Bored of your usual hot spots? Mix it up with a trip to one of these new Dubai restaurants…
As much as we love our favourite foodie spots and watering holes (you can check out our 2018 award winning venues right here), we’re also all about trying something new.
Which is why we’ve rounded up our top 10 new restaurants in Dubai to try (bookmark this as we’ll keep updating it).
From international exports from New York to homegrown restaurants that are truly top notch, these new additions to the foodie scene all opened in the last few months and are well worth a visit…
1. Bull and Bear
Waldorf Astoria has opened its second Dubai hotel in DIFC. The entire hotel has been designed to emulate the glamour of the original Waldorf Astoria in New York, and that’s none more so present than in Bull & Bear. Though the now-closed New York original was solely a steakhouse, Bull & Bear in Dubai serves as the signature restaurant for the hotel, and promises a menu of international dishes inspired by all-time classics. Though the main courses do expand into seafood and vegetarian options, you’re missing out if you don’t order one of the black onyx beef steaks. The restaurant is beautiful, and while the menu may have evolved from the original New York outpost for a modern Dubai market, its influence is everywhere in the décor. Navy blue hued leather booths, chairs and curtains are complimented by dark woods and glamourous accents of gold that make you feel like you’re stepping into an upscale New York City steakhouse. You’re only reminded that you’re still in Dubai as you gaze out of the floor to ceiling windows of the 18th floor restaurant towards the looming skyscrapers of DIFC and the Burj Khalifa beyond.
Bull & Bear, Waldorf Astoria Dubai International Financial Centre, DIFC, 6.30am to 10.30am, 12pm to 4pm and 7pm to 12am, daily. Tel: (04) 5159888. waldorfastoria3.hilton.com
2. The Maine Street Eatery
The Maine Oyster Bar & Grill in JBR is one of a rare breed of restaurants in Dubai that has not only maintained its popularity since opening three years ago, but arguably increased in acclaim. So what can its sister restaurant, The Maine Street Eatery, bring to the table? The interiors are contemporary and welcoming; a monochrome-striped awning shades guests on the patio, while inside there’s a large marble top horseshoe shaped bar which separates a handful of bar tables and the white tiled kitchen where guests can watch the expert chefs at work. In the small restaurant, which has seating for roughly 60, dark blue leather booths and black chairs contrast against bright mint green and white walls, and it’s all made to feel light and airy thanks to the large windows that open up to the poolside terrace and children’s play area. The menu features a mix of the best-loved dishes from the original restaurant, and cool additions such as new pizzas, salads and carvery boards, as well as daily specials. As with the original, The Maine Street Eatery serves up seriously impressive brasserie food and it’s worth the trip even if you’re not nearby for the fish tacos alone.
The Maine Street Eatery, Studio One Hotel, Dubai Studio City, daily noon to midnight. Tel: (04) 5572468. themaine.ae
Paru, which is Japanese for pearl, sits on the rooftop of the resort and is the second Dubai venture for celebrity chef Akira Back. The first area of the restaurant is an outdoor terrace, while to the left is the main restaurant and bar, which has a white origami-style trellis travelling along the ceiling and back wall, allowing a neon LED light to glow through. The final area is the lounge terrace, where guests can enjoy a cocktail and shisha, overlooking the hotel’s stunning pool deck. Opt for the omakase (Japanese for ‘I’ll leave it up to you’) menu, where the chef will personally choose five courses (Dhs450) or seven courses (Dhs750) for you to sample. Hopefully you’ll get to meet courteous Head Chef Jin Woong Kim for yourself as he often likes to visit tables for guests’ feedback. If you’re searching for one of those ‘I feel like I’m on vacation’ moments, cross over to the second terrace after your meal for a cocktail or pot of tea and take in the stunning night-sky views.
