Time Out Restaurant Awards 2017: Winners – pictures
All the winners at the Time Out Restaurant Awards 2017 at the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel
Time Out Dubai staff
Restaurant of the Year: PLAY Restaurant & Lounge This restaurant was an instant hit upon opening in 2015. We loved the food so much that it picked up the Best Newcomer – Fine Dining award at last year’s ceremony. Since then, it has continued to be a roaring success.
With a chef in Reif Othman, formerly of Zuma, who continues to push himself to new levels of excellence with interesting, creative food that is always on the money, and a buzzing atmosphere every night of the week, PLAY is one of those restaurants that you want to tell everyone about and go back to as soon as you’ve left.
Slick, stylish and lively, this is a restaurant where it feels like the chef is having as much fun – fusing and pairing incredible, often surprising flavours – as the swathes of diners lingering long into the night. Not only is this the city’s Restaurant of the Year, it’s also the most aptly named. Book a table. Now. Open daily 6pm-3am. The H Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 336 4444).
Best Asian: PLAY Restaurant & Lounge This restaurant has pushed the boundaries since opening and continues to refresh its menu with new and interesting takes on Asian food. It’s fusion in the most creative and successful way possible. There isn’t a bad dish to be had. Open daily 6pm-3am. The H Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 336 4444).
Best Chinese: Royal China The smart DIFC spot has moody décor, is stylish and atmospheric, and has an impressive terrace for outdoor dining. The ceremony surrounding Chinese food is preserved here, and the cuisine is allowed to shine with traditional dishes as well as some innovative touches. It’s also good value considering the quality. Open daily 11.30am-1am. Gate Precinct Building 4, DIFC (04 354 5543).
Best European: Marina Social This is a restaurant that continues to improve and innovate. With one of the world’s leading chefs, Jason Atherton, behind the scenes and a cracking team led by Tristin Farmer here in Dubai, Marina Social has serious pedigree. It’s the kind of place you can go to with your mates, on a date or with your family. The food is playful, nostalgic and executed perfectly. We’ve never had a bad experience here. Open daily 7pm-midnight; Fri 12.30pm-3.30pm. InterContinental Dubai Marina (04 446 6664).
Best French: La Petite Maison Year after year Dubai sees new restaurants come and go, but one thing never changes – the quality of food and service at La Petite Maison. It’s right up there with the best in Dubai and the list of dishes that we love goes on and on (burrata, lamb cutlets, grilled tiger prawns…). Open daily noon-3.30pm, 7pm-11.30pm. Gate Village 8, DIFC (04 439 0505).
Best Indian: Trèsind It has been busy every single time we’ve been in, no matter what day of the week or time of evening – so Trèsind must be doing something right. Well, we reckon its doing a lot of things right. Flavours are incredible, creativity is off the chart and the fun-factor here is high. Done right, it’s an experience that will take you a few hours, but you’ll need that time to take it all in. Molecular gastronomy done with passion and flair. Brilliant. Open daily noon-3.30pm, 6.30pm-11.30pm. Nassima Royal Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 308 0440).
Best Italian: The Artisan by Enoteca Pinchiorri DIFC, it seems, has the Italian category locked down. Just over the road from Gate Village, in Burj Daman, is this stunner. It’s no exaggeration to say that the food here is some of the very best we’ve tasted in the city this year. The menu is simple, elegant and tasteful. Much like the restaurant as a whole. Open Sun-Thu noon-3.15pm, daily 7-11.30pm. Burj Daman, DIFC (04 338 8133).
Best Japanese: Zuma We’ve written about Zuma many times and been lucky enough to eat in it regularly, but we can still wax lyrical about its many merits. Another restaurant that never wavers or has a dip in form. The food, cooking, service and atmosphere are all, always, brilliant. Open Sun-Thu noon-3.30pm; Fri-Sat 12.30pm-4pm; Sat-Wed 7pm-midnight; Thu-Fri 7pm-1am. Gate Village 6, DIFC (04 425 5660).
Best Latin American: COYA Another restaurant that can battle it out with the best in the city. In this category it comes out on top, thanks to its sense of occasion, artistic interiors, vibe and wonderful dishes. COYA takes Peruvian food and does amazing things with it, from ceviches and tiraditos to anticuchos skewers and Josper-grilled lobster. Our Restaurant of the Year in 2016 is still firing on all cylinders. Open daily 12.30pm-3.30pm; Sat-Tue 7pm-11.30pm; Wed-Fri 7pm-midnight. Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach, Jumeirah Beach Road (04 316 9600).
Best Lebanese: Al Nafoorah A luxurious Lebanese dining establishment, Al Nafoorah is a culinary gem that outshines all of its regional peers. The menu is full of authentic flavours and dishes executed perfectly and with flair – just try the lamb chops, mixed grill and creamy hummus, and you’ll know exactly what we mean. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel when it comes to Lebanese food, but this is a restaurant that does it better than anyone else in the city. Open daily noon-3.30pm, 6pm-11.30pm. Jumeirah Emirates Towers, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 319 8760).
Best Middle Eastern & North African: Aseelah Opened with the mission of putting Emirati food back on the culinary map, Aseelah takes the ingredients and recipes of the UAE’s forefathers and turns them into stylish, modern dishes. An absolute triumph from chef Uwe Micheel who spent years researching the subject before perfecting everything that would end up on the menu. Open daily 12.30pm-4pm, 6.30pm-11.15pm. Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek (04 550 8327).
Best North American & Caribbean: Weslodge Saloon A Canadian bar that showed us there was more to the cuisine than poutine. Amazing views, a stonking soundtrack and high-end comfort food won us over. We love the Southern-fried chicken, lamb ribs and burgers, but is it wrong we keep going back for the onion rings? Open daily 6pm-2am; Sun-Thu 11.30am-3pm; Sat noon-4pm; JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai, Business Bay (04 560 1700).
