24 new restaurants in the UAE to check out in 2022: from Botanica to Demon Duck

From dining within pods to venues by Michelin-lauded chefs, there are a lot of delicious offerings to look forward to this year

From left to right, Belcanto, Botanica and Hidemasa are some new restaurants in Dubai's culinary scene. Photo: Belcanto/ Botanica/ Hidemasa
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It often feels like the UAE welcomes a restaurant a day — and 2022 is no different. We have a wealth of glamorous and cool venues to look forward to in the coming months.

Here’s a look at some restaurants that have recently opened doors and a few highly-anticipated ones that will be coming very soon.

In Dubai

Bar Du Port

Bar Du Port at Dubai Harbour features luxe bohemian decor. Photo: Bar Du Port

One of the coolest new hot spots to check out at waterfront venue Dubai Harbour, Bar Du Port is a stylish brasserie that features French-influenced cuisine and luxe bohemian decor. With water views and a resident DJ, this might be the perfect place to sit back, relax and pretend you're on holiday. On the menu are oysters, raw fish, salads, pastas and delectable seafood mains. The venue opened doors towards the end of January.

Belcanto

Belcanto will open at Dubai Opera in early 2022. Photo: Belcanto

Experiential dining concept Belcanto is all set to open in Dubai Opera at the end of March. Belcanto translates as “beautiful song”, and will serve classic yet modern Italian cuisine.

In keeping with its operatic environs, Belcanto is going for a sophisticated and elegant vibe, with an initial rendering revealing a space decked out with a plush red carpet, a life-size Cupid sculpture and an elevated area at the front of the room complete with a pianoforte.

Andrey Fomin, partner and art director of Belcanto, says: “Belcanto is a place where European classics meet modernity.” Little is known about the menu as of now, but going by chef Giacomo Lombardi’s social media, expect classics such as beef tartare, tagliata beef with seasonal mushrooms and burrata.

Botanica

With pods as intimate dining areas, Botanica aims to transform Bluewaters Island's culinary scene. Photo: Botanica

The concept of dining within a pod took off during the pandemic, and it shows no signs of abating. Introducing Botanica, a new pan-Asian fine dining venue that will be opening doors — or should we say pods — on Bluewaters Island next month.

The hot spot features 22 air-conditioned private pods of varying sizes that can seat up to 168 diners in total. With each pod featuring a central table, rounded plush sofa, abundant greenery and Bluewaters’ views, this is sure to transform the fine dining scene on the island.

There’s also an indoor seating area that can accommodate 30. Inside, you can enjoy a fusion of Chinese, Japanese and Thai dishes with a modern touch. Think rock lobster with truffle, Korean chicken bao, makis, dimsum, gyozas, Burmese khow suey and more.

Byron Bathers Club

Tom Arnel of Tom&Serg fame will soon be opening up a beachside, seafood-focused restaurant on Palm Jumeirah.

While not much is known about the outlet just yet, it’s believed to be a bright space with a blue-and-white colour scheme, while the menu will present plenty of breakfast favourites and fresh-as-can-be seafood. The restaurant is expected to open in the first quarter of 2022.

Chic Nonna

Chic Nonna is a standalone restaurant that will open in Dubai's DIFC. Photo: Mine & Yours Group

With “nonna” translating as “grandmother” from the Italian, Chic Nonna will present homely Italian dishes with an elevated touch. Featuring a giant green door, reminiscent of houses in Southern Italy, the stand-alone restaurant will have a bar, open kitchen and a chef’s table.

Guests will be able to take in views of the Dubai skyline — including Burj Khalifa — from the retro-style upstairs lounge. While the menu is yet to be announced, the group has brought on board chef Vito Mollica, who previously worked at Four Seasons Hotel Firenze as the group culinary director and executive chef. The restaurant is expected to open in the first quarter of 2022.

Demon Duck

Hot and sour chicken with lychee and rose at Demon Duck, which will open in March.

It looks like Bluewaters Island is all set to be a culinary hub. Another widely anticipated restaurant opening is Demon Duck, which will be setting up shop in Caesars Palace Dubai in March. The brainchild of Alvin Leung, a UK-born Hong Kong-Canadian chef and television personality, the restaurant will serve Cantonese, Malaysian and Korean dishes with a twist.

As its name suggests, duck meat will have a starring role on the menu. Diners can expect dishes such as crispy duck with hummus and pomegranate; Hokkaido scallop dumplings; and hot and sour chicken with lychee and rose. The venue is scheduled for a March launch.

