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23 February 2017Last updated
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Top 12 places in Dubai to ring in the new year

Friday rounds up the top 12 destinations in Dubai to ring in the New Year in style – mouth-watering menus and firework displays guaranteed

<i>Friday</i>
18 Dec 2015 | 12:00 am
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  • Atlantis, which is a dreamy destination for even the most seasoned Dubai-ite, throws lavish New Year’s Eve parties you just can’t miss.

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Atlantis, The Palm

Dining out this New Year’s Eve does not come better than at the Atlantis. There’s not one, two or three restaurant options at this underwater-themed fantasy resort in Dubai. There are – hold your breath – 23 restaurants and clubs to choose from, all of which are offering mouth-watering food with spectacular views as backdrop. Guests will also get to join in the celebrations with front-row seats to the annual fireworks extravaganza that lights up the city’s skies.

Expect a sumptuous dinner with live cooking stations, barbecues and buffets, and a mind-boggling array of luxurious hot and cold delicacies.

Prefer modern British cuisine? Check out Gordon Ramsay’s newly opened Bread Street Kitchen. Want to go east? Try the set menu 
at Nobu, the award-winning Japanese restaurant. Delicious Italian? Just walk over to Ronda Locatelli.

If you want an intimate evening with your loved one, there’s Ossiano, which has created an elegant romantic setting. Oh, and not to forget, there’s Kids Club and Club Rush for children, where they can have a great time.

Guests can choose from the luxurious gold, silver or bronze dining packages valid for a variety of restaurants.

From Dh2,800 for adults for the gold package and Dh1,250 for bronze. For bookings, call 04 426 2626, or visit www.atlantisthepalm.com for more information.

Jumeirah Beach Hotel

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The magnificent property on the shores of the Arabian Gulf is known to live it up, and this New Year’s Eve is no different. A gala dinner – aptly named Festive Winter Wonderland – is on the cards for anyone who wants to enjoy a spectacular night of fireworks and live entertainment on the beach. The hotel will put up a colossal marquee sprawled below the Burj Al Arab, where you can dress to impress and spend a regal evening with your friends and family. Perhaps the only problem will be that teensy-weensy, uber-tight cocktail dress you’ve been juicing to fit into, because the menu is nothing short of king-size. Fresh oyster, seafood, sushi and sashimi, salad, caviar, pastrami, charcuterie, cold meze, dim sum and soup stations will rub steel beside a massive range of cheeses from Europe. We’re not done yet! You’ll also feast on assorted terrine, pâtés and foie gras, antipasti, carved meats, barbecues, hot-off-the-tandoor nans and meats, curries, and desserts you can’t count on your fingers. Add to that a concert by British soul singer Heather Small, formerly of the M People, and you know there’s no better place to start 2016.

Dh4,500 per person over 20 years, Dh2,900 for those from 12-20 years and children below 12 attend for free. From 8pm. Call 04 432 3232 or email restaurants@jumeirah.com.

Al Grissino Restaurant and Lounge, Emirates Financial Towers

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For a sophisticated New Year’s Eve, head to one of our favourite new fine dining restaurants in Dubai and celebrate the Italian way – with delicious food, a refined atmosphere and spectacular view of the Burj Khalifa fireworks at midnight.

Beautifully decorated in white, cream and neutrals with lashings of crystal and marble, and flaunting equally impressive service, 
Al Grissino has gone all out to up the style and taste bar with a sumptuous seven-course dinner. Executive chefs Stefano Sofia and Diego Simonetta have brought their skills and authentic flavours from the trattorias of Milan to the city’s dining scene.

Starting with an oyster amuse-bouche, the menu includes such highlights as Sicilian red prawns with organic duck speck and swordfish, and finishes with a chocolate dessert explosion.

Time it right and you could be enjoying it from the lofty heights of the 16th floor of the towers, ooh-ing and aah-ing at the incredible pyrotechnic display at the Burj. Buon anno!

Dh1,500 per person for the seven-course dinner including free-flowing select beverages. From 7.30pm. For reservations call 04 352 4000 or email reservations@algrissinodubai.

OKKU, H Hotel Dubai

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What better way to see off the year than with a Back to The Future-inspired party’? 
Say yes to award-winning Japanese restaurant Okku for your New Year’s Eve celebrations and you’ll find yourself travelling through time as resident DJ Yiannis plays hits from the Eighties and Nineties to the present – a musical DeLorean and Marty McFly would approve of.

Before you go wild on the dance floor unleashing those air-guitar skills, there’s the sophisticated business of the bountiful dinner Okku has dreamed up. Lavish would be an injustice to describe the gourmand affair amid the glamorous wood-panelled interiors, considering you’ll be working your way through 14 courses!

