Food for Thought: The Best New Dubai Restaurants to Try in 2021

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New Restaurants Dubai
Photo: Courtesy of Lucky Fish

The culinary scene took a beating around the world in 2020, but 2021 has come back with some delicious heavy hitters making waves in the Dubai restaurant scene. It is amazing how a delicious meal, beautifully presented, served with friendliness, and a fun atmosphere can rejuvenate our soul. The editors at Savoir Flair got a jumpstart of happiness, dining across Dubai in search of the best new restaurants worth visiting in 2021. We’re full, you’re welcome.

1

3BK

If we had to list all the reasons you need to book a table at swanky spot 3BK, we’d be here a while, so here are three things we love about it instead. One: that view. Not only is its home on the third floor of the Burj Khalifa (hence the name), but it also looks out across the glistening skyline and dancing The Dubai Fountain, which you can spot from the huge terrace or through one of the expansive floor-to-ceiling windows.

Two: the setting. Spread across an impressive 23,500 square meters, it’s modern and minimalist, with neutral tones accented with touches of metallic gold that make it fancy but understated.

Three: the food, which takes inspiration from all corners of the globe. We’re talking Latin American-inspired ceviche and carpaccio, miso-marinated black cod that melts in the mouth, chocolate-fed Wagyu beef with extraordinary amounts of marbling, vegetarian options that look to the Mediterranean, and some of the best sushi and maki rolls outside of Japan. We’re dubbing this one a great choice to take (and impress) out-of-towners.

Photo: Courtesy of 3BK
2

Aiza

One of The Pointe’s new restaurants, Aiza, is a sumptuous feast from the Cyclades Islands in the Aegean Sea with a classic Dubai view. While overlooking the Guinness Book of World Record fountain show, enjoy your sea bass ceviche, spinach pie, lamb shank ladorigani, and delicious truffle risotto. We particularly enjoyed the slow-cooked beef prepared over 16 hours and found the meat to be extremely tender, moist, and juicy. The fact that it slipped right off the bone and left it clean also means it was well worth the extra kilos we put on afterwards. For dessert, we would recommend the loukoumades and galaktoboureko, and the opportunity to smash some plates fulfills all your secret Greek dreams.

New Restaurants Dubai
Photo: Courtesy of @aiza_dubai
3

Beach Grill

The beautiful and delicious Beach Grill housed in the latest addition to the Address portfolio – Address Beach Resort in JBR – boasts an elegant seaside view with a stunning assortment of all the delicacies the sea has to offer. Who can resist the creamy burrata and fresh tomatoes before digging in to a chilled tower of seafood? Oysters on the half shell, lobster, crab, shrimp, langostine, octopus, and squid all sit on ice and are accompanied by various sauces and condiments that bring out each and every flavor. The plentiful seafood tower was enough to share and was more than filling for two people. The view was of course remarkable, as Beach Grill sits just on the shore and is a fishbowl (pun intended) of surrounding windows. An elegant atmosphere, delicious seafood, and exceptional service are all only a few of the reasons why we are so glad The Address has finally launched a beach resort.

New Restaurants Dubai
Photo: Courtesy of Beach Grill
4

La Isola

The Jumeirah Islands Clubhouse recently went through a complete renovation and came out the other side with an exquisite Italian fine-dining restaurant. Inspired by the cuisine from norther Sardinia, La Isola’s stunning interiors and exteriors take you away to a place where beauty, presentation, and taste are all of the highest caliber. The outdoor bar is stunning at sunset, and the elegant interiors are beautiful, yet also immediately welcoming. But the food is what made us go back and with more friends again and again. The ingredients are fresh, and bursting with flavor. The lobster linguini was almost too beautiful to eat, but we are certainly glad we did. However, the veal Milanese with the lemon sauce was something out of this world entirely. We could eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and then dip the warm, fresh-out-of-the-oven bread in the leftover sauce. The pistachio cheesecake was so light, it practically melted in your mouth, and could easily be one of Dubai’s best cheesecakes. The traditional honey pastry dessert was refreshing, light, sweet, and hit the perfect spot. To be perfectly honest, we are going back (again) tonight with six more friends. That’s how delicious this new restaurant is.

