We Came, We Ate, We Loved: The Best New Restaurants to Try in 2022

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Photo: Courtesy of @caviarkaspiadxb

While Dubai may not hold the title (yet) for the city with the most restaurants per capita in the world, we could still eat at a different venue every day of the year and not even remotely have tapped into all of Dubai’s culinary treasures. With well-renowned chefs and restaurateurs from around the world establishing their place in the Middle East, it is no surprise that even at the start of 2022 there is a whole new menu of excellent places worth your time and appetite. 

Savoir Flair sent out its editors and came back with our favorite new restaurants you should try in 2022. We are full. You are welcome.

PS: Be sure to check back. You can bet if we find another great one, we will add it to this list.

11 Woodfire

Forgive the pun, but one of the hottest new things in Dubai’s food scene right now is cooking with woodfire, and few are doing it better than 11 Woodfire. The idea is simple: grill everything. Gorgeously appointed modern interiors are juxtaposed against the world’s oldest form of cooking, with an immense woodfire grill providing an incredible aroma upon arrival, and an open kitchen center stage where guests can watch not only the chefs, but the flames do their work.

As you might expect, proteins are king at 11 Woodfire, so don’t miss the opportunity to taste the beef tartare as well as the red shrimp swimming in a pineapple gazpacho mixed with endive and cilantro. The seabass served with a garlic kashmiri chilli and topped with the plucky sourness of capers and earthy, aromatic curry leaves is easily one of our favorite (and most reasonably priced) items on the menu. Then there’s the wagyu ribeye, so tender you only need a butter knife to slice it, and the juicy, marbled steak that makes your mouth water before and after you’ve had your meal. A creamy potato gratin, grilled asparagus, and a smooth mash of parsnip topped with blueberries – yes, blueberries – and fried parsnip create the perfect mix of sides to go with your mains from land and sea. Whatever you do though, don’t leave without ordering the leeks. They’re judiciously burned for a little smoky flavor and served on a bed of creamy, citrusy sauce and topped with grapefruit and capers. Beautifully balanced between sweet, earthy, buttery, and bright, this dish satisfies all your senses.

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Photo: Courtesy of @11woodfire

21 Grams Urban Balkan Bistro

If you ask us, Southeastern European cuisine doesn’t get enough love in the Dubai culinary scene. However, 21grams Urban Balkan Bistro was instrumental in changing all of that before it closed its doors in 2021 to get ready for the launch at a new location. It’s back now and better than ever with a finely tuned menu featuring its distinctive Balkan soul food. Head over to Meyan Mall in Jumeira and make sure you come hungry because soul food is nothing if not filling especially when the house bread is so good you’re forced to ask for seconds.

Start with the ‘Cold Mezze’ – we chose the red pepper dip, the red chili cheese, and house olives. Move on to the crispy phyllo roll with creamy goat cheese, herbaceous rosemary, and a hint of honey. You’ll come back for this dish alone. We also loved 21Gram’s side order of potatoes, which were perfectly crispy outside and pillowy soft inside, and came drizzled in decadent truffle foie gras butter. For the mains, the brightest star on the menu is the ‘Sarma’, a super traditional sour cabbage roll stuffed with beef. We could have eaten a dozen of them if our stomachs were capable (they weren’t). Don’t forget dessert. 21Grams hooks it up with an amazing array of sweets, but the crowd-favorite is its delicious caramelized banana dish. One visit and you’ll soon see why 21Grams is regarded as one of Dubai’s most beloved hidden gems.

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Photo: Courtesy of @21grams.dubai

Alaya

To say we have been patiently waiting for Chef Izu Ani to open his latest Middle Eastern concept restaurant would be a bit of a white lie. There was nothing patient about it. But at long last, the doors to Alaya were opened in DIFC and we walked through with high expectations. Like Gulliver weaving a tale of his travels and escapades, Chef Izu has married all of the gastronomical influences of his life from the Oriental Coast to the Mediterranean Sea and finally the Middle East into a culinary love letter to the places he has called home. With a modern touch on traditional cooking techniques, Chef Izu manages to bring out the fragrant spices and herbs, fresh produce, and wealth of flavors the ‘Cradle of Civilization’ bestowed upon him through his years and travels.

