The 50 best things we've eaten in Dubai this year
Another year, another inch added to the waistlines of team What’s On.
But hey, it was worth it. Behold the best food in Dubai. From fries to French toast, ceviche to sliders, here are the 50 greatest things we’ve eaten in 2015…
MAINS & SIDES
Break through the dough-sealed top to get to this biryani, packed with plenty of veggies and lots of flavour.
Dubai Marina Mall, Dubai, Sat to Wed noon to 11pm, Thur and Fri noon until midnight, Dhs52. Tel: (04) 3997357. Metro: Damac.
Pillowy nuggets of doughy goodness swimming in a parmesan and reggiano sauce. Our arteries say no, but our heart says yes.
The Dubai Mall, Dubai, daily 10am to midnight, Dhs40. Tel: (04) 4471757. Metro: Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall.
Tangles of fresh pasta, beautifully cooked seafood, a perfectly reduced tomato sauce with a punch of chilli – oh, and it all comes with a side of ‘please-sir-can-we-have-some-more?’ garlic bread.
Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard, next to Vida Hotel, Dubai, daily 7am to 10.30pm, Dhs105. Tel: (04) 4286969. Metro: Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall.
The humble hot dog upgraded with guacamole, jalapeños, nachos, sour cream and cheese.
Jannah Place Hotel, Dubai Marina, Dubai, Sun to Wed 11am to 11pm, Thur and Fri 11am to 1am, Sat 11am to midnight. Dhs23. Tel: (800) 468364. Metro: JLT.
Filled with fried chicken, cheese, and jalapeños, your taste buds will be on red alert from the first fiery mouthful.
Galleria Mall, Al Wasl Road, Jumeirah, Dubai, daily noon to midnight, Dhs18. Tel: (600) 544005. Taxi: Galleria Mall.
Naughtier than the average maki, this one is doused in spicy wasabi and pepper mayo and involves deep fried crab.
Garhoud, Sheikh Zayed Road, near DIFC metro station, and Jebel Ali Free Zone, Dubai, timings vary, Dhs30. Tel: (04) 3430222. Metro: DIFC.
They say you eat first with your eyes, but your nose will give you the first clue to what lies in store with this dish – the scent of truffle hits you before the bowl hits the table.
Emirates Towers, DIFC, Dubai, Sat to Wed noon to 2am, Thur and Fri noon to 3am, Dhs90. Tel: (04) 3527105. Metro: Emirates Towers.
We can’t decide which bit we loved more – the succulent scallop marinated in a zesty sauce vierge, or the beetroot chips on top.
Jumeirah Beach Road, Dubai, daily 8am to midnight, Dhs65. Tel: (04) 3466292. Taxi: Near Umm Suqeim Park, off Al Thanya Street.
A stand out version of a Levantine favourite, the flatbread was smoky and crispy, and the minced lamb had just the right amount of heat.
Manzil Downtown Dubai, Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard, Downtown Dubai, Dubai, Sat to Wed 7am to 1am, Thur and Fri 7am to 2am, Dhs33. Tel: (04) 4285888. Taxi: Manzil Downtown.
Proper home-style saucy curry, made to be mopped up with lots of naan.
Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Jumeirah, Dubai, daily 6pm to midnight, Dhs90. Tel: (04) 4323232. Taxi: Jumeirah Beach Hotel.
It may look like brown sludge, but mark our words, it’s the best tasting sludge in town.
102 Beach Road, Jumeirah, Dubai, daily 7am to 9pm, Dhs45. Tel: (04) 3854555. Taxi: Opposite Jumeirah Beach Centre.
Bypass the truffle fries in favour of the fat chips – some of the best What’s On has eaten all year (and we’ve eaten a lot).
Taj Dubai, Burj Khalifa Street, Business Bay, Dubai, Sun to Thur noon to 2am, Fri and Sat 11am to 2am, Dhs30. Tel: (04) 4383100. Metro: Business Bay.
Corn envelopes stuffed with tender strips of wagyu, smothered in cheese and speckled with lime zest.
Sheraton Grand Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, daily 6pm to 11.30pm, Dhs105. Tel: (04) 3888744. Metro: World Trade Centre.
Crisp on the outside, tender on the inside, and subtly flavoured with ginger and curry leaves.