New Restaurants Dubai
Photo: Courtesy of La Isola
5

Lana Lusa

From the decor, to the music, to the waitstaff, to the food, once you’ve walked through the doors of Lana Lusa, it is like being transported back to Portugal, or at least given a chance to matar a saudade – or “kill the nostalgia and yearning” for the homeland. We ordered up a feast fit for a Portuguese Queen and tucked into several favorite dishes prepared with proficiency, skill, and a mastery of an Avó (Portuguese for granny).

Like the octopus salad, both flavorful and unforgettable, or the giant shrimp which tasted as if it had been caught straight from the Algarve that morning, or the pastéis de bacalhau – “codfish croquettes” – which were so perfectly moist and delicious, we’ve decided we will no longer settle for anything less. Even the street-food style prego sandwiches had us wanting more, and the tempura-fried green beans – admittedly not very Portuguese – were so good, we couldn’t stop popping them like french fries. And those were just the starters.

We shared family portions of the exotic tamboril, which played Fado on our tongues as we relished the Portuguese flavors and spices from home, the grilled chicken with a spicy, homemade peri-peri sauce, and yes, more bacalhau: grated, made with cheese, and baked to perfection like it was heaven on earth. Or at least Lisbon in Dubai. There wasn’t much room left for dessert, but we couldn’t resist when they showed us their famous Pastéis de Nata and they did not disappoint. 

New Restaurants Dubai
Photo: Courtesy of @lanalusadxb
6

Lucky Fish

This seafood eatery right on Palm West Beach in Palm Jumeirah has all the boho-chic vibes you could ask for. Decorated like the set of an Anthropologie fashion shoot with Tiffany blues everywhere, Lucky Fish serves up a relaxing and prolonged experience of seaside goodness with a focus on food and environment. Indoor and outdoor seating with views of the sea and sand everywhere, plus access to the water on those days where you wanna dip and nibble, nibble and dip all day long, Lucky Fish makes your visit an experience that isn’t solely about the food. We thoroughly enjoyed lounging through our lunch of grilled octopus, ceviche, and the Lucky catch of the day. Not to mention the fruit teas that our waiter, Michael, was able to concoct for us. A thoroughly enjoyable experience through and through.

New Restaurants Dubai
Photo: Courtesy of Lucky Fish
7

Mimi Kakushi

Step into 1920s Japan in Dubai’s newest place to be seen. Easily one of Dubai’s best Japanese, Mimi Kakushi serves up incredible food from beginning to end in a gorgeous presentation in environment and on the plate. With a playful twist on traditional Japanese cuisine, Mimi Kakushi offers its guests exciting new flavors, the freshest sushi, an amazingly diverse selection of appetizers, and delicious tempura and gyozas as well. However, the crème de la crème, so to speak, is the ispahan chawan mushi dessert with pickled lychee, raspberry, rose petals, and sesame wafer. Don’t go home without trying it.

New Restaurants Dubai
Photo: Courtesy of Mimi Kakushi
8

Phoenicia

One of JBR’s hidden gems is new Lebanese restaurant Phoenicia, a concept by famous Australian chef Greg Malouf. Not only is it a great place to relax (read: serene, beachy décor and a casual atmosphere), but it also serves incredible food. In fact, there’s a dish we can’t stop thinking about: the ‘Spinach B’Stilla’. It’s essentially a spinach pie baked inside a flaky dough crust, but what is surprising is that the exterior has been dusted with sugar. That means every bite is balanced between earthiness from the spinach, nuttiness from the almonds, saltiness from the cheese, and sweetness and crunch from the crust – all adding up to the perfect bite.

