What's already open, and what's to come, at Meraas' brand-new destination
Emma Pearson and Melanie Smith
If you have a penchant for top-quality grub by the beach, a bit of beachside shopping, waterparks or lazing the day away on the sand, read on. If you don’t, read on anyway and you’ll probably end up developing a love for all of the above.
October saw the launch of phase one and two of La Mer (literally translating to “the sea”), a sprawling 13.4 million sq ft development in Jumeirah 1, by Meraas.
La Mer North and South opened on Sunday October 15 with a handful of restaurants and shops open to visit. The number has been steadily increasing, and will eventually land at more than 130 restaurants, cafés and shops, plus a cinema and a waterpark at La Mer Central, scheduled to open in 2018, bringing with it a first-of-its-kind feature in the form of a massive, dedicated surf park.
But for now, here are the restaurants and shops that you can visit today and those coming soon that need to be on your radar.
RESTAURANTS NOW OPEN
Amorino Gelato Café
This eatery is all about the sweet, icy, satisfying stuff that will cool you down and satiate your sugar cravings. If you haven’t clicked by now, we’re talking about gelato – in every flavour under the hot Dubai sun. They’re all made using organic and natural products, so you can indulge guilt-free. Open Sun-Thu 10am-10pm; Fr-Sat 10am-midnight. www.amorino.com (04 557 3400).
Aprons & Hammers You don’t need to wear the apron, but you may want to wield a hammer once you clock the super-fresh shellfish at the new opening of this much-loved seafood restaurant. And once you get into all of that smashing and scoffing, covering up might not seem like a bad idea after all. Open daily 10am-midnight. www.apronsandhammers.com (050 804 9255). Bareburger Completely bare of additives, preservatives and all that funny business you can’t even pronounce, this burger joint focuses on making really good, organic burgers, without any of the bad stuff. And for all of the absence in hormones/antibiotics/other stuff, it’s certainly not lacking in flavour. Open Sun-Thu 10am-11pm; Fri-Sat 10am-midnight. www.bareburger.com (056 720 1927).
Cupagahwa Perhaps already familiar to those who frequent Last Exit Khawaneej and the latest Mad (Last) Exit on Sheikh Zayed Road, this brand specialises in Arabica coffee, traditional Arabic coffee, and local drinks and snacks. In addition to karak, saffron milk and abood juice, you can also tuck into the Bedouin slider, shazinga slider, shawarma fries (oh yes, yes please) and musakhan spring roll. Open daily 10am-midnight. www.cupagahwa.com (056 504 3735). Hola Natural Fruits Delights
HOLA is perfectly located on the beachfront in La Mer, just a skip and a jump away over the hot sand. The fruit dishes are inspired and designed with a Latin American influence and are the perfect refreshment for a hot day. Open Sat-Thu 10am-midnight; Fri-Sat 8am-midnight. www.holadelights.com (04 388 7999).
HQ’S 459 The restaurant says it was “born with the belief that breakfast is a dish best served all day”, and when it comes to avocado Benedict and Belgian waffles, we’re happy to get stuck in at any hour. Breakfast certainly takes centre stage here, but it is the most important meal of the day, after all. Open Sun-Thu 9am-midnight; Fri-Sat 10am-11am. www.hqs459.com (04 345 9000).
Levee Café and Lounge Expect a stylish beach lounge vibe from this café, which is brand-new to Dubai, with La Mer as its first location. Grab a coffee and comfy spot, and while your weekend away. Open daily 8am-midnight, leveecafeandlounge.ae (04 380 2000).
Makan The restaurant offers a range of modern renditions of classic dishes from the Middle East for an authentic and delicious way to replenish after a day dipping your toes in the still waters of the Arabian Gulf. Open daily 9am-midnight. www.makanarabia.com (04 385 5525).
