Winner – Best Steakhouse Time Out Dubai Restaurant Awards 2014
The Rib Room Attractive, popular, highly regarded and sophisticated – we imagine most restaurants would love to be like The Rib Room when they grow up. The almost total lack of gimmicks lets the staff concentrate on giving diners exactly what they want. In fact, the Emirates Towers steakhouse could be a blueprint for how to run a modern restaurant. The cool decor is defiantly minimal but the friendly staff won’t ever allow it to feel cold or soulless. Plush booths and crisp white tabletops fill the intimate room and instil a confidence in the meal to come. The restaurant’s 15 cuts of meat from Argentina, Australia, Canada, Ireland and the US are the dining highlights. We recommend keeping it simple with just a single side dish (try the baked potato with sour cream, for instance) and a side sauce of herby steak butter, and if you’re after a starter, don’t miss the ocean scallops, which are beautifully textured, flavoursome and delightfully presented. Open Sun-Thu 12.30pm-3pm, 7pm-midnight; Fri-Sat 7pm-midnight. Jumeirah Emirates Towers, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 319 8088).
Highly Commended - Best Steakhouse Time Out Dubai Restaurant Awards 2014 Rhodes Twenty10 A smart and elegant restaurant with sumptuous lilac-accented furnishings, this is everything that Gary Rhodes does best – simple, understated and high quality. The dinner menu is focussed, with steak taking centre stage. Starters are presented as small plates, designed to be shared tapas style, with the crab and new potato starter a creamy and tasty combination. The main event of steak comprises wagyu or American cuts, the menu indicating the marbling system so you know how fatty your choice is, and steaks arrive well cooked and cleanly presented. Everything here is simple and classy, with not too much fuss – don’t expect a presentation of knives or a vast array of condiments; here, it’s straightforward and just a plate of attractive and appetising food. Staff are polite and knowledgeable about the menu, and the decor adds a soft romanticism to the simple presentation. The lounge also has a creative offering of mixed drinks and bubbly. Open daily 7pm-midnight. Le Royal Méridian Beach Resort and Spa, Al Sufouh Road, www.rhodestwenty10.com (04 316 5550).
Highly Commended - Best Steakhouse Time Out Dubai Restaurant Awards 2014 The Exchange Grill Small, smart and stylish, with large leather button-back armchairs and glossy walnut wood floors, The Exchange Grill transports diners straight to New York, assisted by the fun artificial windows displaying a looped video of a Broadway street scene. The restaurant offers no city vistas of its own, but the focus really is on the food, the menu offering plenty of options, including a good range of steaks, as well as lamb chops, chicken and a fish of the day. The surf and turf combination of Omani lobster and US tenderloin steak is smart and cleanly presented on thin black slate plates. Meals are accompanied by a selection of mustards, including two chef-made specialities – green wasabi mustard and red beetroot mustard – which go particularly well with the meat. Try the baked sweet potato with small chunks of feta, anchovy and olives for a flavoursome alternative to mash. Open daily 7pm-midnight. Fairmont Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 311 8316).
At.mosphere Located 442 metres above Dubai, on the 122nd floor of the Burj Khalifa, this fine dining restaurant boasts dazzling views of the city. Sophisticated At.mosphere offers diners an uncomplicated menu of quality seafood, tender cuts of meat and an extensive premium drinks list. It’s great for visitors to the city who want to experience the views from the world’s tallest building and enjoy a top-notch meal – and it delivers on both fronts. Staff are welcoming and knowledgeable of the menu, and to sample the best of what’s on offer it’s worth trying the taster menus. These offer five or seven courses that feature seafood and meats cooked in the restaurant’s Josper grill, as well as shellfish. The spherical chocolate dessert with peanut ice cream and a warm chocolate sauce is a show stopper. Seating near the windows will add an additional Dhs150 per person to your minimum spend, but for a special occasion it’s worth paying. Open daily 12.30pm-3pm, 6.30pm-11.30pm. Burj Khalifa, Downtown Dubai, www.atmosphereburjkhalifa.com (04 888 3444).
Fire & Ice Fire & Ice deserves to be great. The ambiance is artfully tasteful and forward thinking; with a huge redbrick wall, deep bold colours, comfy retro armchairs and delicate lighting, it feels traditionally classy. But there’s also a nod to the 21st century, with the shiny open-plan kitchen and a soundtrack of surprisingly edgy house beats. There’s a welcome sense of ritual, with slick and knowledgeable staff that have a refreshingly competent grasp of the menu. The grape list alone is a staggering 70-odd pages – requiring a two-page contents section to navigate – while the food menu is thankfully devoted to the essentials, with four cuts of steak and some impressive seafood on offer. Sadly we’ve found Fire & Ice to fall at the final hurdle – the steak is enjoyable, but it does lack the sparkle you’d expect from the ceremony (and price tag). Open daily 7pm-11.30pm. Raffles Dubai, Oud Metha (04 324 8888).