Taj Hotel, Burj Khalifa Street, Business Bay, Dubai, daily 7am to 11pm. Tel: (04) 4383100. Taxi: Taj Hotel.
The smoky, flavoursome meat is super tender and well matched with a soft, fried quail’s egg and crispy potatoes.
The H Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, Sun to Thur 8am to 3am, Fri and Sat 11am to 3am, Dhs56. Tel: (04) 3592366. Metro: World Trade Centre.
This dish adds up to much more than the sum of its parts: veggies, spicy sauce, rice and egg, all cooked in a sizzling hot pot.
Opposite Rashid Hospital, Oud Metha Road, Oud Metha, Dubai, daily 11am to 3pm, 6pm to 11pm, Dhs60. Tel: (04) 3344294. Taxi: Opposite Rashid Hospital.
Muesli might seem like a boring breakfast order when there are sausages on the menu, but it’s not when it comes with rhubarb, lavender and Omani honey.
Burj Al Salam Tower, World Trade Centre, Dubai, daily 8am to 10pm, Dhs39. Tel: (056) 4457526. Metro: World Trade Centre.
This sirloin is so juicy, so melt-in-the-mouth and so perfectly cooked, you might not even bother with sauce or sides.
Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Dubai, daily 6.30pm to midnight, Dhs255. Tel: (04) 3665866. Taxi: Jumeirah Beach Hotel.
Vegans, look away now. This small yet perfectly formed puppy is no ordinary dog. Tucked inside the brioche bun, beneath the caramelised onions, lies a sausage made from duck and foie gras. Rich, decadent, and oh-so delicious.
InterContinental Dubai Marina, daily 6pm to 11.45pm, Dhs60. Tel: (04) 4466664. Taxi: InterCon Dubai Marina.
We don’t typically crave fried chicken first thing in the morning (unless it comes after an especially large night before), but this Asian-inspired dish could persuade us to change the habit of a lifetime. A steamed pancake filled with tender buttermilk fried chicken, ‘slaw, and hollandaise sauce that managed to be both buttery and spicy, our only complaint was that there weren’t two of them.
15A Street, Al Joud Centre, Al Quoz, Dubai, Sun to Thur 8am to 4pm, Fri and Sat 8am to 5pm, Dhs36. Tel: (056) 4746812. Taxi: Ace Hardware. tomandserg.com
This dish gives your hipster breakfast essentials (eggs and avo) a Mexican twist courtesy of chillies, tomato, fresh lime, and a tortilla instead of toast. If that’s not enough of a kick for you, use the mini bottle of Tabasco to turn up the heat.
Galleria Mall, Al Wasl Road, Dubai, daily 7.30am to 11pm, Dhs64. Tel: (04) 3855500. Taxi: Galleria Mall.
Coya immediately won over our palette despite being hard on our wallet. Prices are high and portions aren’t exactly huge, but you won’t care once you’ve had a forkful of melt-in-the-mouth Chilean sea bass and rice. Part risotto, part kedgeree, all amazing.
Four Seasons Resort Jumeirah Beach, Jumeirah, Dubai, daily 12.30pm to 3.30pm, Sat to Wed 7pm to 11.30pm, Thur and Fri 7pm to midnight, Dhs182. Tel: (04) 3169600. Taxi: Four Seasons.
P&B is a red meat-lover’s paradise, but as far as we’re concerned there’s only one way to go: wings. Available in portions of ten, 20 or 30 (we’re not telling which we ordered), your piping hot wings arrive tossed in the sauce of your choice. We recommend Frank’s Original for the most finger-licking, lip-tingling experience.
Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai, daily noon to 2am, Dhs65 for ten. Tel: (04) 3665866. Taxi: Madinat Jumeirah.
Every Dubai café worth its salt is doing a version of this most Instagrammed of breakfasts, but this one’s our favourite. The avocado is plentiful, the eggs are perfectly poached, and the fresh ricotta and lime salsa makes it way better than anything we could whip up at home.
Marina Plaza, Dubai Marina, Dubai, Sun to Fri 7am to 7pm, Dhs44. Tel: (04) 4204572. Taxi: Pier 7.
We defy even non-seafood fans not to love this citrusy sea bass ceviche from Poco Loco. Fresh, tangy, and a perfect palate cleanser for your next course.
