What’s On announces the What’s On Awards winners; awards for entertainment, leisure and best restaurant in Dubai voted for by the public.
The best in leisure, entertainment and dining awards, as voted for by you, have been celebrated in Dubai, during a glamorous party in the Media City Amphitheatre, following months of voting.
Restaurant Of The Year
LA PETITE MAISON
Say the name of this restaurant to any foodies in Dubai and they’ll smile, utter a little ‘oooh’ in appreciation and then tell you how much they love it, before describing their favourite dish (usually the famous lamb chops). It’s a beautiful dining room, with proper service from staff who know the menu back to front. The atmosphere always crackles, while the food is the perfect right blend of fine dining and relaxed comfort food that makes you feel good.
Newcomer Of The Year
SOCIAL BY HEINZ BECK
Owner of three Michelin stars, Heinz Beck is clearly at the top of his game and made a welcome debut in Dubai in 2014. Social, his smart and chic restaurant at the Waldorf Astoria on The Palm is, in Beck’s own words, “all about the food”. He’s dead right. Complex flavours, beautifully presented are what Beck does best. His famous dessert Raspberries 1.1 was a masterful collection of textures and temperatures, from the ice-cold sorbet and fluffy mousse, to the chewy meringue, and warm sponge. Social rightfully takes its place among the best restaurants in Dubai.
Chef Of The Year
COLIN CLAGUE, QBARA
The man behind the launches of both Zuma and The Ivy now has a third, outstanding restaurant on his CV: Qbara. “An evolution of Arabesque cuisine” is how Colin described his philosophy when Qbara opened at the Wafi Fort complex. And it’s safe to say the evolution has been completed successfully. Authentic and traditional dishes from the Middle Easte have been given an inventive shuffle by Colin to create an exciting menu that surprises and delights with every bite.
Indie Restaurant Of The Year
When chefs Nick Alvis and Scott Price announced they were quitting the established and respected Table 9 at the Hilton on the creek to start a chain of supermarket cafes, many scratched their heads. But the British duo applied the same dedication and craft to Taste Kitchen as they did when in charge of Table 9, and, wouldn’t you know it, the place became an instant hit. The first branch of Taste Kitchen opened in Mercato Mall this autumn and its enticing dishes have kept people coming back for more.
Read more: New casual cafes in Dubai, featuring Taste Kitchen
Favourite British Restaurant
This is one of those Dubai restaurants that cleverly pitches itself at several crowds: the couple having a quiet dinner, a noisy group celebration, or a family dinner with kids and grown ups. The Rivi backs up its versatility with great food, excellent service and a menu that has something for every palate.
Read more: Best roast dinners in Dubai
AL QASR, MADINAT JUMEIRAH
No wonder this brunch is jam packed every weekend. Set across three restaurants the food is varied, freshly prepared, and always top quality. The outdoor area, also, is a hit with BBQ meat stations and bars.
Favourite Business Lunch
It’s quick, yes, but the quality remains high at this top class Japanese restaurant in DIFC that keeps nearby office workers happy and very well fed.
Always rammed with all sorts of folk, this hip joint in Al Quoz looks the part and serves genuinely interesting food on its ever-changing menu. It’s breakfast where T&S kills it though, all washed down with coffee made by baristas who are practically scientists.
Read more: Black Hat Guide – Best cafes in Dubai
Favourite Chinese Restaurant
BA RESTAURANT & LOUNGE, FAIRMONT THE PALM
Yes, the amber lights are eye-catching, as is the Marina view from the terrace at this pretty restaurant. But the food more than matches the surroundings. There are delicate fish courses, fiery curries, great seafood and satisfying noodle dishes. Ba has it all.
Read more: Black Hat Guide – best Chinese restaurants in Dubai
Favourite French Restaurant
LA PETITE MAISON
Still the best-looking place to eat in Dubai, LPM transports you to Paris the moment you step through the door. Winner in this category last year, La Petite Maison is consistently excellent.
Read more: Black Hat Guide – best French restaurants in Dubai
Read more: Meet the chef, Raphael Duntoye
Favourite Indian Restaurant
INDEGO, GROSVENOR HOUSE
A carnival of flavours erupt, dance and sing from every plate at this classy restaurant in the Marina. There is heat in some places, cooler tastes in others, but always the right balance is found at Indego.
