Like Shanghai, Dubai has a thriving ladies’ night culture, with over 100 businesses participating, according to ladiesnightdubai.com, a site with lots of useful info. I’ll pass on just one little bit of what they say: Ladies’ nights in Dubai give freebies to females in order to draw in paying male customers. So if you want a night for just you and the girls, you may get more attention from guys than you were seeking. (Except at Wild Wadi Waterpark, where no male over eight is allowed on Thursday nights — but you wouldn’t be going there for dinner.) Okay, that said . . .
Tuesday is the usual choice for ladies’ night, according to expat custom, but it’s not the only choice. In fact, we’re going to look at a Monday ladies’ night that’s out of the ordinary in another way too: It’s “figure-friendly.”
Guilt-Free Ladies’ Night takes place Monday at The Observatory, one of the restaurants at the Marriott Dubai Harbour Hotel & Suites (the one with the most spectacular view, as you might guess from the name). Low-calorie cocktails, up to three each, and canapés, all under 50 calories, are served to ladies on the house. Cocktails include the Tropic, Twisty Bramble, Minty Melon and more. Canapés range from crispy spicy chicken to eggplant roulade.
Moving on to the rest of the dinner, the house recommends its set menu: For 350 AED, choose one appetizer, salad or soup, one main dish and two side dishes, and one dessert or soft drink (you’re trying to keep this guilt-free, right?). The Observatory’s menu is international, so you’ll see familiar Western appetizers like carpaccio and classic shrimp cocktail, plus others like deep-fried Camembert cheese . . . but we’re going guilt-free here, so the marinated vegetable salad or tomato broth might be better.
For the main course, there are several kinds of grilled steak, plus lamb, veal, and a selection of fish. Other choices include chicken schnitzel and vegetable cannelloni. There’s even a small selection of pork, which you won’t find on every menu in Dubai. You can get plain steamed garden vegetables or grilled asparagus as a side.
Could it hurt just to look at the dessert menu? There’s chocolate lava cake with vanilla ice cream, banana date pudding, and a few other indulgences, but also a cheese platter with dates, crackers, and honeycomb.
The Observatory, at the Marriott, is located on Al Sufouh Road at the Dubai Marina. Hours are noon to 1:00 AM.
Editor’s Note: Before your nice dinner out, work up a good appetite on one of these fun walking tours in Dubai.