Dolce Legends

Dolce Legends is a members club that's just launched in Dubai's DIFC. Photo: Dolce Hospitality

An exclusive and upscale lounge has just opened up in Dubai’s Al Fattan Currency House in DIFC, Dubai, for those looking to party the night away in style. Dolce Legends, by Dolce Hospitality is a members club that originated in London in 1990 and is home-away-from-home for some A-listers. The “post dinner playground” features a cigar lounge, premium beverages and interactive elements, with surprises promised around every corner.

Hidemasa

Newly-opened Hidemasa will serve Japanese flavours. Photo: Dolce Hospitality

There’s a lot to be excited about when it comes to the Japanese restaurant by Michelin-launched and award-winning chef Hide Yamamoto. Previously working in Singapore's Marina Bay Sands, and Washington, DC’s The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, chef Yamamoto is no stranger to serving the rich and famous — including several American presidents.

He will be bringing the same skill and talent to the restaurant which just opened doors in DIFC on Tuesday. Expect some well-executed sushi, sashimi, charcoal-grilled meat, soba noodles, beef tataki and more. There will also be teppanyaki dining experiences.

Iris Summerhouse

From hospitality group Addmind comes another cool beachfront destination that’s set to make its mark at Club Vista Mare. It’s a relaunch of the restaurant Breeze, and guests can expect a fresh look and feel with chic Bohemian vibes and a Mediterranean-inspired menu. No opening date has been announced just yet, but it’s believed to be opening in early 2022.

Inti

Inti is a new Peruvian-Nikkei fusion concept at The Dubai Edition hotel. Photo: Inti

Peruvian-Nikkei fusion concept Inti, which translates into "sun" in Peruvian, is a new offering at The Dubai Edition. The stunning rooftop restaurant and lounge offers some gorgeous views of Burj Khalifa and Downtown Dubai. The interiors are sleek and modern, with Peruvian influences; seafood is very much in focus on the menu, with a number of ceviches, sushi, anticuchos and tiraditos on offer.

La Voile Rouge

Dress to impress for this French-Mediterranean restaurant with a modern twist that just opened within Dubai’s DIFC on Tuesday. Inspired by tropical scenery and seaside flavours, the venue is all set to bring Saint-Tropez vibes to Dubai. As you bask in the island vibes, you can enjoy French favourites including escargot, duck foie gras terrine, Nicoise salad, beef bourguignon, and a selection of steaks. The restaurant also houses an in-house runway for fashion shows that will take place within.

L’Amo Bistro Del Mare

Diners will be able to enjoy views of the Marina and Ain Dubai from L’Amo Bistro Del Mare.

Seafood lovers rejoice — a chic waterfront dining destination is coming soon to Dubai Harbour. Brought to the Dubai culinary scene by the Mine & Yours Group in partnership with Sunset Hospitality, L’Amo aims to bring the culture, heritage, and charm of Southern Italy to Dubai.

Guests can expect a swanky interior and waterfront views through floor-to-ceiling windows, as well as seafood specials such as ricci di mare (sea urchins) and red prawns from Mazara del Vallo. The venue is scheduled to be launched in the second week of March.

Lento

The Abu Dhabi burger concept, popular for its artisanal smashed burgers and fried chicken, will finally be setting up shop in Dubai. The new branch, which is coming soon to Umm Al Sheif, will be a 28-cover restaurant with sleek interiors with a hip-hop influence, DJ booth and outdoor terrace. The restaurant is the brainchild of Emirati chef and owner, Faisal Naser, known for his culinary curiosity collaborations (for example, the recent one with UK chef Anthony Demetre) so you know this is one to watch out for. No date has been announced, but it looks like it will be in the first quarter of the year.

Lucia’s

Lucia's, which launched in Address Sky View, offers upscale Italian cuisine and Burj Khalifa views. Photo: Lucia's

Address Sky View has just launched its latest restaurant and there’s a lot to love about Lucia’s — a Mediterranean concept with Burj Khalifa views. Fine Italian food is in focus here, so expect dishes such as Lucia’s torre di crudi di mare (sliced Mediterranean red snapper with a citrus dressing), beef carpaccio, ricotta ravioli and Milanese di vitello — veal chop cooked in butter, with rocket, cherry tomatoes, and Parmesan salad. The space is vast, with indoor and outdoor seating, plenty of natural light, and a DJ will be around keep the vibe lively.

Mamounia

Fans of the Arabesque Mayfair haunt — which has been a big part of London’s food scene — will be thrilled to know the venue has just launched in Dubai’s Al Fattan Currency House in DIFC, Dubai. As it’s by the original London founder, guests can even expect much of the same things: the social atmosphere, live entertainment, belly dancers and delicious sharing Middle Eastern cuisine. So indulge in mezzes and more as you take in the expansive outdoor seating, and traditional design.

