Travel for Food: Dubai (Part 1)

There are more restaurants in Dubai than one can count! It’s exhausting thinking of all the genres of culinary choices in such a small place. You can go from eating Persian food to Italian, Greek, American, Lebanese, or African. There is a wide selection for anyone’s budget and taste. For me, it is super easy to decide what kind of food I want as seafood is king in my world, so when in search of places to visit, I always looked for seafood. This time around, I found more than seafood, I also got to taste Japanese dessert, Lebanese cuisine, and even found a new way to eat classic American moviegoer treats. Here is a look at all the places I dined at in January 2020 in Dubai.

 

Seafood Market

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The Seafood Market Menu

Location: Le Meridien, Dubai along Airport Road

https://www.seafoodmarket-dubai.com/

Seafood Market was one of the first places that came up when I searched for seafood restaurants in Dubai. On Tripadvisor.com, they noted it as an “Authentic Far Eastern Style Restaurant with 18 seawater tanks featuring live lobsters from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and Oman, live Crabs and Live Local Hammour”. The concept of this restaurant is to offer a wide variety of seafood with a market-style setting that displays fresh catch openly. When you go to the Seafood Market, you can go up to the 18 seawater tanks and select what you want to eat.

Before visiting this place, one friend raved about it, so when it popped up in my search engine, I jumped at the chance. This was the first restaurant I visited during my visit to Dubai in January 2020, so Seafood Market started my food journey.

My Selection from the Seafood Market Menu

Prawn on Toast with Sesame Seeds

Baked Mussels with Mayonnaise Sriracha

Deep-Fried Crispy Prawns with Spring Onions

Seafood & Dry Sea Scallops Soup

Fresh Vegetable Fried Rice

2 Jumbo Prawns with 3 Large Scallops

cooked in two of their methods of cooking

I had not one, but 3 starters that night. I started with the prawn on toast with sesame seeds, which looks like a slice of toast covered in sesame seeds. It was a more flavorful version of fried toast, but greasier than I would have liked.

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Prawn on Toast with Sesame Seeds

Then I ordered the baked mussels with mayonnaise sriracha. I am unsure what convinced me to order this, but perhaps I was in the mood to try this for the blog. It was only once I received this order, I discovered it was a bad idea.

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Baked Mussels with Mayonnaise Sriracha

I tried to be as open about food as possible, but there are some things I cannot stomach either based on the smell, consistency, or look. My eyes quickly overlooked the word “mayonnaise”, as my belly longed to have the mussels. When this dish arrived, I could smell the disgusting odor of mayonnaise, and it turned my stomach. I’m not fond of mayonnaise at all and don’t like dishes smothered in the stuff, so I literally couldn’t eat the baked mussels with mayonnaise sriracha because the smell made me gag.

After my disappointment with the mussel mayonnaise concoction, I was relieved to receive the seafood & dry sea scallop soup. This soup had a surprisingly fishy taste and was a bit too salty. This soup tasted as if it was made with low-quality fish sauce and was borderline rancid.

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Seafood & Dry Sea Scallops Soup

Since I didn’t eat the mussel mayonnaise starter and the soup, I decided to order deep-fried crispy prawns with spring onions.

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Deep-Fried Crispy Prawns with Spring Onions

This choice was a good one; the only problem was the uncooked raw batter in the middle of each deep-fried crispy prawn. The only saving grace was the lemon butter sauce that was served with this dish.

My main course was two jumbo prawns with three large scallops. The prawns were so big they reminded me of average size lobsters, so I was happy I only went with two instead of three.

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Fresh Vegetable Fried Rice with
2 Jumbo Prawns with 3 Large Scallops

This part of the meal was tolerable but lacked flavor outside of their famous lemon butter sauce and fresh vegetable fried rice that was served with the meal. I can honestly say that without the lemon sauce, the dish was bland and flavorless.

I didn’t find my meal at the Seafood Market appealing, but I assumed it was due to my selection from the menu.  Ultimately I could tell from the look of the dishes and presentation there was no pride taken in serving or cooking it.