Motomachi Motomachi aims to bring the taste of Japan to the desert of Dubai. The restaurant has both an indoor dining room and an outdoor seating area where you can enjoy stunning views across the city while nibbling authentic Japanese fare. Open Sun-Thu noon-10pm; Fri-Sat noon-11pm, www.motomachirestaurant.com (043 239 333). MR. GREEK Every day is a culinary celebration at MR. GREEK, but you’ll want to keep these plates firmly on the table. The delicious and authentic Mediterranean recipes are crafted with utmost care and authenticity for tasty and healthy Greek grub. Open daily 10am-11pm. www.saifbelhasagroup.com (04 341 5788).
Parker’s This is the all-day dining destination where you can get your fill of pasta, tacos, sliders and sharers while reclining in the comfort of the air-con, or soaking up the rays on the lovely terrace area outside. Open daily 10am-midnight (04 344 9011).
Treej Café The café follows an “Emirati and Beyond” concept at La Mer, offering a unique, casual and lively atmosphere while retaining the essence of Emirati cultural, traditional and historical traits. Diners can expect a contemporary twist to authentic recipes, from an extensive menu. Open Sun-Thu 9am-11pm; Fri-Sat 9am-11.30pm. www.treejcafe.com (04 323 3444). Ya Meza Ya Meza might see ya getting carried away. Bite-sized servings of Lebanese food weave their way around table tops on a laden conveyor belt, from which you can help yourself to whatever takes your fancy. It’s unconventional in the best possible way. Open daily 10am-midnight. www.yameza.me (04 351 1117).
Zou Zou This is the first fusion restaurant to open in Dubai, bringing the best of Turkish and Lebanese food to one perfectly stocked table. Think smoky meats straight off the grill, freshly baked soft bread and cheesy pizzas hot out the oven and you’ll get the gist – and the cravings. Open Sun-Thu 10am-10pm; Fri-Sat 10am-midnight (04 343 0093).
RESTAURANTS OPENING SOON
Backyard This restaurant helps you recreate a rustic barbecue feast without the burnt burgers, soggy bread buns and power trip of the designated “chef”. Here you can leave it to the professionals to serve up smashing meals from Josper grills to maintain the highest smoky standards.
Maison de Juliette The gorgeous French eatery feels like you have just flounced into Paris – hopefully with an appetite. Expect traditional French recipes with innovative twists for a dreamy few hours away from the desert. The dishes look beautiful, and taste délicieux.
Mamikonyan A Lebanese-Armenian restaurant serving up delicious meats, fragrant rice and soft breads for mopping up every last morsel. The food promises to be top notch and the atmosphere laid-back and authentic. Top tip: arrive hungry.
Masti By its very name you know that something exciting is about to happen. Masti translates to “fun and mischief” and this is a game-changing concept in a world of Indian restaurants that all tend to fall in very familiar boxes. Masti is a cool bar, lounge and restaurant aimed at the world’s metropolitan set.
Osh The restaurant serves up hearty Uzbek cuisine and is named after the county’s signature dish, which consists of rice, meat, carrots and onions – and will probably give you an idea of what to expect here. The licensed eatery also has a comfy lounge area with shisha.
P.F. Chang’s Everyone’s favourite American Chinese will soon be available to enjoy by the seaside. Enjoy the ever-popular dynamite shrimp or tasty sushi rolls with the sand between your toes, we say. www.pfchangs.com.
SALT When the SALT food truck was first spotted at Kite Beach and its hashtag campaign became one of the most talked-about, the big silver Airstreamer quickly became the city’s favourite. Soon that truck will have a permanent home at La Mer, easily helping you to satisfy your Cheetos cheeseburger cravings.
Stars N Bars We love this American sports bar on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi for it fun décor, with racing car chairs and signed sporting memorabilia sealed behind glass cases (and within your table). We also love its namesake burger, bursting with barbecue sauce and Camembert cheese, as well as the peanut butter chicken wings. The bar is famed for its live music, DJs and daily happy hour deals, too. Need we say more? We can’t wait for its arrival at La Mer. www.starsnbars.ae.
