17Here are the dishes that blew our minds (and our taste buds) in 2016…

Bookmark this one and check back whenever you’re going out to eat, as these are the things to order.


01. Lobster roll, Maine Oyster Bar & Grill

01 The MAINE - Traditional MAINE Lobster Roll - served with home made potato crisps RS

A soft, ever so slightly sweet bread roll crammed with generous chunks of lobster meat, lovingly smothered in a creamy, citrusy sauce that will stop dinner table conversation in three seconds.

DoubleTree By Hilton Hotel, JBR, Dubai, daily noon until midnight. Tel: (04) 4576719. Taxi: DoubleTree By Hilton. themaine.ae

02. Burrata, Jean Georges Kitchen


Take a piece of the lightly toasted bread, add some creamy burrata and top with just a touch of jam and it’s like eating the best open-face sandwich in the world. 

Four Seasons Resort, Dubai,  daily 12.30pm to 11.30pm.Tel: (04) 3436118. Taxi: Four Seasons. jean-georges.com

03. Keftedakia, Mythos


A dainty bowl of smoky Greek-style beef meatballs that are tender and juicy bite-size treats served with diced tomatoes and chopped red onions.

Armada Blue Bay Hotel, Cluster P, JLT, Dubai, daily 12.30pm to 5pm, 6pm to 11.30pm. Tel: (04) 3998166. Metro: Damac. mythoskouzina.com

04. Beef carpaccio, Cipriani


Quick bit of history: in 1950 an Italian contessa was telling her pal Giuseppe Cipriani that her doctor had told her to stop eating cooked meat. Cipriani came up with a dish of thin slices of raw beef just for her. The dish remains a trademark of Cipriani’s menu and rightly so. Decadent, clean, simple, fresh, satisfying, and very Italian.

a Gate Village 10, Building 3, DIFC, Dubai, daily noon to 2am. Tel: (04) 3470003. Metro: Emirates Towers. cipriani.com

05. Tiraditos tuna sashimi, Inka

Served simply on a large plate, slivers of fresh tuna are coated in mouthwatering drizzles of a lip-smacking jus known as acevicada. We’d have taken home a bucketful if we could.

Floor 31, The Sofitel Dubai Downtown, Downtown Dubai, daily 6pm to 2am. Tel: (04) 3469295. Metro: Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall. inkadubai.com

06. Jerk corn, Miss Lily’s


Order this and it’ll change the way you view skewered veggies forever. The coconut coating, perfectly spicy jerk mayo and sweet soft corn beneath is well worth the hours of picking kernels out of your teeth.

Sheraton Grand Hotel Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, daily 7pm to 2am. Tel: (04) 3544074. Metro: World Trade Centre. facebook.com/misslilysdxb

07. Warm date and kale salad, Siraj


It’s the winning combination of sweet gooey dates, salty Syrian string cheese and crunchy walnuts that makes this alternative salad a standout dish.

Souk Al Bahar, Downtown Dubai, Dubai, daily noon to 1am. Tel: (04) 5136207. Metro: Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall. sirajrestaurant.com

08. Cheesy mac bites, Brunswick Sports Club


They’re meant for sharing, but once you’ve bitten through the crispy breadcrumb coating and hot gooey mac and cheese inside, you’ll wish you had these fried morsels to yourself.

Sheraton Hotel, Mall Of The Emirates, Al Barsha, Dubai, daily noon to 2am. Tel: (056) 4040685. Metro: Mall Of The Emirates. brunswicksc.com

09. Creamy chicken croquettes, LaLuz


Forget thoughts of stodgy potato bulging with mismatched chunks of meat – this is an impossibly silky purée in a crisp crumbed jacket with an aromatic kiss of pesto. They’re served as singles – we could have easily eaten 20.

The Four Seasons, Gate Village Building 9, DIFC, Dubai, daily 12.30pm to
3am. Tel: (04) 3597777. Metro: Emirates Towers. laluzrestaurant.com

10. Burrata, R Trader

10-R-Trader-Burrata-Food-Feb-2016RSChefs Dominic Robinson and Rob Rathbone are among the best in the city – and the burrata with green olives, almonds and balsamic is proof of that. They are kings of creating delicate new twists on ingredients you already know and love. 

