The 10 best restaurants in Dubai right now

·8-min read
Rüya, Dubai
Rüya, Dubai

The message of the Dubai food scene is: go while you can. This is an emirate obsessed with what’s new and what’s next, so even exceptionally good restaurants can fail, simply because the masses have moved on to the latest opening — of which there are many. Michelin-starred, Netflix-featured chefs continue to set up shop here and it is relatively easy to book tables at their Dubai outposts, often with as little as a day’s notice, when it would take weeks or even months on their home turf. Obviously, though, do check availability, just in case that little spot you fell in love with last time has closed down. From underwater fine dining to rooftop restaurants by chefs with Michelin-star-studded CVs, Destination Expert Sarah Hedley Hymers shares her favourites.

For further Dubai inspiration, see our guides to the city's best hotelsshoppingnightlifethings to do and family-friendly things to do.

Palm Jumeirah

Ossiano

This seafood specialist is billed as Atlantis The Palm’s underwater restaurant thanks to sharing a glass wall with the resort’s 11-million-litre aquarium, which houses 65,000 marine animals. The resulting blue hue casts a cold light over the venue, and the air-conditioning can be chilling, but wrap up and push the boat out for tasting menus by chef de cuisine Chris Malone, who recently relocated from three-Michelin-starred Eleven Madison Park New York. Any guilt about watching your dinner’s cousins swim by will soon be washed away by dishes such as caviar-topped rainbow trout floating in cauliflower velouté.

Contact: atlantisthepalm.com
Reservations: Recommended
Prices: £££
Best table: Ask for one right by the aquarium for a close-up of the sharks and stingrays

Ossiano, Atlantis The Palm, Dubai
Ossiano, Atlantis The Palm, Dubai

Little Miss India

Rammed full of curiosities, including a vintage gramophone, eclectic Indian artworks and ceremonial jewellery in display cases, this intriguing restaurant tells the tale of its fictitious founder, Mohini Singh, through her treasures. A bejazzled Bedford truck, parked directly through the exterior wall, has been converted into a bar. Request a table in Mohini’s herb garden, parlour or open-plan dining room where the kitchen pumps out aromatic puffs of steam. Order the smoked lamb chops, served in a mason jar that, when popped at the table, releases another fabulously fragrant cloud right beneath your nose.

Contact: fairmont.com
Reservations: Recommended
Prices:
££
Best table: Any of those in the parlour

Little Miss India, Dubai
Little Miss India, Dubai

Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR) and Dubai Marina

Marina Social

Jason Atherton quickly scored a Michelin star for his flagship restaurant, Pollen Street Social, in London's Mayfair, and his growing empire now includes Marina Social, which is elegant and soothing with olive and grey tones set against warm-hued woods, overlooking Dubai Marina. British expats seek comfort in this haven’s elevation of homely dishes, including fish and chips (fat, square-cut and artfully stacked like Jenga pieces), with a familiar bottle of Sarson’s vinegar on the side. The restaurant also does gourmet 'Sunday' dinners (served on Saturday, as the UAE weekend starts on Friday) that are loaded with crispy roast potatoes, fluffy Yorkshire puddings and meats slow-cooked in a Josper; it's good value at AED 117 (£25).

Contact: marinasocialdubai.com
Reservations: Recommended
Prices: ££
Best table: When the climate is mild, book one on the terrace

Marina Social, Dubai
Marina Social, Dubai

Tamoka

Tamoka’s island-inspired interiors – rustic teak wood, open ‘barbacoa’ fire pits and potted palms – are designed to transport diners to The Antilles while the menu tours South America. The sauteed chicken livers entrada with mole sauce and poached egg is superb. Mains include pork belly with burnt onion purée, Caribbean seafood casserole, and whole-baked pumpkin loaded with cheese and plantains. Save room for Antillean egg flan with an unstinting dollop of dulce de leche, best enjoyed with a lip-smacking Arabica Caipirissima, a coffee rum and liqueur concoction sweetened with passion fruit, pineapple and lime. Follow the winding path from the Ritz-Carlton’s new beachside dining destination and you’ll discover Caña by Tamoka, the only licensed bar on this prime stretch of JBR shoreline.

Contact: tamokadubai.com   
Reservations: Recommended
Prices: ££
Best table: Ask for a beach view

Jumeirah

Nusr-Et Steakhouse Dubai

Proprietor Nusret Gökçe’s (otherwise known as 'Salt Bae') strangely compelling butchery skills made him a social media star. Though he doesn’t make daily appearances at his Dubai steakhouse (he is more likely to be present when celebrity patrons such as Leonardo DiCaprio book a table), the waiters here appear to be modelled on Gökçe and have adopted his skills, so condiments will be sprinkled with panache. With only one fish dish and four desserts, this wood-decked and panelled carnivore’s cabin is the place to meet for meat. Beef cuts from Tomahawk steaks to filet mignon, lamb five ways, burgers, sausages and even meatballs are all served on chopping boards.

