New restaurants opening in Abu Dhabi and Dubai in May

David Myers's Adrift Burger Bar and Reif Othman's Reif Japanese Kushiyaki are two of the restaurants now taking bookings

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Another month, another restaurant. The dining scene in the UAE, especially in Dubai, is dominated by interesting launches.

Some of these are outposts from award-winning chefs – think David Myers's Adrift Burger Bar – while others are restaurants that specialise in a particular cuisine, such as omakase venues The Robata and Reif Japanese Kushiyaki's Tero.

Here’s a list of the restaurants that are open in the Emirates this month, with a chef’s table still to come.

Kababji Lebanese Grill, Abu Dhabi

Cuisine: Lebanese

Kababji has extended from a food counter to a full-scale restaurant at The Galleria Al Maryah Island. Photo: Kababji

The Beirut-headquartered restaurant opened its second outpost in the UAE capital, at The Galleria Al Maryah Island, this month. The restaurant offers breakfast, lunch and dinner, and is an extension of the brand's original food counter concept.

The expansive menu is divided into salads, sandwiches, grill platters, hot and cold meze and rice dishes, offering classics such as hummus, shish taouk, chicken kabsa, fattoush and tabbouleh, plus mohalabiya and date pudding for dessert.

Daily; 10am-11.45pm; The Galleria Al Maryah Island, Abu Dhabi; 600 595951

Adrift Burger Bar, Abu Dhabi

Cuisine: Burgers / American

Chef David Myers, whose Los Angeles restaurant Sona was first awarded a Michelin star in 2007, introduced his Californian burger bar to the UAE via Expo 2020 Dubai. Now, the “Gypsy chef” has launched the country’s first permanent restaurant in Yas Mall, in partnership with Emirati investment group By Me Burger.

On the menu are Myers signatures, including: DM Burger (with Vermont Cheddar cheese on a brioche bun); Adrift Burger (with tomato ajwan jam, herb aioli and arugula); Good Morning Burger (with a fried egg and Gruyere cheese); plus the vegan Impossible Earth Burger.

Innovative sides include truffle grilled cheese, curry leaf fries and fried mushrooms with Japanese barbecue sauce.

Sunday-Wednesday, 10am-10pm; Thursday-Saturday, 10am-midnight; Yas Mall, Abu Dhabi;

Terra, Abu Dhabi

Cuisine: Mediterranean-Arabic

A rendering of Mediterranean restaurant Terra in Al Qana South. Photo: Terra

Adding to Al Qana’s eclectic dining scene, Terra will combine two beloved regional cuisines in its greenery-dotted, industrial-chic venue.

On the menu are dishes such as watermelon feta salad, crab and lobster salad with seaweed caviar, sea bass ceviche and spicy prawns; plus sticky date pudding and caramel spice cake for dessert.

Opens May end; noon-midnight; Al Qana South, Abu Dhabi; 02 562 0233

Slaw, Abu Dhabi

Cuisine: Burgers

Another Al Qana entrant, Slaw by Emirati chef-patron Ali Yazdi makes its foray into the capital this month following its successful Dubai set-up.

Slaw has made a name for itself among burger lovers thanks to its chicken sandos (the Nashville is the founder’s favourite), classic burgers and inventive specials.

Opens May end; Al Qana, Abu Dhabi

Obeli, Dubai

Cuisine: New world

The Garibas burger at Obeli

Emirati businesswoman Aisha Al Tamimi and Lebanese-Mexican chef Niazi Al Badri want to take diners on a culinary trip around the world with this City Walk restaurant that serves a concise but curated breakfast, lunch and dinner menu.

Dishes and desserts to look out for include signature shroom (fried portobello mushroom, salsa verde, pulled beef, sauteed peas, poached eggs, hollandaise sauce and chives oil); potato pave caviar; white mermaid (sea bass, white chocolate sauce, green apple salad); and date night (caramelised brioche, date filling, vanilla ice cream).

The chef pays homage to his Mexican and Lebanese origins with garibas, a burger with three cuts of beef, two types of cheese, herb-chipotle mayonnaise, caramelised onions and avocado spread.

Daily; 8am-11.30pm; CityWalk, Dubai; 04 887 5561

Meghana Foods, Dubai

“Biryani is an emotion”, that is the motto of Meghana, a popular Hyderabadi restaurant from Bangalore that opened its first UAE outpost in Karama this month.

The menu encompasses Andhra-style food, so expect dishes such as chicken 65, curd rice and egg curry, plus all manner of biryani pots, from mutton fry and prawn to opulent Hyderabadi biryani. Indian sweetmeats including gulab jamun, carrot halwa and shahi tukda feature on the list of desserts.

Daily, noon-midnight; Karama, Dubai; 04 368 7771

Enas, Dubai

Cuisine: Greek

Grecian decor at Enas. Photo: Enas

The latest entrant on the emirate's list of Mediterranean venues, Enas is located in Balqis Residence on the West Crescent of Palm Jumeirah. In keeping with its Grecian vibe, the space is dominated by olive tree centrepieces and large rattan lampshades.

