We’ve lived in Dubai for six years now and despite hearing the Bistro Des Arts name dropped regularly (in a very positive fashion), somehow we hadn’t quite pulled the trigger on visiting. Perhaps it’s because we don’t tend to frequent the Marina, perhaps it’s because we lean towards Asian cuisine over European, modern interpretations over classic dishes. Earlier this year, a new chef took the helm at BDA and revamped the menu enough to pique our interest enough to venture into the depths of the Marina to take it for a spin.
First up, let us clarify the location for you (as, rather embarrassingly, we got hopelessly lost trying to find it and had to ask three different people how to get there). If you’re in the Marina Mall, you need to find the ground floor exit to the promenade and head right until you spot the iconic leafy archway with it’s Rue Montmartre street sign. The expansive terrace instantly gives us long lunch vibes – it’s the perfect spot to while away a winter arvo (and a summer one too – they’re encasing the terrace in glass for the warmer months to keep it cool). Dining and imbibing al fresco is the focus here, the outdoor area being far bigger than the indoor dining section of the restaurant – the vibe really does seem to revolve around the terrace and its marina views.
They’ve got some great happy hour offers, where from 5-7:30pm daily (ok, so it’s more like happy hours) selected drinks will only set you back 35dhs each and their chicken wings are just 55hs for a generous portion. Being suckers for chicken wings we simply couldn’t resist ordering them, despite being advised they aren’t quite as French as the rest of the menu. French or not, they are delicious and spicy in a clean, garlic fashion. There are also special themed offers on Monday-Wednesday, ranging from raclette to oysters and all you can eat moules frites. Check their latest offers here.
Next up we ordered the Foie gras terrine and the Steak tartare (124dhs). The latter is served as a main and comes with sides of fries and garden salad, making it not bad bang for your buck all in, as the portion is suitable to share between two as a starter if you so choose. It’s very classic in style and heavy on the classic tomato / caper / tabasco base, so if you like your tartare saucy, this is for you. Personally we’re not huge on cold foie but the foie lover at our table devoured Bistro des Arts’ take on the French classic.
It would almost be sacrilegious to visit a French bistro, no matter the country, and not order the Steak frites (182dhs), served with béarnaise sauce. The juicy slice of beef should satisfy the cravings of all those missing their trips to Paris – juicy, tender and accompanies by audibly crispy shoestring fries. (P.S. You will find unlimited steak frites available on Sundays 5-11pm for 169dhs per person with a choice of three sauces – the clear choice for meat lovers!)
Our final two dishes of the evening are the Magret De Canard – Duck breast, celeriac, sour cherry and roasted potatoes (140dhs) which perhaps was the most polarising dish of the evening. The duck was lovely and tender, but just be advised that the sauce is kirsch heavy so this is for diners who adore maraschino / marzipan flavours (which sadly is not our cup of tea, but we are sure many will love it). Also note that the celeriac is in the sauce, not served as a vegetable in the dish (though the kitchen did kindly oblige with some roast celeriac on the side when they heard of our passion for the quirky root vegetable, a gesture which was much appreciated).
And for dessert? If you are a lover of classic apple pie and ice cream and tarte tatin, it’s highly recommended that you order the Apple tart, sorry, the Tarte Fine Aux Pommes (sounds much classier, don’t you think?) coming in at 39dhs. It’s just what one wants to conclude a relaxed evening of traditional French fare.
Usually we would test some cocktails out for you but on this occasion we were informed that Bistro des Arts really isn’t about cocktails but rather it is wine focussed. That being said, you’ll find some great quality and well priced drops on the menu that are sure to sate your appetite for grape.
As we concluded our evening at Bistro des Arts, my dining companion and I quickly concluded that we’d happily return to soak up some of the sunny terrace vibes – a fabulous spot for catching up with friends. It’s also family friendly with a section for kids to run around (it’s out of the way of diners, don’t worry) and a changing table in the bathroom. We imagine this would be a regular spot for a lot of Marina dwellers and a lovely spot to take visitors to see some oh-so-Dubai atmosphere. (Well, oh-so-Paris-in-Dubai). It’s definitely the most authentically Parisian bistro in the Emirate – if that’s your cup of tea, don’t hesitate to book!