Industry News & Insights

12 Jun 2024

The 23 best restaurants in Dubai

The 23 best restaurants in Dubai
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Dubai’s restaurant scene has grown at breakneck speed over the past few years, with those living in the city barely able to keep up. Proving its chops on a global scale has taken a little longer, but the emirate is finally starting to have its moment in the spotlight, with the Michelin Guide and World's 50 Best both arriving in recent years. Today, Dubai's restaurant scene is a smorgasbord of fine dining, homegrown bistros, cool late-night lounges and street-food institutions. Whatever your vibe, here's our editor-approved pick of the very best restaurants in Dubai.

Gaia

When Gaia opened its doors in 2018, so began a step-change for the Dubai dining scene, which had long looked outwards when bringing fine-dining concepts to the city. Gaia may now be found in several cities around the world (London, Monte-Carlo, Marbella) but this Greek-Mediterranean concept from charismatic chef Izu Ani is very much homegrown. Simplicity reigns supreme at this DIFC spot – no gimmicks, just great food, an impeccable team and a fiercely loyal customer base. Inside, pristine white-clothed tables are scattered between potted olive trees, and an impressive selection of the day’s catch is displayed on ice at the front of the dining room. Menu staples include the artfully displayed sea bream carpaccio, alongside the Greek meatballs, spinach and feta pie, and the black truffle pasta. Whatever you do, don’t leave without a helping of the frozen Greek yoghurt served with honey and caramelised walnuts. It makes a strong case for the best dessert in the city. Sophie Prideaux

Address: Gate Village 4, DIFC

The Guild

The Guild arrived on Dubai’s restaurant scene in 2023 with big ambitions. This huge DIFC dining room houses multiple concepts, each with its own unique character, under one roof, while still remaining a free-flowing space where drinks can turn into dinner, followed by a nightcap in the piano lounge which goes until the early hours. The brainchild of Australian restaurateur Tom Arnel, who until now had largely focused his empire on breezy cafes, The Guild’s menus are built around quality ingredients. The foliage-filled Nurseries houses a champagne bar and a patisserie, and serves breakfast by day followed by cocktails and (fancy) bar bites by night. For a more upscale affair, head through to The Rockpool, which, naturally, is where you’ll find the bulk of The Guild’s seafood offering. Here, two-seater tables surround a living rockpool, housing North Atlantic lobsters, brown crab and oysters. At The Salon, meanwhile, white-clothed tables sit underneath grand crystal chandeliers, looking onto two open woodfire kitchens, where prime cuts are flame-grilled to perfection. It has also recently added a killer Sunday roast, with all the trimmings and then some. Sophie Prideaux

Address: ICD Brookfield Place, DIFC

Estiatorio Milos

Chef Costas Spiliadis has taken Milos’s refined Greek seafood around the world, but his Michelin-starred Dubai restaurant might be his most impressive yet. Housed in its own double-height building within the grounds of the ever-impressive Atlantis The Royal, the restaurant looks directly over the flame-throwing Skyblaze fountains, with the hotel as a backdrop, giving its terrace one of the most sought-after views in the city. The dining room here is huge, with an elevated bar, large open kitchen and sprawling counter showcasing the daily catch. However despite its size, it’s always packed, so be sure to book ahead. The seafood selection here is as broad as it is impressive, including several popular Greek varieties like fagri, tsipoura, lavraki and kolios. The Milos Special – an incredibly moreish stack of paper-thin, lightly fried slices of zucchini and aubergine served with crumbles of saganaki cheese and creamy tzatziki – is a menu highlight, as is the Athenian-style lobster pasta. Take the server’s recommendation to wash your meal down with a Nymph – a delightful Champagne-based cocktail. Sophie Prideaux.

Address: Atlantis The Royal, Palm Jumeirah

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

Once you’ve made it past the fire-breathing fountains and ethereal jellyfish-filled tanks in the lobby of Atlantis The Royal, and stepped through the doors of Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, things only get all the more surreal. A giant golden pineapple sits at the centre of the room, sporadically opening its casing throughout the evening to reveal its inner cogs, which are attached to metal rods that run along the ceiling, turning actual pineapples as they caramelise on a spit in the kitchen. Blumenthal’s playful nature and knack for storytelling is on full display at his first Dubai restaurant, which takes guests on a gastronomic journey through the history of British cuisine. Everything about dining here, from the interaction with waitstaff to the theatrical presentation of dishes, is done with the utmost attention to detail, and the flavour combinations are unlike anything else you’ll find in the city. Ordering the famous meat fruit goes without saying, and don’t leave without a taste of the pineapple tipsy cake – they are well worth their cult status. Sophie Prideaux

Address: Atlantis The Royal, Palm Jumeirah

Row on 45

When a restaurant achieves three toques in the 2024 Gault&Millau and earns a spot in the 50 Best MENA list within six months of opening, you know it's special. Led by chef Jason Atherton, this 17-course tasting experience is a fusion of the British chef's relentless quest for culinary excellence – its name is an abbreviation of “refinement of work”, while the 45 represents its home on the 45th floor of Dubai Marina’s Grosvenor House. The menu is steeped in Japanese flavours and techniques. The tried and true dishes include the brioche with Hatta honey butter and the Noirmoutier potato course, which in a previous life was cultivated with seaweed on a French island before being puréed and topped with Kaluga caviar. Dishes rotate seasonally – Japanese strawberries, for example, are swapped with Miyazaki mangos, the world's most expensive variety, when they come into season. The experience is set across three rooms starting with a selection of one-biters in the Champagne lounge (one of the most extensive in Dubai) before guests make their way to the main dining room, where the next 10 dishes are intimately prepared tableside. The experience culminates in the Library room with petit fours on bar carts and locally sourced teas at the ready. Zahra Surya Darma

Address: Grosvenor House, Al Emreef St, Dubai Marina, Dubai

Soul Kitchen

Following years of turmoil in their native Lebanon, Beirut creative collective Factory People transplanted their thoughtfully curated restaurant, listening room and communal hub Soul Kitchen to Dubai’s Business Bay. The food – Levantine/Latin hybrid that celebrates waves of Arab migration to Central and South America – is, indeed, soulful: think ceviche tabbouleh, hummus chimichurri, shawarma empanadas and Wagyu kafta in pillowy arepas paired with Araki bellinis and sumac-laced peach margaritas. But musically minded locals have also forged a community around Monday jazz sessions, Latin Sundays, iftar supper clubs and party brunches with global musicians and DJs taking the stage. The lush, plant-filled space also doubles as an arts venue: Rumi Dalle’s Feathers of a Migration is suspended from the ceiling, and walls are adorned with textiles curated by carpet house Iwan Maktabi. Sarah Khan

Address: Marasi Drive, Business Bay

 

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