Review: Ammos Greek Restaurant, Dubai: Sun-soaked Lunch
Ammos Greek Restaurant: A Return to Lazy Weekend Lunches
Ammos Greek Restaurant, Rixos Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Jumeirah Beach Resort, Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Four mezze starters, 2 main courses, 2 desserts, 3 bottles greek white wine, 1 cocktail, 2 bottles mineral water (incl. service charge): AED1440 (US$392, £318, EUR351). With four people, per post (incl. service charge): AED365 (US$99, £80, EUR89)Ammos Greek Restaurant serves modern Greek food interpreting classics without pretension. Fabulous daytime views and reasonable pricing makes Ammos Greek Restaurant a strong choice for long lazy lunch times. Reservations recommended.
Good all-rounder: food, drinks, vibes, service
Bright, sunny dining room with fresh, Grecian beachy decor
The Orange Cake with Orange Syrup
Licensed restaurant with broad wine menu incl. Greek wine
Nearly impossible to find through the hotel
Absurdly small stuffed calamari main course
Ammos Greek Restaurant: The Experience
There is a sincere return to joy walking through the doors of a restaurant. It’s been weeks since I stepped foot inside of a proper restaurant. Managers welcoming you, staff circling with arms ladened with plates, bottles chilling in frosted, chrome wine buckets draped in tea towels to cover their modesty. Why do we do that by the way? Still, I shake with anticipation, waiting to return to a dining room for the unparalleled joy of simply eating someone else’s food.
Yes, someone else’s food. There are many moments over the UAE lockdown period where I reacquainted myself with the joy of cooking. The actual joy and not the mere binary, transactional task of food for fuel. I made West Indian Oxtail, Trinidad Doubles and dressed everything but my three rescue cats in gremolata. There is planned cooking, cooking for joy, and then there is the more routine feeding. The daily strain of assembling pantry ingredients into a cogent meal like some gastronomic Rubix cube caused me to twitch involuntarily.
Still, this does not compare to the unparalleled pleasure of sitting in a beautifully manicured room where skilled people turn out dishes with finesse. Another person brings course after course to you returning to top up wine, smile and enquire about your wellbeing. I longed to plunge headfirst into this fresh bliss where I need not worry about cleaning dishes and whether we had enough dishwasher tablets.
Visiting Ammos Greek Restaurant
Ammos Greek Restaurant opened amid the 2019 Dubai trend of ‘Anything Greek’. I missed Ammos in 2019 but I did make it to Opso, Mazi in Abu Dhabi and Mythos. I already covered this surprising phalanx of Greek openings so let’s not dredge up the past. Ammos’s website showcases its sun-drenched veranda overlooking the Rixos’ pool. Ammos claims it ‘brings all the charm of Greek cuisine, where a meal is an unforgettable experience that encompasses the authentic Greek hospitality and the bliss of Mediterranean island life.’ Perfect — months of weary COVID19 restrictions leave me aching for all of the above.
TIP: Reservations are recommended especially at weekend lunchtimes to avoid disappointment. There is a capped number of diners due to restrictions and large groups may need to work out seating arrangements.
Mrs EatGoSee and I climb into a taxi – masks on – to alight at Rixos Premium Dubai JBR. You will need a scout’s badge to find Ammos from the entrance. Follow the signs to Azure Bar which is adjacent to Ammos Greek Restaurant. The hotel is well advised to let people know that Ammos exists and how to find it.
Ammos Greek Restaurant: First Impressions
Our reservations are confirmed by a smiling Manager. Well, I believe he was smiling but, you know, all the staff are wearing their finest N95 face masks. There was a time when that phrase could be confused for the latest Yeezys launch. The restaurant is drenched in sunshine courtesy of the floor to ceiling windows. Brightness bounces off the pale walls and bleach-white, distressed furniture.
The room is breezy, cooled with cobalt blue and slate pillows. Oversized art installations and mirrors constructed of varnished driftwood warms the room keeping it casual. A bright, rash of bougainvillaea canopies over the interior adding a pop of colour. Anyone else with an insatiable wanderlust recently struck down by the dark hand of ‘Rona should come to the dining room for a (liquid) lunch, stat.
Collect bonus points for clandestine people watching from the sanctuary of air-conditioning. Engage in a bit of light peering while pretending to munch on Ammos’ beetroot salad (AED60) or surreptitiously slurping their Fines de Claire or Gillardeau oysters (AED 35/50 each).
I received comments on my Instagram posts from earlier diners that follow me (as should you, hint) that the dining room does not exude the same first impression during dinner service. I can see how daytime dining may be preferable here.
Ammos Greek Restaurant's food and dining
Alex is our server today and wastes no time providing us with a wine list. I instantly like Alex and know that we will get on just fine. Mrs EatGoSee and I order a glass of Gaia Notios each (AED60). Alex gently sends an unspoken word with his eyes that says ‘bruh, who are you kidding’. He knows me and, just like that, we get the bottle (AED295). This is our first daytime outing since the COVID restrictions eased allowing boozy lunchtimes. Carpe diem and all that.
