Vegetarians look away as Time Out reveals the 10 best steakhouses in Dubai
Time Out Dubai staff
Winner – Best Steakhouse Time Out Dubai Restaurant Awards 2013
The Exchange Walking into The Exchange feels a little like escaping from the outside world: the atmosphere is hushed, the vibe effortlessly understated, with plush carpets underfoot and intriguing artworks on the walls. Tables are few, but large, and are spaced widely apart – the overall impression is of luxury and comfort, rather than a venue trying to cram in as many punters as possible. The menu offers steak measured in ounces, not grams, so ordering can be a little like guesswork for the uninitiated. Luckily, the staff are quick to showcase their knowledge and are more than willing to offer professional recommendations on cuts and cooking temperatures. The beef is divided into Premium Gold Angus and Contry Hill wagyu options; the latter commands a premium price, but we’d recommend giving it a go if your wallet can stretch to it. The silken wagyu is gorgeously flavoursome and expertly cooked, while the sides – from fingerling potatoes and truffle fries to indulgent mac and cheese – are thoughtfully prepared and presented. Admittedly the final bill won’t be small, but rarely have we eaten in a steakhouse this good, where the food excels enough to justify the price. All major credit cards accepted. Open daily 7pm-midnight. The Fairmont Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road, www.fairmont.com/dubai (04 311 8316).
Highly Recommended – Best Steakhouse Time Out Dubai Restaurant Awards 2013
JW’s Steakhouse Everything about this venue whispers old-school class: the dark wood furnishings and battered leather wing-backed chairs, which could have come straight from a high-end gentlemen’s club; the small brass name plates on the tables, commemorating regular patrons; and the knowledgeable staff, who are efficient and friendly, yet discreet. Highlights of the huge wooden menu include Angus beef, lamb, seafood and some unusual signature grills, although we’d recommend the off-menu wagyu, which is often served as a special: silken in texture yet loaded with flavour, it’s worth every dirham of its Dhs300-plus price tag. Side dishes run the gamut from garlic mash to some divinely crispy steak fries, and a selection of sauces are served as standard. This long-running venue has continued to pull in the punters for years, and it’s easy to see why: the manly, laid-back atmosphere and great food combine to create a thoroughly enjoyable dining experience. Open daily 5pm-midnight. JW Marriott Dubai, Abu Baker Al Siddique Road, Deira, www.marriottdiningatjw.ae (04 607 7977).
Highly Recommended – Best Steakhouse Time Out Dubai Restaurant Awards 2013
Rib Room After a revamp last year, this Emirates Towers venue is still proving popular – the buzzing vibe and talented jazz saxophonist draw plenty of customers, especially at weekends. The decor is modern yet inviting: dark wood and beige leather are complemented by a subtle cow print to reinforce the carnivorous theme, while the huge curving booths at either side provide seclusion for more intimate dinners. The menu yields a pleasing selection, with meaty ribs and sharing options including a sizeable beef wellington and tomahawk steak, while standard cuts run the gamut from Aussie wagyu to Australian, Argentinian, Irish and US Nebraska beef. Sauces and sides are plentiful and inventive (the tempura wasabi fries are worth tasting), and the meat, lovingly cooked and presented, is melt-in-the-mouth tender and crammed with flavour. The final bill is comparable to most of the city’s high-end steakhouses, yet the upbeat atmosphere at The Rib Room makes it feel as though you’re getting more bang for your buck. All major credit cards accepted. Open Sun-Thu 12.30pm-3pm, 7pm-midnight; Fri-Sat 7pm-midnight. Jumeirah Emirates Towers, www.jumeirah.com (04 319 8088).
Hunters Room & Grill The decor at Hunters is more low-key than at many steakhouses: rather than wow guests with swathes of red leather or cowskin, the venue chooses subtle dark wood, leather and some fantastic cutlery-inspired ‘sculptures’. Menu-wise, the steaks are organised by cut, rather than origin of the meat, which makes it much easier to navigate – connoisseurs can dive straight in with their favourite slice. There are tenderloin, striploin, rib-eye and ‘one on the bone’ options, with USDA, Aussie and wagyu selections at a variety of price points. Sides are wide-ranging and inventive (the asparagus with poached egg and chervil is a particular hit), and the freshly baked bread and truffle fries are out of this world. So it’s a shame that the cooking can be a little off – on our last visit, our medium-rare tenderloin was a little too rare for our liking. The staff, meanwhile, are friendly and enthusiastic, if slightly too eager to please. All major credit cards accepted. Open Sat-Wed 6pm-10.45pm; Thu-Fri 7pm-11.45pm. The Westin Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina, www.huntersdubai.com (04 399 4141).
MJ's Steakhouse ‘Masculine’ is the first word that springs to mind upon entering MJ’s: the dark wood furniture and deep red paint reinforce the manly vibe. Yet step onto the outdoor terrace and the atmosphere softens, with twinkling lights, plenty of shrubbery and views of Al Qasr’s gardens. As you’d expect, the menu focuses on steaks, chops and grills, with some high-end seafood and a nice range of sauces and sides: there are plenty of cuts and varieties of meat available, including grain-fed Angus and USDA prime options (though prices predictably rocket if you veer towards wagyu). The food is excellent, and service is efficient, competent and friendly, though on our last visit we suffered a few missteps when the kitchen mixed up our medium and medium-rare steaks. Luckily, this was quickly rectified by the ultra-professional manager, who offered us complimentary desserts to compensate. If you have deep pockets, MJ’s is a very pleasant place to spend the evening – as long as you like the colour red, of course. All major credit cards accepted. Open daily 7pm-11.30pm. Al Qasr, Madinat Jumeirah, www.jumeirah.com (04 366 6730).
