Another month, another restaurant. The dining scene in the UAE, especially in Dubai, is dominated by interesting launches.
Some of these are outposts from famed international brands — think Sumosan and Studio Frantzen — others are revamps of big names, such as Nobu, while a few are first-time or home-grown concepts that specialise in a particular cuisine, from Emirati and Indian to Greek and Latin American.
Here's a list of many of the restaurants that are, or will, open in the Emirates this year.
This list will be updated on a regular basis.
Amano, Abu Dhabi
Brought by the same group that launched the likes of Mithaas and Chaat Bistro, the new Italian restaurant sits along the Eastern Mangroves promenade in Abu Dhabi. Indoor and outdoor seating options are available across the 130-person capacity venue.
Diners can expect traditional Italian dishes, such as Sicilian arancini, grilled lamb rack served with saffron risotto, rigatoni alla nerano and passion fruit panna cotta. The menu prominently features a variety of pizza flavours, from the classic margherita to bresaola rucola.
The restaurant also has a varied drinks menu.
Daily, noon-11pm; Eastern Mangroves, Abu Dhabi; 02 643 4928
Ba:TE, Abu Dhabi
Cuisine: Japanese-Peruvian with a Korean twist
Ba:TE is a new Japanese-Peruvian restaurant that has come to the Eastern Mangroves in the capital.
Its culinary director, Eric Jung, draws from his experience at Coya Dubai, where he worked as the award-winning restaurant's head chef for two years. The new venue also takes inspiration from the intimate Japanese restaurant Wawa Dining in Al Barsha, who are behind the concept.
Staying true to its Asian roots, the restaurant has created its signature sotbap, or steamed rice in a clay pot, which can be enjoyed with other items on the menu. Opened alongside is a Korean speakeasy called Jumak.
Daily, 5pm-midnight; Eastern Mangroves, Abu Dhabi; 02 632 5272
Baofriend, Abu Dhabi
Dubai's Baofriend has come to Abu Dhabi.
Indonesian chef Shendi Budiman, who has worked in five-star hotels and resorts across the South-East Asian country, has brought his speciality baos to the capital's Corniche.
The restaurant, which has a trendy neon theme for its interiors, is inspired by the bustling street-food culture of Asia. Some of the bao flavours include miso eggplant, braised short rib, hoisin sticky chicken and Saudi date and sweet soy glazed tofu.
Non-bao items are also served, such as Thai red curry, wok-fried udon and kimchi ramen. Desserts include matcha fondant and a steamed bao sundae.
Daily, 7am-midnight on weekdays, 11am-midnight on weekends; Corniche, Abu Dhabi; 056 466 7909
Shvili Georgian Bistro
Chef Lea Mardaleishvili aims to recreate the cosy feeling of eating at a traditional Georgian household in the new restaurant in Dubai Hills Mall.
Georgian classics are on the menu, including satsivi or chicken thigh with a creamy walnut sauce as well as Adjarian khachapuri served fresh from the oven and topped with Imeretian cheese and egg.
Daily, 10am-10pm; Dubai Hills Mall, Dubai; 052 929 2088
The Beach by Sho Cho
Japanese restaurant Sho Cho has opened its own beach club for the city's sun-seekers. The outdoor venue, at the Dubai Marine Beach Resort & Spa, features sunbeds, al fresco dining tables and lounge seating options.
The menu is similar to that of Sho Cho with Japanese classics such as a chicken teriyaki bento box with salmon, ebi, kingfish sushi, California maki, tempura combo, mixed greens and steamed rice, as well as beef bao with sliced tenderloin beef, mixed greens, onion rings, cucumber, pickled ginger and smoky teriyaki sauce.
Entry to the beach club costs Dh250 per person, with Dh150 that can be redeemed on food and drinks.
