Winner - Best French Time Out Dubai Restaurant Awards 2013
Reflets par Pierre Gagnaire Reflets par Pierre Gagnaire is the eponymous restaurant from the French Michelin-starred chef and one of the founding forces of the molecular movement of gastronomy. The menu, like the restaurant experience itself, is characterised by delight in the unexpected and a constant element of surprise. From the surrealist touches in the decor (watch out for that narrowing corridor to the bathrooms, and the mirrors inside), to the elegant sense of theatre invoked by exceptional serving staff, Reflets occupies a plain of its own in Dubai. Service is impeccable; performed with a warm tone, an imperceptible anticipation of a diner’s desires and a practiced flourish that increases the wow factor of the food. The menu, which changes regularly in accordance with the French seasons, contains multi-faceted dishes rich in flavour. Expect variations in texture and outlandish combinations of ingredients – although some can require a little benefit of the doubt. Within this feminine setting, the rococo combination of chandeliers and mirrors, in purple tones, creates an intimate and sensual space, ideal for the sorts of occasions; where memories are made. Open daily 7pm-11pm. InterContinental Dubai Festival City, Festival City (04 701 1111).
Highly Recommended – Best French Time Out Dubai Restaurant Awards 2013
La Petite Maison This Provence-inspired import has become a go-to stalwart on the Dubai dining scene for an easy cache of glamour and vibrancy. From the classic bistro interior (in this case in clean white tones for a modern edge), to the fast moving buzz of a Parisian eatery and the style-credentials of the occasional image conscious waiter, La Petite Maison could only be destined to become a fashionable haunt. Sure, the quality of service can vary wildly, and there may be some peculiarly pretentious attempts at the rustic on display; we’re not keen on bread being served straight onto the table cloths, or the worthy choice of tomatoes as a table display. Even so, there is substance behind the emphasis on appearances, which continues to draw diners in, evidenced in a well-prepared and enjoyable selection from the Mediterranean fusion of sharing plates. Open daily noon-3pm, 7pm-11pm. DIFC ( 04 439 0505).
Highly Recommended – Best French Time Out Dubai Restaurant Awards 2013
Traiteur Descend the stairs at Traiteur, into the instantly impressive space of concentric arches and high ceilings, featuring ingredients displayed honestly in glass chillers and the show-stopping stage of an open kitchen. It is this that lays out Traiteur’s intentions from the outset; understated elegance, where all eyes are on the food itself. While the restaurant space is striking and the staff attentive and proficient, here they are mere conduits to Traiteur’s true raison d’etre, which is chef Simon de Wipf’s incredible cooking. Combining Mediterranean references with elements of the classic French school, the accessible range of dishes at Traiteur are created with a focus on a modest handful of star ingredients, perfectly prepared and allowed to take the limelight in uncluttered excellence. Try the salad of locally-sourced burrata, with popping bursts of heirloom tomato, or the exceptionally textured, creamy yet crisp, pan-friend gnocchi, which are among the very finest we’ve tried. Open Sun-Fri 7.30pm-12pm. Park Hyatt Dubai, Deira ( 04 317 2222).
Bistro Madeleine This pleasant, easygoing café, with its creekside views, outdoor terrace seating and classic French posters, makes for a slightly more refined dining option than the various other casual eateries in adjacent Dubai Festival City. Open for lunch and dinner, the menu for each sitting is only marginally different – the former benefiting from the addition of tasty sandwiches, which are by no means huge. On offer is a handful of starters such as gratinated French onion soup and assorted charcuterie, salads including the ubiquitous Niçoise, and mains like beef bourguignon, steak and grilled salmon. Dishes are mostly well cooked, hearty and generous – the portion of moules marinières, for instance, is so big it could easily feed two – although there is a slight sense that the chefs have gone for quantity over quality. That said, those with healthy appetites won’t be disappointed and the comfortable atmosphere and welcoming staff contribute to an altogether positive dining experience. Open daily noon-3pm, 6pm-11pm. InterContinental Dubai Festival City, Festival City (04 701 1111).
