First look: Stunning new steakhouse Leña Dubai
Leña is a haute steakhouse from one of Andalusia’s top culinary disruptors…
Dani García is a chef that isn’t afraid to make bold moves. In 2018, just 22 days after his eponymous Dani García Restaurante in Marbella earned its third Michelin Star, the Andalusian chef patron gathered his team to announce that the restaurant would be closing at the end of the 2019 season. His reason? As the chef bid farewell to fine dining, he turned his attention to making casual Spanish cuisine, and delivering it to diners across the world.
In the years that have followed, Groupo Dani Garcia has opened restaurants all over the world, from cool tapas bars to a sleek steakhouse, Leña. And it’s the latter that’s officially opening welcoming guests in Dubai from Monday December 18.
The Marbella outpost (the second in the world, with Dubai the third) was voted the world’s most beautiful restaurant in 2021. And those same stunning interiors are found within the stunning new Dubai iteration.
The restaurant is the latest addition to St Regis Gardens, a new Palm Jumeirah dining destination already home to Signor Sassi, Chez Wam, and Tresind Studio. Alongside Leña, the Dubai venue will also feature Garcia’s return to fine dining with an iteration of the 14-seater Smoked Room, which will open from December 26. An intimate chefs table that pays homage to the art of grilling, here, guests are served a Fire Omakase menu, with each dish revolving around the essence of smoke.
Back to Leña, and a flame-inspired design leads the aesthetic of this contemporary dining space. Guests are welcomed into an impressive bar and lounge area, which then moves through into a decadent dining space backed by an expansive open kitchen. Still to come in the next few weeks, the pièce de résistance is the outdoor terrace, with seating for 140, that gazes out over the Palm Jumeirah.
“Leña was born when I closed my three Michelin Star restaurant, we opened it in that space. I wanted to do something special but accessible. So we decided to do a charcoal grill restaurant, a steakhouse but a steakhouse 2.0,” chef Dani Garcia told What’s On ahead of the opening. “When I bring it to Dubai, it’s a steakhouse 3.0. It’s focused on the grill and on the charcoal, with lots of natural ingredients; vegetables and meat, but we’re also introducing charcoal-grilled seafood and fish. It’s a very natural cuisine with a lot of heart and soul.”
Unsurprisingly, the menu is a meaty masterpiece with a dedicated steaks section, as well as premium cuts plus a selection of sharing plates like the Angus ribeye and roasted duck breast. But there’s also a whole ‘green section,’ featuring veggie options such as grilled avocado and a signature tomato salad. New for Dubai, there’s also seafood dishes including grilled king crab and oven baked tuna steak.
While Leña might be the first Dani Garcia restaurant in Dubai, it’s unlikely it will be the last. “If Leña is as successful as we hope, for sure we’re going to see more concepts of our company here,” he explains. “Bibo could be great somewhere on the beach, or La Chambre Bleue, our Mediterranean restaurant could be great too,” he adds.
Leña, St Regis Gardens, Palm Jumeirah, opens December 18, 2023. @lenadubai.dg