Home to Michelin-starred chefs, jaw-dropping dining rooms and a smorgasbord of cuisines from across the globe, Dubai boasts one of the most eclectic restaurant scenes in the world.
A beloved holiday destination of the rich and famous, restaurants in Dubai can be found in luxury hotels, dotted along the marina or inside the city’s towering skyscrapers such as the Burj Khalifa (the world’s tallest building, no less). Dubai is also home to a celebration of global cuisines, meaning you can find pretty much every country represented here. So, whether you’re in the mood for high-end Japanese food, traditional Italian fare or a good old-fashioned steakhouse, it’s likely that Dubai will have a restaurant to accommodate you.
We’ve just launched SquareMeal in the UAE, and to celebrate, we’ve rounded up some of the best restaurants you can find in Dubai. Learn all about our favourites below and simply click on the names of the restaurants to book a table for your next trip.
Social by Heinz Beck
A chef with three Michelin stars to his name is not to be sniffed at, and the food at Social by Heinz Beck proves why. Bringing contemporary Italian cuisine to the sun-soaked shores of Dubai, Social by Heinz Beck finds its home in a refined wood-panelled dining room. Highlights from the accomplished menu include the likes of seafood paccheri pasta with parsley foam, and duck breast on Jerusalem artichoke purée, with bok-choy and raspberries.
Michelin-starred British chef Jason Atherton is a big deal in his home country, and his Social Company restaurant group operates a handful of international locations, including this dark and moody space at the InterContinental hotel. From Marina Social's open kitchen, expect Mediterranean-inspired dishes which are designed to be shared, such as goat’s cheese 'churros' with truffle honey, while the standalone dessert bar is a fun touch.
The second STK in Dubai finds its home at the Address Hotel, offering up jaw-dropping views of The Dubai Fountain and The Burj Khalifa thanks to its garden terrace. It’s not all about looks here though (although STK does tend to attract a rather glamorous crowd), with the tempting menu including STK’s signature USDA and Wagyu beef steaks, alongside indulgent sides such as lobster mac ‘n’ cheese and Parmesan-topped fries.
With coastal views aplenty, Dubai is home to a wealth of tantalising waterside restaurants. Pierchic is one such place, found at the end of the pier at the Al Qasr Hotel (guests are transported via rickshaws) in a glass-panelled dining room. While taking in the views, you can tuck into classic seafood dishes such as tiger prawns or wild Mediterranean seabass. The seafood brunch, accompanied by Veuve Clicquot Champagne, is also plenty of fun.
Giardino at the Palazzo Versace Hotel
Boasting 215 rooms and suites designed by high-fashion brand Versace, the Palazzo is quite the spectacle. Giardino (the hotel’s restaurant) is equally as dramatic, featuring imposing columns, marble floors and jungle-inspired motifs on the walls. The menu is normally an internationally-inspired affair, but we’d recommend visiting on Wednesday to try the Ocean Feast – a celebration of seafood featuring live cooking stations and a raw seafood bar.
Translating from Arabic as ‘the top’, Al Muntaha lives up to its name thanks to its 27th floor dining room, which boasts panoramic views across Dubai, seen through floor-to-ceiling glass windows. The restaurant serves classic French dishes, including turbot in a beurre blanc sauce, or herb-crusted lamb served with a sweet potato purée and wild mushrooms. Round off your meal with an indulgent chocolate tart, while drinking in those unforgettable views.
Turkish chef Nusret Gökçe, otherwise known as Salt Bae, has turned his viral fame into a collection of steakhouses across the globe. This Dubai outpost of Nusr-Et is as slick as you’d expect, turning out signature dishes such as the beef spaghetti (essentially spiralised steak) and steaks that are stuffed with melted cheese. Large windows overlooking Dubai’s glittering skyline add to the sense of spectacle, while there’s sushi and salads for those not in the mood for steak.
Internationally renowned Hakkasan is known for its delicious Cantonese cuisine and popularity among the world’s rich and famous. Its Dubai location features a stunning terrace with cabanas that overlook the water, while inside you’ll find a menu that includes Hakkasan signatures such as dim sum platters and the Peking duck. For a full grasp of the kitchen though, opt for the multi-course tasting menu that can be paired with wines.
Nathan Outlaw at Al Mahara
Al Mahara means ‘the oyster shell’ in Arabic, so perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that the restaurant features a floor-to-ceiling aquarium running along one side of the dining room. It doesn’t stop it from being any less awe-inspiring though, while the electric atmosphere is matched only by the menu that’s overseen by Michelin-starred British chef Nathan Outlaw. Expect to feast on the upmarket likes of caviar, truffle, oysters and lobster.
Accessed via a winding walkway over the pool at the One & Only Royal Mirage hotel, dining at Asian-inspired Eauzone is a calming, serene experience. Choose to dine on the striped marquee deck to feel like you’re floating on the water, or opt for one of the cosier tables inside. Wherever you sit, you’re sure to enjoy the menu of dim sum and sashimi, as well as more substantial signature dishes, such as miso-glazed black cod with a pumpkin purée.
Housed inside the iconic Burj Khalifa (the world’s tallest building), you’ll find an outpost of internationally-acclaimed Japanese restaurant Zuma, which boasts an aesthetic of luxury minimalism – think muted colours and bare wooden tables paired with chic light fixtures and a sleek chef’s counter. On the menu, expect to find sharing dishes such as sushi rolls, yellowtail sashimi and grilled Chilean seabass, as well as passionfruit soufflé for dessert.
17 floors high and home to stunning views of Dubai’s glittering skyline, TOMO is a Japanese restaurant that’s got both style and substance. You can dine al fresco (on traditional low seats) if you wish, while the most show-stopping dish on the menu is arguably the Wagyu sukiyaki, which is cooked at the table with soy sauce and sweet rice wine. Otherwise, try the Japanese-style fried chicken or an assortment of sushi rolls.
With sites all over the world, NOBU is famous for its upmarket Japanese dishes and celebrity pulling power. The likes of Jennifer Lopez, David Beckham and Kim Kardashian have all dined at the Dubai outpost. If you want our guess, we reckon they all opted for NOBU’s signature miso black cod, and probably treated themselves to Wagyu dumplings which are served with a spicy butter ponzu. They probably skipped on the desserts though.
An ode to the cuisine of Turkey, Ruya’s menu features the likes of lahmacun, chicken sheesh kebabs and baked seabass with a sujuk crust, while desserts see hazelnut baklava and caramelised milk pudding. Ruya’s trump card though is its gorgeous garden terrace; the outdoor space overlooks the Dubai marina and is festooned with twinkling lights, verdant foliage and hanging lanterns. It’s the perfect spot for post-prandial drinking.
Dubai’s flock of restaurants aren’t exactly known for their subtlety and glamorous Buddha Bar is no exception. Whether it’s the giant gold-plate Buddha statue by the entrance or the floor-to-ceiling glass wall that overlooks Dubai Marina, there’s plenty here to grab your attention. That’s all before you get to the menu, which is a mix of Chinese, Japanese and Thai cuisine; dishes to look out for include prawn red curry and roasted Chinese duck.
To find out more about these restaurants or to book a table for your next trip, visit our new SquareMeal Dubai website.