We couldn’t possibly eat everything we wanted on the menu, which is why this was only the first of many more visits to come. What we had was enough to tell us this would be a new favorite spot, particularly when we wanted to show off to guests from out of town. Fresh is the first word that comes to mind when you start your meal, and that has to do with Izu’s scaled-back approach to this menu. He uses only what is necessary to achieve a balance of flavors affecting every part of the mouth and palate at once. We have never enjoyed the pure taste of artichoke so much. It wasn’t drenched in spice, oils, or sauces, but gracefully complemented pomegranates, almond flakes, and a bit of bulgur with a drizzle of lemon and oil for an exquisite reminder of exactly why we love this earthy vegetable. The ‘Spiced Carrot Salad’ surprised us with its crispy bulgur and spiced yogurt, and the ‘Yellowtail Lakerda’ was a table favorite with its zesty ginger dressing and sesame seeds over the freshly sliced yellowtail. But the seabass was the masterpiece of the meal, because when it comes to fresh fish, nobody does it quite like Izu. The perfectly baked, flavorful, and flaky meat melts in your mouth with an essence of fish that is never overwhelming and brings us back to those days when we would eat our fresh catch of the day with Grandpa after a day on the pier. Don‘t skip dessert because the kanafa is light, crispy, and surprisingly not too sweet, and even though we could only fit one more bite, that one spoonful of the manage freshly made pistachio ice cream.

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Photo: Courtesy of @alayadubai

Amelia

On the hunt for a cool new spot that serves delicious food and beverages, elegant interiors, and some incredible vibes all under one roof? Amelia, the newest addition to Downtown Dubai’s glitzy block, ticks all the boxes. The aviation-inspired restaurant and lounge concept has stretched her wings and taken flight, coming in hot from Beirut. Residing in Address Sky View, Amelia comes with an excellent reputation in mixology, gastronomy, and music.

Treat your tastebuds to some incredibly flavorful dishes on your culinary journey at Amelia which will take you through the Japanese-Peruvian ‘Nikkei’ delicacies with an unexpected Mediterranean twist. Dig into mouth-watering dishes, ranging from the ‘Lubina’ Ceviche, with its perfect blend of Wild Sea Bass, Chulpe, Red Onion, Sweet Potato, Coriander, and Aji Limo exploding across your tastebuds, or spiral into a sensory overload with the ‘Azi Yuzu’ and ‘Azi Bloody Mary’ oysters. Guests can even choose from a rich Caviar selection.

While you are there, make sure you do not miss out on the ‘Wagyu Tartar,’ the Tiger Prawn and Truffle Cream stuffed ‘Rollo de Camarones,’ and the ‘Flammkuchen a la Trufa,’ a kind of pizza made out of a special dough. By the time you reach for the mains, one thing will be evident: Amelia is not your typical restaurant but an engaging gastronomical experience. Even then, the steak served on a heated salt bed might come as a surprise. As you devour the succulent mains, don’t forget to keep room for the decadent desserts.

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Photo: Courtesy of @ameliadubai

Bar du Port

One of the first restaurants to claim a spot in Dubai Harbour, Bar du Port invites you to escape to the Mediterranean shores – even if it’s just for the night. Minutes away from Dubai Marina, Bar du Port is tucked away on the quieter side of Dubai’s luxurious new waterfront development, however, the atmosphere inside is anything but. With DJs dropping groovy tunes all night, the new restaurant is the perfect place to dance the night away with your girls. 

Painted in earthy tones, the Bohemian decor and statement lighting bring the relaxed charm of the Italian Riviera, the glamour of the Côte d’Azur, and the subtle simplicity of the Greek islands all the way to Dubai. The menu – designed by Hadi Saroufim, Executive Chef of Bar Du Port –  offers diners a delectable French-influenced cuisine inspired by Mediterranean coastal flavors. Mediterranean coastal favorites like the ‘Gillardeau Oysters N°2’, ‘Lobster Rolls,’ and the ‘Wood-Grilled Octopus’ are not to be missed. Craving some creamy deliciousness? Try the ‘Truffle Rissotto.’ Before you leave, we suggest you dig into the rich ‘Molten Lava Cake’ and the ‘Pain Perdu.’

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Photo: Courtesy of @barduport

Basko

Basko is undoubtedly the place to be seen in 2022. Situated in Zaha Hadid’s Opus Tower by Omniyat, its arresting interiors with rich colors and sophisticated accents make you feel as if you are dining in an exclusive club in the 60s. Even the Burj Khalifa appears to hover over the glittering garden terrace to see what is happening at the chic, new speakeasy in its girlfriend’s backyard.

