Junsui, Burj Al Arab
Yes, we know. Christmas Day and afternoon tea don’t quite blend in, especially when you’ve been juicing yourself to size zero in preparation for a grand festive lunch, but we highly recommend the splendid seven-course high tea at Junsui. The sophisticated Japanese restaurant has been ticking all the right boxes for suave diners with its modish golden interiors and spectacular live cooking stations. Give your Xmas a unique oriental touch with dishes like Wagyu roll with scallion and ponzu dressing, Korean oden with Alaska king crab soup and pandan-flavoured pudding with mixed fruit maki sushi, caramel soy butter sauce and lychee sorbet.
☞ From 2.30-4pm, December 1-31 at Dh400 per person. Call 04 301 7600.
Frevo, Fairmont The Palm
If turkey leaves you cold, then the Gaucho Christmas brunch at Brazilian restaurant Frevo offers a feast of 15 different cuts of tender, juicy grilled meats that will surely satiate your carnivorous cravings. Served with some traditional festive sides, the buffet promises to be rich in flavour, while the entertainment at this churrascaria will give you a taste of what this South American country is famous for – carnival and samba. So bring out your tarp hats and get your most colourful shirt ready – this is going to be a party like no other.
☞ Noon to 3pm on December 25, from Dh395. Children between ages six and 12 dine for Dh159 and children five and under dine for free. For reservations call 04 457 3457.
The Eloquent Elephant, Taj Dubai
Can Christmas get more English than with a traditional roast turkey brunch in the typical English pub that’s the Eloquent Elephant? We think not. The à la carte Christmas Brunch menu is as moving and humongous as the venue’s name suggests, and we love everything about it, including the fact that it comes with the options of two sittings from 12.30pm to 4pm or 5pm to 8.30pm. Binge on a slice of true Britannia with delish nosh like succulent roast turkey and duck, foie gras ballotine with fig chutney and mince pie sundae pudding soufflé, while feel-good flicks play in the background. Because what’s Christmas without a customary viewing of Home Alone and Will Ferrell’s Elf? And when the films play out, Dubai-based band Stereo Sound will pump up the festivities. A top-notch way to spend Christmas day.
☞ From Dh395 per person. For bookings, call 04 438 3127.
Pierchic, Al Qasr Hotel
Game is the norm for Christmas feasts but fresh catch de la mer is something else altogether. Make the most of sunny, spectacular Dubai with a beautiful Christmas Day seafood brunch at the stunning Pierchic restaurant out on the azure waters of the Arabian Gulf. A veritable banquet awaits, with specialities like fresh lobster from coastal Oman, Norwegian prawns, smoked salmon and fresh clams and mussels from New Zealand. A light tagliatelle of grilled prawns and lobster bisque kick off the meal, followed by a choice between a duck confit or whole seabream platter. Brunch could meld into a night to remember with an exciting after-party with a live DJ.
☞ Noon to 4pm at Dh800, Dh550 for those from 12-20 and Dh325 for kids from four-11 years. Call 04 366 6705.
Hatta, Sheraton Dubai Creek Hotel and Towers
This is the good stuff, because you get to eat until you’re as stuffed as a turkey. The Christmas BBQ lunch in the beautiful waterside Sheraton Dubai Creek will truly fill you with festive spirit as you munch your way through a fantastic selection of grills. A lovely choir will regale you and your family with joyful carols, and while there won’t be any snow, there’s enough seasonal cheer to make you feel right at second home. It’s brilliantly priced as well, and a pass includes access to the pool. It’s a splash we say!
☞ From noon to 4pm, packages start from Dh149. Call 04 228 1111.
Ewaan, The Palace Downtown Dubai
You better not be pouting this Christmas, because Santa Claus is coming to Ewaan, the all-day oriental and Arabic restaurant, on December 25. Lending the jolly old man a hand to make merry will be the in-house live band and a gourmet feast that will have you go ho ho ho! Expect traditional roast turkey, caviar, octopus carpaccio, and live cooking stations that will serve up grilled items hot off the BBQ with the razzle, dazzle and sizzle of Christmas skits. Dh550 to 850 per person, from 1pm to 4.30pm. Call 04 428 7888 to book.
☞ To deck your halls, hearth and home with festive cheer the Palace Downtown has wreath decorating classes for adults on December 12 from 2pm to 5pm (Dh140 per person) and gingerbread house making classes for kids from December 6 to 19 between 2pm and 5pm (Dh120 per person). Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Le Vendôme Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi
Enjoy a capital Christmas at international restaurant Le Vendôme. Known for its spectacularly lavish international buffets, the Christmas Day Brunch on December 25 does one better with Christmassy delicacies from around the world. Work up an appetite with Italian antipasti, sashimi from Japan, German spaetzle, hot and cold platters, black truffle dauphinois gratin, an extensive seafood counter and traditional stuffed turkey with chestnut jus. The perfect buffet to eat and be merry at. And keeping with the spirit of the season there’s free entry to the Christmas tree lighting ceremony at the Palace Dome on December 9 at 7pm. Snowflakes will fall as the lights go on and delicious assorted Christmas cookies and other treats are passed around.
☞ Christmas Day brunch starts from Dh450 per person, 12.30pm to 3.30pm. For reservations call 02 690 7999.
Boa Steakhouse, Eastern Mangroves Promenade, Abu Dhabi
Get away from it all this year and head to the picturesque Eastern Mangroves Promenade in the heart of Abu Dhabi for a Christmas Day brunch at Hollywood favourite Boa Steakhouse. The hungry carnivores in the family are going to be mighty pleased. For starters, there’s a seafood buffet station, which will serve up treats such as Boston lobster, marinated prawns and oyster Fine de Claire clams. Then feast on hunks of meat from the live carving stations with traditional golden turkey, along with the highlight – the 40-day dry aged New York strip. And since ’tis the season to satisfy your sweet tooth, end with Christmas pudding and chocolate profiteroles.
☞ From Dh345 per person, 12.30pm to 4pm, call 02 641 1500.
Bistro Des Arts, Dubai Marina Waterfront
French elegance, bistro style – at Bistro Des Arts, the brand new eatery on Dubai Marina Waterfront that’s fast establishing itself as the place where good, wholesome food meets eclectic yet vibrant ambience, Christmas promises to be all about joie de la vie. From escargots en persillade (snails cooked in garlic butter), to chapon aux marrons (a succulent chicken dish served with honey roasted winter vegetables), or filet de bœuf en croûte (a French spin on an English classic, beef Wellington), the four-course exclusive menu is a real treat. The highlight of the extensive meal, however, is the dessert course that includes bûche de noël, a traditional French sponge cake and parfait glacé aux marrons, a chestnut iced parfait. Sweet, is all you’ll be able to say.
☞ From Dh295 per person, available from Christmas Eve dinner to Boxing Day lunch. For reservations call 04 551 1576.
Mistral, Mövenpick Hotel Ibn Battuta Gate Dubai
There’s no need to clock-watch and rush the family about on Christmas Day after the frivolities of the night before – all hail the night brunch! Mistral at the Mövenpick Hotel Ibn Battuta Gate Dubai offers an evening filled with culturally diverse Christmas dishes – toast the different traditions of the world as you go on a worldwide culinary adventure! There’s a dedicated turkey station and live cooking stations where chefs will cook your favourite meats and seafood to juicy perfection – there’s even a live band for those festive sing-alongs and dances!
☞ From Dh199, 6.30pm-11.30pm, for bookings call 04 444 5613.