The art season is well upon us with Art Dubai underway at the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). One of the region’s leading art fairs, Art Dubai, which began on March 29, will conclude on April 3.
On the sidelines of the Art Dubai, the 11th edition of the bi-annual DIFC Art Nights has also begun at the Gate Village in DIFC, and the free-to-attend event will be held on April 1-2 from 6pm onwards.
In collaboration with Dubai Food Festival, DIFC Art Nights also features a number of award-winning, fine and casual dining outlets across the centre.
From art, music, fashion, fine dining to pop-up restaurants, there’s much to be found for those visiting DIFC Art Nights. The art might be the draw, but the entertainment is what will likely keep the visitors at DIFC around after they’ve viewed the many artworks on display.
The financial district which saw the number of licensed firms operating out of it rise 20 per cent to 2,919 companies in 2020 has become a magnet for not only high-powered finance companies operating within the freezone, but also for restaurants, concept retails stores and other establishments which have created a recreational and retail ecosystem to support the district’s employees as well as its residents.
Here are four restaurants, two galleries and a music store to discover when visiting DIFC Art Nights. There’s more than just art on the menu.
The award-winning contemporary Northern Chinese restaurant, located in Gate Building 6, opened its doors in Dubai in January 2020. With locations in London, New York, Miami, and in its home Hong Kong, Hutong brings a fresh take on Chinese cuisine with its occasionally fiery Northern Chinese dishes including the signature Red Lantern and Roasted Peking Duck with Pancakes, acclaimed dim sum and an innovative cocktail list. The restaurant features a bespoke interior design inspired by the heritage and stories of the Silk Road, bringing together strong Arabic and Chinese elements including Hutong’s iconic Wishing Tree.
Gate Building 6, DIFC – Dubai. Tel: 04 220 0868
It’s an Italian restaurant, inspired by New York. Marea Dubai is the second location of the concept. The original, in New York, has been open for 10 years and holds two Michelin stars. In Dubai, Marea offers the same calibre food while incorporating a late-night lounge for drinks and entertainment. At the original Marea New York, the authentic, bracing flavours of coastal Italy meet the swagger of New York to form a new kind of gusto. Now in Dubai, Marea is bringing that signature style and hospitality to DIFC.
Gate Building 6, DIFC – Dubai. Tel: 04 583 6366
An immediate favourite since its opening, Indochine Dubai is a timeless classic that combines stylish ambience, tropical décor and French-Vietnamese cuisine, making it perfect for intimate dinners and large groups alike. The menu is unpretentious and simple yet mouthwatering with a perfect marriage of French and Vietnamese cuisine. From comforting Vietnamese soups like Pho served with rice noodles, sliced filet of beef and bean sprouts to glazed skirt steaks, marinated with chimichurri in a miso soy sauce – you’ll find it all at Indochine.
DIFC Gate Precinct Building 3, Level 2 – Dubai. Tel: 04 208 9333
Spark by Caramel Restaurant & Lounge
In a zest for constant evolution, Spark’s multi-faceted approach to dining, cuisine, ambience, and entertainment presents a unique experience each night of the week. The Spark Experience is an amalgamation of globally celebrated dishes, made with the highest quality of ingredients and with the chef’s signature twist on each one of them. From wholesome light bites, to rich and hearty mains and stellar desserts, Spark aims to take customers on a sensory journey of great food.
DIFC Precinct Building 3 – Level 3, Balcony Level – Dubai. Tel: 04 425 6677
Opera Gallery Dubai was established in DIFC in 2008. Image courtesy: ObeyGiant.com / Photographer Jon Furlong
Opera Gallery Dubai was established in DIFC in 2008. Part of the Opera Gallery Group, it features a curated selection of Modern Masters and established contemporary artists. For this edition of Art Dubai, the gallery is hosting the first solo show in the region of American artist Shepard Fairey. Comprising of over 150 artworks and aptly titled Future Mosaic, the gallery wanted to feature the artist’s very wide range of medium, while initiating a discussion with collectors in a part of the world he has never previously explored.
Gate Village, Building 3, DIFC – Dubai. Tel: 04 323 0909
The Farjam Foundation
The Farjam Foundation celebrates the pioneers of the Emirati contemporary art scene in its exhibition, Concepts and The Divine Abstract, at DIFC during Art Dubai. It is the first time the Foundation has assembled its exceptional collection of Emirati pioneering modern masters and that of the younger generation of rising artists too. The exhibition features work by over a dozen renowned Emirati artists.
Gate Village, Building 4, DIFC – Dubai. Tel: 04 323 0303
Raw Music Store
Raw Music Store was created by a Vinyl Record collector and hi-fi enthusiast out of a passion for music and sound. With an extensive records collection spanning from the Fifties to current releases, Raw Music Store reportedly has the largest catalogue in the region and serves all musical tastes. It is also home to some of the world’s renowned audio brands organised around state-of-the-art listening stations for the most demanding audiophiles.
Shop 60, Gate Avenue, DIFC – Dubai. Tel: 04 580 2415
For more details on all the venues and activities within DIFC, click here