The set menu will feature signature dishes from their multi-award-winning menu, including melt-in-your-mouth yuzu-saikyo miso black cod, piquant wasabi rock shrimps and the flaming hot O-style avocado volcano that will have you go Oh with wonder. Of course, considering the Eighties saw the global sushi rush, there’ll be a prime selection to graze on, too. With a cracking good menu and upbeat ambience, the night will take off like a rocket into 2016, so who needs fireworks? But here’s a secret – there’ll be sparklers. Ssshhh!

Dh795 per person. From 9.30pm. Call 04 501 8777 or email reservations@okkudubai.com.

Al Mahara, Burj Al Arab

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So many gala dinners but only one New Year’s Eve to attend them all! When in doubt we always ask, ‘What would a Disney princess do?’ If she was Ariel, from The Little Mermaid, she’d swim right into the Burj, enter its simulated submarine ride and then make Al Mahara her world. The renowned underwater-themed seafood restaurant is as close as you’ll get to the fictional oceanic kingdom of Atlantica.

Housed in the luxurious hotel, it’s not just the venue – with its floor-to-ceiling aquarium filled with equally stunning aquatic creatures – that’s befitting royalty; it’s the unparalleled service, too, with an impeccable staff that pre-empts your every need and thought. Once you’re sitting in the plush red-and-blue interiors, dive right into the spirit of the sea with a scrumptious six-course dinner comprising of world-class seafood. Surf on chilled tsarskaya oysters, Irish blue lobsters and confit butternut, before biting into turf specialities such as Wagyu tenderloin and foie gras croquette and cocoa-infused parfait.

The only time your attention will be diverted from the food is when shoals of colourful fish swim by, and the brilliant azure glow of the water bounces off your golden cutlery. We’ll try our best to find Nemo.

Dh8,950 per person. From 7pm to midnight. For reservations, call 04 301 7600 or email BAArestaurants@jumeirah.com.

Noir, Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates

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New Year’s isn’t when we usually go The Great Gatsby way (that’s Halloween for costume inspiration), but this year we’ll indulge in back-to-back viewings of Baz Luhrmann’s cinematic masterpiece to stock up on style tips to make a roaring entry at Noir’s The Great Gatsby party! Get those flapper dresses, dandy suits and strings of pearls ready, because just like Jay Gatsby’s party, entry is free!

Expect Twenties glamour in excess at this swinging party while the resident DJ doles out eclectic dance, commercial and house music. After cutting a rug with killer Charleston kicks on the dance floor, you’ll want to fuel up on the moreish Latin American- and Asian-inspired menu (charges applicable) – think red snapper ceviche, salmon tiradito, watermelon carpaccio, quesadillas and Noir tempura (prawns and calamari). Go on then, old sport!

Dh1,250 per person for table bookings, inclusive of beverages and finger food. Free entry. From 8pm-2am. Call 04 409 5222 or email info@noir-dubai.com for reservations.

Qbara, Wafi Mall, Dubai

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In Arabic, Qbara means large and generous, but across the region, this eclectic eatery is synonymous with contemporary Middle Eastern food served in an ambience that spells sheer opulence. And come New Year’s Eve, this chic venue promises an experience that’ll have you searching for synonyms for wow.

To start with, the theme of the party is gold. From models painted in crazy metallics to the decor and food, this is going to be one glittering event. And that’s not all. Qbara’s DJ, Ivan Minuti, along with a violinist, plan on keeping you on your feet all night long with foot-tapping music.

As the clock strikes midnight, the restaurant will project the stunning firework display from across the city on massive screens. A spell-binding way to ring in 2016.

Prices start at Dh850. From 8pm-3am. For reservations, call 04 709 2500 or email reservations@qbara.ae.

Al Bahou, Mövenpick Ibn Battuta Gate Hotel

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New Year’s Eve falls on a Thursday, but it’s going to be Saturday Night Fever in full throttle at this Mövenpick, thanks to its Seventies disco-themed gala. Al Bahou’s 88 glowing Moroccan lanterns will have glittery disco balls and psychedelic decorations for company, so dress up in your best bell-bottoms, channel your inner Diana Ross and John Travolta, then boogie the night away to the resident DJ’s tunes.

Adding some sizzle will be an international spread from all the Mövenpick restaurants featuring Arabian, Italian, Indian and East Asian cuisine, a seafood and oyster ice bar, live carving stations and a lavish dessert room. And that’s just the beginning! As midnight closes in, a giant screen will display the seconds counting down to 2016 followed by a live relay of Burj Khalifa’s pyrotechnics – because even a flower child loves their fireworks, right? This is going to be one groovy party, baby!

