Dubai’s famous Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa – often voted the world’s best desert resort, has several utterly fantastic restaurants all offering a different cuisine and all in a unique setting. From Indian to Italian, to Arabic to rooftop lounges, there is something for everyone here!
Al Hadheerah (Arabic food)
Al Hadheerah specialises in traditional Arabic and Emirati local food: it is very impressive and is certain to provide guests with a really special experience! It has a very unique location, situated a few hundred yards from the hotel in the middle of the desert. As you enter Al Hadheerah you will realise it is much more than just a restaurant. It is in essence a heritage village with a fantastic restaurant inside! The entrance resembles a bustling souk with several merchants selling souvenirs and local products. Feel free to have a browse at the products before you head into the restaurant!
When you enter the open-air restaurant you will be greeted with a very warm welcome – Arabs are famous for their hospitality after all! The friendly waiters will show you to your table and introduce you to the concept here at Al Hadheerah. Food is served in the buffet style but let me tell you, this is no ordinary buffet! Without a doubt it was the most impressive buffet I have ever had! The meats and fish were so good and there were so many options available! Also being able to see the chefs prepare the food live infront of you at the food stations is amazing! CLICK HERE to view the menu!
Dinner under the stars:
Being set outside you are able to enjoy the views of the desert and the stars whilst enjoying your meal – it really gave you a feeling of exclusivity. Despite us visiting during the summer (and Middle Eastern summers are hot), there were plenty of outdoor cool air-flow systems (outdoor air-con) there to cool you down. Can’t say I agree with them because of their damaging effect to the environment, but it certainly did keep us comfortable and not feeling too hot at all.
Live shows and Heritage Village
What also makes Al Hadheerah really special is that there are live shows on throughout the evening – belly dancing, Ayala dancing (a traditional Emirati folk dance) and a live band. There is also a heritage village at the back of the restaurant, where guests can do camel riding or horse or pony riding. The heritage village also shows traditional Emirati life back in the day and is really interesting to see. There is also plenty space to relax after dinner, and during the winter many guests sit around the fire socialising.
Al Hadheerah draws a lot of tourists but also it is very popular with local Emirati families. Even many expats living in UAE love coming out here for a fun evening! It is priced at 375 dirhams each, which may seem expensive but you certainly get a lot for your money. You can make a whole evening of it and stay and enjoy the shows even after you have finished eating. We were so impressed by the service here and had such a great evening. The lovely staff even gave us these desserts to take away as we just couldn’t finish them!
Guests can reach the restaurant by the complimentary buggy service offered by Bab al Shams hotel. The golf buggy drops guests off at the souq entrance, and we never had to wait for one of the buggys to arrive – they were always ready waiting for us which was really good.
Masala (Indian cuisine)
With a substantial sub-continental community based in the UAE, it sure means that there are a lot of great quality Indian restaurants in the UAE. They can range from simple curry houses to upmarket restaurants with top-end prices! If you want to experience one of the most unique Indian restaurants with some of the best Indian food, head to Masala – located inside Bab al Shams Resort. Masala specialises in North Indian cuisine and the food here is absolutely delicious. Many people living in Dubai often come all the way out here into the desert just for dinner at Masala as it is so good!
Inside, Masala is so impressive. It is very grand but equally very cosy here. The interior is decorated in beautiful blue tones and you feel like you’ve literally been transported into an Indian Palace. The restaurant is large but is really atmospheric and is separated into many different smaller rooms. This really gives the feeling of intimacy and privacy. During the cooler months you can also sit outside as there is plenty of seating al fresco.
We asked for recommendations on which dishes to try as we were open to suggestions. The waiter was really knowledgeable about all the dishes and very kindly explained the menu to us and helped us to choose a selection of choices. His recommendations certainly didn’t disappoint – this was probably the best Indian food I have ever tasted (and I’ve tasted a lot!).
As is evident from the photos, the food presentation was of a really high quality and there was such attention to detail. All the dishes were presented in such a quirky and individual manner and looked so impressive. And the dishes tasted just as great as they looked! After sharing all the dishes above, my friend and I were so full that there was no room for dessert! But I’m sure the desserts here would be just as delicious and beautifully presented!
We were honestly blown away by the hospitality of the staff working at Masala. They were so kind and welcoming to us. They even brought over pashminas for us to wear if we felt chilly which was such a nice touch!
If you are looking for great quality Indian food presented in a really unique way, definitely head to Masala! CLICK HERE to view their menu!
For stunning, uninterrupted sunset views over the desert, head up to the Al Sarab Rooftop Lounge in the evening. You can enjoy a cocktail here before heading to dinner at one of the other restaurants here at Bab Al Shams, or even enjoy one of the many delicious sharing plates here.
Al Sarab is split over 2 levels, both open-air, and provides a really nice relaxing environment.
Click here to read more about staying at Bab al Shams Desert Resort & Spa.
UAE residents note: Emirates NBD holders get 25% off on food and beverages. You can also avail of The Entertainer vouchers here!
Guests staying at Bab al Shams also get a 15% discount on food and beverages too!