But it isn’t only glitter and gold. Basko’s menu is just as delicious as its clientele. Mediterranean cuisine consisting of the freshest of ingredients meant we could not get enough of the ‘Crispy Tuna Tartine’ as well as the tomato gazpacho, and the entrecôte we ate as a main course was so rich and juicy we had to remind ourselves to slow down. The langoustine risotto is another showstopper on the menu, however, if you don’t end the meal with the ‘Taco-noré, then you haven’t had the full experience.

Best New Restaurants dubai 2022
Photo: Courtesy of @baskodxb

The Beach Bar & Grill

If you, like us, are always on the hunt for a great place to catch delicious food on the beach, then you must visit One & Only Royal Mirage’s The Beach Bar & Grill. An elegant setting on a quiet beach only steps from the sand and with views over the pristine water make this the ideal destination for an afternoon turned evening of indulgence. All this plus a menu of delights that bring warm fuzzies to our bellies, and we have found our new favorite getaway right here in the heart of Dubai.

Enjoy the salty sea breeze as you tuck into the flavorful South American cuisine. We highly recommend starting with the buñuelos as well as both the classic and the truffle empanadas, and the watermelon salad is almost too beautiful to eat. Almost. An order of the ‘Sea Bass Tiradito’ ceviche is an absolute must, and you won’t go wrong with either the meat or the seafood for your mains. We have to note that the wagyu we had was just the right amount of tender and juicy without being overly fatty, and the sea bream was flaky and fresh, just the way we like it. Finish off your meal with some good old-fashioned flan while you watch the sun melt into the sea, and it will be a meal you’ll want to write home about.

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Photo: Courtesy of @beachbarandgrill

Caviar Kaspia

Caviar Kaspia has been a must-visit in Paris since 1927. The quintessential symbol of ‘arte de vivre,’ the iconic restaurant is renowned for its elegant blend of chic, French decor and its expertise in Russian cuisine that would earn the approval of not only Catherine the Great, but has been lauded by the likes of Rihanna, Beyoncé, Jay-Z, and even our own Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan. So when it opened in Dubai, it instantly became the spot of who’s who among Dubai’s elite.

We had a chance to taste the food, and believe us, we were not disappointed. In fact, we could argue we were even more impressed than what we had heard. The service was excellent, the atmosphere was cozy and sophisticated, and the food was unbelievably delicious. Of course we tried the inimitable, Kaspia baked potato topped with the finest caviar, and it is safe to say that there has never been, nor could there ever be, its equal. The beef stroganoff was also a standout of the night, but truly, from the mini blinis, to the salmon carpaccio, traditional borscht, the scallops, the golubtsy, the chicken kiev, and all of this finished off with the pavlova to win all pavlovas, Caviar Kaspia might just be one of our new favorite restaurants in Dubai.

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Photo: Courtesy of Caviar Kaspia

Celebrities

One&Only Royal Mirage has a wealth of restaurant options for every taste, but if it’s fine dining you are after, impress your guest and your tastebuds at the recently reopened Celebrities. Located inside the Palace, Chef Mauro Colagreco brings a tightly-edited menu of elegant French courses and sharing concepts for the extra-hungry. Greeted by a glamorous space outfitted with dazzling crystal chandeliers, the dishes Chef Mauro is serving up are posh but pleasing.

Our favorite starter, the ‘Le Tartar de Langoustine’ is sweet and mild, dappled with decadent caviar, and served with sour cream and onion “chips” as delicate as Chantilly lace. ‘Le Carpaccio de Saint-Jacquesa’ packs a vibrant punch of citrus, complemented by little bubbles of tuna roe that pop in your mouth. ‘Le Chateaubriand’ features 450 grams of Wagyu beef, Pont-Neuf potatoes, creamy spinach, and black truffle sauce. It’s a crowd-pleaser and arrives at the table perfectly cooked and unbelievably tender. For something a little more unexpected, try ‘Le Homard Breton’, a sumptuous blue lobster gratin dish immersed in potato, parmesan, and lobster bisque. We had to resist the temptation to order another, and instead saved room for dessert.

