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Al Khaima Restaurant Dubai: Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort and Spa

A sweet scent of flowers perfumes the night air. Beneath the stillness of palm trees, we relax on comfortable sofas under majlis-style tents that make up the outdoor dining area of Al Khaima Restaurant, one of the fourteen dining establishments belonging to Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort and Spa in Dubai.

Al Khaima Restaurant Dubai
Al Khaima Restaurant*

Al Khaima means ‘the tent’, and the restaurant’s beachside location is much like a welcome oasis. The darkening indigo sky is a reminder that the desert heat will soon abate.

The hip-swinging rhythms of live Arabic tunes transport me to past travels across Lebanon and Syria where music plays an integral part of the dining experience. The jet lag on from the 14 hour flight to the Emirati city dissipates the moment we meet with my expat relatives, last seen at the family reunion at La Rochelle and afterwards in Paris.

Al Khaima Restaurant Dubai
Lebanese Mezze and Arak

Glasses of Arak, the aniseed-based spirit, are raised to family, and we order a feast of mezzehs and Arabic grills. The food here is predominately of Lebanese origin. We tuck into plates of hummus, tabbouleh, baba ghannouj, fattoush, labneh, marinated olives, sambousak and the spicy shanklish.

Al Khaima Restaurant Dubai
front to back: shanklish, hummus, baba ghannouj

Al Khaima Restaurant Dubai
Sambousak (pastries) and Baba Ghannouj (eggplant dip)

Al Khaima Restaurant Dubai
Hummus (chick pea dip)

Al Khaima Restaurant Dubai
Shanklish (aged and dried cow’s or goat’s milk cheese served with tomato and olive oil)

Al Khaima Restaurant Dubai

Al Khaima Restaurant Dubai
Shish Tawook (chicken)

Plates of mixed grills arrive with Shish Tawook (grilled chicken), skewered lamb and other meats. Family-centred conversations take precedence over food and photography, almost forgetting to eat at times. Under the moonlight in Dubai, I am content sipping Arak and reconnecting with family.

Al Khaima Restaurant DubaiAl Khaima Restaurant Dubai
Shisha pipe – Under Al Khaima

After the last of the plates is cleared, we lounge under the comforts of Al Khaima (the tent) and smoke a ‘double apple’ shisha pipe. The flavour is fruity and intense, almost devoid of a tobacco aftertaste.

In the late hours of the evening, the heat of the desert feels like a warm breath against the skin. On this first night in Dubai, I look up at the starry sky and feel the pull. I am under the gaze of the Full Moon.

Al Khaima Restaurant
Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort and Spa
Jumeirah Beach Road
Dubai UAE

* Photo credit: Al Khaima

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About the author

Corinne Mossati

Corinne Mossati is a drinks writer, author of GROW YOUR OWN COCKTAIL GARDEN, SHRUBS & BOTANICAL SODAS and founder/editor of Gourmantic, Cocktails & Bars and The Gourmantic Garden. She has been writing extensively about spirits, cocktails, bars and cocktail gardening in more recent years. She is a spirits and cocktail competition judge, Icons of Whisky Australia nominee, contributor to Diageo Bar Academy, cocktail developer and is named in Australian Bartender Magazine's Top 100 Most Influential List. Her cocktail garden was featured on ABC TV’s Gardening Australia and has won several awards. She is a contributor to Real World Gardener radio program and is featured in several publications including Pip Magazine, Organic Gardener, Australian Bartender and Breathe (UK). Read the full bio here.


  • Now you’ve made me hungry and it’s not even breakfast time yet. I love all the similarities in names and recipes between the foods of different countries and regions. Mezze is meze in Turkish. And shish tawook is tavuk şiş (with a very similar pronunciation).

    • I too love the similarities of middle-eastern cuisine across countries in the Levant. This restaurant was distinctly Lebanese.

      I enjoy Turkish food though I suspect it tastes a lot better in Turkey.

    • I was a little surprised that much of the Arabic cuisine in Dubai is Lebanese. I can’t say I’ve eaten authentic Emirati food. Maybe next time.

  • Yikes, how do we get to live your life? Lovin’ it 🙂 This place looks fantastic..and I know you’ve written about Dubai before, but it still remains such an exotic place for me. Thanks for bringing it a little closer!

    • Aww… your life is a lot more interesting! 🙂 Dubai captured my heart and I’d go back aby time. Great stopover on the way to Europe!

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