The Dubai restaurant openings to have on your radar this December
Foodie calendars at the ready…
From festive ski chalet-inspired pop-ups to an iconic new Spanish restaurant on Palm Jumeirah, there are plenty of exciting openings in the city this month. It’s no surprise that Dubai was recently named one of the world’s top cities for foodies. And, if these latest openings share one thing in common, it’s that they should be added to your to-dine lists immediately.
Here are 11 places to book a table this December:
Looking for a casual spot to catch up with your friends? Popular Mayfair eatery NAC is officially open in Dubai. NAC, which stands for North Audley Canteen, is located on the intersection of Al Wasl Road and Street 19, where Al Safa Centre used to be. On the menu, guests can expect to catch-up over picture-perfect sharing plates inspired by the chic restaurants of Paris, as well as decadent desserts perfect for an indulgent weekend treat. The breakfasts at NAC are also legendary, so expect to tuck into some of the tastiest shakshukas, avo toasts, and fluffy pancakes you’ve ever tried.
NAC, Huna Dubai, Al Wasl Road, Dubai. Weekdays 11am to 11pm, weekends 10am to 12am. @nacdubai
Twiggy Chalet 105
It doesn’t get much more festive than this… From December 1, Twiggy by La Cantine will bring back its Chalet 105 x Montblanc experience. Guests will be transported to an alpine cabin, complete with fireplace, fondue and cosy blankets. With full cabin decor, you’d never know that you’re in Dubai, let alone a beach club with Twiggy’s incredible set-up. Picture real skis, vintage furniture, fluffy rugs and a faux fireplace; the space feels almost like a movie set. Chalet 105 is the ideal choice for a festive dinner event with friends, colleagues or loved ones.
Twiggy by La Cantine, Park Hyatt Dubai, Dubai Creek, daily from December 1, 7pm onwards. Dhs425. Tel: (0)4 602 1105. twiggy.ae/chalet-105
Top Andalusian chef Dani García is set to open his first restaurant in Dubai on December 18. The man behind some of Spain’s top restaurants, including BiBo, Lobito de Mar and Dani Brasserie, will bring his sleek steakhouse Leña to The Palm this month. If you’re not familiar with the brand, let us introduce you. Leña was born in Marbella in the summer of 2020, replacing chef Dani García’s eponymous fine dining restaurant, which the chef announced would close just 21 days after it was awarded its third Michelin star. A year after opening Leña Marbella, an opening in Madrid followed, the same year that the Marbella restaurant was recognised with the highest accolade of the restaurant category at the 2021 Restaurant & Bar Design Awards. So, we can expect some pretty wow-worthy interiors when the brand opens in Dubai.
Leña, St. Regis Gardens, at The St. Regis Dubai, The Palm – Palm Jumeirah, opening December 18, 2023. groupodanigarcia.com
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Say Ciao to Papas: Dubai Marina has a playful new Italian eatery, and it’s set to bring a ‘pizza’ La Dolce Vita to the city. Now officially welcoming guests, the personality-packed Italian restaurant is located inside the InterContinental Dubai Marina. With a stunning open-kitchen and marina-facing terrace, the restaurant looks just look like a wholesome trattoria that’s been plucked straight from the streets of Rome or Florence. Must-tries include the panzanella, burrata pizza, veal ossobuco and Sicilian cannoli. There’s even a wine window at the entrance, where you can order a glass of grape and capture the perfect Instagram moment.
Papas InterContinental Dubai Marina, 6pm to 12am Sunday to Thursday, 6pm to 1am Friday and Saturday. @papasdubai
One of our favourite Mexican taquerias has opened an outdoor winter pop-up at the stunning Keturah Reserve. Open from Wednesday to Sunday on the rooftop, the homegrown restaurant will serve its iconic wood-fired tacos, tostadas, and more. Taco’bout not to be missed. Read more about Lila Taqueria here.
