21 unmissable culinary experiences in Dubai
Tick them all off your list…
From unique dining experiences to supper clubs, tasting menus and more, here are some of the top culinary experiences in Dubai
Unique dining experiences
Desert dining at Sonara Camp
It may not be centrally located, but Sonara is a game-changing desert dining experience. The focus is as much on the experience as it is on the inventive gastronomy, where brash buffets and gimmicky belly dancing are replaced with magical entertainment and Middle Eastern fare with a fine dining edge. Experiences begin at sunset, where you’ll watch the sunset as the golden orb drops behind the stretching dunes, sipping drinks and enjoying sandboarding, soft archery and hawk shows. From there, guests retreat to tables under the twinkling lights of the lower restaurant for a three-course menu, accompanied by fire shows, live music or even a movie under the starry night sky.
Immersive theatre at Krasota
The newest addition to Dubai’s immersive dining scene is Krasota, a collision of food and art at Address Downtown. Self-described as an ‘immersive gastro-theatre’ prepare to settle in for a meal that’s been designed to be photographed. Each course, or ‘act,’ is a homage to eight world renowned artists, with each dish complemented by interactive installations, 3D projections and custom AI designs that captivate each of the senses. From Dhs1,830 per person, it comes with a welcome amuse bouche, eight-course menu and two signature cocktails served at the intervals.
Private dining in the sky at Shangri-La Dubai
While many Dubai hotels offer intimate spots for a private dinner, from beachfront setups to exclusive private dining rooms, few have the commanding views of Shangri-La Dubai’s 42nd floor terrace. Backdropped by exceptional Burj Khalifa views and a panoramic skyline that looks so good it could have been photoshopped, guests can curate their own menus for any occasion. From a family get-together to celebrate a birthday, to a swoon-worthy proposal when only the best will do, this is the kind of spot that makes for an unforgettable setting. Experiences start from Dhs4,500.
Food-meets-art with a heart at Message in a Bottle
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If you love immersive dining experiences, Message in a Bottle at JA The Resort is a culinary adventure you need to know about. It takes place on a boat and begins with a 30-minute cruise. Once anchored, a fairy from the future transports you to a world where the harsh repercussions of human carelessness play out in eye-opening projections, each course presented at a key moment in the narrative.
Moreish by K
Head chef and creator of Moreish by K, Kunwal Safdar, has become a well-known name in the Dubai food scene. From humble beginnings as a pandemic passion project, her supper club has become one of the city’s most talked-about. Like most of us, Kunwal became restless during the slow weeks of isolation back in March 2020, turning to curate a ‘hug in a box’ through her soup care packages. Overnight this became a sensation, sowing the seeds of her wonderful brand. Fast forward to 2023, and Kuwnal has fed over 10,000 people through her supper clubs, and collaborated with brands including XVA Gallery, 21 Grams and Dibba Bay. Inventive yet nostalgic, sophisticated yet wholesome, Moreish by K will never cease to amaze with her delicate harmony of flavours. Whether you’re looking to celebrate a special occasion, catch up with friends, or embark on a unique date night, this supper club couldn’t be better.
Girl and the Goose
What do you know about Nicaraguan food? Well, with Girl and the Goose, you’re about to learn a whole lot more, as chef Gabriela Grasser has a modern take on this exciting cuisine. Past menus have included organic sea bass ceviche and and aguachile, but the beauty is in the presentation, which will have you snapping pictures before sampling. If you’re looking for a more intimate experience, she also hosts nights for two to three diners. The dinner takes place in Dubai Marina, and spots are confirmed on a first come, first served basis.
Tano’s at 8
If you’re partial to a great paella, Dubai residents Sultan and Kinda Chatila’s supper club is the one for you. Called Tano’s at 8, the couple use fresh, seasonal ingredients to prepare their paellas, switching up their menu every six weeks. More than just paella though, the culinary connoisseurs have a hankering for burgers too, coming in third place for the best burger at the World Food Championships 2022. Off the back of that success, a permanent burger restaurant, Eleven Green is set to open in Dubai this month.
