This Al Barsha hotspot is a great place for a laid-back family dinner every Thursday…

Dubai does restaurants. In the city that loves food, you can eat your way around the world without wandering too far from your front door.

Planting a flag firmly for the Middle East, however, is Olea. Found in the Kempinski hotel at Mall Of The Emirates, this is a restaurant that offers a true, Levantine experience – bringing together flavours from Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, southern Turkey and Cyprus – all under one roof.

The contemporary, modern Arabian restaurant – think dark woods, leather booths and Arab-influenced architecture – prides itself on its passionate, knowledgeable Levant chefs.

The best bit? It has a beautiful al fresco area, even though it’s in one of Dubai’s busiest malls. It’s the perfect mid-mall-trawl sanctuary. The olive-tree-strewn terrace gives sweeping views of the Burj Al Arab, a must if visiting in the cooler months.

WHY IT’S A GREAT THURSDAY NIGHT SPOT

You can rock up and go a la carte throughout the week, but if you don’t know quite where to start, Thursdays (between 6pm and 11pm) see the family-friendly Olea host its weekly Levantine Linner – when the restaurant is turned into an interactive, street-food-inspired hub, with live cooking stations and at-your-table entertainment.

There are magicians, clowns and face-painting on hand to entertain the kids (although we’re sure parents will get just as much enjoyment out of the tricks), but the traditional tea servings and elegant background music is also cool enough to impress any visitors you want to take out on the town.

Diners start off with a selection of cold mezze, and the whole evening is buffet-style, so you can serve yourself as little (or as much, we don’t judge) as you fancy.

The experienced chefs will talk you through the making of signature main dishes, and diners can round things off with a sweet selection – and there’s even an ice-cream cart for the youngsters.

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