Rebekah Pizana is a food and wine journalist and recipe writer. Rebekah's columns have been published in newspapers, magazines and online since 2006.
Dubai is a crazy little paradise in the middle of the desert. While the ultramodern city offers every luxurious amenity, restaurant, shopping, adventure and spa experience you can imagine, it still maintains a traditional culture in many ways. The wine and liquor laws are strict with hotels and resorts as tourists' only options for a few drinks. Don't let the modern outdoor restaurants along the harbor fool you, order shisha, yes; wine, no. This may seem like it would interfere with a wine tourist's travels, but it really doesn't. If anything, the options can be overwhelming. The hotel restaurants are fabulous, offering high-end cuisine by accomplished chefs, and wine menus representing regions from all over the world. The late night operating hours compensate for expensive mark-ups and some random selections.
Special tip: Weekends are Fridays and Saturdays in the UAE, and Sunday is a working day. Late hours at bars and restaurants are on Thursdays and Fridays.
Apart from excellent champagnes and impressive sweet sauternes, I love Oeno's cheese selection. When my server walked me into a cold room full of cheeses, I completely forgot about the wine. As proof, this is straight from their website:
"Directly opposite [a glass walled tasting room] is a cold room displaying a dazzling array of cheeses ranging from the well known Rocquefort and Cheddars to soft goat's cheeses flavoured with lavender and juniper berries, washed rinds, blue moulds, parmesans and pecorinos, originating from across the globe."
Al Sufouh Road
+971 4 511 7321
Pierchic may not be the best place for wine, but you have to experience the restaurant's romantic ambience surrounded by views of the gulf and Burj Al Arab. I chose the Italian wines here, the Sommelier seemed to be a fan of Super Tuscans and French Bordeaux's, but the Tuscans intrigued me and did not disappoint.
Al Qsar Hotel
Al Sufouh Rd, Al Qasr at Madinat
+971 4 366 6705
Tagine is a Moroccan style restaurant with traditional shisha and gorgeous Marrakesh-inspired decor. The food is delicious, one taste of the yogurt with cucumber and creamy hummus and I'm a happy camper. I probably had my favorite bottle of wine here, an earthy, unfiltered Merlot Syrah blend from Morocco. Note that evening dress code is required at Tagine.
Royal Mirage Hotel (Moroccan cuisine)
+971 4 399 9999