Celebrities One&Only Royal Mirage - best new restaurants dubai 2022
Photo: Courtesy of @celebritiesbymauro

Cinnamon Bazaar

Cinnamon Bazaar’s modern twist on Indian cuisine is creating buzz and for good reason. The colorful addition to Park Hyatt’s culinary repertoire boasts decadent furnishings and ornamentations, with stunning views over not only the Dubai Creek, but the skyline as well. It’s the kind of place you go to enjoy delicious food in a beautiful setting, where the music is not the main course, but merely a compliment to a good meal. 

When you dine, it’s best to plan for a long night because the experience is meant to be savored. Try the ‘Black Chana Hummus’ with fenugreek-scented nimki as well as the ‘Colocasia and Fenugreek Tikki Chaat’ with spiced colocasia cake, sweet yogurt, cilantro chutney, and chickpeas to start, and then move on to the main courses – all of which are meant to be shared. We found the ‘Rajasthani Lamb and Corn Curry’ as well as the ‘Tandoori Kentish Lamb’ with mint chili korma and cashew masala to be just what we needed and took turns using the fluffy naan to soak up the last of the sauce before they took the dish away. No butter chicken at this posh place, but there is ‘Lahore-style Kadhai Chicken’ which might just be one of our new favorites. Pro tip: we love our food on the spicy side, but if you prefer your food a bit more tame, make sure you mention it to the staff because it’s definitely served with lots of kick.

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Photo: Courtesy of @cinnamonbazaardxb

Clay

The latest to join Dubai’s glamorous culinary scene is a fusion restaurant from Bahrain – Clay – that has landed straight at the foot of the Emirate’s newest tourist attraction, Ain Dubai on the Bluewaters Island. Home to the unique Japanese-Peruvian ‘Nikkei’ cuisine, Clay flaunts an elegant ambiance complete with sleek marble tabletops, plush velvet couches, balconies that offer an up-close view of the largest observation wheel in the world, and most importantly, mouthwatering food that will make you come back again and again. Treat your tastebuds to the delicious blend of cultures as Peruvian ingredients find a place in Japanese cooking techniques birthing a style of food called ‘Nikkei.’ 

Our suggestions? Begin with the ‘Katsu Clay’ and ‘Octopus Causa’ before biting your way to the maki rolls and ceviche. The ‘Clay’ maki roll is a must-try. Rolled with the finest ingredients – caviar, o-toro, truffle, and sprinkled with gold leaves – we promise you it’ll leave you wanting more. Don’t forget to dig into their signature ceviches and wide option of grills before you call for dessert. Speaking of dessert, you have to try the mighty dessert platter. With everything from churros, cheesecake, miso brûlee, fresh fruits, and a cotton candy tree, it is one of the prettiest dessert platters we’ve seen.

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Photo: Courtesy of @clay_dubai

Duomo

Inside the newly opened The Edition Hotel in Downtown Dubai stands Duomo, an Italian restaurant that transports you to a world of vibrant elegance. A spectacular chandelier catches your gaze in the entryway before you step into the restaurant, and when seated you are surrounded by digital graphics morphing on the ceiling overhead. Your expectations will be exceeded by exceptional service from a well-informed attentive waitstaff –  a positive indicator of the delicious Italian fare to come.

First, up is the tuna tartare. The acidity of ginger sauce cuts through its creamy base of avocado, and supports the tuna’s starring role. Follow this dish with a dash of freshness from the citrusy ‘Beetroot Ensalata’, balanced nicely with creamy yogurt and crunchy marcona almonds on top. For the main course you can’t go wrong with shrimp risotto – creamy and al dente with an mild seafood flavor throughout –  or the classic margherita pizza that showcases a bright tomato sauce on a crispy wood-fired crust. Make sure you save room for the astonishingly light ‘Ananas’ dessert, a reimagination of a classic key lime meringue wrapped in finely shaved pineapple.

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Photo: Courtesy of @duomodubai

EKAI

The competitive dining scene at DIFC is blessed with yet another exciting restaurant opening. Bridging the gap between fine-dining venues and formal bars, EKAI offers a comfortable lounge experience paired with incredibly tasty Italian-Mediterranean dishes. Taking guests from day to night, the space provides a relaxing atmosphere to ‘dine and unwind’ for those that are in need of respite from hectic city life. Reflecting the creative energy of the DIFC and its onsite galleries, the vibrant Neoclassical interiors, from the navy blue walls with gold detailing, and luxurious velvet chairs to the marble tables, Pop Art pieces, and an opulent chandelier, every piece is guaranteed to spark curiosity and conversations. The menu is equally interesting and colorful as the decor, with the ‘Beef Carpaccio with Black Truffle’ and ‘Honey Sriracha Chicken Katsu Sliders’ as great crowd-pleasers that set you up for the meal ahead. For something a little more substantial, the ‘Scottish Salmon with Peruvian Corn and Mango Salsa’ is one of the bestsellers and the ‘Lobster Linguine’ is as delicious as it is eye-catching. For dessert, the ‘EKAI Special Platter’ filled with portions of opera cake, lemon meringue tart, and budino, will satisfy both chocoholics and fruit lovers.