Table Otto

Table Otto offers a variety of breakfast options. Photo: Table Otto

Simple food, attention to detail, and a melting pot of Italian-French cuisine are what soon-to-open Table Otto is all about. The Kuwait restaurant will be launching its first Dubai location in The Dubai Mall on Thursday, March 3. Traditional pizzas and pastas fill the menu but the restaurant offers intriguing twists ( such as a hot honey pepperoni pizza and a penne labneh Arrabiata). It also offers an array of delicious breakfast dishes.

Tan Cha

Tan Cha, which opened in JW Marriott Marquis Dubai in Business Bay is an upscale Asian venue bringing the "energy of Hong Kong and the authentic cuisine of provincial China" to Dubai. The restaurant is spread across two floors and includes five uniquely different rooms. Expect personalised chopsticks, in-house DJs and low lighting as you dig into Chinese-inspired dishes.

In Abu Dhabi

Allo Beirut

The first Lebanese streetfood favourite has announced that it’s opening not one but three new branches in the capital in 2022. The news comes after the founders of Allo Beirut signed a franchise agreement with RMAL Hospitality, the group behind Wagamama in the UAE and Trader Vic’s in Dubai. New locations in the capital are currently under wraps, but the first branch is expected to open in the first half of 2022, so you can soon enjoy a wide range of shawarma and meaty grills, as well as their popular breakfast.

Emmy Squared Pizza

The guys behind famous Neapolitan pizza place Akiba Dori have launched Emmy Squared on Yas Bay Waterfront. For those who aren’t in the know, Emmy Squared serves up Detroit-style pizzas and sandwiches, with the pizzas known for their square shape, crispy bottom, fluffy focaccia-like dough, caramelised cheese crust and signature sauce stripes. Non-pizza options include the double-stacked grass-fed burger “Le Big Matt” and fresh, seasonal salads and the sriracha crystal glaze wings.

Din Tai Fung

Din Tai Fung will open its first dine-in restaurant in Abu Dhabi in 2022. Instagram / Din Tai Fung

Perhaps one of the most widely anticipated restaurants coming to the capital would be none other than Din Tai Fung. The Michelin-starred restaurant took Dubai’s culinary scene by storm when it first came to the UAE in 2015. It does have an Abu Dhabi presence, but as a delivery-only concept, making its coming branch in The Galleria Al Maryah Island their first dine-in venue in Abu Dhabi. So get ready to slurp up some xiao long baos — or soup dumplings — and noodles soon. While the exact date is not known, it is supposed to open in early 2022.

Pickl

The Nashville chicken sando from Pickl.

It’s no secret that home-grown brand Pickl has been branching out, thanks to its huge popularity (and that cult following over its chicken sando). The brand launched its first Abu Dhabi outpost at Mamsha Al Saadiyat, a beachfront complex, with a second branch coming up in The Mall at World Trade Centre this month.

The Central

The Central is a new concept launching in the region. Photo: Solutions Leisure Group

The Central at Yas Bay Waterfront will be a new concept in the UAE's entertainment scene. Paul Evans, co-founder and chief executive of Solutions Leisure Group, describes it as a "family entertainment complex, similar to the one found in Wavehouse at Atlantis, The Palm".

The space will feature arcade games, soft play areas, and a four-lane bowling alley. Meanwhile, the food is American, with a lot of burgers, shakes and casual light bites, while the interiors are all about being fun and casual. “Think London’s underground subway, with arches and exposed brick walls and steel columns,” says Evans. No opening date has been announced yet, but it might be quite soon.

In Sharjah

Chie

The restaurant, located in Sharjah’s House of Wisdom, has been crafted for those who appreciate clean, open and pristine spaces, with fresh flowers, wooden tables and plenty of natural lighting. With the menu designed by chef Akmal Anuar of Goldfish, 3Fils and 11 Woodfire fame, there’s a lot to whet the appetite. Highlights include roasted baby chicken with glazed baby carrots, premium Wagyu steak and Australian lamb chops. For the coffee connoisseur, Chie has launched an array of speciality coffees with a great dessert menu including, tiramisu, and dark chocolate ganache.

V Cafe

Much has gone into choosing the type of coffee served at V Cafe.

For a cuppa with a side of history, you can look to V Cafe. The cafe opened in Khor Fakkan's Resistance Monument towards the end of January. Set on a mountain peak, the striking structure comprises intersecting columns reaching into the ground and topped by the shape of a helmet. With the cafe offering 360-degree views of the mountains and a menu that spans an international selection, with everything from burgers to pizzas and pastas, it’s no surprise that it’s often busy, with a waiting list.

Updated: February 28, 2022, 9:56 AM