Le Classique Set in the grounds of the Emirates Golf Club, Le Classique is divided between the dark and sparkling elegance of the dining space, and the outdoor terrace overlooking the greenery of the course combined with the backdrop of the city. Service is welcoming and efficient, if a little stiff at times, and staff can be lacking when advice on the menu is required. The name of this restaurant certainly belies the nature of its menu, which is peppered with classics such as onion soup, foie gras and confit duck. While there is plenty of choice on the á la carte, the multi-course set menus of the restaurant’s signature dishes offer particularly good value for money. Presentation and preparation veer towards a reliable French offering. Open Tue-Sun noon- 2.30pm; 7pm-10.30pm. Emirates Golf Club, Emirates Hills (04 417 9999).
Nineteen Overlooking the golf course at The Address Montgomerie Dubai, which is lush green by day and artfully lit by night, Nineteen boasts a delightful terrace which, weather permitting, is the best setting for enjoying the delightful meal that is likely to come. Classic European starters such as steak tartare are a great call. However, opt for one of the menu’s ‘add-ons’ (which they recommend adding to some mains) such as a trio of scallops as an entrée, and expect to find yourself devouring some of the best, yet most simply-cooked, seafood around. Mains, such as perfectly moist spatchcock chicken and richly marbled steaks are every bit as successful, and if you’re likely to have room in your belly, the ratatouille is a must-try side. Despite the consistency in the kitchen, service between tables can be a little haphazard, and due to the popularity of the terrace during cooler months, it can feel a little crowded, but these are mere quibbles. All in all, it’s a great, peaceful location for unwinding with a superb and none-too-pricey meal. Open Sun-Thu 7pm-midnight, Fri 6.30pm-10.30pm, Sat noon-3.30pm, 7pm-midnight. The Address Montgomerie Dubai, Emirates Hills, www.theaddress.com (04 888 3444).
Rostang Adding French flavour to Atlantis The Palm’s collection of celebrity backed eateries, the restaurant comes with the pedigree of Michelin-starred chef; Michel Rostang behind it. Multi-faceted as it is as a venue, passing by the large and appetising patisserie section at the entrance, guests will find the quintessential Parisian brasserie awaiting them inside. A dark and brooding brown mix of wood and leather, the space is vast and ambient, yet with a casual and accessible tone. Service tends to be reliable, polite and knowledgeable regarding the menu, with waiters going above and beyond in order to satisfy. The selection on the menu is typically and classically French, with dishes tending to be uncomplicated, yet exceptionally well prepared. Whether that’s perfectly cooked sea bass with decadently butter-laden potatoes, or juicy steak with pitch perfect chips, Rostang is an affordable, atmospheric and unpretentious taste of France. Open daily 1pm-5.30pm, 6.30pm-10.30pm. Atlantis The Palm, Palm Jumeirah (04 426 2626).
STAY by Yannick Alléno STAY (aka 'Simple Table Alléno Yannick') is a concept created by and named (twice) after French Michelin-starred chef Yannick Alléno, with additional branches of this fine-dining venue in Beijing and Beirut. At the Dubai-based branch, located in the One&Only The Palm, the restaurant is as elegantly lavish as the hotel itself, decked out moodily in black, cream and deep burgundies, with several intimate booths, ideal for a liaison á deux. Refreshingly, the staff are very well versed in the restaurant's concept and menu, doing their utmost to impart both to diners, from the outset, adding an extra sense of anticipation to proceedings. And the experience doesn't disappoint. The menu is abstract yet uncomplicated, grounded in modern French cooking, but enlivened with inspiration from around the globe. Whether it's the soya bean risotto, or marinated sturgeon, the food is highly innovative, but with exemplary execution, making for an utterly enjoyable dining experience. Yet the focal point has to be the 'dessert library'. Here, diners are invited to get their sweet tooth going with complimentary tasters of confectionary, and order singular plates or dessert platters measured by the metre and half metre, prepared in front of them by the patisserie chefs. Open Tue-Sun 7pm-11pm. One&Only The Palm, Palm Jumeirah, thepalm.oneandonlyresorts.com (04 440 1010).