Lila Taqueria pop-up, Keturah Reserve, Nad al Sheba, Dubai. Weds and Thurs 5pm to 11pm, Fri to Sun, 2pm to 12am. lilataqueria.com
Bringing a touch of la dolce vita to Dubai, chic Italian beach house LAVITA is set to open its doors this month inside the ultra-luxe Dorchester residences on Palm Jumeirah – One at Palm Jumeirah by the Dorchester Collection. Fusing Italian coastal allure with Dubai’s dynamic luxury scene, LAVITA boasts breathtaking views over the Dubai Marina and Arabian Gulf and will have a huge focus on music and entertainment, featuring a wow-worthy lineup of performers, international acts, and brand collaborations. Masterminded by hospitality experts Mine & Yours Group, the team behind Chic Nonna, LAVITA will also have two restaurant concepts: the Italian called LAVITA and a Japanese concept called Shima.
LAVITA, One at Palm Jumeirah by Dorchester Collection, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai. Opening soon. mineandyoursgroup.com
Adding to the action-packed array of culinary and leisure offerings at W Dubai – The Palm is BCH: CLB, which will be the hotel’s brand new beach club. It’s set to open soon, although an exact date is still TBC. Details remain scarce, but what we do know is that BCH: CLB will incorporate curated music from around the globe, a menu inspired by the Mediterranean, and an array of art and entertainment to take you from day to night.
BCH: CLB, W Dubai – The Palm, Palm Jumeirah, opening soon. @bchclbdxb
Luxe Italian dessert shop, Cipriani Dolci, is set to open its first stand-alone concept in one of Dubai’s oldest neighbourhoods, Jumeirah later this month. While we don’t yet have an official opening date, we do know that the new outpost will be located along Al Wasl Road in Al Safa. The café features plenty of indoor seating as well as an outdoor terrace for alfresco coffee dates. A luxurious take on the Italian Pasticceria, guests can expect decadent favourites from torta di cioccolato, ice cream freshly whipped to order, lemon tart, tiramisu and more.
Cipriani Dolci Jumeirah, Al Wasl Road, Al Safa, Dubai. Opening soon. Tel:(0)4 347 0003. cipriani.com
If you live in, or frequent Town Square Dubai, here’s some fresh and very exciting news for you, the first licensed pub is opening this November in the area. Benny Mack’s by Ben’s Farmhouse is the newest addition to the culinary roster of Dubai and it’s opening its doors in Town Square very soon. Expect a dining experience laced with loads of London gastro-pub charm to descend this December, courtesy of Chef Ben Tobbit. The menu, carefully crafted by Chef Ben fuses the quintessential gastro-pub charm from his hometown with a global flavour.
Benny Mack’s, Town Square, opening December 2023. @bennymacksdxb
Chef Akmal Anuar has unveiled plans for an exciting new restaurant in Dubai, and it’s set to open later this month. Known for his inventive, unlicensed Japanese restaurants, for his latest venture chef Akmal is turning his attention to Italian cuisine. The new Osteria Funkcoolio will have seating for just 30 guests, and while Italian flavours will be at the beating heart of the menu, chef Akmal isn’t moving entirely away from the Japanese cuisine he’s known and loved for. The new Port De La Mer eatery will instead serve ‘innovative Itameshi creations,’ which the chef describes as a collision of Italian cuisine and the best of Japanese Kyoto ingredients. So, we can’t wait to see what this menu looks like.
Osterio Funkcoolio, Port De La Mer, opening December 2023. @funkcoolio
Homegrown favourite Vietnamese Foodies will bring the vibrant flavours and aromas of Vietnam to a new location at Dubai Creek Harbour this December. Boasting a prime location with a capacity of 60 indoor dining seats and 20 outdoor dining seats, the restaurant is perched on the pretty waterfront promenade, offering a panoramic view of the 81-berth marina. Signature dishes include the 14-hour-bone-broth Beef Brisket rice paper rolls with avocado wasabi prawns, and the Banh Mi sandwich.
Vietnamese Foodies, Dubai Creek Harbour, opening December 2023. @vietnamesefoodies