In pictures: Seven must-try restaurants in Dubai
Arabian Business rounds up the latest restaurants for the best nights and the finest bites
For diners in Dubai, the city's F&B scene is the gift that keeps on giving.
Cé La Vi
It’s almost impossible for another restaurant to compete with Cé La Vi’s mesmerising views. Arrive at the massive venue on the 54th floor of the imposing Address Skyview Hotel and you’ll be swept away by the stunning 360-degree views of the city, with the towering Burj Khalifa front & centre. The venue bears a striking resemblance to the restaurant atop Singapore’s iconic Marina Bay Sands Hotel and is split between a contemporary Asian restaurant, sky bar, chic club lounge and the dramatic infinity pool deck. Headed up by Los Angeles executive chef Howard Ko, who brings more than 11 years’ experience at Michelin-starred restaurants around the world, Cé La Vi is set to compete with the crème de la crème of Dubai’s burgeoning dining scene.
Forget that its art-deco interiors are designed to transport you back to Shanghai’s golden era of the 1930s; forget that it so effortlessly combines history, glamour and culture in every aspect; forget that it sits at the heart of Dubai’s most competitive dining scene, DIFC. Actually, forget everything. Because when you’re taking your first bite at Shanghai ME, you won’t be thinking of anything else. Its food is so good, in fact, that it was crowned as Dubai’s best restaurant by Esquire Middle East, despite opening just a few months earlier in November 2019. Enjoy post-dinner drinks at the bamboo and bougainvillea filled terrace and you might just bump into the restaurant’s celebrity clientele including Ronaldo, Akon and the UAE Royal Family.
In 1980s New York, Indochine was frequented by everyone from Cindy Crawford to Andy Warhol. In the 2000s, it welcomed Kaia Gerber and Kendall Jenner as regulars. And in December last year, it finally opened in Dubai and has already hosted the likes of Roger Federer and Lindsey Lohan. The French-Vietnamese restaurant in DIFC was brought to the city by the founders of intimate club Miss Lily’s and boasts mouth-watering dishes by chef Steven Nguyen, including lamb char siu, slow cooked lamb neck in a honey glaze and steamed sea beam in banana leaf and coconut lemongrass custard.
Who says you can’t party like you’re in Mykonos, right here in Dubai? Famous Greek beach spot Nammos, which is located on the shores of the island’s Psarou beach, opened at the Four Seasons Resort in Jumeirah in November and offers the residents of Dubai the chance to party from day to night like celebrities Shanina Shaik and Gigi Hadid. The branch in Dubai comprises a Mediterranean restaurant, beach bar, Nammos Beachfront and extravagant bubbly room, offering guests a Greek-inspired menu featuring an array of seafood dishes using fresh produce imported every morning to be served by noon. The Nammos Beachfront, which is lined with the brand’s signature blue and white umbrellas, recreates the ambiance of “life aboard a luxurious yacht,” with an elongated bar mimicking an extended fashion runway.
Image: ITP Media Group
It was one of the first Chinese restaurants to be awarded a Michelin star and it has finally opened its doors in Dubai’s DIFC. The concept by acclaimed restaurateur David Yeo, founder and CEO of Aqua Restaurant Group, features interior design inspired by ‘The Four Arts’ of the Qing Dynasty and the border provinces of the Silk Road, boasting a hand-crafted sandstone wall that embodies the crossover between Chinese and Islamic design as well as a traditional Wishing Tree as an homage to the famous Lam Tsuen Wishing Trees in Hong Kong. The venue also features a lounge bar and a private terrace.
It would suffice to say that anything by Chef Izu Ani is worth a try (and several after). The culinary genius who propelled La Petit Maison and La Serre to huge popularity as their head chef has opened his fifth restaurant Aya, this time in City Walk. It follows successful openings of Carine, Fika, The Lighthouse, Izu Brasserie and Gaia and takes the place of Galvin Dubai. Aya, which is Japanese for beautiful, welcomes visitors with a cherry blossom tree and an indoor-outdoor terrace with a neutrals palette punctuated by pink. It boasts an Asian-centric menu with signature dishes including prawn gyoza, smoked lobster and our absolute favourite brown butter ice cream with an olive oil sponge and hazelnut crumble.
The swanky restaurant, lounge and bar stretched across three floors opened in the heart of DIFC late last year. The concept in Madrid, London and most recently Dubai was dreamt up by husband and wife Sandro Silvia and Marta Seco, the founders and majority partners in Spain’s largest F&B group Paraguas. From the very first look, diners are swept away by the venue’s richly lush interiors taking inspiration from Latin America’s rainforests while celebrating the region’s uplifting hospitality. Enjoy exotic dishes like frog legs and mango and avocado salad but don’t forget to try the restaurant’s signature Wagyu steaks. Hop up to the rooftop bar for city skyline views and a laidback ambience.