Daily, 10am-1am Sunday to Thursday, 10am-3am on Friday and Saturday; Dubai Marine Beach Resort & Spa, Jumeirah Beach Road, Dubai; 050 798 1869
Ria Restaurant & Beach Bar
Replacing Breeze Beach Grill at Club Vista Mare, Dubai, Ria is a casual (think beach-side and pet-friendly) spot that takes its seafood very seriously.
On the menu are delicacies such as crab salad and cakes, red shrimp tartare, lobster with salsa Americana, grilled yellowtail with citrus bagna cauda relish, plus a fresh fish counter. For vegetarians, the chef picks the aubergine fritters with feta and maple gochujang dressing as a must-try.
Daily, 11am-2am; Club Vista Mare, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai; email@example.com
Ariana’s Persian Kitchen
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Iranian chef and cookbook author Ariana Bundy’s debut restaurant at Atlantis The Royal on Palm Jumeirah is an extension of the home she grew up in Kashan, think vaulted domes, pink marble, jewel-toned cordial dispensers and majlis-style seating with miniature wooden tables on the terrace.
The menu is inspired by family recipes handed down over generations, as well as offering dairy and gluten-free options inspired by the chef’s own food intolerances.
Dishes include fesenjoon (chicken, walnut and pomegranate stew); sturgeon kebab; and ice cream with saffron, pistachios and rose water.
Daily, noon-2.30pm and 6.30-10.30pm; Atlantis The Royal, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai; atlantis.com
Following its successful run at Expo 2020 Dubai, Bread Ahead opened a permanent dine-in spot at Mall of the Emirates.
The London bakery is famous for its filled doughnuts, pastries and sourdough pizzas — served whole or by the slice. It also offers a range of sandwiches such as salmon bridge rolls, chicken Caesar brioche rolls and egg mayo, as well as cinnamon buns, banana cake and croissants.
Some menu items, including the zaatar croissant, spicy chicken pizza and pistachio doughnut, are exclusive to the region. Bread Ahead has also brought its Expo 2020 Dubai bestseller — the blackcurrant cheesecake doughnut — back to the city.
Daily, 10am-midnight; Mall of the Emirates, Dubai; www.breadahead.com
British chef Jason Atherton’s latest Dubai venture is located on the 43rd floor of Grosvenor House in Dubai Marina. A combination of bar, restaurant and lounge, City Social has a labyrinthine dining space with thick wooden tables and three terraces offering views of Palm Jumeirah, Ain Dubai and beyond.
Similar to City Social in London, the Dubai outpost will serve modern European cuisine. Dishes include miso-cured Scottish salmon with king crab; aged Acquerello Parmesan rice; and braised smoked short rib.
Monday to Thursday, 6pm-2am, Friday and Saturday, 6pm-3am; closed Sundays; Grosvenor House, Dubai Marina; citysocialdubai.com
Sandwich lovers, look no further. French chef Michel Sarran, founder of the eponymous two-Michelin-starred restaurant in Toulouse, has opened his first Middle Eastern outpost in Dubai.
As the restaurant's name suggests, Croq’Michel focuses on sandwiches, offering creative flavour combinations, each named after a city Sarran was inspired by. Offerings include Croq Gascon (duck confit, potatoes, ewe’s milk cheese, bechamel, garlic and parsley); Croq Dubai (chicken shawarma, hummus, Philadelphia cheese, zaatar, cucumber, kashkaval cheese and garlic sauce); Croq Mumbai (chicken tandoori, yoghurt, coconut cream, spicy masala, coriander, cucumber, lemon and paneer cheese); and Croq Bali (shrimp, coconut cream, ginger, lemongrass, Philadelphia cheese, coriander, emmental and satay sauce).
Vegetarians have a croque featuring carrots, zucchini, green peas, Parmesan, coriander and curry, while dessert lovers can get a brioche toast sandwich with banana, mascarpone and hazelnut praline.
Monday to Saturday, 9am-7pm; Dubai Hills, Dubai; www.croq-michel.com
Helmed by septuagenarian Greek chef Costas Spiliadis, the Milos brand has come a long way since it was established in Montreal in 1979. Its first UAE outpost, in Atlantis The Royal, for example, will encourage guests not to ask for a menu, but rather pick their seafood and other ingredients fresh from live counters and trust in the team’s culinary prowess.
