Restaurants opening in March, including Cristiano Ronaldo's Toto Abu Dhabi

Two new outlets at Dubai Opera Plaza include Alba, which serves Asian dishes with a modern European twist, and Bisou, which specialises in French cuisine

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February was a busy month for the restaurant scene in the UAE, with 10 new dining spots.

The momentum continues this month with several new venues to check out, from the Paris-inspired Bisou to Toto Abu Dhabi, the UAE outpost of the Madrid restaurant backed by Rafael Nadal and Cristiano Ronaldo.


Cuisine: Japanese

Nestled in the luxurious shoreside at One Palm Jumeirah Dorchester Collection, Shima flaunts avant-garde Japanese cuisine care of head chef Koyi Tanabe.

The sushi bar offers a variety of options, including restaurant signature chutoro sogigiri, which features delicate chutoro slices, scallops, mizuna leaves, olive oil and spicy soybean paste.

There is also the hamachi nigiri with mentaiko sauce, garlic confit and yuzu skin.

Other dishes on the menu include ise ebi tempura, a lobster dish with black truffle and coral mayo, as well as the king crab leg cooked in robata with kanimiso, mirin hollandaise, Amalfi lemon gel and togarashi.

Daily, noon-11.30pm; Palm Jumeirah; 056 731 0909


Cuisine: Asian, European

The new restaurant in the Dubai Opera Plaza offers Asian dishes with a modern European twist, with a menu by chefs Vladimir Chistyakov and Minho Ted Shin.

Signature dishes include scallops crudo, Wagyu maki with foie gras and beef yuk-hwe, which features an opulent blend of uni, truffle and caviar.

There is also a Wagyu tenderloin with truffle, katsu sauce and Japanese mustards, as well as Wagyu rib-eye with ancho soy glaze.

The restaurant features a bar with an extensive sake collection, as well as high-quality organic teas, from greens to oolongs and other herbal blends.

Daily, 6pm-midnight; Downtown Dubai; 04 575 3297


Cuisine: French

Also at the Dubai Opera Plaza, Bisou serves French cuisine combined with Middle East hospitality.

On the menu of the cozy Parisian-inspired venue are dates with tahini yuzu and black caviar, foie gras terrine with sweet apricots and lamb shoulder served with root vegetables.

There is also the French classic bouillabaisse with rouille and garlic croutons, as well as duck breast with chestnut cream.

Daily, noon-midnight; Downtown Dubai; 04 575 3920


Cuisine: Smokehouse

In City Walk's new C2 licensed district, Rare's extensive menu includes more than 60 items, designed by New Zealand chef Jesse Blake.

Its owner, Anand Sahil, was also behind the CMP Bar & Grill, which was among the restaurants that closed down last year due to redevelopment plans at The Pointe.

All manner of steaks and other grilled meats are on the menu, from succulent steaks to juicy seafood.

Must-try dishes include Wagyu tartare with potato hash, strip loin with wasabi cream, oyster blade with pebre salsa and whipped burnt cheesecake with maple-grilled peaches.

Sunday to Thursday, noon-1am; Friday to Saturday, noon-2am; City Walk; 04 287 4604


Cuisine: Lebanese

The popular Lebanese restaurant in Abu Dhabi has recently opened a branch in Dubai, promising to take the city's foodies to the vibrant streets of Beirut.

The Levantine dining spot is known for championing Lebanese ingredients, such as tahini for Tripoli, keshek from Baalbak and olive oil from Koura.

On the menu are classics like freekeh el ezz salad, hummus Derwandi, shawarma, kharouf meshi, warak enab with koussa and a daily sea-to-plate dish among other seafood delicacies such as sea bass and sultan ibrahim. The dessert menu features dishes such as a warm date cake.

The new venue spans 1,200 square metres over two floors, with a rooftop that has views of the Dubai skyline.

Sunday to Thursday, 8am-1am; Friday to Saturday, 8am-2am; Jumeirah 2; 04 884 3290

Toto Abu Dhabi

Cuisine: Italian

Sports superstars Rafael Nadal and Cristiano Ronaldo's Madrid restaurant Toto is finding a new home in Abu Dhabi's Mamsha Al Saadiyat.

The Italian fine-dining spot draws inspiration from 1950s Italian cinema and the classic film Cinema Paradiso.

A love letter to Italian gastronomy and style, Toto channels bold and fresh flavours from Italy with dishes such as vitello tonnato antipasti with tuna, traditional la vera carbonara and classic tiramisu with Italian coffee and mascarpone foam.

Light and crispy pizzas are prepared in the central oven.

There is a 1950s-inspired main dining area, as well as terrace with sea views. Live music is a key part of the dining experience too.

Sunday to Thursday, noon-midnight; Friday to Saturday, noon-1am; Mamsha Al Saadiyat; 02 643 0228

Updated: March 27, 2024, 10:57 AM