Revealed: GCC's hottest restaurant openings of 2016 so far

Take a look at the top new restaurants that have opened in the GCC in 2016 so far
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Located on the ground level near Bloomingdale’s at Dubai Mall, all-day dining café Aubaine has the ambience and décor identical to its nine restaurants in London.

\nWhile the restaurant hails from London, it is all French. The interiors are meant to combine the elegance of a Parisian salon with the relaxed ambiance of a Provençal bistro.

\nAubaine, meaning ‘treat’ in French, has its own artisanal boulangerie, handcrafted patisseries, and authentic French dishes.

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Firebird by Michael Mina opened in March 2016 at Four Seasons DIFC, representing the US-based chef's debut in the Middle East.

\nDesigned by Adam Tihany, the restaurant is styled like an upscale American diner. Signature menu items include Firebird steak & eggs, lobster pot pie and Michael’s ahi tuna tartare.

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Sabai Thai is one of six F&B outlets to open in The Westin Doha Hotel & Spa, which had an official launch ceremony in March 2016. It seats 125 people and presents a modern interpretation of royal Thai cuisine.

\nIngredients are imported from Thailand and dishes are prepared following traditional Thai principles.

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Acacia by Pierre Gagnaire opened in Mövenpick Hotel Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in January 2016. The fine dining restaurant, serving French cuisine, offers a menu designed by three-Michelin star awarded Gagnaire.

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The Artisan by Enoteca Pinchiorri opened in April 2016 in Dubai's Burj Daman Building in DIFC, with executive head chef Luca Tresoldi at the helm. The Italian restaurant is derived from the original Enoteca Pinchiorri restaurant, located in Florence, Italy.

\nEnoteca Pinchiorri originally opened in Florence in the 1970s, launched by three Michelin star awarded executive chef Annie Féolde, with her viticulturist husband Giorgio Pinchiorri.

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Downtown Rotana Bahrain opened its new signature restaurant Teatro Downtown in April 2016. The Manama-based outlet serves dishes inspired by five cuisines – Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Italian and South East Asian.

\nThe outlet features a sushi bar, pizza oven, open-kitchen and two tandoor ovens. This is the third Teatro in the region to be opened by the Rotana following launches in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

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Italian brand Cipriani opened its first restaurant in Dubai in February 2016, following the success of its Yas Island restaurant in Abu Dhabi.

\nBased in DIFC, Ciprinai is set over 1,100 sq ft and has a capacity for 296 guests. The menu includes Cipriani classics, such as carpaccio alla Cipriani, baked tagliolini and vanilla meringue.

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Serving Mediterranean and Catalonian cuisine, LaLuz opened in May 2016 within Four Seasons DIFC, Dubai.

\nAt the helm of the kitchen is executive chef Alain Devahive, who has held culinary positions in a number of Michelin-starred restaurants in Spain and France.

\nLaLuz, which has distinct lounge, bar and dining spaces, as well as an open air terrace, translates from Spanish to mean 'light'. It is the first venture outside Spain for Grupo Tragaluz.

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Play Restaurant & Lounge officially opened in January 2016, launched by Treenergy Management and Absolute F&B facility management LLC with Reif Othman as head of culinary.

\nThe interiors of the Dubai-based venue were designed in contemporary art deco style by design firm Gregory Gatserelia and the food is a fusion of Mediterranean and Asian cuisine.

\nLocated in the H Hotel on Sheikh Zayed Road, Play unveiled a new private dining concept within the outlet in March called ‘The Experience by Chef Reif Othman’, where there is no menu and dishes are improvised on the spot.

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Weslodge Saloon has opened in Dubai at the JW Marriott Marquis in Business Bay during March 2016. The concept is brought to the UAE from Toronto, Canada, where it opened in 2012.

\nDiners are encouraged to share everything on the menu with dishes such as ahi tuna ceviche, smoky beef tartare and piri piri glazed whole chicken.

