The What’s On Indie Restaurant of the Year returns, better than ever…

The lockdown has been particularly tough on Dubai’s independent restaurants – which is why we’re delighted that one of our favourites is about to reopen its doors.

21 Grams, the cosy-chic Balkan bistro on Jumeirah Beach Road, will be firing up the pans again from July 20. And it’s coming out of lockdown with all guns blazing, with a revamped menu and revised opening hours.

Owner Stasha Toncev was determined to support her staff throughout the pandemic. “From the get go, we wanted to keep our staff, support them in these difficult times and be able to celebrate the reopening together. We are making that happen and I’m super proud and massively delighted that we’re in this position today,” Stasha told What’s On.


What’s on the menu

21 Grams has long been known for its flavour-packed Balkan fare, melding homespun recipes with modern techniques. Stasha and the kitchen team have used the lockdown downtime to create some tasty new dishes.

The old favourites – including komplet eggs and cheese burek – are still going strong, but as Stasha says, “there’s some fierce competition on the menu now.”

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New additions include the wagyu cevapi tartare, sarma rolls with smoked brisket, and Adriatic octopus with fennel sauce.

The opening hours have had a makeover, too. From July 20, 21 Grams will open daily, serving breakfast and lunch from 8am to 5pm. For now, dinner is off the menu, with evenings reserved for special events.


And if that wasn’t enough to keep the 21 Grams crew busy, we’ve heard whispers that a second venue may be in the pipeline.

“Shh – I can’t say much at this stage,” says Stasha. “But we want to be closer to many of our communities and we’re currently working on that. You’ll be the first to know though…”

21 Grams, Jumeirah St & Al Thanya Rd Intersection, Umm Suqeim 2, Dubai, daily 8am to 5pm. Tel: 050 841 50 21.