Sugar Factory This US brand currently satisfies Dubai’s sweet tooth in City Walk and Festival City, but if you’ve never experienced the joys of its “couture” candy, you’ll soon have a third opportunity to put a sugar rush-induced spring in your step. Pitbull, Taron Egerton and Backstreet Boys have all been photographed with their sweets in store. And if it’s good enough for them… Oh, and you can also eat pizzas, burgers, pastas, salads, seafood, sandwiches and more here, too. www.sugarfactory.com.
Texas Roadhouse If you live in New Dubai, no longer will you need to venture to The Dubai Mall, Deira, Dubai Festival City or Mirdif for the tasty Tex Mex flavours of this US steakhouse. Soon you’ll be able to take your cravings for tater skins, killer ribs, boneless Buffalo wings and Texas red chili to La Mer instead, and then enjoy a barbecue sauce-induced snooze under a parasol when you’re done. www.texasroadhouse.com.
The Duchess Make sure you wear your floppiest hat and your biggest shades for a flounce around The Duchess. Sophisticated, elegant and modern, the swish venue and the contemporary menu feels very Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Here’s hoping it tastes as good as it looks. www.theduchesscafe.com.
The Slab If you just want a sarnie made with something healthy and organic, this could be the perfect option when it eventually opens up at La Mer. Expect some inventive creations from this home-grown brand, as well as sandwiches made with lots of Middle Eastern spices and ingredients. If you like your bread to be filled with stacks of creativity this is probably the spot for you.
RETAILERS NOW OPEN
98 Coast Av. Gents, La Mer makes sure you aren’t overlooked when it comes to fashionable beachwear – 98 Coast Av. will sort you right out. The brand was started in Mexico City in 2011, and will soon sell its wealth of on-trend underwater wear to the men and kids of Dubai – it does stock some ladieswear, too. The brand marries high quality with great design and accessible prices, so you can snap up some snazzy trunks even if you do only don them once a year. Open Sat-Thu 9.30am-11.30pm; Fri-Sat 10.30am-12.30am. www.98coastav.com (050 918 4303).
Beach Bunny is a leading ladies swim- and resort-wear brand known for their daring, playful and completely unique clobber. The couture cozzies are stand out in design, suited to the sand-dwellers who like to make bold statements with their swimwear. Open daily 10am-10pm (04 343 4040).
Hawa Hawa This is an exciting new inflatable playground for kids, big kids and even bigger kids – you and the brood could spend hours of together time on this. The dune-shaped park originates from Japan, where it has been installed in a number of public parks across the country. Hawa Hawa at La Mer will be a first-of-its-outside East Asia, with two unique dunes and seven peaks offering low-impact, high-intensity fun. Open Sun-Thu 10am-10pm; Fri-Sat 10am-midnight. www.hawahawa.ae (04 317 3999).
I Sea I Sea has a mission to offer stylish sunnies that reflect “coolness and functuality”. The branded product range includes contemporary sunglasses, frames and contact lenses that are top quality and utilise the latest technology – it even offers specialised eye testing. Open daily 10am-10pm. www.isea.ae (055 600 2279). L’ Aqua L’ Aqua offers international swimwear and beachwear brands for the whole family. Its focus is fashion, fit, and comfort. Men, women and children can all find the styles they like, that value both elegance and freedom to look smashing by the seaside. Open daily 10am-10pm, www.facebook.com/laquadxb (052 288 7777).
Make Up Lab A range of beauty and cosmetics from top brands are available to snap up at the Make up Lab, suitable for dolling up or winding down. It’s your one stop shop for all things beauty, so stock up for some serious primping and pruning. Open daily 10am-10pm (no number). Pain De Sucre Pain De Sucre are a high-end French brand of swimwear specialising for women and underwear. The brand is internationally renowned for its unpatrolled expertise, its French Riviera elegance and its vision of femininity, perfectly combining sophistication and creativity. Ooh la la… Open Sun-Thu 10am-10pm; Fri-Sat 10pm-midnight. www.paindesucre.ae (055 898 0107).