\nThe 4,500 sq ft outlet offers 360 degree views of Dubai and accommodates more than 140 people.

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Restaurateurs Tom Arnel and Sergio Lopez opened their fourth casual dining outlet in Dubai during March 2016.

\nLocated inside Sheraton Mall of the Emirates, Brunswick Sports Club is Bull & Roo Hospitality's first licensed venue with co-founders Arnel and Lopez revealing that it celebrates their "love of sport, community, and that infallible reward of an ice-cold bevvy at the end of a long day".

\nBurgers take centre-stage, made with organic beef, and other dishes are described as "wholesome, rustic, man-sized portions" of sharing food.

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Indian inspired restaurant Tamba opened in April 2016, located within the World Trade Centre Abu Dhabi. It features floor to ceiling windows; an elevated show kitchen, where the chef’s table and tandoor oven are both on display; a rooftop terrace; three private dining rooms; and a resident DJ.

\nDishes on the menu include soft shell crab pakora; khichdi of mushroom and truffle with raspberry pickle; sweet and sour pumpkin and spinach paratha, and masala rub wagyu with chili chutney.

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Based in St Regis Dubai in Al Habtoor City, Dubai, J&G Steakhouse opened in January 2016.

\nIts Wagyu beef comes from a farm in Queensland, Australia, that produces a type of beef exclusively for St Regis, and the chef de cuisine is Daniel Ferriera Afante.

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Located on Palm Jumeirah, Dubai, homegrown seafood restaurant Senara is headed up by a chef who is only 25 years old.

\nMenu items at the casual dining, independent restaurant includes fish & chips, lobster & squid and chilled seafood platter.

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Homegrown brand Bateel International has opened its first café in Kuwait, within Avenues Mall.

\nThe brand, which has a presence in 14 countries, has opened over 40 boutiques and 16 cafés across the globe.

\nThe boutique and café combined spans over 4,500 sq ft, with the latter accommodating 150 guests, and features a balcony terrace on the first floor for outdoor dining.

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Peruvian restaurant Ceviche opened in DIFC, located at Emirates Financial Towers, in April 2016. The Dubai-based restaurant, named after the Latin nation’s best known dish, is headed up by Lima-born sous chef and founder Percy Cubas, and head chef Gonzalo Alberto.

\nDishes on the menu include the eponymous raw fish dish itself, as well as ají de gallina (chicken in yellow chili sauce); anticuchos (marinated and grilled beef hearts); causa Limena (chilled potatoes cakes served with seafood, chicken or vegetables); seco de cordero (braised lamb chops with canario beans) and tacu-tacu (rice and beans with seafood).

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The Mall at World Trade Centre Abu Dhabi unveiled a new indoor/outdoor dining destination called The Hub in April 2016.

\nLocated on levels 4, 5 and 6 of The Mall, The Hub features an array of new licensed restaurants, including Bu!, Tamba, BYB, Original Fusion and Jazz@PizzaExpress.

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Craft Cafe opened in Dubai Design District (d3) in March 2016, making it one of the first F&B outlets in the area.

\nThe new café was been launched by 3 Hospitality, a company co-founded by ex-The Act Dubai chef Roberto Segura and Domenico Iannone. At Craft Cafe, chef Segura aims to use locally sourced food where possible, and also includes some inspiration from Segura's native Peru on the menu, including a Peruvian single original coffee.

\nDishes on the menu include slow-cooked duck waffles; French toast roll ups with strawberries, and seared salmon nori wraps.

\nThe café also boasts a Josper oven, where gambas aioli, beef anticucho and baby chicken will be prepared.

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Atlantis The Palm in Dubai closed Levantine restaurant, and then refurbed and rebranded this space as new Lebanese restaurant Ayamna.

\nIt launched in March 2016 and the restaurant will host traditional entertainment, belly dancing and live music. Its name - Ayamna - is a Lebanese reference to the idea of 'the good old days'.

Mon 09 May 2016 01:02 PM GST
By Hotelier Middle East Staff