Hunters Room and Grill An upmarket and smart restaurant with views out across the hotel’s beach club. If dining early you have the option to sit outdoors and enjoy the views. Inside the restaurant has soft atmospheric lighting, and stylish leather chairs. Hunters has a good range of steak from France, America and Australia, but it’s the variety of appetisers that provide a distinct point of difference, and keep you lingering over the menu. The starters include creations such as beef and eel with avocado and soy, pumpkin salad, and a warm rich foie gras with apricots, the starters are delicious but the portions are touch generous if you want to have room for your steak. Once you’re ready to move on to mains, there is equally as much variety if you want to stray from the grill and sample dishes like beef bourguignon, gnocchi and salmon. The staff go to great length to ensure you understand the steak cuts. The fillet mignon from Australia was soft and flavourful and the truffle fries are an indulgent side that are well worth a try. Open daily 7pm-10.30pm. Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina, Jumeirah (04 399 4141)
JW’s Steakhouse Like walking into a gentleman’s club house, JW’s has a feeling of old-school heritage. The walls are decked with vintage posters and rows of slightly dusty grape bottles. Deep green leather chairs with high backs make a bold masculine design statement, and the dark wood furnishings are adorned with gold bulls’ heads just to further the restaurant’s focus on beef. We’ve found service quite slow, despite the restaurant not being particularly busy, but the staff really know their beef and can fully explain each cut. Expect lots of nice touches like a terracotta flower pot with bread blooming out of it, and gold name plaques on every table – a reward for guests who have visited over 24 times in six months. Seafood lovers will not be disappointed either; the tank-full of lobster and crab at the front of the restaurant is tempting to even the most ardent of carnivores. Open daily 5pm-midnight. JW Marriot Dubai, Abu Baker Al Siddique Road, Deira, www.marriottdiningatjw.ae (04 607 7977).
Legends Housed within the Dubai Creek Golf Club, this smart restaurant has a laidback luxury to it. Diners can sit outside under the white canopies and enjoy dramatic views of the Creek and Sheikh Zayed Road skyline, while inside there are soft, pale-coloured chairs and private dining areas that overlook the main restaurant. Service is polite and attentive, and staff show you the raw cuts of meat on offer before you order, giving you an opportunity to ask about the food. The restaurant offers a choice of Irish, French, American and Australian beef, and the steaks come beautifully presented, with a side and choice of sauce. Starters feature a creative fusion of cuisines mixing Arabic, European and Asian – you can choose from dishes such as snail samosa, cheese kunafa and salmon sashimi, all of which are attractively presented and add an element of interest to the meat-focused menu. Open daily noon-3pm, 7pm-11pm. Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club, Deira (04 295 6000).
MJ’s Steakhouse The menu at MJ’s offers a variety of steaks ranging from classic T-bone and sirloins, to tender cuts of Japanese wagyu. The New York-themed restaurant faces the waterways of Madinat Jumeirah, and the interior is slick and modern in comparison to the grandeur of Madinat, with the laidback swing jazz in the background creating a relaxed atmosphere. Service is attentive and while diners can choose from more than just meat, it’s the steaks that really draw the eye. You’ll get to pick from a tray of sharp steak knives, followed by a selection of four mustards to accompany your cut. Steaks arrive juicy and cooked as requested, the wagyu fillet being particularly tender and well-seasoned. Staff will readily inform you that all the food is halal, but we feel they should also point out that some side sauces are made using red grape – something to bear in mind. Open daily 6.30pm-11.30pm. Madinat Jumeirah, Umm Suqeim (04 366 6730).
Prime 68 If you want a break from the traditional steakhouse with tan leather chairs and dark wood, and are looking for a touch of glamour to go with your tenderloin, then Prime 68 is the place for you. High up on the 68th floor of the JW Marriott Marquis, the world’s tallest hotel, this venue offers stunning views across the city. The venue has a circular layout so diners are guaranteed a great view from every table. The decor is light with white gloss floors, comfortable cream-coloured dining chairs and a few romantic tables for two that are enclosed with tasselled curtains. The menu offers traditional choices for steak lovers, as well as an interesting selection of other meats such as five-spice duck with blueberries and milk-fed veal. The Argentine rib-eye is sumptuous, juicy and tasty, while the ginger-garlic sauce has a hint of sweetness that complements the meat, but the steak is the star of the show. Open daily 6pm-midnight. JW Marriot Marquis Hotel Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 414 3000).
Ruth’s Chris Steak House & Lounge Notable US export Ruth’s Chris got its name when, in 1965, divorced single mother Ruth Fertel bought entrepreneur Chris Matulich’s original 1927-founded New Orleans joint, making it the talk of the town’s celebrities, including Fats Domino. Four decades of international franchising later and the American spirit is today being kept alive in Dubai Marina. Everything about the place – the white table clothes, maroon leather booths, waiters in black waistcoats and red ties – screams ‘yee-haa’. As does the menu, a mix of signature steaks and Southern-flavoured seafood specialities. It’s all unmistakably American – fans of a Parisian steak frites would best stay away – but the quality of ingredients is high, while the service is warm and the atmosphere homely. It’s not cheap, and there’s little in the way of subtlety to be found, but for a more welcome dose of momma’s-home-cookin’ flavours, there’s plenty to enjoy about chowing down here. Open daily noon-3pm, 6pm-midnight. The Address Dubai Marina, Dubai Marina, www.ruthschris.ae (04 454 9538).
West 14th With a bold and trendy look, combined with beachfront views over the Palm, West 14th has a lively, fun and buzzing atmosphere. This vibe is helped along by the chatty, animated staff and New York loft-style decor – all exposed brick, red lamp shades and stylised canvases of taxis from the Big Apple. And it’s not just the look that is big and brash; the menu almost goads you into going for the larger options, with the Tomahawk labelled the ‘Man’s Choice’. All of the steaks, in fact, are very large, while the condiments trolley is stocked so full of sauces and mustards that it can all be a bit overwhelming. To add a bit more flavour to proceedings, a range of spicy rubs and herb crumbs can be added to your choice of steak; the garlic thyme rub adds a pleasant texture to what can sometimes be quite dry cuts of meat. Open daily noon-midnight. Oceana Beach Club, Palm Jumeirah, www.west14th.ae (04 447 7601). Other location: Mövenpick Hotel Ibn Battuta Gate Hotel (04 444 0000).