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Photo: Courtesy of The Streak Media

Ibn AlBahr

There are so many options for delicious Lebanese food in this city, that we didn’t think it was possible to find another gem. But alas, we did. Ibn AlBahr, the newest dining spot to open beachside at Club Vista Mare on the Palm Jumeirah is definitely one we have been to a few times since it opened this year. And not for nothing, but Michelin seemed to agree with us too as they gave put the restaurant on the Bib Gourmand list in their inaugural Michelin Guide Dubai. It’s traditional Lebanese fare, and owned and operated by fishermen who know what they’re doing, so you better believe that the seafood is something else.

Order what you want in terms of hot and cold mezzes, but we beg you to order the fresh catch of the day and tajen. It’s the freshest fish in town, prepared however you want it. You peruse the selection of fish for the day that the fishermen have caught in the morning, choose your items, and then they cook it for you on the spot. You can taste the freshness, the flavor of the fish, and all you need is a touch of olive oil, some salt, and a squeeze of lemon and you are immediately transported back to the shores of Lebanon. It also should be noted that Ibn AlBahr has direct access to the beach, which means you can feast with your toes in the sand while looking out over the sea.

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Photo: Courtesy of @ibnalbahr

Jun's

‘Asian fusion’ food is probably one of the most misunderstood cuisines. Ask your friends to give examples of its dishes and you’ll get very diverse – and occasionally perplexing – answers. Aiming to add more depth and expertise to Dubai’s understanding of Asian fusion cuisine is the newly opened Jun’s restaurant helmed by award-winning chef Kelvin Cheung. Drawing inspiration from Cheung’s Chinese heritage, North American upbringing, and French training, the menu features contemporary Asian fare infused with flavors from around the world. East Asian staple ingredients such as Szechuan peppercorn, yuzu, miso, and seaweed, for instance, are celebrated in most of the dishes. One of Jun’s signatures is a light and uncomplicated dish: the ‘Salmon Tartar’ made from Scottish salmon marinated with sesame oil. It is served over a gluten-free nori cracker and a grilled avocado glazed with nikiri in agua de chili – a nod to the chef’s favorite late-night food trucks in Chicago. Another standout was the ‘Szechuan Chili-Braised Lamb Neck’, which is drizzled with red sesame oil served with house-made mantou. Velvety smooth and tender, this hearty dish delivers a spectacular mix of salty, spicy, and zesty flavors with every bite. Spectacular also describes the first bite of the dessert – a complex and dramatically presented plate of velouté, pudding, mousse, chocolate soil, and chocolate rocks.

With its relaxed vibe and innovative vision, Jun’s is off to a great start with its distinct food and unique creations. The next challenge will be to communicate Chef Cheung’s earnest vision to the typical Dubai customer and to inspire them to come back for more. We know he is more than up to the task.

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Photo: Courtesy of Jun's

La Maison Ani

When it comes to one of the best chefs in town, few do it better than Chef Izu Ani, and his latest concept, La Maison Ani, in Fashion Avenue of Dubai Mall is no exception. Ani and his longtime business partner and friend, Evgeny Kuzin, have curated a menu that features delicious dishes inspired by all of the cultures that have shaped Chef Izu’s life: his African roots, his English upbringing, his love affair with France, and his home in the Middle East. The elegant restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and features a beautiful, upscale French-Mediterranean dining room, and a balcony overlooking the Dubai fountains that will be very enjoyable during the winter months. Like all of Chef Izu’s restaurants, it’s hard to go wrong with any dish you order, but we have to give a special shout-out (and highly encourage you to try) the beef carpaccio, the Grilled Langoustines with an order of fresh bread to mop up the juices, and the Salt Baked Seabass. Also, we were completely floored by the pizza. We don’t usually order pizza at one of Chef Izu’s restaurants because we are fans of the complexity and craft of his other dishes, however, we need to say, that was by far one of the best pizzas we have enjoyed this side of Italy in a long time. Polish everything off with the signature cheesecake (we ate it with passionfruit) and our (pre-ordered) Tarte Tatin, because, well, if you know, you know.