ShayMartian Out of this world is how we want you to feel about your swimwear, like it is the most phenomenal piece of art that was perfectly crafted for your body. ShayMartian is a regional swimwear and beachwear boutique, with a global online shopping platform. Open Sun-Thu 10am-10pm; Fri-Sat 10am-midnight. www.shaymartian.com (050 679 8108).
Sun Eye The perfect place to cast your squinting eyes when looking for some stylish protection from the scorching Dubai sun. Sun Eye offer sunglasses from the biggest fashion houses in the world, with a range of snazzy frames to make sure you look the part. Open daily 10am-10pm (no number).
Swims You can’t just rock up to La Mer in any old scratty swimwear. Luckily, there is a Swims store onsite, where you can spruce up on your Gulf-side glamour. It’s time to chuck the tatty trunks in the trash. Open Sat-Thu 10am-10pm; Fri-Sat 10am-midnight. www.swims.com (04 385 5567).
Trina Turk Los Angeles The brand promise effortless style and carefree glamour – we’ll have a load of that, please. The womenswear collections boast bold signature prints and dynamic hues unique to each collection, perfect out for all that posing you’ll be doing around La Mer. Open daily 24 hours. www.instagram.com/trinaturkme (04 358 8999).
This brand is a rebel with an absolute cause for edgy and artistic fashion. Bringing a taste of the Los Angeles to La Mer, the original store writes its own rules about what a boutique should be. Check it out, if you think you can pull it off. Open daily 10am-1pm. www.viarodeoboutiques.com (04 343 4040).
RETAILERS OPENING SOON
Glassing Update your style with some seriously good shades at this sunglasses shop. But it doesn’t just ordinary shades. What you get here are luxuriously handmade in Italy, so while you’re strutting through this upmarket beachside location, you’ll really look the part. www.glassing.ae. iScream No beach destination is complete without a scoop of the sweet, cold stuff. iScream serves up some of the coolest, soothing cones featuring the most refreshing fruit flavours (as well as more unusual tastes) you can imagine. It’s well worth a visit for this reason alone, if not exactly for one of your five a day. www.iscream.ae. LA Rags If you’re looking to update your surfer look, this California-inspired boutique could soon be just the ticket. It offers urban, yet luxurious streetwear from a multitude of brands and houses clothes and accessories for ladies and gents at affordable prices. A-listers have been spotted sporting the threads of LA Rags. And if that hasn’t piqued your interest, we don’t know what will. www.facebook.com/laragsboutique Little World Discovery Centre There’s perhaps no better outing for the whole family than the beach. But keeping a constant eye on making sure the waves only wash away the sand castles can be stressful and tiring. That’s why the children’s edutainment facility will be so handy. Little World promises quality fun with an educational edge, so the kids can roam free and learn while you relax and soak up some rays. www.littleworlduae.com Neo Noir Beauty Care If you’re heading to the beach, you’ll want to look your best. But don’t worry if you haven’t had time to get your tresses trimmed or your legs waxed, because a full ladies’ salon will be opening up at La Mer soon. So you can go down and get groomed before you spend the rest of day lazing in a hammock and eating some seriously good food. Sephora Sephora is a haven for make-up fans, so news of the opening of another will certainly fill you with glee. Visitors to this branch can get stuck into trying out the products, enjoy tailored assistance or just discover what this world of beauty has to offer. www.sephora.ae
SEVEN FRIDAY The quality watches not only look super-stylish, but they’ll also help you stay on schedule for your fun-packed day at Le Mer. The team behind Seven Friday say the brand “unites those who seize every day”. We better get a move on then. Tick tock. www.sevenfriday.com
Soccer Scene Practical if you or your kids are a little bit football-mad, since you’ll be able to find all kinds of soccer gear in here. Forgotten to pack the ball before heading to the beach? Been meaning to replace the one you usefor five-a-side? Need a new kit entirely? Done, done and done. www.facebook.com/soccerscenedxb.