Introducing our What’s On Editors’ Choice award winners… 

Dubai is packed with a never-ending list of amazing restaurants, making it nearly impossible to pick the absolute best. But when you’re looking for a fail-safe dinner spot, it can be hard to know where to begin.

To help you navigate this foodie paradise, we recently hosted our annual What’s On Dubai awards ceremony to show you and celebrate the best of the city. We crowned winners across 52 categories as voted by you, our readers. And because our team also knows a thing or two about the city’s restaurant scene there are six awards chosen exclusively by What’s On.

While we each have our own (ever-evolving) list of favourite eateries, there are some restaurants in Dubai that we all agree are exceptional. These six awards represent those unanimous choices—from exciting new openings to beloved local favourites.

So without further ado, this is our editors’ personal Dubai restaurant recommendations that we keep going back to. Whichever you pick. You wont be disappointed.

For even more, check out our full list of 2024 award winners as voted by our readers.

Restaurant of the Year – Kinoya

From humble beginnings as underground supper club, A Story of Food, back in 2017 chef Neha Mishra created her restaurant Kinoya, which became the sole reason for foodies to go to The Greens when it opened in Onyx Tower in 2021. In the years that have followed, she’s innovated and accelerated, while still pouring the same passion into her innovative Japanese dishes as she did when she began serving ramen from her home kitchen to friends. Regardless of the occasion, Kinoya is a fail-safe restaurant for residents, visitors, business lunches and date night dinners. And this year, its meteoric success reached new heights when Kinoya became one of an elite few homegrown Dubai concepts, opening as a 20-seater eatery in the world’s most iconic food hall, Harrods in London.

What’s On: What does it take to stay at the top of your game in the Dubai dining scene?

Adrian Chow, GM: You must be very active and present in all aspects of your business. You can’t expect things to do well magically, you have to live and breathe the business.

Newcomer of the Year – Chez Wam

If Dubai is a cultural melting pot, then Chez Wam is a culinary one. The brainchild of star chef Hadrien Villedieu, it is a journey through his personal memory bank, with the menu featuring influences from the Mediterranean coast as present as those from the streets of Tokyo. We imagine that if we went round to Chef Hadrien’s for dinner, the menu at Chez Wam is what he’d feed us. The St Regis Gardens eatery successful manages to feel sophisticated and yet welcoming, and is neatly arranged around the open kitchen, where chef Hadrien can always be found, leading his brigade to create a restaurant that quite simply leaves you wanting more every time.

WO: How does it feel to be What’s On Dubai’s newcomer of the year?

Chef Hadrien Villedieu: Being recognized by What’s On Dubai’s is an incredible feeling, especially for us as newcomers in Dubai’s vibrant culinary scene. It’s validation and appreciation of our hard work and dedication, and it means we’ve exceeded our own expectations. This award is a tribute to our team members who work tirelessly every day to ensure our guests leave satisfied and eager to return. We’re truly honored and grateful for this recognition.


Chef of the Year – Kelvin Cheung, Jun’s

Since bursting onto the scene in Downtown Dubai two years ago, third-culture chef and restaurateur KelvinCheung has captivated the city’s culinary scene with his trailblazing creations. Seamlessly blending influences from his Canadian and Chinese roots, Chicago upbringing, and culinary experiences in America, Hong Kong, and France, Chef’s Kelvin’s cooking is impossible to tie to one cuisine. The Willy Wonka of the culinary world, Chef Kelvin infuses each dish with his distinct personality, skillfully intertwining nostalgia, innovation, and stories from his childhood, to create culinary masterpieces that leave diners spellbound. Chef Kelvin is also committed to sustainability, crafting his menu seasonally based on what is available at local farms.

WO: When people come to Jun’s what do you hope is their lasting impression?

Chef Kelvin Cheung: There’s no smoke and mirrors here, the goal at Jun’s isn’t a pretty plate or social media friendly food, it’s that every diner takes a bite and immediately wants more – we want each and every one of our guests to keep returning. Every dish has a story at Jun’s – you should feel like we’re fast friends after listening to all of the stories told, and that you know me on a deeper level. Most of all, I hope you’ve had moments of joy when biting into our food.


Culinary experience of the Year – Row on 45

Image: Row on 45

The crowning jewel in star chef Jason Atherton’s tripod of culinary experiences at Grosvenor House is Row on 45. On every level: setting, atmosphere, service, cuisine, wine pairing – it excels. The 17-course modular, multi-setting menu is nothing short of a sensorial safari. A broadly European menu enhanced by masterful Asian side steps, along the way guests are invited to ruminate on evoked palate snapshots from Chef Jason’s exotic kitchen expeditions, absorb the theatre of precision detail presentation, and the operatic choreography of service par excellence.

WO: What’s your favourite dish on the menu?

Chef Daniel Birk: That is a tough question, personally I love the bafun uni and Norwegian langoustine but the brioche and chicken fat butter gives me the greatest satisfaction, knowing that the guests enjoy it so much.


Homegrown restaurant of the year – Odeon

Underrated and authentic, Odeon is a Jumeirah Beach Road villa-turned-French food haven with a fresh food market/fromagerie/patisserie downstairs and refined restaurant upstairs. Managed by a lovely French husband-and-wife who handle the kitchen and FOH respectively, its traditional French cuisine, served with passion and love, sets it apart in Dubai’s culinary landscape. Odeon is a deserving recipient of our Homegrown Restaurant of the Year award, embodying the spirit of gastronomic adventure and homegrown entrepreneurial success.

WO: What’s your favourite part of running Odeon?

Morgane Duhamel, Co-Founder: People. Chef Thomas always says, “J’aime faire plaisir à mes clients” (I like to please my customers), by that he means the generosity of sharing the best food, best products, best service and great prices for our guests to be happy. And by people we mean also our team, being able to create this family around us, see how they are linked to each other, learning every day and see how Odeon means for them, it’s wonderful. The positive feedback of guests and the power of team spirit, these are what creates the magic in a company and most of all in a restaurant were guests are coming in and out all day and brings incredible energy!


Sustainable restaurant of the year – Lila Wood-Fired Taqueria

Homegrown and family-run, this cosy unlicensed eatery in Jumeirah 3 is the brainchild of chef Shaw Lash and her husband, Tarek. The first wood fired taqueria in the city has had the foodies flocking to its door since opening little over a year ago, and with good reason. Not only is their authentic Mexican fare truly outstanding, they pour passion and determination into sustainable production and locally sourcing ingredients wherever possible. They buy all their seafood from local fishermen, and work with Integrated Green Resources (IGR) as the local farm partner who grow Mexican vegetables locally and organically.

WO: What one dish should everyone order at Lila Taqueria?

Chef Shaw Lash: You cannot beat our Heirloom Tomato Tostadas – the tomatoes are from seeds from my personal seed collection, grown locally, and picked and brought to our restaurant – they are finished with crunchy greens also grown from my seeds, and a guajillo chile oil. Paired with our crunchy tostadas, it is really a lovely appreciation of our local agriculture.


Images: Social/Provided