Even so, some ingredients, flavour combinations and dishes to expect are salt-baked fish, Greek ceviche, Athenian-style lobster pasta and ekmek pudding.
Daily, noon-4pm and 6pm-11pm; Atlantis The Royal, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai; atlantis.com/dubai/dining/milos
The Parisian restaurant, which has been serving guests at Louvre Abu Dhabi since 2020, opened its first Dubai outpost this year, complete with traditional red parasols and rattan chairs. The original Fouquet’s Paris has been around since 1889, with the menu for all the current outposts created by Michelin-lauded chef Pierre Gagnaire.
Signature dishes include: classic French pastries such as red croissant, croque-madame, Saint Honore and mille-feuille, plus Burgundy snails, duck foie gras terrine, French onion soup, black truffle rigatoni, beef tartare, crepes suzette.
Daily, 7pm-10pm; Burj Plaza, Downtown Dubai; www.hotelsbarriere.com
Jaleo by Jose Andres
A miniature foosball table, a rotating seat in the waiting area and a terrace shaded by a dozen olive trees, the Spanish restaurant at Atlantis The Royal promises fun fine dining.
Michelin-lauded chef Jose Andres has an impressive portfolio of venues, ranging from food trucks to a two Michelin-starred restaurant in the US.
On the menu at his first UAE outpost are classic tapas such as patatas bravas and chicken croquetas, as well as the more exotic cured baby suckling lamb ham; and paella with chicken, rabbit and green beans.
Daily, 6pm-10pm; Atlantis The Royal, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai; www.atlantis.com
La Mar by Gaston Acurio
A cheery banner in the Dubai outpost of Gaston Acurio’s restaurant is emblazoned with a 2005 quip from the chef: “One day, Peruvian cebiche will be loved all over the world.”
Acurio, who is behind the global chains Astrid y Gaston, Tanta, Panchita and La Mar, has spent his career promoting his native cuisine.
The ceviche The National sampled at La Mar’s Atlantis The Royal outpost is indeed bursting with freshness and flavour, especially the Bluefin tuna with smoked aji amarillo and tangy tiger’s milk. Other dishes include: octopus in an olive and chimichurri emulsion; Peruvian yellow potatoes; and criollo rice.
Daily, 6pm-11pm; Atlantis The Royal, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai; atlantis.com/dubai/dining/la-mar
In keeping with the clean-eating movement that is picking up steam the world over, Lapa offers dishes free of gluten, dairy, refined sugar and preservatives, as well as a range of vegan dishes.
On the menu are options such as beetroot pancake; quinoa biryani; charred eggplant and smashed avocado on home-made almond bread toast; sweet potato Benedict with Napolitana sauce; and shakshuka sauce with eggs and coconut flatbread.
Daily, 8am-11.30pm; Jumeirah Beach Road, Dubai; www.lapa.ae
Cuisine: Chinese, Asian
While most of Altantis The Royal’s restaurants and bars are on the ground and first floors, its Chinese restaurant offers panoramic views of Palm Jumeirah from level 23. Ling Ling is both a dining and dancing venue, and describes its DJ and soundtrack line-up as “eclectic”.
On the menu are an array of dim sum, sushi and bao options, as well as Asian-inspired rice and noodle dishes, including a lobster stir-fry.
Daily, 6pm-1am; Atlantis The Royal, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai; atlantis.com/dubai/dining/ling-ling
Cuisine: Fusion Indian
Replacing the La Mer location that closed in September 2022, home-grown restaurant Masti is back in the city, this time at The Dubai Edition hotel.
