Turkish restaurant and lounge Ruya is somewhat of a hidden gem, discreetly located in a corner on the first floor of the Grosvenor House hotel in Dubai Marina (though it has a private elevator at the rear).
Since its opening at the beginning of October last year, it has attracted a loyal following consisting of chic regulars looking to dine in an intimate yet lively setting.
Unlike many of its rivals in the populous Marina area, who trade in a good menu for spirited atmosphere or vice versa, Ruya (which translates into "dream") has succeeded in checking both boxes – and then some more.
Having visited the venue on a Thursday, we were intrigued by its glamorous but cosy appeal. The place, while spacious, is split into three smaller areas: the restaurant, lounge and bar area, with the restaurant being less noisy.
Because the location is situated near the Marina, it overlooks the water, yachts and skyscrapers, making for a wonderful view. Better yet, the venue boasts an outdoor terrace designed just as elegantly as the indoors, with hanging lanterns and plush seating.
We take a seat by the windows and notice a large stone oven in the centre of the restaurant, where we are told signature Turkish pastries are baked.
One such dish that we tried out is the cheese pide comprising flat bread baked with toppings in the oven. Ruya also has homemade Pastirma cured beef, which was well prepared and matched brilliantly with the rich cheese.
Next, we ordered the citir kalamar - coated baby squid. Served with avocado and red pepper dip, it was cooked just enough to keep it tender and juicy. At this point, we are impressed by both the food and service, which was quick and instant.
The waiters were kind enough to recommend the cig kofte beef tartare for our third dish. Paired with bulgar and baby gem lettuce, it was light, healthy and absolutely delicious, the tartar being the most flavourful part. The faintness of carbs meant we easily consumed two portions.
The atmosphere at Ruya is both glitzy and laidback. With its three different areas (excluding the terrace, which we would definitely opt for in winter months), there is an enjoyable experience for all at the Dubai Marina venue.
While our first visit at Ruya was spend with a group of friends, we went back the week after to enjoy an intimate night out with a friend, which was just as pleasant. We would go as far as to say we have become regulars ourselves at the charming Turkish concept.
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