Traditional Lebanese dishes like hummus, falafel, and fattoush are all done well here, but the mains hold some unexpected delights. ‘Malouf’s Battenjan’ is a melting cheese, orzo, and aubergine mix cooked inside a bag, and is a humble peasant dish that has been elevated to top-notch comfort food at Phoenicia. For dessert, it’s a toss-up between the Baklava Ice Cream Sandwich and kunafa, because we refuse to choose just one.

Phoenicia DXB 3
Photo: Courtesy of @phoeniciadxb
9

Roka

London’s iconic Japanese robatayaki restaurant, Roka, has finally opened up in Dubai. The dining room carries the chic environment you would expect from the trendy restaurant, complete with breathtaking views of Dubai’s glittering skyline, but there is no question that the food steals the show. Honestly, every single thing we tried was something to write home about, but we would be remiss if we didn’t tell you that when you go you must (must) order the hamachi no taru taru, the kampachi sashimi, the yaki nasu, the rosuto bone marrow, and the bekudopoteto. Yes, we know, bone marrow in a a Japanese restaurant? Trust us. A baked potato? You’re welcome. The bone marrow comes with these little buns to make sandwiches and it is heaven in a bite. The sauces used for the kampachi and hamachi still makes our mouth water when we think of it, and the baked potato might have been the best thing we’ve eaten this year. If we had not been so full, we would have eaten the whole meal all over again.

new restaurants dubai
Photo: Courtesy of @rokadubaiofficial
10

Rumba

Vamos a Cuba! No seriously. Rumba is a magical new Cuban restaurant in Vista Mare on the Palm and close to becoming one of our favorite restaurants in Dubai. The decor makes you feel like you’ve been transported back to 1950s Havana, complete with a dedicated cigar lounge and every flavor of Cuban cigar available for you to indulge. The atmosphere is lively and fun at night, but the food really tops it all. The Latin American flavors and spices come to life with each new dish under Mexican Chef Jose‘s masterful touch. The portions are rather large as they are meant to be shared, but even so, we could not resist eating more than our share. All of your favorite dishes are on the menu, but don’t leave without trying the Tamal En Cazuela Short Rib, Masitas, and the Tacos de Pescado. Be warned, once you eat here, you and your friends will keep coming back for the vibe and for the delicious food.

new restaurants dubai
Photo: Courtesy of Rumba
11

Twiggy

Park Hyatt‘s recently remodeled restaurant Twiggy by La Cantine is the ultimate city escape. With access to Park Hyatt’s gorgeous Lagoon Pool, you can take your food by the water when spending the day at the pool looking out over Dubai’s iconic skyline or inside the chic, new hotspot. The French-Mediterranean food has a distinct South of France vibe, with an excellent selection of sushi as well. Choose from an array of cool starters and salads, seafood platters, and delectable caviar, and don’t forget to finish it off with one of the unique (and delicious) ice cream desserts.

new restaurants dubai
Photo: Courtesy of @twiggydubai
12

Zor

We didn’t know we were craving for authentic Uzbek cuisine until we found it. Armed with our hearty appetites, we began a culinary journey at Zor (which means ‘excellent’ in Uzbek) with a refreshing okroshka soup and excitedly moved on to the mains. If you’re dining with a group, we recommend a shared selection of small plates of hot or cold salads, samsa (savoury pastries) of different fillings, shashlik (grilled meat skewers), and homemade tandoor bread. For larger dishes, the balik sai (pan-fried sea bass with adjika sauce) and Zor osh – the house’s specialty – are a must. Designed to honor the centuries-old recipes of Central Asia, Zor’s dishes are carefully crafted to deliver a myriad of flavors reflecting Uzbekistan’s unique heritage. The result is as delicious as you can imagine – succulent meats grilled to perfection, tangy spiced rice, crisp fresh vegetables, and rich comforting soups. And with a panoramic view of the spectacular record-breaking fountain, this place is the perfect location for a special night out. Zor, indeed.

Zor Dubai review
Photo: Courtesy of ZOR
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