When in Dubai, trying to find that flawless eating spot could be quite a task, especially with the wealth of gastronomic riches the city has to offer. Find here a varied amalgam of trending restaurants across Dubai that have a definite punch. These special places have something to fit every mood and every palate. Here we go.
Taiko Contemporary Asian Cuisine & Bar @ Sofitel Dubai The Obelisk
Where? Wafi - Sheikh Rashid Rd - Umm Hurair 2
Call: +971 4 324 9999
Taiko has long netted a name as one of Amsterdam’s best contemporary Asian restaurants, and this first international outpost at the brand new Sofitel Obelisk, is a pleasant alternative. The team is wonderful, the cocktails are robust and the food is—and I cannot stress this enough—undeniably decadent. Taiko’s Sushi is second to none. Order the Shisha Sushi and you will be wowed not only by the exquisite presentation but also the taste.Their vegetarian options are plentiful. The roasted eggplant in dashi and crispy garlic is a delight. The fillet of sea bream from the Robata grill is one of the yummiest fish dishes to touch your lips, and is drenched in with a spicy red miso and yoom tomatoes that you will want to lick clean off your plate.
Em Sherif, Manzil Downtown
Where? Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard, Downtown
A creation of the Lebanese chef, Mireille Hayek, dips a piece of the deep-rooted Middle-Eastern sumptuousness in this Dubai outpost of the Beirut invention replete with Ottoman-style mirrors, lavish banquettes and vivid blue walls. It does an amazing shawarma and delicious kebabs, and I also love the little grazing mezze like the Labneh and Moutabel for variety and zing, with some flavour-packed fattoush salad and refreshing mint tea on the side. The team is keen to please, and the bill won’t kill.
The Daily, Rove La Mer Beach
Where? La Mer Beach - Jumeirah 1
This is a restaurant with character, but it’s not all display—the chefs know how to cook, and the food is a victory of vigilant alignment and texture. How about egg white scramble with crunchy walnuts and cauliflower, buttery spinach on a bed of avocado hummus salsify topped with quinoa crisps for breakfast? Or a delicious Shish Touk with a fresh salad and a decadent garlic aioli with crisp fries? It’s all outrageously good value overlooking the stunning La Mer Beach and then there’s the service—friendly, competent and impeccably crafted to make you feel at one with the world.
London Project, Bluewaters
Where? Bluewaters Islands
Located at the bottom of the enormous Ferris wheel that is Ain Dubai, the upper terrace looks out to JBR and the Marina, and has curved itself into an achingly stylish star. The bubbly battered fish and chips with the hops stirred away is a fascinating take on the British national dish.From buttermilk chicken to a salad of heirloom tomatoes and burrata to slow-cooked lamb bao, hand-rolled flat breads and crispy agria fries, it’s anything but boring, especially when teamed with a glass (or three) from the cocktails, spritz or wine list. The ambiance is buzzy, service is on the ball, servings are generous, so go with friends. Ask for one of the tables on the terrace and order as much as you feasibly can.
Din Tai Fung, Dubai & Emirates Mall
An international chain specialising in Taiwanese dumplings and Huaiyang cuisine, the company made a move to Dubai by taking over two enormous restaurants in two of Dubai’s most popular malls, complete with transparent kitchens where their extremely skilled dumpling artisans can be seen making each of the specialities. While they have a wide-ranging menu, the claim to fame is the Xiao Long Bao aka the Taiwanese soup dumplings. Remarkably, each dumpling diligently holds 21 grams of filling and is set with exactly 18 folds.
Restaurant, Address Fountain Views
Where? Level 14, Address Fountain Views, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Blvd
The main dining has panoramic windows, which means you can take in the views even when it’s too cold for alfresco. If you want to get some fresh air, there’s a massive outdoor dining area with views of the Burj Khalifa and the pool with a menu offering a slant on the Mediterranean.To eat? Pizzas, grill, and a few nibbles. This is a top choice for after-work cocktails, small plates and anything in between. The atmosphere is laidback, the cocktails are ace and service is warm.
Wild and The Moon, Alserkal Avenue
Where? Alserkal Avenue, Street 8, H-77
The menu is entirely plant-based and takes stimulus from a diversity of cuisines. Start with the coconut and soy milk coffee before digging into the hearty but healthy mains which range from the famous tacos to gut-friendly power and blue majic frozen bowls.Even the healthiest vegans desire junk food at times, and the kale chips here are as delicious as the Pad Thai. Make sure you save room for dessert; the ice cream macaron and chocolate truffles are not to be missed either.
Dhaba Lane, Al Garhoud
Where? Ithraa Plaza - 2 2nd St - Garhoud
There’s nothing like Dhaba Lane in Dubai. Sure, there’s good Indian food in certain pockets of the city. But very few restaurants make Old Delhi-style chaat, Kebabs and Dal Makhni as amazing. And it is an utter joy. As you might imagine from a no-bookings eatery, it’s tiny but cute, smoothly blending old and new.Brick meets wood panelling; pretty floral tiles meet a highway truck. The menu, likewise, gives traditional Indian food a trendy lift. If beautiful plating, full flavours and unapologetic delicious Indian are your bag, Dhaba Lane will get your pulse, and your palate racing.
Vanitas, Palazzo Versace
Where? Jaddaf Waterfront
The thrill is as imperative as the food at Palazzo Versace’s enduringly popular Italian restaurant, observing celebrities drift into the dining room. The menu celebrates the best of artiste provincial cooking in varied ways. Expect a convoy of luxe Italian staples counting sea bass carpaccio plus star fits from the kitchen. Crisp-based pizzas are also a highlight. The pasta is admirably al dente and the savours sing out—try the spaghetti sprinkled with salacious mussels. The alluring cocktails and notable all-Italian wines also make an impact.
Arabian Tea House, Al Fahidi
Where? Bastakiya, Opposite Musalla Post Office
Slice of chain, this wildly popular Emirati tea house is an almost furiously busy and cheerful enterprise jam-packed with pretty designs. Its effective looks and spontaneous vibes are harmonised by a menu that boasts salads, cold and hot mezze to breads and curries, grills and machboos (quite like our pulao). Expect home-style dishes, made for sharing—we like the lavish breakfast trays. To drink, don’t miss the mint tea or karak. There are branches scattered across town, from Al Fahidi to Jumeirah Archaeological Centre.