The Beach opposite JBR, Dubai, daily 11am to 11pm, Dhs48. Tel: (055) 1000864. Taxi: JBR.
Black cod, shmack cod. Our new must-order at Okku is this salad heaped with crispy duck, radishes, leeks and a seriously addictive dressing.
The H Hotel, World Trade Centre, Dubai, Sun to Thur noon to 3pm and 6.30pm to 3am, Dhs120. Tel: (04) 5018777. Taxi: The H Hotel.
27. Tomino Fume, Tre by Roberto Rella
A simple dish of grilled tomino cheese is elevated by sweet, smoked aubergine and brown butter. Delicious.
Radisson Royal Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, daily noon to midnight. Tel: (04) 4047700. Taxi: Radisson Royal.
Tom Aikens’ new restaurant is all about comfort food, which is perfectly encapsulated on this plate. The short rib is sticky with glaze and served with onion rings and celeriac truffle mash.
The Beach opposite JBR, Dubai, daily noon to midnight. Tel: (04) 4561959. Taxi: Hilton Jumeirah Beach Residence.
Fuschia’s version is simple, spicy and perfect – order the nutty brown rice on the side. We’re serious about that spice by the way; even the mild version packs a significant punch. You have been warned.
Two Towers, Tecom, Dubai, Sun to Thur noon to 10.30pm, Fri and Sat noon to 11.20pm, Dhs36. Tel: (04) 3617117. Taxi: Grand Belle Vue Hotel.
Fresh, seasonal veggies are cooked in a sweet cherry tomato sauce that soaks into layers of traditional Emirati flatbread – all topped off with a layer of gooey mozzarella.
The Beach opposite JBR, Dubai, Sun to Thur 8am to 1am, Fri and Sat 8am to 2am, Dhs40. Tel: (04) 5516652. Taxi: Hilton Jumeirah Beach Residence.
Spicy (that’ll be the chilli) and cool (thanks to the mint), Butcha has hit on the perfect flavour combination with these prawns.
The Beach opposite JBR, Dubai, Sun to Thur 11am to 1am, Fri and Sat 10am to 2am, Dhs68. Tel: (04) 5530684. Taxi: JBR.
This place always seems to be bustling, and we reckon the chicken gyoza has something to do with it. The fresh, homemade dumplings are piping hot parcels of flavour – served with spicy sauce for dipping.
Galleria Mall, Al Wasl Road, Jumeirah, Dubai, Sun to Wed 10am to 11pm, Thur to Sat 10am until midnight, Dhs39. Tel: (04) 3436303. Taxi: Galleria Mall.
Boca takes inspiration from coastal France, Spain and Italy, and it’s the latter we have to thank for this dish, which comes with braised beef short rib and a topping of crispy fried sage. Bellissimma!
Building 6, Gate Village, DIFC, Dubai, Sun to Fri noon until midnight, Dhs85. Tel: (04) 3231833. Metro: Emirates Towers.
A Vongerichten special, diners are presented with a shallow bowl with cream and a ring of sourdough croutons around the outside acting as a kind of dam. The parmesan infused soup is then poured into the centre of the bowl. Light and airy comfort food.
Four Seasons Jumeirah Resort, JBR, Dubai, daily 7pm to 11pm, Dhs68. Tel: (04) 3436118. Taxi: Four Seasons.
You can’t miss the Kaak Al Manara stand at Ripe Market – it’s the one with the queue. These guys take freshly baked Lebanese dough and stuff it with a variety of spreads. We like ours filled with zaatar and cream cheese.
The Oberoi’s signature Indian restaurant serves the best flatbread we’ve ever tasted – bar naan (sorry). You’ll keep munching even when there’s no sauce left to mop up.
The Oberoi Hotel, Business Bay, Dubai, daily 6.30pm to 11.30pm, Dhs25. Tel: (04) 4441444. Metro: Business Bay.
Next month, we won’t be able to move for menus featuring turkey and stuffing. If you can’t wait until then, Sarnie Station’s festive bap is available all year round. Throw in a packet of crisps on the side, and you’ve got yourself a lunch of champions.