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Photo: Courtesy of La Maison Ani

L'Amo Bistro Del Mare

It might possibly be one of the most beautiful new restaurants in Dubai, and it certainly means you will have your dinner served with a view. L’Amo Bistro del Mare, located in the Dubai Harbour Yacht Club, has floor-to-ceiling glass walls that allow its guests to dine on its modern Italian cuisine while enjoying the sweeping views of the Dubai Marina Skyline and Bluewaters Island. Delight your taste buds with the freshest seafood, daily catches on display that are cooked and served just how you like it, or order from the menu. You literally can’t go wrong. But if you need some guidance, start with ‘Le Tre Tartare’ – a delicious trio of raw shrimp with caviar, tuna with capers and mayo, and seabass topped with roe and lime – because it truly awakens the palate and gets you ready for the rest. Follow that with our favorite dish of the night, the sea urchin spaghetti – ‘Sphaghettone Cacio & Pepe e Ricci di Mare’ – which had us using our bread to soak up the Scarpetta (the extra sauce left behind). Of course, the visit won’t be complete without tasting the fresh fish grilled simply but with perfect precision. We tried the ‘Grilled Galician Seabass’ and we were not disappointed at the simple, yet delicious execution that highlights the flavors of the fish. The fish is pretty large, so we were glad we were able to share it with a friend as we probably would not have been able to eat the whole fish on our own. Probably. We might go back and find out.

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Photo: Courtesy of L'Amo Bistro del Mare

Mitsu-Ya

At the core of Japanese cuisine is an enduring respect for each ingredient. There is an unspoken commitment that each dish should celebrate its components and highlight the distinct tastes and textures. Mitsu-Ya, the new sushi bar and izakaya in Ritz Carlton DIFC, has dedicated itself to bring this philosophy to Dubai’s culinary scene.

The restaurant’s à la carte menu is irresistible enough, but for a truly sublime experience, the omakase set is highly recommended. Enjoy the serene interiors and put yourself in the hands of Chef Mitsu Arai as he prepares the freshest selection of exquisite sushi and sashimi, complemented by a hearty soup, mixed appetizers, a main dish, and dessert. For a more casual meal, explore their crave-worthy ramen bowls and main course offerings, which range from marinated black cod with miso and wagyu tenderloin to the crisp yet zesty tofu agedashi. Whatever they choose to have, diners will surely be left in awe with this elegant procession of flavors finessed by the chef’s expertise.

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Photo: Courtesy of @mitsuyadubai

Nonya

Centuries before ‘fusion’ food became trendy, there already was Peranakan or nyonya cuisine. To put it simply, it is a blend of Chinese and Southeast Asian foods; however, it is neither Chinese nor Southeast Asian. Confused yet? From the 1400s onward, the niche cuisine was able to carve its own unique identity and flavors, differentiating itself from its origins. The cuisine is very much alive in Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia, but it’s only recently that it finally made its way to Dubai.

Located on the 44th floor of Taj Jumeirah Lakes Towers, the newly opened Nonya, with its high ceilings, bold colors, and incredible views, certainly knows how to make a showstopping first impression. But the real draw is its excellently crafted and authentic repertoire of Peranakan dishes. Peranakan flavors are extravagantly rich but take time and patience to prepare. Thankfully, from the very first bites of the ‘Truffle Crispy Lotus Stem’ and ‘Singapore Laksa’, we could tell that tradition was respected when it counted. If it’s your first time to try this cuisine, ‘Beef Rendang’ and ‘Hainanese Chicken Rice’ are highly recommended; long-time fans, on the other hand, should sample the ‘Singapore Chili Crab’ — it’s as good as it gets. After filling up on the hearty dishes, round off your meal on a sweet note with exotic desserts such as ‘Mango Sticky Rice’ and ‘Cheng Tng’. A meal at Nonya is perfect for the days when you’d like to feel the warm embrace of Peranakan culture without having to travel far or when you’re in the mood for a little history lesson.

