New restaurants in Dubai: 10 top options to try

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Bored of your usual hot spots? Mix it up with a trip to one of these new Dubai restaurants…

As much as we love our favourite foodie spots and watering holes (you can check out our 2017 award winning venues right here), we’re also all about trying something new.

Which is why we’ve rounded up our top 10 new restaurants in Dubai to try (bookmark this as we’ll keep updating it).

From international exports from Toronto and America, to fine dining restaurants on floating hotels, these new additions to the foodie scene all opened in the last few months and are well worth a visit…

1. The Queen’s Grill

At a time when Dubai’s dining scene is seeing trends of high-spec interiors and experimental menus, The Queen’s Grill has gone for an altogether simpler approach, by opting to soak up grand tradition. There are two menus: a six-course tasting menu for Dhs375, or a vegetarian six course tasting menu for Dhs275. Four of the courses you pick from a selection of two soups, three starters, three mains and three deserts, while the amuse bouche and sorbet come compliments of the chef. While The Queen’s Grill isn’t the kind of restaurant you would dine at on a weekly basis, thanks to great service, top quality dishes and rich history, it’s definitely one to add to your culinary Dubai bucket list.

The Queen’s Grill, The QE2 Dubai, Port Rashid, daily 7pm to 11.30pm, Dhs375. Tel: (04) 526 8888. Qe2.com

2. La Carnita

Starting life as a pop-up food stand in Toronto, La Carnita is now an 8-restaurant chain, with its first Middle Eastern outpost housed in the basement of the Intercontinental Dubai Marina. Don’t expect a quiet sit-down meal here: old school hip-hop and R&B tunes blare loudly and you’d be forgiven for thinking you’re in a club come the early hours. The menu is divided into starters, salads, tacos, mains and desserts and features typical fare you’d find in most Mexican restaurants including tacos, wings, ribs and fried chicken. Service is excellent here: staff are attentive without hovering and knowledgeable about everything on the menu.

La Carnita, Intercontinental Dubai Marina, Dubai Marina, Sun to Thurs 6pm to 12am, Fri and Sat 12pm to 12am. Tel: (04) 425 4030. lacarnita.ae

3. STK Dubai Downtown

There’s a new STK in town – the New York steakhouse brand has launched a second outlet in the recently reopened Address Downtown and this fresh serving of the internationally acclaimed venue wants to cater to all moods. Don’t expect a quiet meal here, though – there’s a party atmosphere inside that will make you feel like you’re eating in a nightclub. Well-known dance floor anthems blare loudly and waiters are energetic, taking to the tables for a dance routine midway through the evening. So, if you’re looking for an excuse to dress up and dance with dinner, STK Downtown hits the spot nicely.

STK Downtown, The Address Downtown Dubai Hotel, Downtown Dubai, Sat to Thurs 6pm to 1am, Fri 1pm to 4pm and 6pm to 2am. Tel: (04) 425 3948. stkdubaidowntown.com

4. Gusto

Where the charm of Old Dubai meets New Dubai’s skyscrapers, you’ll find the Al Bandar Rotana, a relatively new hotel on the north shores of the Creek. And inside it is Gusto. Perched on the 18th floor, it’s a cosy Italian restaurant with a modern trattoria feel thanks to a monochrome colour scheme with zig-zag printed floors, furnished with black chairs, white tablecloths and chrome shelves stacked with mismatched trinkets. Gusto combines great Italian cuisine in a cosy setting with some stunning views across both Old and New Dubai, and this hidden gem will definitely be seeing us again.

Gusto, Al Bandar Rotana, Dubai Creek, daily 5pm to 11.30pm. Tel: (04) 704 2336. rotana.com

5. Babel

Lebanese fare is certainly nothing new in Dubai, but Babel, a fresh venture in the UAE from an award-winning restaurant chain, claims it’s offering something different – a progressive take on the cuisine that mixes Lebanese dishes with unexpected ingredients. Situated in Jumeirah’s beachfront destination La Mer, Babel in Dubai boasts a stylish decor spread over two floors, featuring indoor seating and a spacious outdoor terrace, coupled with a large seafood bar, shisha bar and licensed bar. The menu is divided into mezze, fish, soup, salads and desserts, but don’t come here expecting to sample the unusual classics like tabbouleh (although these are on the menu, albeit with a twist), as Babel lives up to its ‘progressive’ promise. Service is top drawer – the mostly Lebanese staff are attentive (although they did have a tendency to occasionally hover) and recommend what dishes complement each other. Warning – if you leave without trying the lobster, then you haven’t come for the right reason.

