Amaseena is one of the most elegant Bedouin/Arab-themed restaurants here in the UAE, after all, it is located in the famous Ritz-Carlton at JBR. I was booked to dine there last weekend with my friend and my little Khalifa, but my husband also joined us and the staff were happy to change our reservation at the last minute to accommodate three people.
The restaurant is on the grounds of the Ritz-Carlton JBR, and near to the hotel’s private beach area. We were very warmly greeted by the hotel and restaurant staff and taken to our seat, which was a majlis-style tent seating.
The restaurant is outdoors and the ambiance is spectacular. There are palm trees all over, and its beautifully lit-up. The tents are semi-private, very spacious, and can easily fit about 8 people. After taking our seats, we were asked what we’d like to drink.
We all ordered fresh juices and the staff were very considerate of my 1-and-a-half year old Khalifa being there, and even offered to bring out freshly made chicken strips and french fries for him! They also offered to get him a high-chair but he was excited to be sitting with us in the majlis setting. The staff explained the restaurant has a monthly theme based on a specific cuisine from the Arab world. This month, we made it in time to experience their Moroccan specials, which explained why parts of the restaurant’s decor was also Moroccan.
Once we were all settled at our table, the chef came over and asked if we’d like a little tour around the buffet so he could explain the different foods to us. I definitely wanted that since I really don’t know too much about Moroccan food.
The buffet is separated by charming old-fashioned stands. Each stand is filled with its own type of food. There were several stands just for appetizers. One of them had a variety of appetizers that were common in all parts of the Arab world, including hummus and moutabbel. Another cart contained about 10 different appetizers that were specific to Morocco, and another cart had a whole salad bar. There were also hot mezzas, including kibbeh and different kinds of fatayer.
For mains, there were so many options. Like I mentioned before, I don’t know too much about Moroccan food, and the only things I’ve tried that are Moroccan are couscous and a basic chicken tajine. I was amazed at how many different kinds of tajine dishes there are! For those of you, like me, who don’t know about the cuisine, tajine is a method of cooking. The most basic way that I can describe it is that its the original ‘slow cooker’. All of the ingredients and spices are placed into the clay dish and then it is covered with a tent-like lid with a hole in the center, and then placed on low heat. The steam cooks all of the ingredients and really infuses them together, and it also helps it seal in the moisture.
There must have been at least 15 different kinds of tajines at this buffet and each one of them was so flavorful and unique. All of the meat dishes were melt-in-your mouth delicious! My absolute favorite though was one that was mainly comprised of caramelized onions. It was so delicious!
There was also a shawarma station and even a grill station. The grill station had many different kinds of seafood and meats including lobsters, tiger prawns, salmon, lamb chops and steaks.
Once we got all of the things that we wanted, we sat down at our table/tent. The staff soon brought out Khalifa’s chicken strips and fries and he loved them! What’s also really great about this restaurant is that its outdoors and there’s plenty of space for your little ones to walk around, if they start getting agitated from sitting in one place.
After we had stuffed ourselves with the mains, my husband left since he was quite tired after a long day. My friend and I stayed and enjoyed the desserts. Along with many different kinds of Arabic sweets, there was also a cart just for cakes, tarts, and Western-style desserts. There were also fresh fruits and dried fruits.
By the time we were done having dessert, my little Khalifa had fallen asleep so my friend and I had plenty of time to chit chat and even order a shisha and some Moroccan mint tea.
We must have stayed for more than 2 hours after dinner, before leaving the restaurant. The vibe is so nice and calm, and the staff don’t rush the guests at all. They’re always there when you need them, but are not intrusive and I really appreciate that. We left at almost midnight, which rarely ever happens, but I got lucky because Khalifa was asleep.
There’s also live entertainment. In the background there are Arabic oud players, and there is even two belly dance performances through the night.
I so enjoyed that night. Not only is the food incredible, but the staff are so kind, and they’re even welcoming if you’ve got little ones.
The buffet at Amaseena is 315 Dhs per person (without alcohol).
- Staff/Service: 5
- Ambience: 5
- Food: 5
- Presentation: 4.5
- Cleanliness: 5
- Value for money: 4.5
Overall Rating: 4.83
Worth Trying?: This is one of those must-try restaurants, especially for those who are visiting Dubai. It gives you the perfect combination of great Arabic food with an ambiance of elegance and amazing hospitality and that completely embodies what Dubai is. Another reason why its so great, especially for visitors is that the location is in JBR, so you can easily explore and sight-see at JBR before or after your dinner at Amaseena.
For more information, call Amaseena at +971 (0) 4 318 6150.