Michelin will return to Dubai to announce the second Michelin Guide Dubai on May 23.
The city's debut guide, which was revealed in a chef-studded ceremony last June, had a total of 69 restaurants — including nine with one Michelin star, two with two stars and 14 Bib Gourmand venues.
This was followed by an Abu Dhabi Michelin Guide in November, which offered discerning diners three Michelin-starred restaurants, four Bib Gourmand venues and 35 honourable mentions (see lists below).
Which restaurants will make the cut?
Given Michelin's overarching condition for consistently high food quality and taste, as well as its penchant for downgrading restaurants that don't match up, it is hard to predict which venues will retain their starry status.
Notably, neither Abu Dhabi nor Dubai could lay claim to a single three-Michelin-starred restaurant.
As such, the 2023 Dubai guide may well have a crop of new entrants, as well as lose a few across both the starred and Bib Gourmand categories.
Himanshu Saini, the head chef at Michelin-starred Tresind Studio, is well aware of this pressure. When his restaurant got its first star last year, Saini told The National: “Getting a Michelin star is a great start and a proud moment, but what I'd like to do next is reflect back, evolve the cuisine even further and push for two stars next year,” he says. “Being the only Indian restaurant in Dubai with a Michelin star, the expectations will be huge, but I want to surpass those.”
As for how the anonymous Michelin inspectors make their painstaking selection, Gwendal Poullennec, the international director of Michelin Guide, explains: “The same inspector does not visit a place twice, and different inspectors visit a place at different times to monitor consistency. Stars are then allocated based on a collective decision. And this is why, a restaurant that has even just one star, it means a lot to the industry.”
What's in it for diners?
No matter how long or short the list, intrepid foodies and gastrotourists who finalise their travel plans on the back of Michelin-starred restaurants, have much to look forward to.
As chef Saini puts it: "We change our menu every four months to provide a culinary experience that keeps the excitement and curiosity going for both the guests and the team."
Likewise, in their quest to be part of the guide, restaurants will offer “an elevated experience, with more tasting menus, creative art of cooking and speciality chef-led concepts”, believes Hari Kaimal, chief executive of Goldmead Hospitality.
Saki Takase, the operations manager at Teible, says: “The introduction of the Michelin Guide will allow the true gastronomic gems and unique home-grown establishments that the UAE is filled with to shine.”
Industry experts aside, the guide is also well-received by in-the-know diners.
“The Michelin Guide offers food enthusiasts an extremely informative compendium of great restaurants based on internationally tested and acclaimed specifics,” says Dubai resident Nicole Barua, who has already eaten at six of the UAE's Michelin-starred restaurants.
The UAE's Michelin-lauded restaurants 2022
Dubai restaurants with Michelin stars:
- Al Muntaha
- 11 Woodfire
- Tasca by Jose Avillez
- Torno Subito
- Tresind Studio
- Il Ristorante - Niko Romito (two stars)
- Stay by Yannick Alleno (two stars)
Dubai restaurants in the Bib Gourmand category:
- Al Khayma
- Bait Maryam
- Brasserie Boulud
- Ibn AlBahr
- Indya by Vineet
- Orfali Bros
- Reif Japanese Kushiyaki
Abu Dhabi restaurants with Michelin stars:
- 99 Sushi Bar & Restaurant, The Galleria Al Maryah Island
- Hakkasan, Emirates Palace
- Talea by Antonio Guida, Emirates Palace
Abu Dhabi restaurants in the Bib Gourmand category:
- Almayass, The Galleria Al Maryah Island
- Beirut Sur Mer, Mamsha Al Saadiyat
- Otoro, Al Qana
- Tazal, Al Qana
See the video below for a taste of what to expect at Michelin-starred restaurant Hakkasan Abu Dhabi