Haus of Vo
Home is certainly where the heart is at Haus of Vo, as the supper club is lovingly prepared by your host, Madame Vo. You are invited to her DIFC home with impressive views over Dubai and served a meal that draws on her Vietnamese-German roots. “I grew up in the kitchen. As the child of restauranteurs, cooking brings me closer to my parents and serves as a reminder to never forget our humble roots,” says the chef. The evening includes eight diners – nine if you count her dog, Bailey – and is a great way to make new friends or more, as there are even single’s nights. On our visit, the menu included multiple courses ranging from a bo kho (48-hour oxtail tomato stew) to steamed dumplings that you can help cook.
Kuv’s Secret Supper Club
Before other supper clubs in Dubai hopped on the gravy train, Kuv’s Secret Supper Club was one of the first in the city. While we know who Kuv is – an architect-turned-chef – the location is always a secret and only revealed 24 hours before the event. Previous meals have been wide-ranging and included a kofte tabrizi, Eton mess and dishes that pay homage to his Rajput heritage. There’s just one catch: it’s by invite only – but you can DM their Instagram page for a secret code.
Tasting menu restaurants
Ossiano feels like an underwater kingdom, with its sparkling chandeliers, royal blue carpet and white marble tables that look like shimmering pearls against the backdrop of The Lagoon, Atlantis The Palm’s looming aquarium. Tables are carefully arranged to ensure every table gets a front row seat to the 65,000 marine life swimming by. Everything about the design of the dishes, to the symbolic plates they’re presented on, to the way the staff recite chef Gregoire’s story with impeccable finesse, is expertly curated, and with each course you learn more and more about the mastery that goes into this 10-wave menu. It can be paired both with alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks.
Price: From Dhs1,150
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From the same family as Trèsind Studio comes Avatara, which replaced the aforementioned restaurant in Voco Hotel Sheikh Zayed Road. The first and only entirely vegetarian fine dining experience in Dubai, Avatara’s menu makes a case for the simple goodness of veggies. With a focus on Indian soul food, Avatara hopes to challenge preconceived limitations of a vegetarian diet with its colourful, 16-course tasting menu. Along with their veggie menu, they also have a completely vegan menu that adopts the same mantra. Both can be enjoyed with a wine pairing.
Price: From Dhs450
After a successful run at Voco Hotel on Sheikh Zayed Road, Trèsind Studio moved to the rooftop of Nakheel Mall last year. The resulting venue is one of understated elegance: an open kitchen, floor-to-ceiling windows, and white table clothed tables with seating for just 20. The new venue also seats just 20 people per seating, with an option of two seatings per night. Simply put, it’s minimal, purposefully done, we presume, so that your focus and attention remain on the intricately prepared dishes presented. This degustation menu of 16 courses, is a presentation of humble Indian ingredients elevated to an outstanding level.
Price: From Dhs850
Just nine seats make up the dining room at Hōseki, a speciality Omakase restaurant inside Bvlgari Resort Dubai. The name itself, which means ‘gemstone’ in Japanese, is an indicator of what a true gem this experience is, where dining takes place at the counter with front row seats to all of the Omakase mastery. The restaurant rips up the rule book when it comes to the menu – in that there isn’t one. Instead, you’ll have dishes selected for you by chef Masahiro Sugiyama across a two-hour omakase experience. Your preferences will be considered, but from there, it’s all in the hands of this culinary creator, with the freshest and finest ingredients taking centre stage as you journey through each course. There’re no walk-ins, so you’ll need to book in advance for either lunch or dinner.
Price: From Dhs1,000
This sleek Japanese restaurant might not exclusively be dedicated to its tasting menu (an a la carte offering is available), but it deserves a mention because the trio of Omakase menus are what guests head here for. The sophisticated restaurant centres around a counter, where guests perch up ready to indulge in one of three Omakase menus: sushi, Wagyu, or the combination menu of both. Each round of the 10-course menu illustrates the quality of ingredients, all the finest calibre. If rich flavours are your forte, you’ll delight in the high-grade ingredients that make up this menu: such as slivers of bluefun tuna, and Kobe beef.
