In the search for a romantic restaurant in Dubai, I came across many that were proud of their beautiful ocean views. Then it occurred to me — why not go a step further and enjoy an ocean view that’s always changing? Dubai has many dinner cruises to choose from (plus other seagoing entertainment — being offshore makes it easier to serve alcohol, under the UAE’s strict liquor laws). They vary in atmosphere and quality, so you’ll need to be careful choosing one for an intimate evening when you want everything to go right.
Bateaux Dubai is one of the best established names in dinner cruises. It prides itself on comfort, gourmet cuisine, elegant surroundings, and an extensive view of Dubai from the water. You can enjoy the view from either the air-conditioned dining room or the al fresco deck.
Diners pay a flat rate for dinner: 495 AED if you want to order alcoholic drinks, 395 AED for the soft drink only version. (These are winter rates, in effect from September 1 to May 31.) The menu is not extensive, but it offers a fair variety, even including a few vegetarian dishes. Everything is labeled to tell you at a glance whether it contains gluten, nuts, shellfish, or alcohol. And there’s a definite French feeling, though with touches of Arabic and Italian.
Some of the appetizers sound as if they could be meals in themselves (sous-vide cooked free range chicken with minted avocado, seared goose liver, and soy-ginger dressing) or at least side dishes (organic asparagus with quail egg and truffle). If you prefer to go local, there’s also an Arabic plate of mixed appetizers.
Main dishes are about half seafood, as you might expect, with lamb, beef, and poultry also on offer. Everything is carefully paired with side dishes; for example, the beef tenderloin comes with porcini cream, braised beet, goat cheese ravioli, and truffle sauce. The vegetarian main dishes are just as elaborate, including fried couscous (tiny pasta) with sweet potato cream, eggplant gratin, and red pepper sauce.
Desserts range from rich dishes like orange-chocolate brownies and mango cheesecake to a simple plate of French cheese or fresh fruit.
Like other JA Resorts businesses, Bateaux Dubai uses only humane and sustainable food products.
The boat is moored in Dubai Creek, across from the ENBD Head Office on Baniyas Road. Sailing is at 8:30 every night, lasting till 11:00 PM. Boarding starts at 7:45. Reservations can be made online and should definitely be made, since space is limited on the boat and no one will be leaving early. The boat is specially designed to sail the waters of the creek, so you should have a trouble-free voyage, a great view, and plenty of time to think about each other.
Editor’s Note: Also check out this article for some places to go for a day of romantic shopping in Dubai.