Paru, Caesars Resort Bluewaters Dubai, Bluewaters, Sat to Wed 5pm to 1am, Thur & Fri 5pm to 2am. Tel: (04) 556 6466. caesars.com/dubai/restaurants/paru
4. Akira Back Dubai
To reach Akira Back Dubai, guests enter through a dramatic vortex-style entrance. Dramatic, yes, but intimidating, no, thanks to a friendly hostess who greets and leads us into the main restaurant. You’ll have to pass an open kitchen and sushi counter to get to it, although due to the long, narrow nature of the restaurant, there’s only few seats where you can actually watch the chefs at work. Inside, tables are split between cushy velvet booths set back against the wall and lower level tables that look out through floor-to-ceiling windows. If the weather permits, try the terrace. It’s got a sultry, LA rooftop vibe that Akira Back restaurants are synonymous for, with dim lighting interrupted by neon pink hues, a floating bar surrounded by water, and smooth house hits providing the perfect soundtrack to the setting. The views are stunning. While directly below you can see across the expansive pool deck, further into the distance the Dubai skyline serves as a picture-perfect backdrop. The restaurant’s slick sophistication extends to the menu. All designed to share, it’s split into soup, cold and hot dishes, salads, signature rolls, robata, sushi and sashimi, mains and sides. It’s an extensive selection, and although we note some pan-Asian influences, it focusing mostly on Japanese cuisine. With most dishes upwards of Dhs80, dining at Akira Back can be quite pricey. But for the stunning setting, sleek atmosphere and delicious dishes, we’ll be back, Back.
W Dubai – The Palm, Palm Jumeirah, Sat to Thur 7pm to 12.30am, Fri 12.30pm to 4pm, 7pm to 12.30am. Tel: (04) 245 5555. marriott.com
Marea Dubai is the brand-new addition to Dubai International Financial Centre’s repertoire of exclusive venues. Having spent a decade at the top of its game in New York, Marea has earned two Michelin stars and been voted as one of the best Italian restaurants in Manhattan. Inside you’ll find space for 125 guests on the upper floor, with a luxurious leather seating and neat white tables angled around the space. There’s a chic cocktail bar as you walk in, with a wall of amber art glowing from behind and a row of plush blue velvet bar stalls for guests to enjoy a drink before their meal. Downstairs is a more expansive bar area, with low, intimate seating for 65 and a more metropolitan vibe, perfect for live music which will apparently come at a later stage. The first class food is certainly the restaurant’s pull, but we’ll see how the venue fares against the picky DIFC after-work drinks crowd. Not yet a thriving hotspot, Marea Dubai has the potential to reach the status of its American counterpart, only by playing its card right.
Marea, DIFC Gate Village 7, daily 12pm to 3pm then Sat to Tues 7pm to 1am, Weds & Thurs 7pm to 3am and Fridays 7pm to midnight. Tel: (04) 583 6366. marea.ae
On our visit to Netsu, a Japanese offering from the just-open Mandarin Oriental Jumeira, Dubai, something bizarre is happening. Namely: no one is looking at their phones. Everyone’s heads are turned instead towards the Warayaki grill slap-bang in the middle of the restaurant, where 900°C flames – as a waiter will casually inform you, should you get too close – shoot two metres into the air. Traditionally a practice from the Kochi region of Japan, where fishermen roast their tuna over straw fires for maximum searing and a rare centre, the centerpiece sets the tone for some excellent meats and fishes to come. Enthusiastic waiters (plus a sake sommelier) are on hand to advise on the somewhat extensive menu, comprised of various small, hot and cold dishes, sushi and sashimi, tempura, maki rolls, Netsu specials… you get the idea. There’s a lot of choice. Netsu is pricey, but the ambience – plus dedication to traditional cooking styles – renders it a must-go for an intimate evening.
Netsu, Mandarin Oriental Jumeira, Dubai, 7pm to late, daily. Tel: (04) 7772232. mandarinoriental.com/dubai
7. Masterchef, The TV Experience
Masterchef is housed in an industrial space filled with an accumulation of mixed-material furniture. There’s chrome and leather seats and wooden classroom-style chairs sitting incongruously together at one table. You might think from the name that this restaurant expects its guests to cook their own dinner, but all cooking is done by professionals in the kitchen. The part the guest does play is in the choosing, which can be just as difficult as the culinary preparation. The menu is a nine-page novel of dish after dish, all created by the finalists and champions of the famous show. If you’re not in the mood to leaf through the options and fancy a surprise for your main, you can opt for the Mystery Box, priced at Dhs300 for two or Dhs600. Guests are asked to pick five mystery ingredients that the chef will use to create an exclusive meal for you- and you’ll be given the recipe as a momento of your Mystery Box experience.
