When it comes to eating out, UAE residents are already spoilt for choice. From world-renowned restaurants to local hidden gems and traditional Middle Eastern street food, the options are endless.
And with a host of big name restaurants from around the world set to open in Dubai and Abu Dhabi over the coming months, things are about to get even better.
Here is a roundup of the restaurant openings you need to know about:
Famous Beirut party spot Antika opened its doors in Al Fattan Currency House, DIFC, this week. Known for its lively atmosphere and traditional Lebanese food, Antika Bar Dubai is set to be a popular addition to the emirate's restaurant-cum-nightspot scene. On the menu, you'll find traditional mezze with a Levantine twist – think hummus infused with lemon, grilled octopus tagine, and fattoush with truffle and roasted beetroot. Entertainment-wise, you'll be transported back to the hidden theatres of 1950s Lebanon with singers, live acts and belly dancers.
After opening its first restaurant in New York City in 1999, SushiSamba has become the place to eat in many cities around the world. Set to open next year in The Palm Tower, the restaurant promises some of the best views over the Palm Jumeirah from its 51st floor location. Serving up a mix of Japanese, Brazilian and Peruvian cuisine, SushiSamba is also known for its luxe decor and buzzing vibe. Its first UAE restaurant should feel right at home in Dubai.
Restaurant-cum-nightspot Baoli, one of the French Riviera's most famous party spots, will open its first outpost in Dubai later this year. A favourite with A-listers such as Bono, Jay Z and Eva Mendes, the restaurant serves a fusion of Mediterranean and Asian fare, with a particular focus on fresh seafood. The ninth-floor spot is likely to follow a similar concept to its Cannes flagship – a restaurant, bar and outdoor terrace – when it opens its doors at Gate Village 11 in Dubai International Financial Centre.
Celebrity hotspot Indochine has sat proudly at the centre of the New York social scene's exclusive inner circle for more than three decades, opening its doors in 1984. And now, the veteran Vietnamese restaurant is about to enter a new chapter, opening its first outpost outside of its New York flagship in DIFC. Over the years, Naomi Campbell, Moby, Anna Wintour, Mick Jagger and Andy Warhol have all been regulars at the restaurant, which doubles up as a late night spot. While an official opening date is yet to be announced, Indochine is set to bring its Asian fusion food, signature banana leaf wallpaper and exclusive vibe to the emirate when it arrives in the coming months.
Madrid hotspot Amazonico will join Indochine and Baoli in DIFC later this year. The three-storey venue will be awash with South American culture, from the plush, green interior, inspired by the Amazon rainforest, to the Latin flavours present throughout the menu. The venue will consist of a bar and lounge, restaurant, sushi counter and a rooftop terrace, while the food will be led by chef and concept creator Sandro Silva and his wife, chef Marta Seco.
One of Europe's most popular burger restaurants is set to open its first Middle East restaurant in Dubai in the coming months. The Butcher, opening in the heart of Dubai's Marina Walk promenade, will bring with it its famous patties, chunky chips and notoriously cool vibes. The restaurant started life as a pop-up in 2012 in Amsterdam's bustling De Pijp neighbourhood, before quickly expanding across the city. Its popularity led the chain to open restaurants in Berlin and Ibiza, but its Dubai branch will mark its first opening outside of Europe.
Marco’s New York Italian by Marco Pierre White
Celebrity chef Marco Pierre White will bring new restaurant Marco's New York Italian to the capital later this month. The restaurant will join his award-winning steakhouse at the Fairmont Bab Al Bahr, offering views out over the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. The Abu Dhabi restaurant will be the first outpost outside of the UK, and will be a more casual concept than his other eateries. On the menu, you can expect sourdough pizzas, pastas, and a range of burgers, blending Italian and New York cuisines.
Rasoi by Vineet
Famed chef Vineet Bhatia is opening a new restaurant in Abu Dhabi over the coming months. The first Indian chef to earn two Michelin stars, Bhatia will open a branch of his renowned Rasoi eatery at Jumeirah at Etihad Towers. The fine-dining restaurant is known for its fusion of traditional Indian cuisine and modern techniques. It has outposts in Jeddah, Bahrain and Geneva, but this will be the first branch of Rasoi in the UAE. However, Bhatia is no stranger to the UAE. He already has two eateries in Dubai: Indego by Vineet, which opened in 2005 at Grosvenor House Dubai, and Indya by Vineet, which opened in January at Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort & Spa.
Two of France's most famous names are coming together to give Louvre Abu Dhabi its first restaurant in 2020. Parisian brasserie Fouquet's will debut its UAE branch in the capital, while Michelin-lauded chef Pierre Gagnaire will design the menu. Diners at Fouquet's Abu Dhabi can expect fusion fare cooked using French cuisine techniques. Fouquet's Paris celebrates its 120th birthday this year, while other branches are located in Cannes, Toulouse and Marrakech, which all features its distinctive interior - mahogany wood panelling, plush red and black seating, and ornate, old-school chandeliers.
Mazi from Notting Hill, London, is set to open at the St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort in Abu Dhabi in October. Known for its modern Greek food, Mazi puts a culinary twist on classic recipes. Think feta served tempura-style with lemon marmalade and caper meringue; a spicy version of tiropita served as a broken filo pastry with leeks and chillies; and grilled aubergine drizzled with soy and thyme honey or served with lamb and miso. “The idea is to revive Greece’s sharing culinary tradition in what we like to call a ‘fine-casual’ atmosphere. Our guests can expect to find a fun place to enjoy some great food combined with the intimate service of a fine-dining restaurant,” says co-owner Christina Mouratoglou.