Rare Located about 15 minutes from Downtown Dubai, Rare offers an escape from the hubbub of city life: the Desert Palm Resort boasts lush green polo fields and a hushed, relaxing ambience. Make the most of the serenity by taking a seat on Rare’s picturesque terrace for sweeping views of the greenery and Dubai’s skyline – but watch out for the ‘aroma’ if the sprinklers are on. Alongside steak (Aussie black angus and wagyu), the kitchen also offers a great selection of mains, from grilled seafood, lamb and duck to veal and steak Rossini. These more unusual dishes enable the chefs to showcase their flair and presentation (after all, there’s not much you can do with a lump of meat). The meat itself is pleasant: while not as flavour-packed as some we’ve tried, it’s nonetheless well cooked, and the veggie and potato side dishes provide a nice complement. Service is thoughtful and subtle, with staff offering multiple amuse bouches and even a take-home gift for ladies. Worth the drive for a low-key, romantic meal. All major credit cards accepted. Open Mon-Sat 7pm-11pm. Desert Palm Resort, Al Awir Road, past Dragon Mart www.desertpalm.peraquum.com (04 323 8888)
Rhodes Twenty10 More than two years after opening, this super-smart spot overseen by Brit chef Gary Rhodes finally seems to have got into the swing of things. Gone are the empty tables; even on weeknights this place now attracts a gaggle of diners. The menu still features plenty of Brit-influenced touches: pork belly, oxtail cottage pie and Welsh rarebit were just a few of the choice picks during our last visit, with everything beautifully cooked and presented. The beef on offer is USDA Prime or wagyu – unsurprisingly the latter commanding premium prices – while the sizeable list of sauces and sides offers some inventive options (give the curry sauce a try). If we have to niggle, we’d say the staff almost try too hard: they seem over-anxious to please, hovering around tables and engaging in chit-chat with even the most unwilling guests. If they eased off a touch, it would give diners a chance to savour this carnivorous experience – at these prices, we don’t want anything to distract us from the meat. All major credit cards accepted. Open Tue-Sun 7pm-midnight. Le Royal Méridien Beach Resort & Spa, Dubai Marina, www.leroyalmeridien-dubai.com (04 316 5550).
Ruth’s Chris Steak House After the success of its first Dubai outlet, at The H Hotel, Ruth’s Chris branched out with a second venue at The Address Dubai Marina, giving steak lovers a double dose of its high-end American cuisine. Both venues are decked out in dark, rich hues with crisp white tablecloths that are stylish without being stuffy, while the music issuing from the speakers suggests an upmarket bar rather than a standard diner. Yet from the get-go you’ll notice the American influences: staff are outgoing and chatty in that typical US style, while the menu boasts Stateside favourites such as shrimps, crab cakes and the divine sweet potato casserole. The steaks, slathered in melted butter, are a dieter’s worst nightmare but a carnivore’s guilty pleasure: good value and generously sized, with a flavoursome baste that gives them an added kick. If you can, save some space for dessert – the huge cheesecakes are a particular highlight, and good enough to share (or to take home for later). All major credit cards accepted. Open daily Sun-Thu 12.30pm-4pm, 6pm-2.30am; Fri-Sat 6pm-2.30am. The H Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road, www.ruthschris.ae (04 501 8666). Other location: The Address Dubai Marina (04 454 9538).
Seafire We know Dubai has a penchant for being the biggest, but sometimes bigger isn’t always better. Seafire is a case in point: the steakhouse is huge, with table upon table stretching from the wooden feature walls, past a sea of plush red chairs, to the open kitchen at the far end. The venue is always bustling with plenty of punters, but the overall effect feels a little soulless: it lacks the intimate charm of some of Dubai’s top-end steakhouses. It’s a shame, because the food is pretty neat: there are cuts here to please most price points, from a lowly sub-Dhs200 sirloin to a wallet-busting Dhs800 wagyu striploin. Much of the beef comes from dedicated Atlantis cattle, bred in Australia especially for the hotel, producing flavourful, tender steaks. Sides are generously sized, though the gut-busting tempura fries may be a step too far for those with smaller appetites. Stick to the cheaper cuts and this venue is a good way to experience the opulence of Atlantis. All major credit cards accepted. Open Sat-Thu 6pm-11.30pm; Fri 12.30pm-4pm, 7pm-11.30pm. Bar: Sat-Thu 6pm-12.30am; Fri 7pm-12.30am. Atlantis The Palm, Palm Jumeirah, www.atlantisthepalm.com/restaurants (04 426 2626).
West 14th Steakhouse After opening in 2010, West 14th garnered a loyal following among the Palm Jumeirah’s hip young professionals, and the clientele keep coming back for more. We’d attribute its success to the buzzy atmosphere, laid-back cool and New York styling, featuring industrial warehouse-style ceilings and red brick walls. On our last visit we were disappointed to note that several dishes had been manually crossed off the menu (surely they could reprint it, rather than tantalise with options that are unavailable?). Luckily, there are still plenty of steaks to choose from, with all bar one priced at less than Dhs250, and each cooked and seasoned to perfection. The downside? Side dishes are sold separately, so you’ll have to fork out extra to taste the delightfully fluffy, gorgeously chunky fries. The service, while friendly enough, can be a little on the slow side, although we’ll give staff the benefit of the doubt: maybe they’re just easing off to let guests enjoy a leisurely meal in typically cool NYC style. All major credit cards accepted. Open daily noon-3pm, 6pm-midnight. Oceana Bech Club, Palm Jumeirah, www.west14th.ae (04 447 7601).