Babel, La Mer, Jumeirah 1, Dubai, daily 12pm to 12am. Tel: (04) 419 0220. lamerdubai.ae/dine/babel

6. The Blacksmith

This southern-style smokehouse has been hailed as the first of its kind in Dubai, helmed by Manhattan-born pitmaster Orelle Young, who made a name for himself at New York’s Hill Country, and London’s Big Easy barbecue restaurants. Located on the first floor of the hotel, what sets this smokehouse apart is the presence of a custome-built smoker out on the terrace – signalling this place is the real deal. The food menu is short and no-nonsense, while the drinks menu is practically a novel by comparison. We noted the very reasonable prices on both. Overall we liked what Orelle and his team are doing, and we’re hearing great things about their Friday brunch. The Blacksmith has definitely filled a gap – and then some – in Dubai Marina’s food scene.

Wyndham Dubai Marina, Sun to Mon 5pm to 2am, Tues to Thurs and Sat 5pm to 3am, Fri 1pm to 3am. Tel: (04) 407 8873. theblacksmithdubai.com

7. Crab Market

Located on the 15th floor of Emirates Financial Towers, Crab Market cool, contemporary space, split into a lounge of high bar tables and a slightly more formal restaurant, with floor-to-ceiling windows that look out over Downtown Dubai and Burj Khalifa. The menu – which you guessed it, heavily focuses on crab- has been created by chef Vladimir Mukhin, the brains behind Moscow’s White Rabbit restaurant, which is currently ranked No 23 on the World’s 50 best restaurants list. The food is the real star of the show at Crab Market, and you can tell that the chefs left in charge truly know their stuff. Hopefully the tricky location doesn’t put Downtown dwellers off, as this is a real contender to be a top Dubai restaurant.

Crab Market, North Tower, 15th Floor, Emirates Financial Towers, Dubai, Sun to Fri noon to 4pm, 7pm to midnight, Sat 7pm to midnight. Tel: (04) 564 5525. crabmarket.com

8. carine

It wasn’t long ago when the idea of a golf club restaurant would conjure up images of an old-fashioned, wood-pannelled man cave serving greasy pub grub. Not so at Emirates Golf Club in Dubai, where chef Izu Ani has opened Carine, a beautiful, bright and airy Mediterranean bistro. The restaurant is filled with all of Carine’s (Izu’s wife) personal favourites, from freshly baked breads inspired by the bakery she used to work at in northern France, to her own homemade plum and apple jam. It’s a stellar menu from the celebrated chef, and another triumphant opening.

Carine, Emirates Golf Club, Dubai, daily 7pm to 11pm. Tel: (04) 417 9999. Facebook.com/Carine

9. Somewhere

Somewhere is located in Dubai Mall’s shiny new Fashion Avenue extension. It’s a small but stylish space that looks not unlike a bookstore. There’s a wall of travel guides that diners can take off the shelf and flip through for inspiration. There’s also an outdoor terrace, but it sadly wasn’t open when we visited. The menu is also small but perfectly formed, featuring an array of Mediterranean-inspired dishes that are good for sharing. In keeping with the travel theme, there are some curious mash-ups which take diners on a culinary journey around the globe – think guacamole hummus and beef shawarma bao.

Fashion Avenue, The Dubai Mall, daily noon to midnight. Tel: (04) 329 5182. takemesomewhere.ae 

10. Akiba Dori

You’ve heard of Neapolitan pizza, Chicago-style pizza and New York-style pizza. But you might not have encountered Tokyo-style pizza before. We certainly hadn’t, until we visited Akiba Dori in the Dubai Design District (D3). The licensed restaurant takes its inspiration from Akihabara, Tokyo’s neon-filled electronics district. A wet-look cobblestone path runs through the restaurant, which is divided into colourful storefronts – there’s a bar, bakery, arcade room, and pizzeria. The overall effect fits in perfectly with the street art-covered hipster enclave that is D3. In a city saturated with sushi spots, Akiba Dori is definitely onto a good thing. D3: Home to the best pizza this side of Tokyo. Who knew?

Akiba Dori, Building 8, Dubai Design District. Sun to Thurs noon to midnight, Fri & Sat noon to 2am. Tel: (04) 770 7949. @AkibaDori

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