Rehan Poncha is one of India’s finest athletes. An Olympian Swimmer and Arjuna Awardee, Rehan is also a motivational speaker and a self-confessed travel junkie and foodie.
When you spend more than 1500 hours a year in the water, training as a professional swimmer, there are only two reactions humanly possible – you’ll either absolutely love the water or never want to see it again when you’re done! Water’s definitely my first love, which is why even though I’ve now switched to a new sport, golf, I still absolutely love being in and around water. It’s one of the reasons I like Atlantis, the Palm, in Dubai, with its huge aquariums, private beaches, pools and marine habitats for dolphins and sea lions, so much. That and the fact that I’m Parsi, which I think makes me a foodie by default. This place has no less than 23 different restaurants, bars, lounges and cafes promising cuisines to suit every mood!
So if you get to Atlantis, which is a destination in itself, here are my top 5 must-try food places:
An elevator will take you down into the basement of the hotel, where you enter this most elegant and romantic of all Atlantis restaurants, Ossiano. Its contemporary cuisine is inspired by the sea and infused with modern Mediterranean flavours. Try it for a unique fine-dining experience, with mesmerising views of an aquarium with over 60,000 fish including live sharks and rays.
Must have: The creamy Lobster Veloute.
2. Ronda Locatelli
The family-style authentic Italian in Ronda Locatelli by Michelin star Chef Giorgio Locatelli has a rustic, warm and inviting feel. Traditional pizza is served hot from the brick-oven, as well as delicate pastas and favourite Italian classics. The service at Ronda Locatelli was so soothing, so genuinely pleasant it made a lovely accompaniment to the meal.
Must have: The fresh goat cheese salad.
If you’re craving legendary Arab meat, Levantine is your go-to restaurant of choice. The restaurant offers an atmospheric Arabian experience, accompanied by the dramatic moves of the belly dancer, a resident DJ and also a poplar sheeshah menu. Dishes from cold and hot Mezze and the shared meats off the grill add to the buzz of the exotic design space.
Must have: Traditional raw dishes like Kebbeh Nayeh.
The sound of a live jazz and blues band belting out sexy Adele numbers greets us as we enter Seafire, Atlantis’ modern steakhouse and bar boasting an exceptional butchery, an open theatrical kitchen and an extensive walk-in wine cellar. If you’re longing for some great steak, this is the place to be.
Must have: The “gentleman sized serving” of Rib Eye
Get your fix of contemporary Chinese with a traditional twist. The dim sum offering is inviting and indulgent, with a variety of flavours designed to entice the senses.
Must have: Steamed Chicken Dumpling Infused with Shrimp, Mushroom and Tobiko