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Photo: Courtesy of Nonya

Sucre

It’s all the rage in Argentina and now we know why. Located in DIFC, Sucre boasts an elegant, trendy atmosphere and has been buzzing with people since the day it opened. The kitchen remains open to the enormous dining room, and the soaring flames and exposed brick wall lend a hand to the cozy feeling of being at home and eating some of Mama’s good food. Aside from the atmosphere (and the homemade bread), it’s the staff which have made this a place we want to return over and over again. Attentive, anticipation of our needs, and quick, friendly service makes all the difference in a dining experience and Sucre has this part down to a tee.

When you order, be sure to try some of the empanadas (we loved the ‘Smoked Cheddar and Onion Empanada’), the Ecuadorian ceviche, and the braised beef cheek. But what’s not to miss from the menu is the steak. The wagyu striploin and the wagyu tomahawk are divinely marbled, perfectly seared, and finished off with a house chimichurri that makes you feel as if you’re in Buenos Aires. Not to mention the heaven that is the skirt steak with burnt avocado, horseradish, and labneh. Finish it off with the ‘Dulce de Leche Fondant’ and your taste buds will be singing Evita all the way home.

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Photo: Courtesy of @Sucredubai

Sushi Samba

Gorgeous views aside… no, scratch that. The gorgeous views are a huge part of what made Sushi Samba one of the hottest spots in town almost overnight from the day it opened. A stalwart favorite in the NYC and London scene, Sushi Samba finally brings its Japanese-Brazilian-Peruvian fusion trademark to the fifth capital. When you walk in, the restaurant’s Tokyo/Samba vibes feel as glamorous as all the photos make it out to be, and the 360-degree views rivals Machu Picchu itself. 

We are happy to say that the food also lives up to the hype. Obviously, you have to try a little something from everyone. The Peruvian seviches are perfecto, the Japanese tempuras and sashimis are sugureto, and the Brazilian moqueca is uma delícia – all of which do nicely to please everyone’s taste buds. However, we wouldn’t stop there. We would also recommend adding to that list the shishito peppers with black truffle aioli, the ‘Japanese A5 Wagyu Beef Gyoza’, and the ‘Hamachi’ with truffle soy and caviar. The fusions like the Peruvian anticuchos cooked over the Japanese charcoal grill are a divine marriage of nationalities, and even the sushi is presented as if it has come directly from Carnaval in Rio. All in all, it’s not just a place to be seen, it’s a place to have an incredible meal with someone you adore.

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Photo: Courtesy of @sushisambadubai

Tamoka

If you’re looking to soak up the balmy sea breeze, but you’re not fond of loud music and rowdy beach bars, we’ve found the perfect solution. Straight from the shores of the Antillean Seas comes Tamoka, Dubai’s latest beachside restaurant inspired by the rich culture and vibrant flavors of Latin America. The relaxing seaside terrace is truly one to immerse yourself in, with chic decor and stunning open-air windows that immediately elevates the space to a cheerful yet serene atmosphere.

It is the spectacular food, however, that truly shines here. Helmed by award-winning Chef de Cuisine, Cesar Bartolini, Tamoka’s menu is inspired by native Antillean cuisine and Caribbean influences from Bartolini’s origins. Take in the breathtaking view and feast on their signature ceviches — we recommend ‘Pulpo Ahumado’ and ‘Hamachi’ — and the straight-of-the-grill ‘Langosta’, which is a buttery, tender craw lobster with a truly distinctive and exquisite taste. Another interesting main dish is the ‘Ojo de Bife’, a hearty option of dry-aged beef rib eye that comes with seasonal leaves and zesty pineapple mustard. Tamoka is also home to a dynamic mixology team, making it the closest place we can get to a Caribbean holiday without traveling. Sample a unique beverage from their list, and indulge in a plate of ‘Tiradotes de Piña’ and ‘Flan’ with heaping helping of dulce de leche while you’re at it.