Al Fattan Currency House, DIFC, daily noon to 2am. Tel: (04) 3435518. Metro: Financial Centre. rtraderdubai.com

11. Onion tarte flambé, La Serre


The onion tarte flambé starter has a dough base topped with caramelised onions, crème fraîche and sweet cherry tomatoes making it look like a southern French take on the Italian pizza. But the balance of the sweet and savoury works perfectly and the crème fraîche gives it a richness that makes you wish you could just have these home-delivered like pizza.

Vida Downtown Hotel, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard, Downtown Dubai, Dubai, daily noon to 3pm, 7pm to 11pm. Tel: (04) 4286969. Taxi: Vida Hotel, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard. laserre.ae

12. Baked stuffed calamari, Il Capo

Gently-cooked calamari generously stuffed with a blend of parmesan, breadcrumbs, basil and calamari (yes, part of the calamari is stuffed into another piece of calamari). It gets better: this lovely concoction is also doused in a cooked-for-hours pomodoro sauce. Dreamy.

a The Westin Dubai Al Habtoor City, Dubai, daily 7pm to midnight. Tel: (04) 2753083. Taxi: Habtoor City. westindubai-alhabtoorcity.com


13. Classic Burger, Big Smoke Burger

The beef is organic, but it might be the buns that are the secret ingredient to this burger’s super powers. Baked fresh every day, the bread is airy and fluffy, but still robust enough to wrestle the burger, its pickles and sauces into a delicious chokehold.

BoxPark, Al Wasl Road, Dubai, daily 10am to 2am. Tel: (04) 3436533. Taxi: BoxPark. bigsmokeburger.com

14. Porter House Steakhouse Porter House

This steak for two people is so huge it has to be wheeled to your table on a trolley like some kind of protein prince. It was juicy, buttery, salty and wonderfully easy to slice. In short, a majestic cut of meat from a fine steakhouse.

Sofitel The Palm Resort & Spa, The Palm, Dubai, daily 7pm to 11.30pm. Tel: (04) 4555656. Taxi: The Palm. sofitel-dubai-thepalm.com

15. Beef Wellington, Bread Street Kitchen
Dhs290 (for two people) 


It’s the dish Gordon Ramsay is famous for and we think it’s all in the crisp and not cloying pastry – oh, and the truffle mash helps too. The blushing beef is always cooked perfectly.

Atlantis The Palm, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai, daily 12.30pm to 4pm, 6pm to 11pm. Tel: (04) 4262626. Taxi: Atlantis, The Palm. atlantisthepalm.com

16. Agnolotti, The Artisan By Enoteca Pinchiorri,

Agnolotti-FOOD-THE-ARTISAN4074F-copy rs

Dainty hand-made pasta parcels are gently stuffed with buttery pumpkin and sage, with a scattering of roasted almonds on top and a smidge of gooey Parmesan.

Burj Daman Building, DIFC, Dubai, Mon to Thur noon to 3pm, 7pm to 11.30pm, Fri to Sun 7pm to 11.30pm. Tel: (04) 3388133. Metro: Emirates Towers. theartisan.ae

17. 76 Hours, Play


This might be the priciest plate of ribs you ever eat, but it’s so worth it. The Wagyu beef ribs are marinated in a sticky glaze for 76 hours until the meat falls off the bone and melts in your mouth.

The H Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, Sat to Wed 7pm to 2am, Thur and Fri 7pm to 2am. Tel: (04) 3364444. Metro: Dubai World Trade Centre. facebook.com/PLAYRestaurants

18. Beef fillet, La Môme

We don’t know what they’re feeding their cows in Australia, but goodness gracious, we’ve never tasted anything quite like this Antipodean-sourced steak. The insanely juicy meat has an almost foresty, grainy aftertaste which, when paired with an exceptionally piquant peppercorn sauce, had us wishing fillets came in much bigger cuts. For a full La Môme review, see page 71.

La Môme, Level 49, Nassima Royal Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, daily 7pm to 3am. Tel: (04) 3080470. Metro: World Trade Centre. nassimaroyalhotel.com

19. Grilled miso black cod, Ramusake


Perfectly firm without being overcooked is a rare thing when it comes to fish, but Ramusake aces it. We loved the umami miso flavours combined with a hint of caramel. The apple and hijiki (seaweed) salad adds freshness and crunch.

