The Venue: Having been to several Tastes around the U.S., I expected a large, overwhelming and not entirely family friendly venue. However, the Taste of Dubai was pleasantly the opposite of everything I anticipated. The venue was set in a beautiful park with large trees for plenty of much needed Dubai shade, complete with a pond, offering a serene little escape amidst a very big city.
Instead of hundreds of restaurants to get lost among, there were 25 of the best…making it easy to visit them all, taste a little something at each if you desired. The restaurants were located in a strip in the middle of the venue. There was plenty of grass and table seating, a live band for entertainment and ample room for children to run and have fun. There were scattered beer gardens, wine gardens and even a Jack Daniels garden!
On one end of the venue you could enjoy cooking classes, visiting retailers and sponsors and sample some goodies. On the other end was a lovely children’s section, complete with carnival games, bounce houses, face and hair painting, and clown shows.
I thought we’d be in the minority with our three small children, and certainly expected them to be bored. What child wants to visit restaurant after restaurant, walk around talking to vendors and sponsors, and watch cooking demonstrations? Well, thankfully, MINE! We spent the first four hours of the venue doing just that, and they were fantastic. I think it helped that everyone offered them goodies along the way, took pictures of them, and gave them special treatment. At the Miele cooking school, they even tasted the fabulous sea bass curry, and loved it!
The last hour was all about the kids. They bounced their hearts out in the bounce houses, they sang and danced with the clown show, they got glitter princess hair and spray painted mow hawks. We played the carnival games (of course taking little teaching moments to help them understand the physics behind each game and why it’s almost impossible to win), and we walked away with smiles and giggles and very tired children.
In the previous article, I mentioned some restaurants that would be attending the Taste. The typical price for dishes at each restaurant was about 35-40 AED. There was everything from traditional Middle Eastern cuisine to Italian to the Far East. Every restaurant had a steady crowd of people going in and out.
After eating the sea bass curry, my kids were ready for some kid food, so we chose one of the Atlantis Hotel restaurants, Ronda Locatelli. I had a chance to meet and speak with the head chef, Giorgio Locatelli, who happened to be there showcasing his top dishes as well as sign a copy of his latest book. We ordered the Quattro Formaggio and the Fungi pizzas and some of their white wine. All completely amazing, and the pizzas were filled with rich, beautiful cheeses. My kids were all smiles and begged for seconds. If you get a chance to taste their food, I highly recommend it.