The greatest things the Time Out Dubai team has eaten over the past 12 months
Time Out Dubai staff
We went, we ate, we adored. Here are the greatest things the Time Out Dubai team has eaten over the past 12 months
6abooga Burger at Blaze Burgers Also known as “The Brick”, this behemoth burger stopped us in our tracks when it arrived in Dubai via Bahrain earlier this year (quite literally – we ate two in a single day and needed a very, very long lie down). Your doctor may not thank you for finishing this hearty combination (two butter-basted grilled cheese sandwiches encase a double stack of cheeseburgers), but your ravenous hunger pangs certainly will. Write off the afternoon, because you’re going to have a serious post-snack snooze on your hands. And it’s, utterly, completely, absolutely worth it. Dhs72. The Walk, JBR (04 248 2914).
Avocado cocktail at Chez Charles This brasserie-style restaurant in d3 is a first eatery for the high-end catering company, and it serves up classic European dishes, done simply and well. Case in point is this excellent avocado cocktail, which is delightfully retro in its use of Marie Rose sauce, yet brought up to date with a fruity, punchy mango salsa. Creamy slices of avocado paired with large, juicy prawns make this a top starter that’s light and moreish. The vibrant colours and fresh veg make it healthy, too, so we’re sure you can excuse a serving of pain perdu for dessert. Chez Charles is worth a visit to d3 for. Dhs59. Building 11, d3 (04 512 2444).
All Black Burger at Bridgewater Tavern Turn straight to the signature “All Black” menu where you’ll find this stacked mountain of meaty goodness. An all-black brioche bun comes piled high with well-seasoned wagyu beef – go for the patty cooked medium – crisp slices of peppery beef bacon, aged cheddar, crispy onions, a spiced onion jam and barbecue sauce. It’s a juicy mix of tangy-sweet flavours and an almighty burger to get your chops around. Every bite is sheer joy, though. Just dig in. Dhs85. JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai, Business Bay (04 429 8978).
Avocado on toast at Jolie Floral boutique Not the most complicated of dishes, but this is one of the best avocado on toasts we’ve tried. Smashed avo with a twist, this is almost guacamole-like, with a fragrant combo of diced tomatoes and chopped coriander (admittedly a divisive herb). Underneath is a smudge of vibrant beetroot hummus as a nod to the café’s Middle Eastern roots. It’s topped with grilled halloumi, all aboard a crisp slice of sourdough. A healthy, satisfying and Instagrammable way to start the day. Dhs49. City Walk, Al Safa Street (04 345 6922).
Baked Camembert at Parlour Boutique Can you get a dish more indulgent than an entire baked cheese? We can’t think of anything better, and this version is an utterly delightful one. This Camembert from French eatery Parlour Boutique is drizzled with truffle honey and baked until it’s perfectly melty. It’s served up with a fruity blackcurrant jam that cuts through the soft, creamy cheese marvellously, while crunchy walnuts shake up the texture. Dip it up with crusty French bread and thank us later. Dhs55. One Central, Dubai World Trade Centre, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 486 5333).
Baked Scottish scallops at The Atlantic If you’re heading to The Atlantic you’re most likely going along for some top-notch seafood (and you won’t be disappointed). From platters of oysters and massive prawns to the popular fish and chips, everything is excellently fresh. Don’t miss this baked scallops dish, though. The perfectly fleshy seafood is expertly cooked in a delicate sauce, and is an ideal precursor to that aforementioned classic British main. Plus, did we mention the prime Dubai Fountain views? Dhs119. Souk Al Bahar, Downtown Dubai (04 442 5662).
Beef cheek at Pots, Pans & Boards The beachside restaurant from two Michelin-starred British chef Tom Aikens delivers a wealth of incredible eats, but our favourite by a stretch is this chunk of densely flavoured meaty deliciousness. The beef cheek comes with creamed truffle polenta and braised cabbage, and when all eaten in one forkful with the incredibly delicate meat, it’s a sheer delight. Punchy, rich, seriously savoury and perfectly prepared, this is a dish not to miss. A true taste of home for British expats. Dhs98. The Beach, opposite JBR (04 456 1959).