Masterchef, the TV Experience, Millennium Place Marina, Al Marsa St, lunch 12pm to 3pm, dinner 7pm to 11pm, daily. Tel: (04) 550 8111. masterchefdxb.com
Amalfi coast-inspired restaurant Alici is located on the waterfront of Bluewaters island, and walking inside feels like stepping into a cosy family-run trattoria on the Italian coast. Everything inside Alici – which means anchovy in Italian – is beautiful. Contemporary cream interiors are blissfully interrupted by art and pottery, most of which has been hand painted by ‘The Anchovy Man’, famed in Italy for his fish paintings. The two-storey restaurant is split into an intimate restaurant space with a raw bar downstairs, and a livelier upstairs where you’ll find an inviting bar, private dining area and partially open-plan kitchen, where you can just see in to watch chefs at work as you pass by. Both floors open up to terraces, with the ground floor terrace lined with flowers native to the Amalfi Coast, and the upper outdoor area offering stunning views towards the twinkling Dubai Marina skyline. It’s the only reminder you’ll get that you haven’t left Dubai for the glittering waters of the southern Italian coast. The menu is extensive but not overbearing, and a friendly waiter guides us through it, confidently recommending his favourite dishes while ensuring we don’t over order. Food is flawless, service is engaging without being obtrusive, and while dishes aren’t cheap – they’re not overly expensive either. We’re calling it, Alici is a strong contender for Dubai’s best new restaurant.
Alici, Bluewaters, off JBR, Dubai Marina, daily noon to 3.30pm and 7pm to 11.30pm. Tel: (04) 2752577. alici.com
Unless you live or work in KOA Canvas, a cutting-edge development near Al Barari, you’re not just going to happen upon Lowe. This sleek new eatery takes some seeking – but those who do make the drive to Mohammed Bin Rashid Gardens are in for a treat. Helmed by chefs Jesse Blake and Kate Christou, who came up through the kitchen ranks in Australia and New Zealand, this all-day restaurant is a rare beast for Dubai: a laid-back ambience with whip-smart service, and a menu that’s accomplished, but still deliciously approachable. Jesse and Kate met while working at Melbourne dining icon Cumulus Inc., and that seasonal, produce-driven approach is writ large across their sharing menu. Gather as many of your pals as you can for the trip to Lowe, because you’re going to want to taste it all.
Lowe, KOA Canvas, Wadi Al Safa 3, daily, 7am to 11.30am (8am on weekends), 12pm to 3.30pm, 5pm to 11pm. Tel: (04) 320 1890. lowe-dubai.com
10. Torno Subito
A certain level of expectation comes with any restaurant opening from a celebrity chef. But, when it’s the first restaurant outside of Italy from Massimo Bottura, the man behind world number one restaurant Osteria Francescana, the expectation is even higher. Inside Torno Subito serves as an ode to Bottura’s memories and childhood. Elements of Massimo’s playful side are everywhere. Modern, neutral colours and furnishings are forgone in favour of bold hues of green, yellow, pink, blue and red, mismatched together with monochrome stripes that give the restaurant a retro, Italian-Riviera feel. The menu is split into six simple sections: Starters, Pasta (available in medium and large portions), Main Courses, Sides, Pizza and Dessert, all available for lunch and dinner. Many of the staff have come from Massimo’s three-Michelin star Osteria Francescana in Modena, and talk animatedly and knowledgeably about the menu, which is a far more casual offering than its famous sister in Modena. Torno Subito may not be Osteria Francescana, but nor does it want to be. It’s certainly up there with some of the tastiest Italian dishes we’ve had in Dubai, and it certainly delivers on its promise of laid back, Italian Riviera-style dining.
Torno Subito, W Dubai – The Palm, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai, daily 12pm to 3pm and 7pm to 11pm. Tel: (04) 245 5555. marriott.com