Ammos Greek Restaurant: The Business of Ordering Food
Mrs EatGoSee and I are here with Sera Knows, a fellow Dubai food blogger. You can also find her on Instagram or YouTube. Ammos organises its menu into starters (AED18-90), raw (AED35-70pp,), salads (AED50-70), seafood (AED90-125) or meat (AED95-280) main courses, signature dishes (AED345-395) and their fisherman’s catch of the day which is all on display labelled sprawled over ice at the restaurant entrance. The dessert menu ranges from AED15-55. Ammos tells you that all their dishes are designed to share, but, they also recommend a mezze tray with a sampling of a few starters; this will set you back AED180 for 9 starter options.
Alex turns auctioneer and is keen to show me the fisherman’s catch options today. I oblige, inspect and decide to opt for Ammos’ a la carte options.
We order the Feta Tyropita (AED55), Kalamaraki (AED60), Ammos Fresh Hand Cut Fries with grated Kefalotyri cheese (AED40) and the octopus carpaccio (AED70) as a selection of mezze starters.
The kalamaraki stands out as golden, crusted deep-fried calamari dragged through a light taramasalata dip. The kalamaraki is slightly crispy, avoids that tiresome rubbery chew. Mrs EatGoSee is especially impressed by the Ammos Fresh Hand Cut Fries showered in a mild Kefalotyri cheese and dried oregano. This is a remarkably generous portion elevated by the use of dried oregano. I love octopus and a carpaccio so I am an easy target here and I appreciate the dried cherry tomatoes and the vibrancy a little lemon zest brings. I encourage the kitchen to lean into the seasoning (maybe even the lemon zest) here a little more to lift the dish. The feta tyropita is a modernized, classic Greek dish of feta wrapped in flaky crisp filo pastry glazed with Greek honey on diced, fresh watermelon.
Step forward the main courses
We debate whether to order mains. Guests could easily graze slowly and enjoyably through the starters as shared plates and perhaps move onto dessert. There is something very Mediterranean about nibbling on cold and warm starters and side salads in sunshine chased down with carafes of local wine. My toes curl for days to sit lazily before the Med on simple chairs where my biggest worry is to find something to stop this table from wobbling.
I, motivated by greed, order the Ammos Mousakas and the Stuffed Calamari (each AED95). I should say that I rarely find a Mousakas to be a memorable dish; an impression forged through years of enduring inferior microwave meals. The Ammos Mousakas is a gutsy, hearty, nearly family-sized portion of aubergine, potatoes and minced beef layered and crowed in melted kefalotyri cheese. This would easily feed four people with sides. Fans of Mousakas should consider ordering this.
The stuffed calamari is filled with orzo pasta in a tomato saganaki sauce (typically a pan-fried cheese) and feta cheese. Our turgid stuffed squid is served with a grilled red pepper. This is a tasty dish but I would encourage the kitchen to adjust the plate impression. Both the main courses are the same price but there is a slightly deflating sense of value and impression when the calamari arrives. I enjoyed the calamari but fellow diners will look enviously at their friends at the table eating more generous dishes.
And now for dessert
Most people would stop here where self-restraint would kick in. Fortunately or unfortunately, my ruthless greed is > than my restraint. The dessert menu offers seven sugary temptations ranging between from Ammos ice cream (AED15 per scoop) to the sokolatopita lava cake with fresh strawberries(AED55) to the fig cheesecake enriched with anthotyro cheese topped with fig marmalade(AED50).
We order the Portokalopita (AED45) and the Galaktoboureko (AED50). Both dishes impress upon arrival. I lean slightly towards the portokalopita; a bright, orange cake soaked in syrup and served with orange ice cream. The warming citrusy keeps a buttery, spongy cake feeling light and moorish. You could share with friends, but you may not want to do so. The stacked layers of crisp filo pastry are generously cushioned with custard cream and spiced with cinnamon syrup. It is messy eating but channels that fun element that is often neglected in restaurant desserts. I recommend opting for the portokalopita if you only have room for one dessert.
FIVE Palm Jumeirah: Room Views
Would I return to Ammos Greek Restaurant?
I thought long and hard about whether my impression of Ammos is overly rosy. Am I just relieved and grateful for the ability to get out and Ammos happened to be my first embrace? Did the Gaia Notios kick in? Is Ammos really a strong contender against other established contemporaries like Mythos, Gaia, Opa or Opso?
You do not come to Ammos for pedant-like perfection. This is a casual-but-smart dining Greek restaurant in a beach resort; this is not fine dining, fancy dining. Ammos is not looking for prizes and awards in my view. The point of coming to Ammos is to have a good time with friends and experience glimmers reminiscent of days abroad in the Peloponnesus overlooking the Aegean. There is nothing like the real thing, but Ammos scratches the itch and, sometimes, that is enough.
I would return to Ammos for lunch, for wine, for chillaxing.
Who should go to Ammos Greek Restaurant?
Couples looking for pleasant lunches, fans of Mediterranean food, sun worshipers looking for a reprieve in air conditioning looking for light bites away from the Rixos beach and pool. You should come with friends to enjoy sharing plates. Fish and seafood eaters looking for well-known fresh grilled fish, octopus and seafood