Hotels, TV shows, local brands and more, these are our favourite things in the UAE right now…

Brunching in style at… Zuma Dubai


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Zuma Dubai is in an elite group of Dubai restaurants that haven’t just stood the test of time, they’ve innovated, accelarated, and thrived. It’s been 13 years since Zuma first arrived on Dubai’s dining scene, much ahead of the curve of many of its international counterparts, and yet it’s still one of Dubai’s best restaurants. The slick, minimalistic design, the excellent service, and of course, the incredible menu of high-impact Japanese cuisine, all make this one of those spots that works for every occasion. For the first time since Covid, they’ve recently brought back live cooking stations to the Baikingu brunch, with live cooking stations covering everything from slivers of delicate sashimi to melt-in-the-mouth A7 Wagyu cooked to order. This is mixed in with sharing starters served to the table, an a la carte choice of main, and a sweet dessert platter. – Alice Holtham, Group Editor

Upgrading my gym kit with… Maeya


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Dubai-based luxury activewear brand, Maeya, is all about functional pieces perfect for working out in, without compromising on style. Their newly launched collection features four styles in two pretty prints, which can be mixed and matched to create a unique look for your next class or workout session. Whether you opt for the subtle animal print or vibrant polka dot in pale blue or blush pink, you can team the leggings and sports bras with their collection of short and long sleeved tees in whichever way you like. While the pieces are designed for the gym, I’ve already got my set in rotation for days of lounging at home in my comfies. – Alice Holtham, Group Editor


Being rescued at the last minute by… Namshi


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Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll know that we had the What’s On Dubai Awards this week, and by no one’s fault other than my own, I left the outfit planning to the very last minute. Luckily Dubai is made for people like me, and Namshi came quite literally to my rescue. I hopped on the app and whittled down my dress choices before finally finding THE one. The best part? It arrived the same day giving me plenty of time to try it on before the big night. – Elise Kerr, Deputy Editor


Unwinding by the pool at… SAN Beach


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It’s quite rare these days that I have time to relax by the pool, but when I do SAN Beach is one of my go-to’s. The chic breach club is not only visually stunning, but the service is unmatched and the tunes are always on point. I was there last weekend, and while the weather is perfect at the moment, I let myself just unwind and appreciate the moment. I left feeling refreshed and ready to take on the week. – Elise Kerr, Deputy Editor

Figuring out that my favourite store in the mall is… River Island

So I had all the luck in the world when I went online shopping for my What’s On Abu Dhabi awards, however it failed massively when it came to the Dubai awards. My last shot was heading to the mall *shudder* but thankfully, I found a gorgeous olive colored dress at River Island in Mall of the Emirates. The store saved me on another last-minute occasion as well, so the next time I am in need of a new dress, I am just going to make a beeline to this one store and save myself the grief. – Aarti Saundalkar, Online Reporter


Looking forward to being pampered at the award-winning… Sofitel Spa with L’Occitane, Sofitel Dubai The Palm

If you haven’t heard me say it enough, I shall say it again – it’s been a long long year (and we haven’t even finished Q1, yet). So I am in desperate need of some relaxation. I was lucky to visit Sofitel Dubai The Palm to hand out the What’s On Dubai award for Favourite Spa and they’ve asked me to come back for a session of pampering. And of course, I couldn’t refuse. The spa has a huge range of treatments paired with products from the Provence, in collaboration with L’Occitane. There are hammams and even a number of pools where guests can just relax. This is just the bliss I need. – Aarti Saundalkar, Online Reporter


Getting to know and making Paella with …José Pizarro

Spanish chef José Pizarro is opening a licensed tapas restaurant in the capital, José by Pizarro. Opening its doors today, Friday March 17, What’s On had a first look around earlier this week. The charming space is the closest we’ve felt to Spain in the UAE. We got to try the melt-in-the-mouth chicken paella and salty anchovies on brioche, served by the Chef José himself. Worth a visit? Yes way José, we’d return tomorrow. – Tamara Wright, Online Reporter


Discovering new foodie gems at… Itadaku


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Here at What’s On, we love supporting homegrown businesses. There’s nothing more inspiring than hearing people’s stories about how they started and how the UAE country helped them fulfill their life-long dreams. Last week we visited Itadaku, an authentic family-run Japanese restaurant in Jumeirah 1. Fun fact: Itadaku means “grateful for receiving” in Japanese. For real Japanese foodies, this is as close as you’ll get to Japan in Dubai. What to try? Order the Hamachi sashimi and kushiyaki shiitake. – Tamara Wright, Online Reporter


Getting my beach disco on at…Olliedaze  

Last weekend I ventured to the shores of Um Al Quwain to experience the hidden gem that is Olliedaze. The famed beach party event had us basking in the sun and the tropical island waters, before slowly migrating into a sandy boogie with the setting sun. Fueled by the beats of their resident DJ, we were dancing into the night with our toes in the sand, alongside an abundance of friendly dogs that we frolicking about. Ollidaze is truly my happy place, and if you’re looking for your next ultimate beach day get away then this is the spot. – Romy Hunt, Junior Reporter 


JJ’s chicken supplying us with plant-based goods

Eating good plant-based foods has become undeniably easier and more delicious, especially when it comes to satisfying all our junk food cravings. On Thursday we had a team lunch before our night life awards, comprising of impossible vegan chicken nuggets and a plethora of fries. Satisfying even our most ardent meat eaters, these crispy vegan delights made for a perfect lunchtime indulgence. – Romy Hunt, Junior Reporter 


Visiting all of our… What’s On Dubai Award winners for 2023

This was my first What’s On Dubai Awards, and firstly I should offer massive congratulations to all the winners. Last week the team travelled around Dubai and pre-awarded the categories covering leisure and restaurants below Dhs400, and I have to say it was one of the most wholesome and special days, seeing everybody celebrating and being merry. I definitely have to give a special shoutout to Boxica for being the most energetic, fun and wild bunch of humans that were quite literally swinging from the punching bags in joy. – Shelby Gee, Junior Reporter 

See the full list of winners here

Playing the world’s longest game of… Monopoly

My brother has a strange obsession with Monopoly and he somehow, stumbled upon a version of Monopoly that has three laps of the board. I don’t quite know how to explain the game, but the money can be torn up in case you run out, the chance and community chest cards are unnecessarily long and you can steal properties from your competitors when you land on them. We now have WhatsApp group chat dedicated to placeholding the game called “Monopoly 4eva.” I can happily say no friendships are broken yet, only our will to live because of a never ending game of Monopoly.  – Shelby Gee, Junior Reporter