best new restaurant tamoka
Photo: Courtesy of Tamoka

Tan Cha

Reminiscent of the vibrant Hong Kong cityscape with a side of Dubai opulence, Tan Cha invites you to experience an authentic Chinese menu that is shaped by tradition and elevated by contemporary technique. The venue’s sophisticated interiors, featuring floor-to-ceiling screens of mesmerizing Koi fish and kaleidoscopic digital art provide just the perfect backdrop for its stellar food. Inspired by the energy (and appetites) of downtown Hong Kong, our feast started with the ‘Tan Cha Dim Sum Basket’, which pairs perfectly with the traditional ‘Hot and Sour Soup’. Once your palate has been piqued, an order of the house’s specialty ‘Peking Duck’, served golden brown that’s bursting with flavors from the crispy skin to the soft meat, is a must. Served the Tan Cha way, with sweet bean sauce, foie gras sauce, and preserved lemon sauce, paired with julienned scallions and cucumbers, it’s just heaven on the taste buds. Meanwhile, dessert lovers will not want to miss out on the ‘Matcha Lover’, a green-tea cheesecake with red bean ice cream, topped with fruity flakes to cut its sweetness.

best new restaurants
Photo: Courtesy of @tanchadubai

The Restaurant

While The Address Downtown’s The Restaurant is already a popular go-to place for unparalleled Burj Khalifa views, the glamorous establishment is enjoying a renewed interest due to its newly revamped dining concept — its menu will now offer a stellar taste of Italian cuisine. Led by Chef Giorgio Minnone, The Restaurant is now serving an impressive Italian menu. Embracing a muted color palette, the interiors are grand but elegant, which allows diners to explore the rich flavors of Italy in a sophisticated atmosphere. With a refined approach to Italian cuisine, combined with the use of the finest ingredients and authentic recipes, the restaurant offers guests diverse options that are sure to satisfy any cravings. Each dish here is meticulously crafted in generous portions with a focus on quality.

The beef rib eye steak, which is topped with foie gras and wild mushroom sauce is a steady favorite, but the ‘Lobster Linguine with Caviar’ and ‘Verdure Marinate con Gamberi’, a rustic-style marinated vegetable, olives, candied tomato, and shrimp, are astonishingly good. There’s also an extensive selection of beverages ranging from Italian to French grape, meaning you’ll have no trouble finding an option to complement your meal. Be sure to save room for the dessert; the tiramisu and cannoli, paired with their excellent cappuccino, make for the perfect sweet ending.

best new The Restaurant
Photo: Courtesy of The Restaurant

Urla

If Sheikh Hamdan gives his stamp of approval, you know it’s the real deal. In fact, one of our very own editors spotted him dining at Urla just days ago. Located at the Address Downtown, this hip new eatery does not disappoint. Boasting the most majestic view of the towering Burj Khalifa and the iconic dancing fountains and a fantastic coastal menu, the food here is excellent. Our very well-informed server recommended a bunch of things from the menu, and each one did well to satiate our taste buds.

We started with the ‘Chanel Squid’ – part grilled, part deep-fried, it came with caramelized onions, a flavorful green pea purée, and was decorated with squid ink. The different textures all worked beautifully together. More seafood followed. Their ‘Lobster Linguine’ features a very generous helping of lobster, perfectly al dente pasta, and tomato sauce that bursts with a tangy garlicky flavor. Truly one of the best in town. The grilled seabass was one of the softest we’ve tried, and the accompanying bok choy was lovely too. But the real cherry on top was the desserts. The ‘Pineapple Brûlée’ is actually set in a real pineapple and is the perfect combination of sweet and tarty. We also recommend you try the ‘Cacao’ – chocolate in the shape of a cacao seed, it’s filled with fresh berries, crumbles, and chocolate jelly. Trust us, it was divine. 

urla
Photo: Courtesy of @urla

VERO

A hidden gem in the heart of Jumeirah Beach Residence, newcomer VERO is set to become a new favorite for those looking to enjoy authentic coastal Italian cuisine. In contrast to the bustling atmosphere of JBR, the vibe at VERO is calming and relaxed. From the unpretentious decor to the lovely poolside views, this is the perfect place to unwind and enjoy a good meal. And with award-winning Executive Chef Andrea Mugavero at the helm, diners are assured something they would truly enjoy, be it a perfectly cooked steak and fresh seafood, or classic staples such as antipasti, pastas, and pizzas.

Start with an exquisite spread of Gillardeau oysters and octopus ceviche from the exclusive raw bar, before digging into the nostalgic flavors of spaghetti bolognese and cacio e pepe. For something lighter, there is the delicately sweet ‘Langoustine Tartare’ and the ‘Tuna Tataki Crudo’ in teriyaki sauce. Complement the satisfying meal with traditional Italian desserts such as tiramisu and cannoli with ice cream and pistachio.

best new restaurant vero
Photo: Courtesy of @verodxb
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