Doubletree By Hilton, The Walk, JBR, Dubai, daily 7pm to 2am, Tel: (04) 5595300. Taxi: Doubletree By Hilton JBR. ramusake.ae

20. ABB&J, Skye & Walker

20 SKYE-AND-WALKER-Abb&J-at-Skye-and-Walker-RS

With a banana, almond butter and jam all wrapped in a protein bread wrap with a shot of nutella, it’s a PB and J for the modern man and, (dare we say it), even tastier.

Marriot Executive Apartments Dubai, Baniyas, Deira, Dubai, daily 6.30am to midnight. Tel: (04) 2131221. Metro: Al Rigga. skyeandwalker.com

21. Potato gnocci a la Guardi, Cipriani

Nothing says comfort food like a big bowl of gnocci. Cipriani’s traditional take is hearty without being stodgy and served in a deliciously creamy tomato and mozzarella sauce.

Gate Village 10, Building 3, DIFC, Dubai, daily noon until 2am. Tel: (04) 3470003. Metro: Emirates Towers. cipriani.com

22. Lamb cutlets, Fume

We love a good bit of lamb, and this dish makes the most of the tender meat by using Korean spices – a taste combination of sweet, umami and a fiery kick. 

Pier 7, Dubai Marina, Dubai, daily 9am to 1am. Tel: (04) 4215669. Metro: Dubai Marina. fume-eatery.com

23. Wild greens pie, Elia

23 Elia---Wild-Greens-Pie

Don’t overlook this deceptively simple starter, based on traditional Cretan recipes. The combination of crisp, golden pastry, creamy cheese and fresh herbs is addictive.

Majestic Hotel, Al Mankhool, Dubai, daily 7pm to 11.30pm. Tel: (04) 5012690. Metro: Al Fahidi. facebook.com/EliaDubai

24. Angus beef cheek, Copper Dog

24 copper-dog-rs

A generous portion of Angus beef cheek, cooked to perfection so that the sticky glazed meat falls off the bone and into a mountain of creamy mash.

Doubletree By Hilton JBR, Dubai, daily noon to 2am. Tel: (04) 5595355. Taxi: Doubletree By Hilton JBR. copperdog.ae

25. The Big Ben, The Crown And Rose


There’s your average burger – and then there’s The Big Ben. This massive 250g patty is slathered in sharp cheddar, then topped with crispy bacon and a runny fried egg. The sides are battered pickles, crispy fries and onion rings – but we doubt you’ll get to those.

The Atrium, Al Habtoor City, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, daily 11am to 2am. Tel: (04) 4370022. Taxi: The Atrium Al Habtoor City (behind St Regis and W Hotel). roseandcrowndubai.com

26. House special chilli noodles, Din Tai Fung

This warm bowl of fresh al dente noodles smothered in a slightly sweet chilli oil and topped with spring onion is the ultimate mall-trawl comfort food.

Mall Of The Emirates, Barsha, daily 11am to 10pm. Tel: (04) 2651288. Metro: Mall Of The Emirates.

27. Steak frites, Couqley

Louise Shrigley

Essentially a posh plate of steak and chips, but the rich beef jus that envelops this dish is among the best sauces we’ve ever eaten. It’s the George Clooney of roux: smooth, rich and well-rounded.

Laguna Tower, Mövenpick Hotel, Cluster A, JLT, Dubai, daily noon until 2am. Tel: (04) 5149339. Metro: JLT. facebook.com/CouqleyUAE

28. Lobster risotto, Al Mahara
(Part of a four-course dinner menu that cost Dhs650)


Plump lobster and a generous amount of cream makes the dish rich, while actual chunks of orange add freshness. This is a risotto befitting of the Burj Al Arab.

Burj Al Arab, JBR, Dubai, daily 12.30pm to 3pm, 7pm to 11.30pm. Tel: (04) 3017400. Taxi: Burj Al Arab.

29. Fukharet lamb chops, Azakadenya

29 Lamb-chops-Azakadenya-rs

Richly marinated chops with big chunks of carrot, zucchini and potatoes. Moreish, comforting goodness. 