Contact: nusr-et.com.tr
Reservations: Essential
Prices: ££

Nusr-Et Steakhouse, Dubai
Nusr-Et Steakhouse, Dubai

Mimi Kashuki

Another hit from the team behind Twiggy by La Cantine, Ninive and La Cantine du Faubourg, atmospheric Mimi Kakushi is designed to conjure 1920s Osaka. Located at Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach, the name refers to the fashionable bob haircut of the time (translating as ‘covering ears’) and the interiors recall the salons occupied by the artists and poets of the modernist Mavo art movement that tore through Japan in that decade. Giant tropical pot plants, low-hanging tasselled lampshades and richly embroidered fabrics create a den of intimacy. Service is impeccable and the menu is loaded with temptation. Try the succulent skewered toro tuna belly; tenderloin with soy and ponzu; donabe clay pot rice with wild mushrooms, and rose-infused chawanmushi (egg custard) for dessert.

Contact: mimikakushi.ae
Reservations: Recommended
Prices: £££

Hoseki

Raw fish fanatics worship at the counter of Dubai’s most exclusive Japanese restaurant, which features just nine seats and set menus created by a sixth-generation sushi chef from Tokyo. Hoseki’s Masahiro Sugiyama delivers multiple small courses omakase-style, meaning he chooses the dishes, made with ingredients arriving daily from Japan. Scene-stealers include the foie gras-like monkfish liver and the delicate Chinese mitten mrab. Hoseki (which means 'gem' in Japanese) is hidden at the Bulgari Resort Dubai, where it is accessible by private lift. The dark quarters once you arrive ensure that the pale wooden dining counter takes centre-stage.

Contact: bulgarihotels.com
Reservations: Essential
Prices: £££
Best table: A secret dining room with a single table seating 12 is also available for private parties

Hoseki, Bulgari Hotel, Dubai
Hoseki, Bulgari Hotel, Dubai

Tasca by José Avillez

José Avillez, one of Portugal’s leading culinary stars, is behind the country’s Michelin-starred Belcanto and Bairro do Avillez. Sample versions of his most famous creations at Tasca (the Portuguese word for tavern) on the sixth floor of Mandarin Oriental Jumeira, Dubai. Satisfyingly creamy and crunchy, the avocado tempura is a triumph. Algarve prawn ceviche, spiced with chilli and served on half a lime, is deliciously sweet and sharp. Bucket list pasteis de nata – classic Portuguese egg custard tarts – are served with rich coffee ice cream for a grand finale. Though José makes regular appearances, in his absence his team is warm, friendly and well informed, and the setting is spectacular, with chic teak wood, teal accents and olive trees lining the azure rooftop pool.

Contact: mandarinoriental.com
Reservations: Recommended
Prices: £££
Best table: Ask for a pool view

Trade Centre and DIFC

Trèsind Studio

Trèsind is a portmanteau of très (very) and Indian, and this restaurant group aims to elevate the legacy of Indian cooking with French techniques. Trèsind Studio is the brand’s intimate haute cuisine experience, headed by chef Himanshu Saini, a global tastemaker in Indian fine dining. His intimate studio’s tasting menus – available for both vegetarians and carnivores – are legendary in Dubai. With complex and compelling dishes such as wild mushroom chai with dehydrated mushroom and truffle milk powder, an umami-laden soup. Currently, based at Voco Dubai on Sheikh Zayed Road, in 2022 Trèsind Studio is moving to new premises in Nakheel Tower on Palm Jumeirah.

Contact: tresind.com 
Nearest metro: World Trade Centre
Reservations: Recommended
Prices: ££

Trèsind, Dubai
Trèsind, Dubai

Zuma Dubai

Trèsind is a portmanteau of très (very) and Indian, and this restaurant group aims to elevate the legacy of Indian cooking with French techniques. Trèsind Studio is the brand’s intimate haute cuisine experience, headed by chef Himanshu Saini, a global tastemaker in Indian fine dining. His intimate studio’s tasting menus – available for both vegetarians and carnivores – are legendary in Dubai. With complex and compelling dishes such as wild mushroom chai with dehydrated mushroom and truffle milk powder, an umami-laden soup. Currently, based at Voco Dubai on Sheikh Zayed Road, in 2022 Trèsind Studio is moving to new premises in Nakheel Tower on Palm Jumeirah.

Contact: zumarestaurant.ae
Nearest metro: Emirates Towers
Reservations: Recommended
Prices: £££

Zuma, Dubai
Zuma, Dubai
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