Best Thai: Thiptara With an idyllic setting sitting over the waters of Burj Lake, this restaurant seems to exist in an ecosystem all of its own. You’ll be transported far from the hustle of the city (but you can still see The Dubai Fountain, if you like) and presented with the fragrant, fresh and light tastes of Thailand. Open daily 6pm-11.30pm. The Palace Downtown Dubai (04 428 7888).
Best Bar Food: Lock, Stock & Barrel The bar is perfect for live music and watching sports and the kitchen knows exactly what kind of food is needed for such an occasion. The wings are lip-smacking, the burgers are bursting with interesting toppings and delicious meat, and the flatbreads are amazing – try the one-metre version between a group, you won’t regret it. Open Mon-Thu 4pm-3am; Fri-Sun 2pm-3am. Grand Millennium Dubai, Barsha Heights (04 514 9195).
Best Café: Bystro This café has continued to go from strength to strength since opening and is a great place for families, friends and couples at any time of the day. It’s another venue that is constantly updating what it offers to stay ahead of the curve, though the brilliance of the cakes will always remain. Open Mon-Sat 8am-9pm; Fri 8pm-5pm. Al Manara, off Sheikh Zayed Road (04 336 8056).
Best Budget: Café Isan A warm welcome is always guaranteed at this Thai spot specialising in cuisine from the North East of the country. The menu is filled with familiar and some not-so-familiar sights, and it all comes in at extremely good value. Open daily noon-11pm. Cluster M, JLT (04 513 5289).
Best Brunch: Zuma A multiple award winner, this restaurant gets it perfect pretty much all of the time, and brunch is no different. The quality of what is on offer is staggering. From super-fresh sashimi to perfectly grilled wagyu rib and street food skewers to delicious dim sum, the buffet showcases an abundance of amazing produce and cooking. And you get a main course on top of that. Just flawless. Fri 12.30pm-4pm. Gate Village 6, DIFC (04 425 5660).
Best Afternoon Tea: Al Bayt Combining rich Arabian hospitality and surroundings with a quintessentially English pastime just works. And Al Bayt pulls it off better than anyone else. Everything you’re served looks so pretty it’s almost a crime to eat it, but once you take a bite you’ll be glad you did. Delicious and a real treat. Served Sun-Tue and Thu noon-6pm. The Palace Downtown Dubai (04 428 7981).
Best Pub Food: The Eloquent Elephant This pub has a style and charm all of its own, which is down to the friendly staff as much as the interesting décor. The chef keeps tweaking the menu, adding new and interesting dishes and using quality ingredients. It’s a cosy place to dine and it does a mean curry. Open Sun-Wed 3pm-1am; Thu-Fri noon-2am. Taj Dubai, Business Bay (04 438 3131).
Best Romantic: Ossiano The food served at this seafood restaurant is amazing. Add in that it’s an atmospheric underwater (kind of) pad, and the romance will blossom. With live music setting the scene, everyone dressed to the nines and the rippling shadows of the water, this is the ultimate venue for special occasions. Open daily 7pm-11.30pm. Atlantis The Palm, Palm Jumeirah (04 426 2626).
Best Seafood: Catch One of the coolest, funkiest spots in town. For a fresh and creative take on seafood, this is the clear winner. There’s an excellent bar area, regular live music and a brilliant new brunch. But the regular menu (especially the sushi rolls and whole-roasted sea bass), is superb. A worthy winner. Open daily 7pm-2am; Sat 1pm-4pm. Fairmont Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 357 1755).
Best Steakhouse: J&G Steakhouse It’s the first time this restaurant has taken part in the awards and is straight in at the top of its category. The service here is possibly the best we’ve experienced this year, and when it comes to the meat, well, it’s top-class; cooked perfectly and with seriously good sides. No steak has quite lived up to those we ate here this year. Open daily 6.30pm-midnight. The St. Regis Dubai Al Habtoor City (04 435 5577).
Best Newcomer - Casual Dining: 3 Fils Independent and in a stunning setting, fresh produce arrives every day. The small, exciting menu is superb, but there are also daily off-menu additions that beg to be ordered. You can see the chef cooking for you – the place is so small it’s hard to miss him. The intimacy also adds to the warm atmosphere, it really feels like you’re part of the family here. Open Thu-Sat noon-midnight; Mon-Wed 7pm-11pm. Jumeirah Fishing Harbour, Umm Suqeim (056 273 0030).
Best Newcomer - Fine Dining: RÜYA This venue won us over almost instantly. Its picture-perfect setting offers great views and is a relaxing spot. Entertainment is also on point and service is excellent. Of course, the food is great, too, and chef Colin Clague has been improving and adding to the menu since it opened. From a huge slab of chilli-rubbed rib-eye steak to a simple eggy pide, the food is delicious. Open Sat-Wed 6pm-1am; Thu-Fri 6pm-2am; Fri-Sat noon-4pm. Grosvenor House Dubai, Dubai Marina (04 399 9123).
Commitment to Healthy Eating: Silvena Rowe
Outstanding Contribution: Mohammad Iqbal, Chef de Cuisine, JW’s Steakhouse, JW Marriott Hotel Dubai
Best Breakfast: Baker & Spice This restaurant is something of an old favourite of ours, having won Best Café two years in a row in 2013 and 2014. We keep returning to it, though. Not just for the great views of The Dubai Fountain and friendly staff, but for the amazing baking and what is hands-down the best shakshuka in town. Open daily 8am-11pm. Souk Al Bahar, Downtown Dubai (04 425 2240).