On the menu are a meze platter of Kalamata olives, marinated feta and Koulouri bread; Gulf prawn saganaki with Greek oregano and tomato ragu; a meat platter with chicken souvlaki, pressed lamb shoulder, beef rib-eye and charcoal lamb cutlets; and a charcoal seafood platter with chargrilled octopus, steamed clams, seared sea bass and grilled tiger prawns.

Daily; noon-11pm; Palm Jumeirah, Dubai; 04 540 3600

Reif Japanese Kushiyaki and Tero Chef's Table, Dubai

Cuisine: Japanese

Chef Reif Othman at his licensed restaurant in Dubai Hills Business Park. Photo: Reif Japanese Kushiyaki

Michelin-lauded chef Reif Othman has opened his first licensed venue at Dubai Hills Business Park this month. Both the venue and the menu are more expansive than the original Dar Wasl restaurant, with this outpost seating 118 guests and serving a wider selection of dishes.

The signature dishes remain the same, including escargot takoyaki, otoro with Satsuma Wagyu steamed bun and black cod ramen, as does the Dh80 to Dh220 price point.

On Friday, Othman will launch Tero, a 12-seat dining lounge within the restaurant, with eclectic decor elements such as trainers, skateboards, a Pac-Man machine and a Bearbrick art piece. The space affords a front-row seat to the chef’s cooking station and guests can enjoy an ever-changing tasting menu, priced at Dh888 for eight dishes and Dh1,212 for 12 dishes.

Daily, noon-3pm, 6pm-midnight (Reif Japanese Kushiyaki); Wednesday-Saturday, two seatings at 6pm and 9.30pm (Tero); Dubai Hills Business Park; 04 255 5142;

Saya Brasserie Cafe, Dubai

Another branch of an existing restaurant that has opened in Dubai Hills Mall, Saya Brasserie bills itself as “one of the most Instagrammable restaurants in the city”. At this rosy-hued outpost, diners can get shots against rows of faux flowers lining the walls, potted plants in all shades of the rainbow, statement chandeliers and chairs upholstered in pink velvet.

On the menu are eggs Benedict and shakshuka for breakfast; and beef tenderloin, Norwegian grilled salmon, and lamb shank for lunch and dinner; plus sweet options such as berries and quinoa parfait and triple chocolate pancake.

Sunday-Thursday, 8am-midnight; Friday and Saturday, 8am-1am; Dubai Hills Mall; 056 416 2002

The Robata, Dubai

Cuisine: Japanese / omakase

The Robata at Caesars Palace Dubai serves an omakase menu. Photo: Caesars Palace Dubai

Omakase, the Japanese philosophy of leaving your culinary fate in the chef’s hands, has taken off in a big way in the UAE with venues such as Moonrise, Mitsu-ya and Hoseki leading the charge. A recent addition to the surprise menu concept, The Robata is located at Caesars Palace on Bluewaters Dubai and is helmed by yakiniku masterchef Kenichi Osato and sushi masterchef Tatsuro Mitsuyasu.

The duo will serve shabu-shabu hotpot, charcoal-seared sushi, Nodoguro rice made with Benihitomi fish and the world’s highest-ranking A5 Kobe Beef with a crisp and smoky crust.

Similar to the hotel’s TakaHisa restaurant, The Robata serves select ingredients presented inside designer trunks, for that flamboyant Dubai touch.

Daily, 10am-2am; Bluewaters Island, Dubai; 04 556 6689

Meda, Dubai

Cuisine: Mediterranean

Meda at the Taj Dubai serves dishes from Spain, Italy and Greece. Photo: Taj Dubai

Meda at the Taj Dubai, helmed by former Zuma chef Mario Fico and speciality Italian chef Vincenzo Nigro, offers dishes inspired by Spain, Italy and Greece.

On the menu this translates as sea bream ceviche; Tuna Tartare wrapped in filo pastry cones with avocado cream; huevos rotos with black truffle and veal jus; Neapolitan Calamarata lobster pasta; and vegetarian paella with saffron, porcini mushrooms, artichokes and green peas. Desserts include Greek loukoumades and a tiramisu-inspired Gianduja chocolate dip.

Daily, noon-midnight; Downtown Dubai; 04 438 3100

Smokd Eatery, Dubai

Cuisine: International

Chef Reif Othman, who also opened a second branch of Reif Japanese Kushaiyaki this month, is working on this venue that will serve dishes with distinct smoked flavours.

The new restaurant, in Boxpark, says it offers a “sensory experience”, with its interiors designed with feng shui principles in mind.

On the menu are cauliflower popcorn with yoghurt ranch; pastrami carpaccio with tuna sauce and crispy capers; baked bone marrow; pan-seared salmon with jalapeno cream and raisin chimichurri; spaghetti with crabmeat and kombu; and grilled Wagyu tenderloin with three pepper sauce.

Opens May 25; Al Wasl Road, Dubai; @smokdeatery on Instagram

Updated: May 29, 2023, 2:50 PM