Pai Thai at Al Qasr Hotel

Another work of art for the senses!  Pai Thai by evening is an atmospheric little restaurant overlooking the magical canals and sparkly palm tress of Al Qasr Hotel serving *some* really good thai food.  The setting makes for a breath taking experience, especially for someone experiencing the ‘charms’ of Dubai for the first time.

I’ve been on several occasions in the past three months and had some of the best food and great service, and then on other occasions, great service and mediocre nothing-to-write-home-about food.

The space:

There is an indoor eating space, which I’d only recommend in the summer, when the heat makes it unbearable to eat al fresco.  Dinning outside on the large outdoor terrace under the stars, overlooking the canals and palm trees lit up with fairy lights makes for a truly memorably experience.  It’s only then that you truly get the WOW factor!

To get to the restaurant you need to hail an abra or find a golf cart from Al Qasr or from the abra station at the Madinat, that is once you’ve got past the stringent security: no reservation number, no abra!  This takes away some of the magic when you can’t find the reservation number!

The food:

Gourmet food and a quintessentially Thai experience, apparently.

For my starter I chose the crispy soft shell crab salad and OMG this was just the most amazing thing I’ve ever eaten.  Fried soft shall crab perched on a bed of citrus fruit with a good sprinkling of chilli…I cannot explain how tasty this salad is, or tell you what the ingredients are or even to compare it to anything I’ve eaten in the past, it’s really something you need to try for yourself!  I’ve been back to get the wow again, and I wasn’t disappointed, this time having the salad as my main as the portion size is just perfect, it’s almost too much to have as a starter.

My main was going to have to work pretty hard to beat the amazing flavours of the crab salad I’d just experienced!  I chose the classic Thai dish, Pad Thai.  Such an easy and quick dish, which can, if made properly, take me straight back to that Koh Lanta beach in Thailand where I first tasted it…unfortunately, this one didn’t.  It seemed to lack the flavours and heat, both in a temperature and chilli sense, I was expecting from this traditional Thai dish.

My partner had the sea food mixed grill – a combination of prawns, calamari, chunks of fish, all served skewered into a large cucumber-like vegetable, which looked great, but was unfortunately lukewarm by the time it got to the table.  The prawns however, were pretty tasty, but for me, seafood just loses all appeal to me when it’s not piping hot.


The restaurant is described as lavishly decorated, however, I failed to notice this!  The inside looks pretty Thai-esq, nothing out of the ordinary though, and the terrace is just that, a terrace – made magical by the waterways and decorated palm trees of the hotel grounds.

My crab salad came to me on a little painted wooden bowl on legs – it looked stunning – the crab perched on top of, what I was to discover was, citrus fruit with chilli and coriander.   My Pad thai lacked the same imagination when it came to presentation, but anything served to me after the amazing crab salad would have to be flown in by a troup of butterflies to better it!

Oh and I must mention the toilets!  You’re greeted by the scent of jasmine (or lotus or patchouli, depending on when you go!) as you walk into the loos.  They really know how to make your experience, in this case to the loo, magical!


Pai Thai isn’t cheap, but it isn’t overly pricey either.  It describes itself as gourmet and I think most of what I’ve eaten there pretty much hits that mark.

After adding in a couple of bottles of wine to the cost of your three course meal, you’ve doubled the bill and left the restaurant 800 dirhams lighter.


The service in Pai Thai is great.  I could be wrong, but you appear to be served by genuine Thai waters and waitresses, who genuinely want to make your experience with them memorable.   Orders are taken swiftly and food presented in front of you in a timely fashion.

There is a traditional Thai dancer that comes round the tables throughout the evening, adding a bit more eastern magic to your experience!


Tel: +971 4 3666730



Alfresco dining, thai, special occasions, something a little bit different

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