Trip Report: Al Dawwar Restaurant (Hyatt Regency Dubai)

The crown jewel (literally) of the Hyatt Regency Dubai is Al Dawwar Restaurant. It spins on the top level of the hotel, offering 360 degree views of the city. It’s insanely pricey, but worth it for the experience. The food is offered buffet style and there are so many different dishes, you will get full before you can try them all.

It has every kind of food you can think of: Arabic, American, Mexican, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, Indian, Ethiopian, and more. You can fill your plate with lamb kebabs, lobster, sushi, pasta, couscous, and just about anything else that rolls off the tongue – all of it will be good. There are also several dessert options. The one that tops them all? A chocolate dessert topped with gold leaf. You could probably eat your money’s worth on a couple of these, if you wanted to…

Gold Leaf Dessert Al Dawwar Restaurant Hyatt Regency Dubai
A terrible cropped shot of the gold leaf dessert

The only downside is that you are charged for drinks, including refills. My family doesn’t drink alcohol, but even so, our tab for drinks was over $60. However, I wanted to splurge a little, since my parents had dealt with their share of stress in Afghanistan.

The staff was once again wonderful and provided perfect service. Every time you get up from the table, the crumbs are swept away, your silverware is replaced in pristine condition, and your napkin is neatly re-folded and/or replaced. Your glass is filled up before it’s empty. Your chair is pulled out for you each time you return to the table. How is that possible? Each table has a dedicated waiter who hovers far away not to be a nuisance, but close enough to anticipate your every need. The restaurant does rotate slowly, and soft boarding music is played the entire time. Despite how formal it may sound, it’s a very relaxing place to have dinner. My sister, the apathetic teenager who isn’t impressed by anything, looks over at me in the middle of dinner and says, “This place is pretty nice.” That is high praise coming from the jaded.

Al Dawwar Restaurant Hyatt Regency Dubai

Throughout dinner, the manager went to every table to talk to guests. Again, I don’t know how this place manages to get such high-quality staff in nearly every area of the hotel (except for the front desk). The staff has really mastered this sense of relaxed professionalism. The manager was very engaging and seemed genuinely interested in the people he spoke to. He asked about our trip so far, discussed his own travels, told us all about which sights we should see, and when the best time was to visit Dubai in terms of weather (turns out its October – April).

A short while later, four Emirati men sat down at the table behind us. Before heading off to the buffet, I overheard them ordering wine. I found this interesting. First, I was under the impression it was illegal to serve alcohol to Muslims in the UAE. Second, for a group of men who seemed to be observing cultural norms in the way they dressed and their mannerisms, it was surprising to see them break a taboo like drinking in such a public place. But I guess it’s typical of men across all cultures to pick and choose which aspects of their religion they’re going to follow, while imposing strict rules on everyone else. I’m sure the great Sheikh, whose image is plastered all over the lobby, is known on occasion to knock back a glass or two of Dom.

Overall, dinner was a wonderful experience. If you’re in Dubai, Al Dawwar is a great place to splurge on dinner. During Ramadan, the buffet gets even more extensive and they stay open late to accommodate those who are fasting. Would I do this again? I don’t know. What I do know is that there’s no place else in the world I’d justify paying such a ridiculous price for dinner than in Dubai.

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