Dubai’s dynamic dining scene is one that’s impossible to keep up with. Besides the host of new restaurants perpetually vying for a spot on your dine-out bucket list, there’s also the recent arrival of innovative dining concepts such as conceptual dining space Inked and culinary incubator Kitchen Nation – and your palate always has plenty to look forward to. To help you sift through the mass of new kids on the Dubai dining block, Savoir Flair rounds up the must-try eateries of the moment.
Tub of Butter
If cool, casual, and highly Instagrammable spots are what you gravitate towards, then Tub of Butter is for you. Part restaurant, part gourmet food store, this whimsically decorated space serves a multitude of Mediterranean dishes – portobello-mushroom burgers, risotto, and grilled salmon served with green beans to name a few – alongside everyday favorites like wood-fired pizza. It also isn’t the type of place where you should politely decline the dessert menu. The saffron-infused panna cotta with an orange reduction – which looks as good as it tastes – comes highly recommended, particularly if you’re looking for a sweet finish that’s on the lighter side. Having said that, it’s the attention to detail that you’ll remember long after your meal. (Hint: order a cappuccino to see what we mean.)
744 Sheikh Zayed Road
(+971) 4 343 888
From the F&B talent behind Reform Social & Grill, Bistro Des Arts, and more comes a captivating and unexpected restaurant and bar concept by the name of Publique. Opening at Madinat Jumeirah this month, it aims to offer the type of destination that the city hasn’t seen yet – an authentic alpine experience, with warm and rustic décor reminiscent of a mountain lodge. Complete with an eye-catching Gondola DJ booth and a chalet-style terrace, the homegrown restaurant promises to be the type of relaxed ambience that encourages diners to linger. Expect a menu that mirrors this ethos – amongst the myriad of French alpine classics, the traditional ‘Fondue Savoyarde’ that is designed to share is being touted as a must-try. The menu will also feature pierrade, which entails cooking thin strips of meat and seafood over a heated stone.
Souk Madinat Jumeirah
(+971) 4 551 1576
Folly by Nick and Scott
Like Publique, Folly by Nick and Scott will also open this month at Souk Madinat Jumeirah. This highly-anticipated new opening from restaurateurs Nick Alvis and Scott Price of Table 9 fame will serve high-end, modern European cuisine in a laid-back environment, complete with stunning views of Burj Al Arab. Offerings will include dishes such as smoked-paprika monkfish cheeks, Omani shrimp with marjoram and lime gremolata, and lamb saddle with whipped pine nuts and salsa – all driven by quality ingredients. In fact, each dish will only include a maximum of four ingredients, thereby allowing guests the opportunity to create their own tasting menu. Patrons interested in the behind-the-scenes theatrics of a gourmet meal can dine at the eight-seat “Kitchen Bar”, which doubles as the kitchen pass, while those looking for a more intimate, secret-garden ambience should head to the outdoor terrace.
Souk Madinat Jumeirah
(+971) 050 553 4168
No list of must-try restaurant would be complete without a spot serving the comforting likes of homemade ravioli, truffle pizza, fried calamari, and cannoli. Enter: the recently opened Matto at The Oberoi, Dubai. The Italian restaurant, a homegrown concept from the creators of Iris and Indie DIFC, combines eclectic art and industrial décor with a menu that was inspired by Italy’s Mediterranean coast for days when a light meal in an airy space just won’t do. Matto promises to offer an unconventional Italian dining experience as its chefs have taken ownership of recipes from their grandmother’s kitchens, and given them a trendy twist. The presentation of the food is also delightfully quirky. Order the ‘Dammi Un Vaso’ if you’re baffled by the choices on the dessert menu, but don’t be surprised if something that resembles a neglected potted plant shows up – it’s actually a delicious combination of berry mousse, meringue, shortbread, and Lotus biscuits.
The Oberoi, Dubai
(+971) 4 444 1335
Just knowing that your burger is organic somehow does wonders to ease the guilt, and that’s precisely why Bareburger has made its way to our list. The first Middle East outlet opened by the New York-based franchise, it serves burgers, sides, and sandwiches that are made from only organic, natural ingredients and a selection of free-range meats such as hormone-free chicken from local farms and grass-fed beef. Vegetarians are also taken care of as there are plenty of salads, made from only local produce, on offer. There’s even a vegan option on the burger menu, called ‘The Farmstead’ – a delicious pile-up of sweet potato, quinoa, alfalfa, and hummus served in a lettuce leaf. Even more good news? Three more locations will soon follow suit.
Dubai Festival City Mall
(+971) 4 338 7110
Whether you know it as Barsha Heights or still stubbornly refer to it as Tecom, this is the neighborhood where your next (great) Thai meal awaits. Located inside dusitD2 Kenz Hotel, Wise Kwai serves authentic Thai street food within a contemporary, almost-kitschy atmosphere. Its interiors pay tribute to a famous Thai movie of the same name, which is evidenced by its cinema-centric décor. The real star, however, is a menu that features everything you’d look forward to: pad Thai, fish cakes, Thai fried rice with seafood, and steamed fish with coriander, lime, and garlic. Dessert gets a little more adventurous, thanks to offerings such as pumpkin custard and chili ice cream.
dusitD2 Kenz Hotel
(+971) 4 567 2247
Delicious, contemporary Asian cuisine is always a big, fat yes – especially when it’s affordable and served in a minimalist, fuss-free environment. Tucked away in Jumeirah Fishing Harbour, 3 Fils serves dishes like ‘Beetroot Sushi’ – pickled beetroot with mango salsa, wasabi, mayonnaise, and fresh coriander – alongside the beloved Indomie noodles and unexpected fare such as buttermilk-fried chicken burgers and marinated lamb ribs. The menu is limited, but each dish is prepared to perfection, so you’re unlikely to notice or even care. Don’t skip dessert – in fact, try to resist the urge to order the ‘African Powerhouse’ chocolate cake, and opt for ‘The Tooth Fairy’ instead. Subtle in its sweetness, it pairs saffron meringue with violet sour curd, blackberries, and edible flowers.
Shop 2, Jumeirah Fishing Harbour
(+971) 056 273 0030
And finally, the Chez Charles culinary empire is growing – and we’re not complaining. The brand synonymous with upscale catering is set to open its first contemporary brasserie in the first quarter of 2017 in d3. Echoing the brand’s traditional, wholesome French cuisine, Chez Charles Restaurant will offer an extensive gourmet dining experience through its contemporary French Sans Frontières cuisine, a modern French concept with influences from each chef’s international culinary journey. The use of only the finest and most premium ingredients is a given, so what else can you expect? We’ve been told that the brasserie’s chic décor will emulate “an air of simple sophistication and elegance utilizing fresh and subtle ‘provinciale’ tones”, with the extensive kitchen that is set behind a clear glass stage playing the starring role.
Dubai Design District
(+971) 4 420 1210