While the restaurant counts Hari Nayak (who teamed up with Priyanka Chopra for her New York restaurant Sona) as one of its founding chefs, arguably it’s chef Prashant Chipkar who adds the culinary magic to Masti, offering fusion dishes such as watermelon bhakri, tuna bhel tartare and tandoori chicken bao. New dishes to look out for include ghee roast bone marrow and beef vindaloo.
Monday to Thursday, 5.30pm-1am; Friday and Saturday, 12.30pm-2am; Sunday, 12.30pm-1am; Downtown Dubai; www.mastidubai.com
Erth Restaurant, Abu Dhabi
Cuisine: Emirati, fusion
Taking the “love local” motto to heart, Erth promotes Emirati culture through its food, design and even its location. The restaurant sits between Qasr Al Hosn, the oldest and most significant building in Abu Dhabi, and the Cultural Foundation.
Inspired by a traditional majlis, the dining area is carved out of a raised floor and designed by the architects from Bone Studio in collaboration with multidisciplinary designer Aljoud Lootah and furniture designer Khalid Shafar.
On the menu are Emirati specialities with a twist such as deconstructed date cake and luqaimat, as well as international dishes with an Emirati touch such as bzar-marinated beef short ribs, Wagyu strip loin and torched salmon crudo. Ingredients are sourced from farms across Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Hatta.
Daily, noon-11pm; Al Hosn, Abu Dhabi; 02 679 4014
Inspired by family-run Andean picanterias — complete with Incan quipu ropes at the entrance — the restaurant has its roots in Shoreditch, London.
On the menu are a range of ceviche and anticuchos (the leche de tigre is a must-try, says the chef), plus grilled octopus, panca-glazed beef brisket, salmon tiradito, beef skirt steak and beetroot-cauliflower causa. Andina also stocks chicha morada, a traditional Peruvian beverage made of purple corn, fruit and spices.
Sunday, Monday and Wednesday, 11.30am-11.30pm; Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 11.30am-1am; Marina Gate Towers, Dubai Marina; linktr.ee/andinadubai
The brainchild of Natasha Sideris, founder of the Tashas Group, Bungalo34 is a beachside spot inspired by the South African restaurateur's holiday hideaway in the Greek Riviera. The venue is peppered with pieces from Sideris's travels, while the floor in the main dining area is a play on the plush, wall-to-wall bedroom carpet popular in the 1970s.
On the menu are dishes from Greece, France and Italy: think strapatsada (scrambled eggs with roasted peppers, feta and crushed tomatoes), lobster Benedict; glyko koutaliou with sweet pumpkin and vanilla Greek yoghurt; seafood porridge; and Genovese pasta with calamarata and Parmesan; plus a fresh seafood counter for guests to enjoy raw, grilled on charcoal or baked in the oven.
Tuesday to Sunday, 9am-midnight, closed on Mondays; Nikki Beach Resort & Spa Dubai, Pearl Jumeira, Dubai; 04 238 1780
The Jumeirah Beach Hotel restaurant offers a touch of Tuscan hospitality, dishes curated by Italian chef Andrea Brugnetti and Burj Al Arab views.
Italian Riviera vibes aside, the menu promises to make good on the freshest ingredients, and offers delicacies such as bruschetta al pomodoro, burrata di andria, parmigiana di melanzane, calamari fritti, carpaccio di manzo, spaghetti vongole, trenette lobster; plus hand-spun pizzas; and tiramisu profiteroles and affogato al caffe for dessert.
Daily, noon-2.30pm and 7pm-10pm; Umm Suqeim 3, Dubai; 800 323232
Straying from the single-chef norm, La Table is a pop-up kitchen concept that will regularly offer diners a different menu, courtesy of a new chef being brought on board every three months. Furthermore, the venue will also switch out its decor to keep things fresh while accommodating only 50 guests at a time.
The first season of La Table, for example, channels outdoorsy and farm life vibes, with plenty of open spaces, light wood furnishings and pops of greenery. Arab pitmaster Hattem Mattar is the restaurant's chef until April, and his smokehouse-style menu includes brisket and pastrami-on-rye sandwiches; poutine, chorizo mac and cheese; and tri tip carpaccio.