Jumeirah Beach Road, Jumeirah 2, Dubai, daily 8am to 1am, Dhs22. Tel: (050) 4827756. Taxi: Jumeirah Beach Road, opposite Souk Madinat entrance.
If a burrito and a shawarma had a baby, this would be the result. Perfectly braised lamb with turmeric, saffron and pine nuts swaddled in a roti wrap cumin-mint aioli dipping sauce. It’s Tex-Mex meets the Middle East, and it’s excellent.
Near Dubai Museum, behind the Textile Souk, Dubai Creek, Dubai, daily 8am to 8pm, Dhs75. Tel: (04) 3599220. Taxi: Dubai Museum.
This home-grown (and growing) Mexican chain is up there with our favourite fast food options. You can’t go wrong with the chicken burrito, built before your eyes from succulent, smoky grilled chicken, rice, beans, salsa and your choice of toppings. Go for the sour cream and lots of guacamole.
Building 5, Gate Village, DIFC, Dubai, Sun to Wed 7am to 7pm, Thur to Sat 9am to 6pm, Dhs32. Tel: (04) 3515210. Metro: Financial Centre.
A healthy sprinkling of tangy zaatar atop a circle of warm, soft and delicious flat bread. You can have it with labneh or cheese, but we prefer it plain and simple. Have it as a midday snack or, even better, on the side of a falafel feast.
The Beach opposite JBR, Dubai, daily 24-hours, Dhs8. Tel: (04) 4243098. Taxi: Hilton Jumeirah Beach Residence.
From the fluffy brioche to the cream and fruit, this was love at first bite.
Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai, Sat to Wed noon to midnight, Thur and Fri noon to 3am, Dhs50. Tel: (04) 5670011. Taxi: Souk Madinat.
Smash through layers of brownie and ice cream and let the waiter pour white chocolate sauce over the debris.
Fairmont Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, daily 6pm to 2am, Dhs84. Tel: (04) 3571755. Metro: World Trade Centre.
Whoever invented the churro was on to a good thing, but kudos to Casa de Tapas for using cinnamon and white chocolate to take things up a notch.
Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club, Dubai Creek, daily noon to 2am, Dhs28. Tel: (04) 4161800. Taxi: Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club.
We loved this soft, sweet sponge served with yoghurt ice cream and a wickedly decadent sauce
JW Marriott Marquis, Sheikh Zayed Road, Business Bay, Dubai, Sat to Wed 7pm to midnight, Thur and Fri 7pm to 1am, Dhs40. Tel: (056) 2240956. Taxi: JW Marriott Marquis.
Peanut ice cream encased in chocolate with caramel sauce and nuts on the side. The result? A gourmet Snickers bar.
Dubai Marriott Harbour Hotel & Suites, Dubai Marina, Dubai, daily 6pm to 11pm, Dhs45. Tel: (04) 3194794. Taxi: Dubai Marriott Harbour Hotel.
This has the texture of warm croissants, oozes with Nutella and is topped with Cornflakes. You know what they say: if you’re going to be bad… make it good.
Galleria Mall, Al Wasl Road, daily 7am to midnight, Dhs45. Tel: (04) 3444462. Taxi: Galleria Mall.
Fume is so confident in its perfect pudding it offers a 100 per cent refund if you’re not satisfied. We sincerely doubt you’ll use it.
Pier 7, Dubai Marina, Sun to Thur noon to 1am, Fri and Sat noon to 2am, Dhs42. Tel: (04) 4215669. Metro: Damac.
We think all cheesecake should be baked, New York-style. It stands to reason then that the cheesecake at Clinton St, which has its roots in Manhattan, is our favourite.
Burj Views, Downtown Dubai, daily 7.30am to 11pm, Dhs36. Tel: (04) 4281331. Taxi: Burj Views.
So thick and creamy it qualifies as a snack, this blend of banana, peanut butter, milk (almond milk if you prefer) and ice is heaven in a plastic glass.
Lake Level, Cluster Y, JLT, Dubai, daily 8am to 7pm, Dhs20. Tel: (04) 4322023. Taxi: Swiss Tower.
This fruity concoction is so tangy it makes you wince a little when you eat it – in a good way.
The Beach opposite JBR, Dubai, daily 10am to midnight, Dhs19. Tel: (04) 5530647. Taxi: Hilton Jumeirah Beach.