From Dh449-Dh699, 8pm onwards. Children between seven and 12 years dine for Dh150. To find out more or book, call 04 444 5613 or email dine.ibnbattuta@moevenpick.com.

The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai

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Time does fly, and 2015 is nearly over. The most happening week of the year – Christmas to New Year’s Day – is upon us and party planners are running from pillar to post to make December 31 a sensational night. We recommend you head to Blue Jade, the brilliant Asian restaurant at The Ritz-Carlton in JBR. The waterfront property has a stunning 350m beach, from where sunsets and New Year’s Eve fireworks over the Palm are spectacular to watch.

Enjoy a five-course menu inspired by Thai, Japanese and Vietnamese cuisine – tuna tataki, chicken wonton soup, wok-fried rock lobster with chilli tamarind sauce, Wagyu grilled with lemongrass and a delightful green tea cake. Don’t worry about the tots, the restaurant has kiddie specials too – crispy vegetables spring rolls, Vietnamese noodle soup, chicken breast and French fries and fruit salad with coconut ice cream. Traditional Asian dancers will perform throughout the evening, before you pick a spot on the hotel’s lawns to ring in the New Year. Fine dining, fine company, sublime location. What more could you want?

Dh1,300 per person and Dh400 for children over five years of age. From 7-11pm, reservations required. Call 04 318 6150, or email dine.dubai@ritzcarlton.com.

Seagrill on 25° Restaurant and Lounge, Fairmont The Palm

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Ask anyone what the special ingredients for the perfect New Year’s Eve celebrations, and Seagrill on 25° has them all: the finest food, impeccable service and enviable seaside location overlooking Dubai Marina.

That means diners will get to enjoy one of the best views in the city as the Marina sky explodes with fireworks to herald in 2016. 
But the magic will, no doubt, begin far earlier as the Fire & Ice New Year’s Eve party gets under way at one of our favourite restaurants in the city.

Small, with more than a hint of beach chic (think plenty of cream, white and blue decor), this seafood restaurant has a laid-back vibe and a mouth-watering menu. For New Year’s, it has created a delicious five-course menu – this includes smokey stuffed lamb rack and crab and arugula salad. A saxophonist will be there to get the party started, while you work your way through the exquisitely cooked dishes, and see in the New Year in style with fireworks and an exclusive (secret) dessert.

Relax over coffee or head upstairs to the Seagrill Lounge to keep the party going. 
We’ll see you there!

Prices start from Dh1,755 per person. Children up to five years dine for free; children between six and 12 years dine for Dh878. From 7pm-1:30am For bookings or more information, please call 04 457 3457 or e-mail Palm.Dining@Fairmont.com.

La Serre Bistro and Boulangerie

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How about spending this New Year’s Eve in an enchanted garden full of exciting secrets waiting to be discovered before midnight? Then feast on a veritable array of delicious dishes while sipping soothing beverages? And, much later, dance away the night to welcome 2016 to captivating and exciting numbers?

The French restaurant is morphing into just that – a magical place where guests will be transported to a fairy-tale land in the middle of Dubai in the shade of the Burj Khalifa. Set in the awe-inducing two-storey glass façade on the posh Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard, the bistro is well-known for its Mediterranean-inspired dishes. This New Year’s Eve, guests get to choose from two options: early seating – from 7-8pm – is subject to a return time. However, the boulangerie will be open all evening, so 
you can continue your night downstairs to celebrate 2016 in style.

Dh750 per person. The second option – late seating – is from 9:30-11pm and the tables are available for the entire night. Dh1,100 per person. Suggested dressing: For A Midsummer Night’s Dream-themed party. Email reservations@laserre.ae or call 04 428 6969.

Yalumba, Le Méridien Dubai Hotel and Conference Centre

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This iconic hotel, literally across the road from Dubai Airport, is home to 18 restaurants and each of these is hosting a New Year’s Eve party. But if feasting on 250 of chefs’ best creations is what you would like to do while the new year unfolds, then opt for Yalumba.

From overflowing platters of oysters and lobsters to live cooking stations offering succulent grills inspired by cuisines from across the world, sushi and sashimi, meze, and a dessert island that spells culinary decadence, this magical restaurant is pulling out all the stops for its year-end party.

Adding some fun and excitement to the event, resident DJ Andy will be spinning foot-tapping tunes all along.

Good food and great ambience, this one promises to be ideal for those who want to start 2016 on a high note. It’s time to start party planning!

Dh555 per person. From 8:30pm. For reservations, call 04 702 2455 or visit www.yalumba-dubai.com.

<i>Friday</i>

Friday