From Oporto to Lucky Fish: 5 new Dubai restaurants to try

The emirate is living up to its reputation as a culinary hub for home-grown brands and international outposts

The whole grilled chicken with chilli basting from Oporto. Courtesy Oporto
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If you’re in the mood for a tasty new dish, here’s a look at some restaurants that have recently popped up or are slated to open in Dubai soon – plus one delicious chef-led dinner. Bon appetite.

Australian favourite Oporto is coming to Dubai in March

Aussies craving a little taste of home will rejoice to know restaurant chain Oporto has announced it will open its first UAE branch in Dubai Festival City Mall in March.

Although the exact date is yet to be announced, residents can soon sink their teeth into the Portuguese-style burgers and flame-grilled chicken that the restaurant is known for.

The famed Bondi Burger, created in 1986 by Oporto’s founder and Portuguese immigrant Antonio Cerqueira, will also be on the menu, and comprises a flame-grilled chicken breast fillet burger doused in the restaurant’s signature chilli sauce. Also on the must-try list are its whole, half chicken or quarter chicken boxes and creamy Prego sauce. Pair these with the restaurant’s chips for a hearty meal.

Sanderson’s expands to Dubai with delicious community initiatives

Tropical smoothie bowl at Sanderson's Sustainable City
Tropical smoothie bowl at Sanderson's Sustainable City

After years of delighting residents in Abu Dhabi, home-grown restaurant Sanderson's branched out into Dubai’s Sustainable City on Sunday, February 14.

The restaurant is known for its laid-back vibe and a focus on nutritious, sustainable and wholesome food, and it will be bringing that ethos to its second branch.

On the menu are dishes such as the tropical smoothie bowl and pan-roasted sea bass with zaatar, crushed baby potatoes, pickled beetroot and yoghurt dill sauce, all of which are made from scratch using seasonal ingredients.

Moreover, the restaurant will offer a range of activities for the community in the months to come, from a menu dedicated to cyclists at the Al Qudra track to ladies’ night cooking classes, as well as a play area and cooking classes for children.

Lucky Fish to make a splash at Palm Jumeirah’s West Beach

Lucky Fish opens on West Beach, Palm Jumeirah, in February
Lucky Fish opens on West Beach, Palm Jumeirah, in February

It’s already home to a wealth of new dining concepts – from Koko Bay to Senor Pico – and Palm Jumeriah will soon have another noteworthy addition to its culinary scene.

Mediterranean restaurant Lucky Fish will be opening this month, with a menu inspired by the flavours of the ocean, and highlighting Italian, French and Spanish flavours.

The restaurant will work with local fisherman and present a daily display of fresh seafood on ice, with an emphasis on local and seasonal varieties. Guests can enjoy the food inside with the whimsical shabby-chic interiors – complete with elegant 19th-century chandeliers – or enjoy views of the Dubai skyline from the beach cabanas outside.

Have a vegan shawarma at Ila Restaurant and Cafe 

Ila has partnered with Just Vegan
Ila has partnered with Just Vegan

Mezze aside, vegan Middle Eastern food can often be hard to find. But that’s exactly what newcomer Ila Restaurant and Cafe, which recently opened at Al Seef district in Dubai, offers.

The restaurant specialises in classic Middle Eastern cuisine: think cold and hot mezze, sandwiches, tagine, manakish, grills, salads and classic breakfast. But, in keeping with changing customer behaviour, it has also partnered with Just Vegan to launch a wide-ranging vegan menu. From “chicken” pasta and nuggets to “meat” avocado burgers and even shawarmas, there are plenty of plant-based options to choose between.

You can enjoy it all from the contemporary two-level restaurant that offers views of the Dubai Creek.

Hop over to Twenty9 for international dishes and sky-high views

Twenty9 is located on the 29th floor of Millennium Place Barsha Heights. Courtesy Twenty9
Twenty9 is located on the 29th floor of Millennium Place Barsha Heights. Courtesy Twenty9

If you can’t quite stick to any one cuisine, Millennium Place Barsha Heights has just launched Twenty9, which has something for everyone.

On the menu are popular dishes across cuisines, from a selection of mezze items, salads and shish tawook, to Wagyu sliders, fish tacos, grilled prawns and even a barbecue station.

The restaurant has been created to encapsulate “relaxed formality”, meaning it will feature modern, contemporary designs and friendly service. Its 29th-floor location guarantees spectacular views.

Savour a one-off degustation menu by star chef Gal Ben-Moshe

Mutton tartare by chef Gal Ben-Moshe
Mutton tartare by chef Gal Ben-Moshe

If you’re looking to treat yourself to a unique culinary offering this month, chef Gal Ben-Moshe, who helms the Michelin-starred restaurant Prism in Germany, will team up with local chefs Nick Alvis and Scott Price to serve a six-course degustation menu on Thursday, February 25. It will take place at Folly by Nick and Scott.

Ben-Moshe is known for pushing the boundaries of Levantine cuisine. At the one-off dinner, diners can expect mutton tartare, grilled red mullet and roast pigeon with beetroot and baharat, plus signature Folly dishes such as crispy hen’s egg, cod fillet with bulghur wheat and beef sirloin. A chocolate mousse with smoked dates by Ben-Moshe, and rhubarb and custard will end the evening on a sweet note.

The dinner takes place at 7pm and is priced at Dh850 per person. To book, call 04 430 8535.


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