Mall Of The Emirates, Barsha, Dubai, Sun to Thur 10am to 11pm, Fri and Sat 10am to midnight. Tel: (04) 3445157. Metro: Mall Of The Emirates. facebook.com/AzkadenyaUAE

30. Manchego hash, The Sum Of Us

30 SUM-OF-US-Manchego-Hash-RS

A thin, crispy potato hash peppered with the tang of Manchego. This comes with a soft poached egg, sweet little tomatoes and beef bacon. Oh, and it’s gluten-free.

Burj Al Salam, Sheikh Zayed Road, Trade Centre, Dubai, daily 8am to midnight. Tel: (056) 4457526. Metro: Trade Centre. thesumofusdubai.com

31. Tamarind shrimps, Wox

A delicious plate of plump shrimp swimming in a tart tamarind sauce: this is why we visit the tiny Southeast Asian spot Wox so often.

Grand Hyatt, Oud Metha, Dubai, daily noon until 11.30pm. Tel: (04) 3172221. Taxi: Grand Hyatt. dubai.grand.hyatt.com

32. Chettinadu, Armani/Amal

32 Armani_Amal-Chicken-Chettinadu-2-RS

Aromatic, not blow-your-head-off-spicy stuffing, juicy meat (cooked sous-vide and then pan-fried, a winning combo) and tongue-tingling curry sauce. 

Third Floor, Armani Hotel, Burj Khalifa, Downtown Dubai, Dubai, daily 7pm to 11pm. Tel: (04) 4371669. Metro: Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall. armanihoteldubai.com

33. The Box, Taqado Mexican Kitchen


Because sometimes you just can’t beat cheap and cheerful. Here you can mix and match hearty dollops of grilled meat, guacamole, salsa, sour cream and beans – but it’s the rice that’s the standout star (opt for the zingy, zesty lime and coriander version, you won’t regret it).

Locations around Dubai:  taqado.com

34. Foie gras sliders, Bagatelle

34 Bagatelle-Foie-gras-sliders-RS

Generous slabs of pan seared foie gras sandwiched between gleaming potato buns. The addition of a sweet, veal bacon marmalade and a lick of truffle mayo cuts through the metallic tang of foie gras, making this a  stand-out dish of 2016.

Fairmont Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, daily 8pm to 2am. Tel: (04) 3545035. Metro: World Trade Centre. bistrotbagatelle.com

35. Jerk Chicken, Ting Irie
Dhs105 for half; Dhs195 for a full bird

35 Ting-Irie-Jerk1-RS

Tuck in with your hands, peel away at the jerk marinade, which is more spicy than it is sweet, revealing tender hunks of delicious meat.

Souk Al Manzil, Downtown Dubai, Dubai, daily noon to midnight. Tel: (04) 5575601. Metro: Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall. tingirie.com

36. Murgh ke parchey, Spice & Ice


A tenderised chicken dish marinated in garlic and yoghurt served with a cheese fondue alongside a chilly waffle cone. Four juicy chunks of chicken are the beautifully presented star items on the ebony-coloured plate. Charred around the edges but with a glistening coating, the chicken is perfectly tender. Don’t be shy to dip it into the salty melted cheese together with a forkful of crispy chilli waffle. It’s superb.

Cluster A, Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Dubai, daily noon until 1am. Tel: (050) 5529686. Metro: JLT. facebook.com/spiceandicedxb

37. Pineapple and prawns, Muchachas

37 Muchachas-Food-(9-of-152)-RS

Moreish, cheesy and spicy prawns with steaming hot tortillas are served in the hollowed-out fruit.

Holiday Inn Express, near Safa Park, off Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, Sun to Wed noon until 1am, Thur to Sat noon until 2am. Tel: (04) 3275878. Metro: Business Bay. muchachasdubai.com

38. Turkish flat bread, Ruya

Introducing an extra special cheese pide with molten cheese cradled around toasted Turkish flat bread, topped in a warm, runny egg. Turn to p73 for the full review.