 

Al Grissino Restaurant & Lounge

Location: Dubai International Financial Center

https://algrissinodubai.ae/

Al Grissino is an Italian seafood restaurant that was opened in 1952 in Milan but has now opened a restaurant in Dubai. While I had never heard of this restaurant before, I was about to get an experience that was totally different from the Seafood Market. When I arrived at this establishment, I came a bit early, so I was asked to sit in their lounge.

The Tube Bar or the Sky Lounge and Bar is where I waited until the restaurant was open to the public while drinking a Hugo, which has become my new favorite drink to order along with bruschetta as a snack.

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Tube Bar or the Sky Lounge and Bar

I truly liked the design of the lounge while the aesthetics give way to why it’s called the Tube Bar, I recall there is a large glass window designed in such a way that it looks like a rising sun. While the theme of the sun could be applied to many things, I got the overall impression that the subject of the lounge was one that echoes a touch of lavish refinement with the idea of industrial progression. The notions of the speakeasies of the 1920s and Great Gatsby came to mind, where the themes are social stratification, the American dream, power, and so on. Sitting there waiting on my dinner and talking to the staff, I couldn’t help but wonder if the Dubai dream was at play here. I wondered if this country offered the same ideals of upward mobility if persons aligned themselves with the right people or worked hard enough.

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Al Grissino’s menu

When it was time for dinner, I wasn’t disappointed in the layout and ambiance of the restaurant. There was a perfect view of Dubai’s cityscape and the food and staff were phenomenal.

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View from Al Grissino

I started my meal with their customary bread with butter and a bottle of wine called Sauvignon Rose D’Anjou Chemin des Sables.  Then to start I had the grilled octopus with red onion sauce, green onions, potatoes, and kale.

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If you love octopus, then you will like this as the octopus is tender and flavorful. The kale, onions, and potatoes also added another level of flavor.
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Sauvignon Rose D’Anjou Chemin des Sables

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My main course was the Pink snapper Sicilian style with tomato and olives with mash potatoes. This was a very hearty dish, and it didn’t disappoint with the flavor and satisfaction rating.

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Pink snapper Sicilian style with tomato and olives with mash potatoes

My dessert was the topping as it was light and refreshing.

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Berries, grapes, peppermint leaves, light cream with sorbet.

I cannot say how much I highly recommend this restaurant if you like Italian and seafood. It’s a great place for couples or for solo dining.

 

Mint Leaf of London

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Location: Dubai International Financial Center

https://www.mintleaf.ae/

Mint Leaf of London was recommended to me by both Stevie Wonder and Faizon, who both work at Al Grissino Restaurant & Lounge. A big thanks go out to them for introducing this place to me.

The name might conjure up images of Yorkshire pudding and beef Wellingtons, but no folks this is not an English eatery.  This place serves upscale Indian cuisine. Mint Leaf of London has taken Indian food to another level while creating an experience.

Before I start laying out my meal, I must say that each dish was a journey into Indian cuisine and one that I’ve never had before. This is not your mother’s run of the mill Tandoori Chicken or Chicken Tikka Masala. While I love traditional dishes, the Indian food that I tasted at Mint Leaf of London made me felt like I was seeing the light after stumbling around in the dark.

My night started with them serving me a piece of watermelon that has an exciting flavor that was both sweet and savory.

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After that, I order a drink called lipstick jungle.

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Lipstick Jungle

For a starter, I had scallops served with something called gunpower, tomato, and arugula.

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Between the starter and main course, I was served a frozen treat as a palate cleanser.

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Seabass with Awahi Mussalam Gravy with bell peppers and shallots with chili garlic nan. All I can say is that this fish was absolutely delicious, melts in your mouth, and is incredibly filling.

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Seabass
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Garlic Nan

After this, my dessert was a sweet treat which included ice-cream, strawberries, laid ontop a warm biscuit.

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After eating at Mint Leaf of London and Al Grissino Restaurant, the bar had significantly increased from starting so low with Seafood Market.

 

 

Stay tuned for the part 2 of Travel for Food: Dubai