Read more: Black Hat Guide – best Indian restaurants in Dubai
Favourite International Restaurant
KITCHEN 6, JW MARRIOTT MARQUIS HOTEL DUBAI
A repeat winner after their triumph last year, Kitchen 6 remains at the top of the tree. Its six open kitchens provide a cracking atmosphere, while the food coming from them is always very well done.
Favourite Italian Restaurant
A chic and sophisticated, yet lively and relaxed restaurant, Roberto’s has Italian chefs in the kitchen whose passion and skill ring out in every dish. A worthy winner.
Read more: Black Hat Guide – best Italian restaurants in Dubai
Favourite Japanese Restaurant
OKKU, THE H HOTEL
The second you walk into Okku, you’re swept up in the buzz of the place. People get dressed up for Okku; it’s an occasion restaurant that serves dynamic and daring cuisine, made by chefs who have global credentials.
Read more: Black Hat Guide – best Japanese restaurants in Dubai
Favourite Middle Eastern Restaurant
QBARA, WAFI FORT COMPLEX
A wonderful newcomer to the Dubai restaurant scene, Qbara wowed everyone who ate there in 2014. Serving Middle Eastern food with a contemporary twist, Qbara surprises with every bite.
Read more: All you need to know about Qbara – it’s our BITESIZE review
Read more: Meet the chef, Colin Clague
Favourite Modern European Restaurant
CASA DE TAPAS, DUBAI CREEK GOLF & YACHT CLUB
This newly-revamped Boardwalk spot offering superb Spanish classics in a cute countryside setting made Casa de Tapas a worthy winner.
Read more: Black Hat Guide – best tapas in Dubai
Favourite Pan-Asian Restaurant
HOI AN, SHANGRI-LA HOTEL
This popular restaurant has made its mark thanks to innovative, high-end Vietnamese cuisine with a touch of French colonial influencing its dishes.
Favourite Pub Grub
MCGETTIGANS, BONNINGTON HOTEL
Dubai revelers can’t get enough of the McGettigan’s hearty – and tasty – pub grub. With its large outdoor patio and live music events, McGettigan’s remains one the city’s most popular watering holes too.
Read more: Black Hat Guide – Best pub grub in Dubai
Favourite Seafood Restaurant
BICE MARE, SOUK AL BAHAR
A consistent presence at the What’s On awards for many years, Bice Mare in Souk Al Bahar serves excellent seafood, prepared by a knowledgeable team of Italian chefs.
Read more: Black Hat Guide – best seafood restaurants in Dubai
Favourite Steakhouse and Grill
PORTER HOUSE, SOFITEL THE PALM
No fuss, no frills, just first rate meat at this 2014 newcomer. The steak at Porter House comes from all over the world, and it’s cooked to perfection at this sleek and friendly steakhouse on The Palm.
Read more: All you need to know about Porter House, it’s our BITESIZE review
Favourite Thai Restaurant
MANGO TREE, SOUK AL BAHAR
The delectable Thai-inspired food at the ever-popular Mango Tree is just as impressive as the incredible view of The Dubai Fountain from its gigantic, outdoor terrace.
Read more: Black Hat Guide – best Thai restaurants in Dubai
Favourite The Americas Restaurant
THE ACT, SHANGRI-LA HOTEL
Chef Roberto Segura has put together a menu that’s as dazzling as the stage show at The Act, which is without doubt one of the best – and most unique – nights out in Dubai. The prawns battered in fried quinoa are worth a visit alone.
Read more: New show at The Act – review
Favourite healthy eating restaurant
A truly unique addition to Dubai’s café scene, the menu at Silvena Rowe’s Omnia Gourmet changes according to the fresh and locally sourced ingredients available that day. The raw vegan cheesecake is a thing of wonder.
Read more: All you need to know about Omnia Gourmet, it’s our BITESIZE review.
Favourite Ladies’ Night
It’s been open for less than a year, but the queue snaking through the lobby of the Media One Hotel every Tuesday night proves Q43 has quickly won the hearts of Dubai’s womenfolk. A lively crowd is guaranteed.