Grosvenor House, Dubai Marina, Dubai, daily 6pm to 1am. Tel: (04) 39988123. Taxi: Grosvenor House. facebook.com/ruyadubai

39. Chilli J-Dog, Ramusake

39 Ramusake---Chilli-J-Dog-1

If you’re trying to look cool at Ramusake you should steer clear of the chilli dog. It’s a mess. A wonderful, sticky, delicious mess of wagyu beef, crispy onions and pickles that cannot be eaten elegantly while making small talk. Roll your sleeves up, ask for an extra napkin and prepare to fall in love.

Doubletree By Hilton, The Walk, Dubai, daily 7pm to 2am, Tel: (04) 5595300. Taxi: Doubletree By Hilton, JBR.


40. French toast, The Brass


For a serious sugar buzz, dive into the thick slab of fluffy, pan-fried brioche. The chopped pistachios make a welcome crunch, but it’s the warm chocolate sauce hiding inside that seals its star status.

City Walk Phase II, Al Safa Street, Dubai, daily 7am to midnight. Tel: (04) 3856971. Taxi: City Walk Phase 2. thebrass.ae

41. Suspiro a le limena, Ceviche

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Brace yourself for a delicious sugar bomb. This homemade dulce de leche topped with caramelised Italian meringue tastes similar to a posh butterscotch Angel Delight – in the best way.

Podium Level, Emirates Financial Towers, DIFC, Dubai, daily 11.30am to 10pm. Tel: (04) 3266333. Metro: Financial Centre. cevichedubai.com

42. Gelato, Dri Dri

42 Dri-Dri_gelato-rs

Proving that gelato isn’t just a fancy word for ice cream, Dri Dri makes fresh batches of its creamy sweet dessert everyday.

The Beach, JBR, Dubai, Sun to Wed 10am to midnight, Thur and Fri 10am to 1am. Tel: (04) 5530647. Metro: JLT. facebook.com/DriDriDubai

43. Go Bananas, Carnival By Tresind

43 TRESIND-go-bananas---tresind-rs

Billed as a deconstructed banoffee pie, this trio of toffee panna cotta, banana ice cream and fresh fruit is divine.

Level P5, Burj Daman Building, DIFC, Dubai, daily noon to midnight. Tel: (04) 4218665. Metro: Emirates Towers. carnivalbytresind.com

44. Chocolate matcha fondant, Wakame

A winning trifecta of rich dark chocolate with a white chocolate and matcha centre.

Sofitel Downtown, Dubai, daily 6pm to midnight. Tel: (04) 5036666. Taxi: Sofitel Downtown. sofitel.com

45. Eton mess, La Cantine du Faubourg


A French twist on a Brit dessert with chewy mini meringues dotted with sweet berries on a bed of chantilly whipped cream.

Emirates Towers, Dubai, Sat to Wed noon to 2am, Thur and Fri noon to 3am. Tel: (04) 3527105. Metro: Emirates Towers. lacantine.ae


46.  Hot artichoke dip, The Hide

You’ll barely notice the veg in this creamy, gooey, cheesy treat.

Al Qasr, Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai, daily, noon to 3pm and 7pm to midnight. Tel: (04) 4323232. Taxi: Al Qasr, Madinat Jumeirah. jumeirah.com

47. Pont-neuf fries, Indie


They’re thick, stacked like Jenga and smothered in a creamy black truffle sauce.

Above Guacho, Gate Village 5, DIFC, Dubai, daily 5pm to 2am. Tel: (04) 4569817. Metro: Financial Centre. indiedifc.com

48. Shaved sprouts, Weslodge Saloon


A superstar side salad with tangy verjus, rich pecans, crunchy kale and refreshing sprouts.

a 68th floor, JW Marriott Marquis, Dubai, daily 6pm to late. Tel: (04) 5601700. Taxi: Marriott Marquis. weslodge.ae

49. Pull-apart bread, Bazxar

A standout moment of 2016 because of the accompanying pot of chicken skin butter.

Gate building 4, DIFC, Sat to Wed 8am to 1am, Thur and Fri 8am to 2am. Tel: (04) 3551111. Taxi: Financial Centre. bazxar.com

50. Humita saltena, Gaucho

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Nothing more than steamed corn husks filled with creamy ground corn.

DIFC, Gate Village 5, Dubai, daily 11.30am to 11.30pm. Tel: (04) 4227898. Metro: Financial Centre. gauchorestaurants.com

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