Where to eat in Dubai: the hottest new tables of 2022
(CNN) — Dubai is known around the world as a center of fabulous indulgence and ambitious innovation and its food scene is no different. A seemingly endless wave of new openings has cemented its place as one of the best places on the planet to dine.
Whether you’re looking for a hip fast-food chain straight out of California or the most expensive dining experience in the world, touring from Ibiza, there are sensational options at every price point.
While there are dozens of new openings to choose from each month, here are 11 recently opened spots worth checking out.
Dave’s Hot Chicken
With backers such as celebrity fans Drake and Samuel L. Jackson, Dave’s Hot Chicken has enjoyed a meteoric rise since opening in an East Hollywood parking lot just five years ago.
Its latest launch is at The Walk at Jumeirah Beach Residence, where long queues have already testified to the appeal of their poultry. The chicken is flavored with a range of signature spices that range from No Spice to The Reaper – clearly not for the faint-hearted, and which requires you to sign a disclaimer.
Taste and technique are key and chef Dave Kopushyan brings an impressive resume, having trained at Thomas Keller’s famed French Laundry restaurant, which has held the maximum three Michelin stars since 2007.
Along with chicken tenders and sliders, Dave’s Hot Chicken fries, mac and cheese, and kale salad ensure no one will go hungry.
Sara Aqel was born and raised in Jordan in a Palestinian family for whom food was everything. After culinary school, she worked in famous kitchens around the world before taking on the role of global executive chef at Fi’lia, aged just 26, with responsibility for branches in Miami, the Bahamas, Paris and to Dubai. Based in the United Arab Emirates, she now proudly runs the Middle East’s first restaurant with an all-female management team.
Having worked with superstar chef Massimo Bottura, his cuisine on the 70th floor of SLS Dubai is Italian with Mediterranean influences, inspired by recipes passed down from generation to generation. Indeed, even the wine list is 100% from female producers. Look for bar with a crust of feta and herbs, impeccable pasta and decadent desserts, while the service team is renowned as one of the friendliest in town.
Ginger Moon, W Dubai – Mina Seyahi
A brand new hotel opening, W Dubai – Mina Seyahi sits on Barasti Beach and overlooks the sleek yachts of the harbor and bay beyond. Its Ginger Moon restaurant bills itself as an « urban beach club » thanks to a sprawling terrace and infinity pool that attract crowds eager to find the perfect Instagram shot while relaxing in cabanas for DJ sets.
As a starter on the eclectic and international menu, marinated snapper ceviche or hamachi sit alongside beef tartare or creamy burrata with smoked peaches. For the main event, seafood is the biggest draw in fragrant bowls of mussels, crispy sea bass with tamarind or shallow fried squid with a sweet chilli dip.
The Olivo at Al Mahara, Burj Al Arab
Capri’s Olivio is on an extended pop-up at the Al Mahara in the Burj Al Arab.
Although Al Mahara Restaurant has been an integral part of Dubai’s legendary Burj Al Arab hotel for years, it recently hosted an extended pop-up by chef Andrea Migliaccio of two-Michelin-starred L’Olivo restaurant at Capri Palace Jumeirah in southern Italy. This being Dubai and the Burj, Al Mahara’s setting is extraordinary, as dinners are served surrounded by a large coral reef aquarium.
Whether choosing their tasting menu or à la carte, the dishes come straight from Capri, including their tagliolini al limone. Delicate strands of homemade pasta are flavored with lemon, oyster leaf and topped with burrata cheese and a dollop of sweet red shrimp. A starter of golden fish is enhanced by classic Sicilian caponata sauce, famous for its sweet-and-sour balance, before an apricot sorbet and meringues conclude the five courses, once again celebrating the finest Italian ingredients.
Demon Duck by Alvin Leung, Caesars Palace Dubai
Chef Alvin Leung’s Demon Duck is the latest in Caesars Palace Dubai’s many dining destinations. There’s no doubt you’ve come to the right place as the walls are adorned with original depictions of ducks by photographer Mark Chung, while there are no prizes for guessing the menu star.
