the day is vital to your well-being in the foreseeable future – can reduce the most sensible and suave to wrecks. This is why we suggest you leave it all to the experts, such as Mint Leaf of London.

Offering an experience in life’s finest things, a stylish Valentine’s Day awaits at the elegant Indian restaurant, known for its modern culinary twists. Against the glittering backdrop of Downtown Dubai, drink up a welcome beverage called Love Potion to set the tone for the evening, and tuck into a carefully crafted menu, which includes such dishes as wild mushroom cigarolls and a sinful dessert made of gianduia, cranberry biscotti and strawberries. For an exclusive night, go for the VIP package, which offers great food and drink, a complimentary box of chocolates, flowers and transport to and from the restaurant, while the brownie points for a fab night go to you. Ka-ching!

Set menu dinner at Dh590 a couple, while the VIP package is tagged at Dh4,999 (subject to availability, reservations required). From 3pm. Call 04 706 0900 or write to

- Tania Bhattacharya

Amwaj, Anantara Sir Bani Yas Island, Abu Dhabi





For a starry-eyed evening, you could whisk your partner off to the planetarium with a pack of crisps and carton of juice in case you get hungry. But if you’d like to carry on with your relationship, we recommend treating your special one to a luxurious, magical night under the stars – real stars, and not the fake ones at planetariums – at the Anantara Abu Dhabi, with the sound of waves lapping at the shore.

The contemporary Amwaj seafood restaurant – Amwaj means waves in Arabic – will rustle up a lavish spread of fresh catch for you both, all grilled to perfection, or mixed up in some gourmet salads. And you’ll be enjoying these oceanic delights around a crackling fire where you can warm up and toast marshmallows at the same time – could it get any more romantic?

From Dh300 per person. For bookings or information call 02 656 1399 or email

- Sangeetha Sagar