New restaurants opening in Dubai in December

From Smoked Room by chef Dani Garcia to Chaihona No 1 by Vasilchuki, here are 11 venues to sample

Bordo Mavi is located along the same Jumeirah Fishing Harbour stretch as 3Fils and Brix. Photo: The Lab Holding
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What a year it’s been for restaurant launches in Dubai, with dozens of venues – international and home-grown – opening their doors to discerning diners.

This month is no different. Here are 11 of the latest restaurants to sample.

Bordo Mavi

Cuisine: International seafood

Joining award-winning sister brands 3Fils, Brix Desserts, Kanji and SLRP Ramen, Bordo Mavi offers sustainably sourced seafood by Turkish fishmonger Ersan Yılmaz.

Inspired by 200-year-old recipes, the menu includes dishes such as clam casserole in chilli garlic butter; tender grilled octopus with crushed hazelnut, baby potatoes and salsa verde; black sea bass pomodoro; and kingfish in buttery lemon and chilli sauce.

Fish lovers can also keep things simple by choosing the catch of the day to be grilled or pan-seared. Options from local fish markets include sea bass, sea bream, turbot, Dover sole, pomfret, scorpion fish, lobster, flying fish, eel, salmon, tiger prawns and carabineros.

Daily; noon-11.30pm; Jumeirah Fishing Harbour; 04 341 3844

Smoked Room

Cuisine: Japanese omakase

Acclaimed Andalusian chef Dani Garcia is bringing his three-Michelin-starred restaurant to Dubai this month. As with its Madrid counterpart, the 14-seater omakase restaurant at St Regis Gardens is dedicated to embers and smoke, in both its sultry decor and cooking techniques.

The National got a first taste of a selection of dishes ahead of launch day, and we highly recommend the following: Smoked eel nitro tomato with roasted red pepper caramel and ajoblanco; grilled hokkigai with tosazu beurre blanc and wasabi paste; corn chawanmushi with grilled leek, king crab and sea urchin; and amaebi from Hokkaido with brown butter and yuzu kosho. Perfection on small plates.

The Smoked Room omakase bar is located within Lena by Dani Garcia, also opening this month and serving wood-fired steak, charcoal-grilled seafood and more.

Opens on December 18; Palm Jumeirah

Chaihona No 1 by Vasilchuki

Cuisine: Eastern European

The first foray into the Middle East by the Russian Vasilchuki group, Chaihona No 1 is a dine-and-shop concept that offers a fusion menu of Eastern European, Asian and Middle Eastern flavours.

This translates to dishes such as Olivier crab salad, black pelmeni (black salmon dumpling with red caviar), cold matsoni okroshka soup with sliced cucumber, radish, quail eggs, boiled cow tongue, potato cubes and fresh herbs; and marbled beef with cherry potatoes and biquino peppers.

Diners can also pick up art, vases, photo frames and other trinkets.

Opens at the end of December; Dubai Marina


Cuisine: Japanese

Promising exquisitely crafted sushi and yakitori, and an edgy interior, Sushiyaki will open its doors along the Souk Madinat Jumeirah waterfront this month.

The restaurant follows the Japanese concept of ikigai, which translates literally to “reason for smiling”, and figuratively as a casual venue that serves excellent food and, as such, aims to be a discerning diner's daily haunt.

Opens December; daily, noon-midnight; Al Sufouh 1; 04 451 9170


Cuisine: Mediterranean

Open in the Tilal Al Ghaf community, Riina is the brainchild of the founders of Cassette and Nette, alongside Real Housewives of Dubai star Nina Ali.

Promising “wholesome ingredients”, the menu includes smoked salmon flatbread with cream cheese and paprika almonds; sea bass in phyllo puff with herb salad, pomelo, feta and black lemon honey, lamb chops with bakers’ potatoes, chermoula and broken fennel yoghurt sauce; and a brioche burger with a blend of chuck and brisket, plus Moroccan spices, lemon aioli and caramelised onion.

Daily; 7am-11pm; Hessa Street; 04 449 0488

Zafran Indian Kitchen

Cuisine: Indian

The Landmark Group's home-grown Indian brand opened at Dubai Hills Mall this month, specialising in dishes from West and North India.

On the menu are Zafran signatures including raan, mahi Samarkand and butter chicken, plus new creations such as palak chaat, prawns lazeez, Rampuri royal lamb shanks and chicken tikka biryani.

Open weekdays, noon-11pm; weekends, noon-midnight; Dubai Hills Mall; 054 994 2435


Cuisine: Italian

Replacing Marina Social at InterContinental Dubai Marina, Papas is inspired by the classic Italian trattoria helmed by chef Robert Rathbone.

Offering both indoor and outdoor seating, the restaurant serves dishes such as panzanella, nduja and burrata pizza, veal ossobuco and Sicilian cannoli.

This month, diners can avail themselves of a pizza or pasta plus one drink for Dh100.

Open Sunday to Thursday, 6pm-midnight; Friday to Saturday, 6pm-1am; Dubai Marina;


Cuisine: Japanese

Making good on dual-concept venues that are popping up around the world, Around the Block in Wasl 51 is an airy breakfast and light lunch cafe by day and, as of this month, a modern Japanese eatery by night.

Tori, which comes complete with a ramen bar, serves dishes such as salmon carpaccio with sesame ponzu sauce; crab salad with tortilla, avocado and sesame dressing; mushroom rice hot stone; and Wagyu burgers. From the ramen selection, in addition to the usual shoyu and goma, the chef recommends indomie, which comes with rock shrimp and chorizo.

Daily, 5pm-11.30pm; Wasl 51; 04 342 8000


Cuisine: Healthy

Meal-plan brand Zerofat has opened a cosy in-dining venue at The Residences at Marina Gate, offering nutritious favourites as well as new dishes.

Those looking for a healthy yet tasty meal have options such as Texas twist salad with baby spinach, corn fingers, avocado, feta cheese, pomegranate seeds, cherry tomatoes and black olives; and butter chicken without butter.

The menu also offers heartier – “cheat without cheating” options – such as lemon shrimp tacos with guacamole and mixed beans; and fajita sandwiches with chicken, avocado, sweetcorn and roasted veggies.

Daily; 8am-10pm; Dubai Marina; 04 263 4104

Updated: January 25, 2024, 6:59 AM