Casual Japanese dining from Lebanon – where it continues to thrive in the market – that offers an affordable yet no-less tasty alternative to the raft of high-end sushi restaurants in Dubai.

Here’s our BITESIZE review. You can read our in-depth review in the May issue of What’s On.

Contact details: Y by Yabani, Citywalk, Jumeirah 1, Dubai. Tel: (04) 344 3371. Taxi: Citywalk.

Smooth wood finish throughout, with clean – hygienically, obviously, and in style – modern and contemporary decor. Lounge seating to one side encourages bedding in for the afternoon, while the tables are open to long meals or quick drop-ins.

The crowd is mixed, but there is a definite buzz, be it from the excitable younger crowd or the professional crowd deep in conversation.

Head Over Hills is well-crafted tower nicknamed ‘Burj Khalifa, deliciously moorish, and light on the load, while spice lovers should tuck into the array of Maki – whistle spicy tuna, chill shrimp, and Earthquake. New style Sashimi is heavily sautéed, and while not ‘Lebanese’, the strength of flavor is consistent with Middle Eastern cooking. And the Yabani Dragon will at least raise a smile with its presentation – the clue is in the name.

The iPad menu, complete with pictures of the dish. Without it, the ‘popcorn’ Panko Salmon may have been missed. Similarly, the ‘crazy maki’ is a visual delight backed up in taste.

Making converts out of sushi skeptics. The wealth of other flavors make it a pleasant entry-level for those who aren’t so keen on seafood. Raw fish fans, though, will welcome the break from the tradition.

Y by Yabani was one of the first concept sushi restaurants in Beirut and has since fought off all newcomers to be consistently rated as the best the city has to offer.

Y by Yabani will certainly ruffle some feathers in the taste department, and it’s laid-back style makes it a spot worth considering throughout the day and night.