Is Qbara Dubai's most underrated restaurant?

July 18, 2014


We never quite understood why the glamorous setting of Dubai’s Wafi City was once the home of a tacky Planet Hollywood. Thankfully, that has been put to right with its closing and being replaced by the recently opened swanky arabesque restaurant-come-lounge, Qbara. The cavernous open-plan space spreads over two floors, with a bustling social restaurant and bar area occupying the ground floor, while upstairs is geared towards private rooms and a more lounge-focused crowd.


Lined with open flames, low mood lighting, and an in-house DJ spinning warm lounge music, Qbara oozes an urban cool vibe. The walls are made from hand-carved timber panels, and are as interesting as any art piece - especially with the use of cutting-edge 3D light projections that make the walls seem as if they are constantly moving. Perhaps the biggest surprise was how busy the venue was, especially considering we visited on an often-quiet Monday night. Impressive. [gallery link="none" ids="5798,5797,5796,5795"]


In line with arabesque culture, the staff encourages a sharing concept – in fact, the restaurant’s menu is also available in the more social bar and lounge areas. To get a broader idea of what was on offer we ordered quite extensively. Starters included a mezze of hummus and fresh vegetables; crispy soft shell crab in saj bread; lobster kibbeh; falafel and a tomato, watermelon and feta cheese salad. Each dish was wonderfully presented with a subtle modern twist on some of the region’s best-known dishes. After sampling some of the bar’s excellent classic cocktails (again with an Arabic twist), mains of sea bass with tahini and crumbed herbs; spicy lamb cutlets with minted labneh; and duck breast with pomegranate molasses were ordered. Each was impeccably presented, and packed with strong regional flavours. Following the theme, the desserts were an updated version of classic ingredients including yoghurt and sumac pannacotta, with sidr honey and saffron pashmak; and dates with marzipan accompanied by orange and tamarind sorbet, yoghurt and honey.


The cool urban vibe and impressive interior will make it a sure-fire crowd pleaser. Details: Daily, 6pm to 2am, Wafi Fort Complex, Dubai. Visit