One 5-star meal or many street food eats?
UAE influencers weigh in with their opinions
On an average working day, I either enjoy home-cooked meals or order takeaway like everyone else in Dubai. However, on special occasions or weekends, I prefer exploring the finest this city has to offer. What I look for is that one delightful and memorable experience - and that goes beyond the meal itself.
My idea of dining outside means being in a relaxed environment which is why I would opt to go in for fine dining establishments. Food is the principal attraction - generally well-portioned, with multiple courses on offer. Personally, I enjoy trying combinations of premium ingredients and quirky presentations.
Modern-day fine dining is competitive and, today, restaurants keep revamping menus to offer their customers a more extensive variety. These changes are based on the most recent trends, market demand, and customers' feedback.
Service and ambiance also play an integral role in this experience. The wait staff and hosts at fine dining restaurants are trained to make customers feel special. Even if the meal is average, impeccable service can change the perspective of a customer. The fine dining atmosphere is all about details, ensuring the aesthetics match the food and the vision.
Fine dining doesn't necessarily mean a hefty food bill either. If I discover a reasonable deal, I make sure to post about it on my blog or social media so my followers can enjoy a similar experience. Another way to save on your fine dining experiences is by using various apps for booking, or those that offer discounts on brunches/set menus. Visiting restaurants during food festival weeks or introductory offers on new/seasonal menu launches can also get you decent deals. Finally, some fine dining restaurants offer small plates (entrees) at discounted rates during happy hours.
A quality meal may be a tad more expensive than your usual one but it will definitely be worth the experience.
(Monica K is the food blogger behind www.pinkasfoura.wordpress.com. Follow her on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter @PinkAsfouraBlog)
"Excuse me, madam. Here's your meal", says a heavily accented waiter as he serves you beef wellington with a side of dauphinoise potatoes on a warm porcelain plate. You've waited all week for this, have your best outfit on and are slaying those killer heels. With a heart full of anticipation, you pick up your silver cutlery and slice into the golden crust of your gourmet meal while classical music plays in the background. You then take a sip of your drink and gaze at the at the magnificent view of Dubai's skyline.
Alternatively, this could be the situation: "Bhaiya, do plate kachori aur ek lassi" (Give me two plates of kachori and one lassi), I say, then stand aside to give way to the next person in line. I look for a spot to sit amongst the plastic chairs that are always occupied. The man behind the counter calls my name and hands me my dishes in a plastic bag. I then walk back to my car where my friends are waiting and, just like the old times, relish a bit of the crispy kachori while enjoying the hustle and bustle of Dubai.
One indulgent meal in an opulent restaurant may cost me an arm and leg but an experience like that creates a momentous feeling and makes memories which I'll be reliving for months to come. But then, there are days when the soul calls for comfort food and it's impossible to resist. A trip to a local street food joint is not just easy, the food always tastes delicious - and dining on a budget comes in handy when you've only got a few dirhams to spare. And some dishes - just like kachori - need to be tasted from a street food vendor!
As a food blogger who has tried both ends of the scale, I think it is rather impossible to make a resolute decision between the two. I can promise you that you'll find me mixing things up in my itinerary with reservations from both places.
(Vanessa Dsouza is the co-founder of www.thescrumptiousscavengers.com. Keep up with her experiences on Facebook and Instagram @thescrumptiousscavengers)