Read more: New Ladies’ Nights in Dubai
The first port of call for any celebs in town, Mahiki manages to be glamorous without taking itself too seriously. Top tunes and tiki cocktails keep the chic crowd dancing into the small hours.
The man behind Dubai’s longest–running club night, Audio Tonic, is an integral part of the Dubai nightlife scene. Respected in the business, he’s a hard grafter but, above all, a top drawer DJ.
Read more: Club profile – Audio Tonic at 360
CIELO, DUBAI CREEK & YACHT CLUB
Set atop the beautifully-refurbished Yacht Club on the creek, Cielo has become a destination bar in this end of town. The views, the décor, the lighting – this is a bar that makes you say ‘wow’ the second you get there.
Favourite Music Event
They may have dominated the airwaves in the UK during the late 1990s but in January, Scottish rockers Texas proved why they are still one of pop’s all-time greatest bands after a fantastic performance at the Irish Village.
Read more: An interview with Sharleen Spiteri
Favourite Day Out
Ticking practically every box wanted from a waterpark, Atlantis’ world leading splash-tacular has something for everybody; from the lazy river and rapids, to the terrifying floor-collapsing flumes.
Favourite Sporting Event
EMIRATES AIRLINE RUGBY SEVENS
Any event that has fans from all over the world swarming to the city is worthy of this top gong. Top level sport is at the centre of a festival of fun renowned for hilarious fancy dress and after-parties that run through the night until the second day of play, when it’s done all over again..
Favourite Cultural Event
DUBAI INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
With film industry heavyweights including Martin Sheen and Cate Blanchett flying in, plus a host of new movies to watch, the city’s premier film event once again gave the UAE magical cinematic moments this year.
Favourite Club Night
This weekly electro night on the rooftop of the Radisson Blu, Dubai Media City continues to play to a packed hipster crowd thanks to a stellar roster that includes exciting homegrown DJs and spontaneous international DJ appearances.
Read more: Underground clubbing in Dubai
Dubai’s biggest beach party welcomed over 10,000 people onto the sand to party with Rudimental, Clean Bandit, and De La Soul. Headliners Empire Of The Sun gave what was arguably the most theatrical performance at Nasimi to date.
Favourite Hair Salon
WINNER: Jet Set
Favourite Fitness Clubs
WINNER: Fitness First
Favourite Nail Bar
WINNER: Tips and Toes
Favourite Sport & Outdoor
WINNER: Emirates Golf Club
Favourite British Restaurant (below Dhs400)
WINNER: Reform Social & Grill
Favourite Brunch (below Dhs400)
WINNER: Grand Grill, Habtoor Grand Hotel
Favourite Chinese Restaurant (below Dhs400)
WINNER: Rauchi Asian Fusion Dining, Ramee Rose
Favourite French Restaurant (below Dhs400)
WINNER: St Tropez Bistro, Mall Of The Emirates
Favourite Indian Restaurant (below Dhs400)
WINNER: Biryani Pot
Favourite International Restaurant (below Dhs400)
WINNER: Horizon-All Day Dining Restaurant, Amwaj Rotana
Favourite Italian Restaurant (below Dhs400)
WINNER: Sapori di BiCE restaurant
Favourite Japanese Restaurant (below Dhs400)
WINNER: Benihana, Amwaj Rotana
Favourite Middle Eastern Restaurant (below Dhs400)
WINNER: Reem Al Bawadi
Favourite Modern European Restaurant (below Dhs400)
WINNER: The Farm, Al Barari
Favourite Pan-Asian Restaurant (below Dhs400)
WINNER: Ginger, Ramada Jumeirah Hotel
Favourite Seafood Restaurant (below Dhs400)
WINNER: Aprons & Hammers, Dubai International Marine Club
Favourite Steakhouse and Grill (below Dhs400)
WINNER: Western Steakhouse, Crowne Plaza Dubai
Favourite Thai Restaurant (Below Dhs400)
WINNER: The Royal Budha, Holiday Inn Dubai, Al Barsha
Favourite The Americas Restaurant (below Dhs400)
WINNER: CLAW BBQ Crabshack & Grill