Leung’s slow-roasted Peking duck is a worthy signature dish, thanks to a time-consuming and time-consuming process that includes brining, blanching, aging and slow cooking before rapid cooking at high temperatures, all to ensure a crispy skin and succulent meat. He serves it on bao buns flavored with calamansi, a type of citrus fruit, accompanied by « devil sauce », but purists may choose to opt for traditional pancakes, scallions, cucumber and hoisin sauce.
Orfali Bros has been awarded a Michelin Bib Gourmand for its value-for-money dishes.
Three Syrian brothers, Mohammad, Wassim and Omar Orfali. have created one of the hottest culinary tickets in town with this modern bistro celebrating their global culinary experiences. The open kitchen allows diners to see Mohammad at work on dishes such as Guess What?, which combines local lacto-fermented tomatoes with cucumber, herbs, sourdough and feta, or Come with Me to Aleppo, a kebab with sour cherries, pine nuts and cinnamon.
Two Asian cuisines collide at Maya Bay, a restaurant that opened in Monaco in 2005 and has now arrived at Dubai’s Jumeirah Al Naseem hotel with its mix of Thai and Japanese dishes. This translates into an extensive menu featuring everything from sushi and sashimi to curries and salads, from Japanese mochi sweets to Thai pandan cake.
British head chef Shane Macneill leads the team serving up classics and new creations, some with optional extra decadence, like the uramaki sushi roll with wagyu and caviar. Signatures include black cod in a sweet miso sauce cooked over charcoal, or favorite versatile stir-fried noodles, Pad Thai. Drink-wise, cocktails have a tropical vibe while sakes and teas are other pairing options.
Inti, the Dubai EDITION
Inti serves Peruvian-Japanese Nikkei cuisine near the Burj Khalifa.
Inti takes its name from the word sun in Quechua, the language spoken by the Incas which is still spoken today in Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia. Start with tempura-cooked eggplant, black cod gyoza dumplings, or perhaps their wide selection of ceviches and salads. Besides steaks and seafood grilled in the Josper oven, their skewers of anticuchos are also popular, with marinated chicken, jumbo shrimp or corn among the options.
Sublimotion, Mandarin Oriental, Dubai
It may only be a six-month residency ending in May 2023, but multi-sensory pop-up Sublimotion – usually based in Ibiza – is the 12-seat diner everyone wants to book . Well, everyone’s pockets are deep, because this restaurant is known as the most expensive restaurant in the world: dinner costs just 5,000 dirhams ($1,361) per person. But hey, unlimited premium drinks are included.
What’s on offer is a tasting menu of up to 20 interactive courses of true culinary theatre. Projected images and music combine to ensure that diners should expect nothing but the unexpected, as the dining room transforms into settings that include the ocean and forest, while VR headsets also take eat in totally unexpected new directions.
TAB®, Downtown St. Regis
Unexpected and surreal theatrical entertainment is a feature of the menu at TAB® on the 23rd floor of the St. Regis Downtown. Sumo wrestlers, human « wolves », magicians and geishas make appearances throughout the evening on various stages, mingling with diners to the sounds of the resident DJ.
On the dining side, TAB® Executive Chef Roberto Segura oversees a Japanese-Peruvian menu that includes sushi and ceviche, salads and Ishiyaki stone bowls, as well as an array of steaks.
Tuna tartare with sesame cones or sea urchin with caviar are among the small bites to start, before heartier starters like a clay pot of Chilean sea bass, a king crab leg with yuzu or a lightly braised rib of beef . They also highlight their vegan credentials, including in the desserts.
Finally to Avatāra, an all-vegetarian dining experience that celebrates the diverse cuisines of northeast India. Chef Rahul Rana comes from Rishikesh in the foothills of the Himalayas and serves dishes that reflect his background and experience, while trying to change perceptions of vegetarian food.
Thus, a steamed dumpling known as momo is filled with jackfruit, giving it a meaty texture similar to pulled pork, accompanied by thukpa, a noodle soup flavored with lemongrass. Another dish traditionally served at festive parties is fried lentil fritters served with fermented carrots. Coconut kheer – a type of fragrant pudding – is a light-hearted way to end a tasting menu with a strong focus on health.