Restaurants

10 unique restaurants in the UAE

From animal experiences to dining in the dark, these are ten of the most unique dining experiences currently available in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and the Northern Emirates.

The UAE sure knows how to cater to all tastes, as the restaurant scene has everything from MICHELIN stars to celebrity chefs. If you’re after something unconventional, you’re in luck, as there are niche restaurants galore. Take your pick from trains, planes and owl cafés. Here are the most unique restaurants in the UAE.


Ailuromania Cat Café, Dubai 

Ailuromania Cat Café is purr-fect for cat lovers. The café houses adopted kittens, which roam freely in the venue and you can stroke them as much as you like. The menu includes pizzas, pastas and waffles, plus coffee, tea and milkshakes. If you fall in love with any of the kitties while you are there, you can tell the owners that you are interested in adoption. The café costs AED 30 to enter and is open daily from 11am to 10pm.


Boomah, Abu Dhabi 

Boomah in Abu Dhabi is a right hoot, as the café is home to nine owls. In the UAE’s first owl café, you can learn about the animals and hold them while supervised by a trainer. The menu includes mocktails, fresh juices, tea, milkshakes and speciality coffee. Tickets cost AED 70 for adults and AED 50 for children, and the café is open daily from 2pm to 1am. 


BRIX, Dubai

If you believe that there is always room for dessert, then you will love 3Fils creation, BRIX. The restaurant creates a unique dessert experience, as it has the UAE’s only dessert tasting menus. The wide-ranging menu includes milk cake, tiramisu, carrot cake and cheesecake. Plus, the restaurant prides itself on creating daring dessert combinations. BRIX can be found in Jumeirah Fishing Harbour.


Dinner in the Dark at Fresh Basil, Abu Dhabi

Close your eyes and let your other senses get to work. Dinner in the Dark at Fresh Basil, Bab Al Qasr, is an immersive experience, as you eat in a pitch-black room. Over 90-minutes you’ll eat a three-course meal, and waiters with night vision goggles are on hand to help. During the night, you’ll be chatting with fellow diners and guessing the flavours. At the end, the (candle) lights get turned on and the dishes are finally revealed.  


Piquant Pick Home Restaurant, Ajman

Hop aboard Piquant Pick Home Restaurant, a train-themed restaurant in Ajman. Sit inside one of the spacious cabins, and go on a culinary journey across the Middle East and Asia. The vast menu includes soups, salads and seafood platters. Plus, kebabs, curries and biriyanis. When you’re after seconds, press a button and a porter will come to your carriage – so sit back and enjoy the ride.


Seven Paintings, Dubai 

Is it a gallery? Is it a restaurant? Welcome to Seven Paintings, an artistic dining experience at Shangri-La Dubai. The one-of-a-kind dining experience uses 3D graphics to exhibit art from Picasso to Pollock on your table. Over two hours, you will eat seven courses by acclaimed food artist Omar Sartawi and Shangri-La Dubai’s executive chef Daniel Sheperd. Tickets cost AED 390 for a shared table and AED 450 for a private table, and the experience takes place every Friday from 8pm to 10pm.


The Pods, Dubai

 From the outside, The Pods look like a gimmick. From the inside, the 22 pods are perfect for private business meetings, romantic dinners and noisy family get togethers. Located on Bluewaters Island, The Pods have views of Dubai Marina and come in different sizes, seating up to six, eight and 14 people. The Pan Asian menu includes Chinese and Japanese dishes, from dim sum to sushi – order the beef rendang curry, it’s soft, spicy and sweet. The restaurant is open from 4pm to 1am from Monday to Thursday, and 4pm to 2am from Friday to Sunday. 


Transit Terminal Food, Abu Dhabi 

If you’ve got the travel bug but can’t get away, Transit Terminal Food may well be the next best thing. This Abu Dhabi restaurant pays homage to aviation, as there’s a departure lounge, check-in counter and aeroplane seats complete with artificial clouds in the windows. The menu is fittingly international and includes fish and chips, quesadillas and currywurst. The restaurant is open daily from 11am to midnight. 


Viking Restaurant, Ajman

Game of Thrones fans will feel right at home at Viking Restaurant, which brings to life a medieval dining experience. Goblets and horns adorn the tables, medieval ballads are sung and staff are dressed in Viking costumes. Plus, the food is created using traditional Viking cooking techniques and named after Viking warriors. Every day (except Monday), there are two sittings for dinner: 7om to 9pm and 10pm to midnight. Tickets cost AED 150 for adults and AED 50 for children.


1484 by Puro, Ras Al Khaimah

When only the most jaw-dropping views will do, head over to the highest restaurant in the UAE: 1484 by Puro atop Jebel Jais in Ras Al Khaimah. The restaurant gets its name from its height, as it is 1,484 meters high, and boasts panoramic views of the mountain tops. The menu includes healthy and hearty dishes, which include soups, salads and sandwiches. The main restaurant is temporarily closed and reopens in September 2022, but the pop-up one is open daily from 8am to 7pm.


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Kohinoor Sahota - Deputy Editor
A sucker for a good story, if you invite Kohinoor to a gallery, comedy night, new restaurant, hiking trip, cycle ride, pool day or just about any activity, preferably with the promise of wine, she’ll probably say yes – that is if she isn’t busy planning her next adventure.

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