Daily, noon-midnight; DIFC Gate Village 2, Dubai; 04 587 6077
Le Petit Beefbar, Dubai
Cuisines: Steakhouse, international, breakfast, dessert
A new concept by the international fine-dining restaurant chain Beefbar, Le Petit embodies a more cosy and casual vibe. As such, the DIFC outpost is unlicensed and open for breakfast.
On the menu are Beefbar's famous dishes such as rock corn, bao buns, Kobe beef bacon burgers, steak frites and Relais shawarma. Breakfast is served until 11.30am and offers French toast, rainbow avocado on toast, beef benedict, truffled scrambled eggs and poached pineapple. The marbled chocolate bar with melted caramel and vanilla cheesecake with hazelnut crust and gariguette strawberries coulis come highly recommended for dessert.
Daily, 8am-1am; Gate Village 2, DIFC, Dubai; 058 592 3412
The world's largest Nobu opened its doors on the 22nd floor of Atlantis, The Palm on January 20, with chef-patron Nobu Matsuhisa in attendance as well as the celebrity chefs Gaston Acurio, Costas Spiliadis, Jose Andres and Mich Turner, all of whom will launch restaurants at Atlantis, The Royal, later this year.
The menu is a study in Japanese-Peruvian, aka Nikkei, cuisine, and signature dishes include miso-marinated black cod, rock shrimp tempura, yellowtail sashimi with jalapeno and king crab tempura. The UAE menu also denotes dishes that are part of the Atlas Project, with organic ingredients sourced locally. Among these are crispy shiitake goma salad, whitefish sashimi and salmon karashi su miso.
Did you know? Matsuhisa opened the first Nobu restaurant in partnership with actor Robert De Niro in 1993, in Tribeca, New York.
Monday to Thursday, 5pm-2am; Friday to Sunday, noon-3pm and 5pm-2am; Palm Jumeirah, Dubai; 04 426 0760
One of three restaurants in The Park, JLT, Splendour Fields is an open space with a sprawling terrace that overlooks the park from which the venue gets its name. It is open for breakfast, lunch and early dinner, serving up all-day dining classics like avocado toast, eggs and acai bowls.
“We wanted Splendour Fields to blend seamlessly with the environment around it,” restaurateur Tom Arnel, founder of EATX, tells The National. “It has a kids’ playground, it’s pet friendly, it’s green, lush and very relaxing. It’s there to serve the community and work around people’s daily routines.”
Venues two and three of The Park — Hawkerboi on the first floor and Franky in Florence on the rooftop — will follow.
Daily, 8am-6pm; Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Dubai; 056 603 0897
Founded in Moscow, with outposts in Berlin, Courchevel, Doha, London and Riyadh, the celebrity-favoured restaurant is located at The Dubai Edition Hotel. Here it has recreated the JBar indoor terrace concept, popular with patrons at its Mayfair outpost.
The menu is dominated by seafood and meat options, such as lobster salad, yellowtail with truffle yuzu vinaigrette, 24-hour miso-marinated black cod and Wagyu sando with truffle fries. Sushi connoisseurs have plenty to choose from, including California roll with kamchatka crabmeat, spicy hamachi with crunchy quinoa and spicy beef and rock shrimp roll.
Sunday to Thursday 6pm-2am,; Friday and Saturday, 6pm-3am; Downtown Dubai; 056 169 6901
Another 21 restaurants opening this year
- Flamingo Room, Abu Dhabi
- EL & Cafe, Abu Dhabi
- Joe & the Juice, Abu Dhabi
- Slrp by 3 Fils, Abu Dhabi
- Izakaya, Abu Dhabi
- Ayla Beach
- Cafe Kitsune
- Cipriani Dolci
- Frank by Basta
- Franky in Florence
- Hoe Lee Kow
- Kai Enzo
- North Audley Cantine
- Signor Sassi
- Smoki Moto
- Studio Frantzen