Price: From Dhs1,800
From master chef Solemann Haddad comes Moonrise, an inventive culinary journey that showcases the chef’s life through food. The (currently) unlicensed restaurant on the rooftop of Eden House, a modest residential building near Satwa, presents a multi-course menu, with dishes changing every three months. Just a dozen guests can embark on this flavour flight at any one time, which exactly how the chef wants it. In this, he ensures that each guest gets to soak in the narrative of each course, down to the most intricate ingredients. What makes Moonrise truly standout is the man behind the menu, and despite being just 27-years-old, chef Solemann Haddad has become one of Dubai’s most accoladed culinary creators.
Price: From Dhs650
Omakase and degusation menus
Mimi Kakushi has a leave-it-to-the-chef omakase menu, which takes place on weekdays from 7pm to 9pm. Competition for a spot at the six-seater chef’s table is fierce but it is here that Chef Go Nagano serves up a creative Japanese tasting menu across four courses, including a selection of sushi, sashimi, appetisers, a hot main, and dessert. A different kind of dinner and a show – guests surrounding the kitchen can watch a magnificent cooking performance. Mimi Kakushi’s Omakase experience is priced at Dhs1,100 per person inclusive of four courses and premium paired cocktails.
Burj Al Arab’s fine dining French restaurant, Al Muntaha, has a degustation menu for those who enjoy the finer ingredients in life. Starting with salmon trout, followed by “Roques-Hautes” asparagus, langoustine royale, guinea fowl “plin” ravioli with parmesan cream and Australian wagyu beef with potatoes and mushroom. The experience is priced at Dhs1,100 per person and an additional wine pairing will be another Dhs900. Expect world-class silver service and brilliant views of the Dubai skyline from the 27th floor of the ‘seven-star’ hotel.
Multi-award-winning Souk Madinat hotspot, Folly, has developed its tasting menu to reflect its culinary talents. Priced at Dhs475 for food only, and an additional Dhs445 with a wine pairing, it’s not as extravagantly priced as some of its competitors, and you won’t leave hungry either. Work your way through six tasty courses with a chance to broaden your palate and expectations (pigeon, anyone?).
Stay by Yannick Alleno
In addition to its premium a la carte menu, One&Only The Palm’s Stay by Yannick Alleno has two set menus on offer: The four-course Emotion menu (Dhs750 or Dhs1,300 with wine pairing) or the six-course Experience menu (Dhs950 or Dhs1,750 with wine pairing). Emotion allows you to choose between dishes such as pan-fried foie gras or pike fish ‘brioche’, and local pan-fried red mullet or milk-fed lamb saddle; while Experience has pre-selected dishes including langoustines with vanilla, sea bass ‘aiguillettes’ and kiwami Australian wagyu beef and button mushroom mille-feuille.
A popular spot that’s had the HH Sheikh Hamdan, Crown Prince of Dubai seal of approval, Katsuya’s omakase experience offers guests a special selection of dishes from the exclusive sushi counter. Take a seat and journey through Katsuya’s contemporary Japanese cuisine over eight courses whilst personally interacting with the chef. The menu is priced at Dhs1,285 and reservations must be made in advance.
Chic Chinese restaurant, Tàn Chá, has a private 12-seater dining room where it hosts exclusive omakase experiences. Chef David Pang offers a sensorial menu of 18 exquisite tastes, said to ‘transport you from the bustling seafood markets of Hong Kong to the piquant delights of Sichuan province, Beijing’s richly rewarding Peking duck, and beyond’. The menu is priced at Dhs888 per person and includes Japanese A5 wagyu, Hokkaido scallops, jellyfish, lobster and French foie gras, with freshly shaved truffles. Gather a group of eight to 12 friends and prepare to treat your tastebuds to a journey around Asian cuisine.
Words: Alice Holtham and Elise Kerr