Citymax, the contemporary budget-friendly chain of hotels, is UAE’s answer to the stereotype that a vacation in this country is as expensive as the glitz and glamour that surrounds it.

For the longest time, we were under the impression that this was all that Citymax was; a hotel stay for the wallet-savvy, and not a destination for those of us who actually live here.

Being avid fans of Chinese and Thai cuisines, we are always on the lookout for new places to dine, and Sizzling Wok came up on our radar. Surprise, surprise, this restaurant has outlets in Citymax Bur Dubai and Citymax Sharjah.

sizzling wok citimax review

Tony Roma’s has built an empire on their signature ‘Baby Back Ribs’. Established over 40 years ago in 1972, Tony Roma opened a burger joint which soon gained a reputation after he added ribs on the menu. From there, it was no looking back.

Today Tony Roma’s has over 150 chains across 30 countries the world over, and has won a number of prestigious awards including the title of ‘The Best Ribs in America’. The original ribs continue to be served, but the menu has vastly expanded to include delectable steaks and seafood dishes.

One beautifully sunny afternoon, my little family and I decided to lunch at Tony Roma’s at Wasl Vita Mall. Read on about our experience.

tony roma's wasl vita mall dubai

Chili’s, the iconic Tex-Mex casual dining chain, needs no introduction. The brand has a global fan following with over 1,500 chains in 33 countries, and has been listed as a UAE ‘Superbrand’ for 8 years running.

Chili’s recent ‘Chef Cuts’ campaign has splashed across outdoor media around the UAE. I first spotted their enticing advertising on a lamppost whilst stuck in traffic, and made a mental note to visit them soon.

chefcuts

When it comes to risotto, the Italians turn into perfectionists. After rigorous training under some of the world’s best Italian chefs, Per Te’s Executive Chef, Gladwin Anton (fondly known as Chef Glady) has mastered the fine art of Italian cooking, a mean feat given he hails from a vastly different ethnic background (Chef Glady is an Indian national).

Being able to cook the perfect risotto elevates you to the status of a well-respected Italian chef, and Chef Glady has built a reputation around his very own risotto creations.

Today Chef Glady has generously agreed to share a very special risotto recipe with us:

Selvatici Risotto ai Funghi al Tartufo (Wild Mushroom Risotto with Truffles).

recipe selvatici risotto ai funghi al tartufo italian cooking wild mushroom risotto with truffles

Every Saturday from 7 pm onwards, the space before the entrance of Gharana (the Indian restaurant in Holiday Inn, Barsha – Dubai) is transformed into a quaint Indian bazaar. Saturdays bring in ‘Street Food Night’, an ode to the delicacies sold by street vendors across India.

We dined at Gharana last night, and were transported to an exotically colorful world of Indian cuisine and music, a heady mix reminiscent of novels by Jhabvala.

The interiors are styled to resemble a Mughul Emperor’s courtyard. Marbled arches, bejeweled seating, complete with a plush silver swing right at the entrance.

gharana dubai interiors swing

Fridays are the laziest days of the week in our household. We rise just before noon, brunch, watch some telly and fall into a deep siesta all over again. The idea of an evening brunch on a Friday therefore sounded very appealing to our rewired internal weekend clocks.

Latest Recipe at Le Meridien Mina Seyahi is open for buffet brunch from 7 pm to 10.30 pm every Friday. We were there last Friday, and are still recovering from the gastronomic overload.

latest recipe le meridien review restaurant interiors

Nando’s has long been a family favorite. We love our spicy food, and given its budget-friendly menu offerings, their flavorful fire-grilled chicken makes a far healthier alternative over regular junkfood. *Colonel Saunders heaves a heavy cholesterol-laden sigh*.

Last weekend, we drove up to Al Qasba, Sharjah and ended up having dinner at the Nando’s branch there.

nando's qanat al qasba sharjah review