18 homegrown UAE restaurants that have gone global
Born in the UAE…
It would be an understatement to say the Dubai food scene is thriving right now, with new restaurants popping up every week. And while we often see international outposts achieving success in the emirate, it’s incredible to see our beloved local restaurants also achieving success abroad.
From London to Monte Carlo, here are 18 homegrown restaurants that are going global:
Popular licensed Japanese street food concept and Tokyo-style pizzeria is the go-to place in D3, Dubai Hills Mall, Yas Bay, and can now be found in Jeddah City Yard, Saudi Arabia. Plus, according to The Caterer, the Japanese restaurant is further expanding, opening 30 venues in India over the next five years.
Ammos, located in the Rixos JBR, will make you feel like you’ve stepped out of Dubai and into the heart of Greece for a moment. Set in an airy open plan venue that leads out onto an alfresco terrace overlooking the sea, the tables and chairs are set in a blue and white hues that brings the island of Santorini to mind. The homegrown brand by Sunset Hospitality will open at the iconic destination Ushuaïa Ibiza Beach Hotel in June 2023.
Serving authentic Emirati cuisine since 1997, Arabian Teahouse is a great spot to sample local favourites in a traditional environment. Founded by Emirati businessman Ali Al Rais, the restaurant preserves the cultural identity of the Arabs with inspiration from local family recipes. It became the first Emirati restaurant to open overseas with branches in Egypt and Montenegro.
Avli by tashas
DIFC’s popular Greek restaurant, Avli by tashas, brings authentic tastes and textures from Athens, reflecting the effortless beauty of the Greek capital. Founded by restauranteur Natasha Sideris, the restaurant honours her philosophy of beautiful food, stunning environments, and engaging service. Following its huge success in Dubai, the gorgeous restaurant will take on Bahrain in the near future, set to open in the Bahrain Harbour.
When Rafih Filli took over his father’s cafeteria in Dubai’s Al Mamzar area, he made one small yet mighty change to the menu. He added a cup of milky chai dusted with saffron and named it Filli tea. Filli gradually expanded, first in Dubai, then to Qatar, and now has branches across the UK, USA, India, Oman, and Mauritius.
The homegrown burger brand, known for its cool and colourful pop-ups, has officially opened in Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, as well as a Salt Camp in Japan and soon-to-open in Bahrain. From humble beginnings as a food truck on Kite Beach, the brand has come a long way since 2014 with four locations in Dubai alone.
Flamingo Room by tashas
Combining elegance and sophistication with a playful personality, evident by way of bronze meerkats and monkeys throughout, Flamingo Room by tashas is a testament to Africa’s refined side. Founded by restauranteur Natasha Sideris, the Dubai restaurant is one of the most glamorous and popular restaurants in the city – found at the lagoon side in Jumeirah Al Naseem. In Saudi Arabia, the same chic interiors and delicious dishes can be expected at the newly-opened Bujairi Terrace in Riyadh.
Already a firm favourite on Dubai’s fine dining circuit is the brainchild of Chef Izu Ani, Gaia. The upscale Greek restaurant with its pretty interiors, coastal Aegean vibes, and delicious menu is now open in Monte Carlo, Doha, and at the 1 Mayfair Hotel in London.
What started as a passion project by three Emiratis has turned into a global craze with five locations including Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The delicious burgers which won What’s On favourite burger 2022, are prepared using a mix of 100 per cent fresh and antibiotic-free premium quality prime cuts that are all ground in-house.
Il Borro Tuscan Bistro
The authentic Italian restaurant perched at the edge of the turtle lagoon in Jumeirah al Naseem has been a huge success for its dedication to creating a taste of Italy in Dubai to an unfalteringly high standard. In 2021, Il Borro opened its second outpost in London located in a secluded private dining room which overlooks Mayfair’s bustling Berkeley Street.
Like most great culinary stories, Kinoya started from a supper club by Chef Neha Mishra, before she opened the permanent restaurant Kinoya in The Greens. The laid-back restaurant soon became one of Dubai’s top ramen spots with wonderful food and great company. Kinoya was recently named number seven on the MENA 50 Best restaurants list. Now the ramen spot is open in London inside the luxe new Dining Hall in Harrods.
Homegrown Indian restaurant Mohalla first opened in Dubai Design District, before opening its first international outpost in Riyadh last year. With a regional take on Indian food, Mohalla, which translates into ‘my neighbourhood’ or ‘my community’, was born out of a love for food, family and bringing different cultures together.
Since 2018, this Dubai institution has taken guests on a journey through traditional Greek cuisine, paired with fun-filled festivities that include plate smashing and zorba dancing. The unmissable experience has become a hit worldwide and is open in Mumbai, St Tropez, and Bahrain, with more to come.
Fresh fast food concept Pickl has taken Dubai by storm (chicken caesar sando, we’re looking at you!) and after three years launched their first international outpost in the Kingdom of Bahrain.
Founded by Chef Reif Othman, Reif Kushiyaki is an unconventional Japanese restaurant, devoted to the many different parts of the chicken – neck to tail. An edgy and affordable alternative to kushiyaki experiences, the restaurant also has a special daily menu and an exclusive chef’s table menu. Proudly homegrown, Reif Kushiyaki opened an outpost in Cairo last year, which was recently ranked no.45 in MENA’s 50 best, with future plans to open in Doha.
Since opening in DIFC in 2012, Roberto’s has won over the hearts of Dubai diners. With welcoming warm interiors and a stunning terrace with city views, the Italian restaurant promises an unforgettable dining experience, each and every time. In 2019, Roberto’s Mare Montenegro was born from the legacy of Roberto’s Dubai. Located in Porto Montenegro, the restaurant lies in a stunning riviera location and the definition of la dolce vita. Roberto’s has also recently expanded to Amman and Doha, with an upcoming opening in Muscat.
The Crossing is a fine dining spot that takes the hidden gems of the Rajput kitchens and puts them at the forefront. Located in the H Hotel, the restaurant recently opened a second outpost in France, bringing its unforgettable flavours and rich culinary heritage to Galeries Lafayette Le Gourmet in Paris.
Established in 2014, Dubai’s first homegrown New England seaside brasserie, The Maine, was founded by Montreal restauranteur, Joey Ghazal. Opening its first international outpost in London in 2021, the glamourous Maine Mayfair, known for its sparkling jazz nights, can be found in Hanover Square. This summer, Maine Ibiza opened its doors, transforming an 18th Century finca a short drive from Ibiza Town to the perfect spot for sun-drenched lunches and late night dinners.
Known for its progressive Indian cuisine, Trèsind first opened in Dubai in 2014 and has since been recognised by the likes of the Dubai Michelin Guide and MENA’s 50 Best. The homegrown restaurant opened its first international outpost in Mumbai last year.