Belgian cheese croquettes at Le Petit Belge This Belgian eatery has made a name for itself on the JLT dining scene, mainly because of its hearty, tasty grub (and probably helped by its all-day ladies’ night on Wednesdays). The menu is gloriously indulgent and everything is lipsmackingly, and belt-bustingly, good. Our pick are these cheese croquettes, which are perfectly crisp outside and deliciously gooey in the centre. Paired with a sticky pear dipping sauce, we’d eat them for starter, main and dessert if we could. Dhs48. Pullman Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Cluster T, JLT (04 242 7794).
BibimBap at Namu If you’re after some traditional, tasty Korean cuisine, Namu at the W Dubai Al Habtoor City should be on your list. Not only do the floor-to-ceiling windows show off the Dubai Water Canal, the food is a treat, too. This authentic bibimbap is a hearty bowl of goodness, filled with all the rice and vegetables you’d expect – and topped with a free-range egg to mix in – but comes with the addition of rich Korean beef tartare and sweet pear. It’s a simple dish given an unusual, high-end twist by this world-famous restaurant chain. Part of Seoul Food Sundays: Dhs245 (soft drinks). Sun 7pm-11pm. W Dubai Al Habtoor City (04 435 5577).
Bouchon Breakfast at Bouchon Bakery Seven Michelin-starred chef Thomas Keller, who’s famous for his Bouchon Bakery chain in the US, is now serving excellent breakfasts at The Beach, opposite JBR. And we especially recommend this signature dish, which comes with eggs, bacon, toast and potatoes (double carbs, we like). Everything is deliciously fresh, filling and moreish. Don’t forget to stop by the deli counter on the way out for a chocolate chunk cookie, we promise you won’t regret it. Dhs40. The Beach, opposite JBR (04 419 0772).
Braised wagyu beef short rib at Demoiselle by Galvin It’s not hard to see why the Galvin bothers have earned two Michelin stars. Their classy Demoiselle serves some really excellent food. The braised wagyu beef short rib with truffle crust and mushroom cream is a truly decadent, yet delicate rendition of this ever-popular menu staple, and is one that gets us seeing stars of the Michelin kind. You’ll want to savour every sweet shred of every bite. Dhs186. City Walk, Al Safa Street (056 534 7912).
Bufala Pizza at Il Faro Il Faro means lighthouse in Italian, and you can’t miss (nor would you want to) this Palm Jumeirah hotspot, which glows like a beacon for outstanding pizzas. Head to the quaint building set out to sea and dig into one of the many options from an extensive menu. Toppings are super-fresh (and generous), piled atop a perfectly blistered base. Opt for a traditional bufala version and you’ll thank us – creamy cheese, juicy tomatoes and crispy, chewy dough. Utterly delish. Pair with a fancy beverage for ultimate holiday vibes. Dhs82. Azure Residences, Palm Jumeirah (04 568 3137).
Burrata di Andria at Il Borro Tuscan Bistro We love the authentic, traditional menu at Italian import Il Borro. But what really stands out for us is the burrata di Andria, with its creamy, stracciatella centre and toppings of sweet cherry tomatoes and fresh, aromatic basil. With a generous drizzle of that Il Borro olive oil, this is a delicate yet rich dish, exuding an intensity of flavour that your palate will thank you for. Dhs85. Jumeirah Al Naseem, Madinat Jumeirah, Umm Suqeim (04 559 7869).
Cheeseburger at BurgerItch A colossal fistful of comfort food so life-affirming it might even revive it, BurgerItch’s cheeseburger is a juicy double-meat feast topped with house sauce, all secured within a superbly squidgy potato bun. Unfortunately, you’ll need to chase the food truck across town (and sometimes even the Emirates) to get your ravenous mitts on a glorious mouthful. Stalk the city’s pop-up food truck markets (such as Truckers DXB) or stay tuned to BurgerItch’s Instagram page for details of its latest appearance. Just don’t blame us if it makes you hungry. Dhs40. www.instagram.com/burgeritch.
Cheese fondue at Publique This mountain-themed restaurant has a proper chalet feel, and proper chalet food. From the ski lift DJ booth to the (admittedly) fake fire burning away in the corner, you could almost be in The Alps. And dishes are just as authentic. The indulgent cheese fondue is deliciously rich and creamy, while the croutons used to scoop up that cheesy loveliness are perfectly crisp yet fluffy. Warming and filling, kick back and while away an evening here. Deliciously satisfying, although perhaps one to avoid if you’re watching your waistline. Dhs99 (a person). Souk Madinat Jumeirah, Umm Suqeim (04 430 8550).
Chelo kabab – e – soltani at Shabestan A rumoured favourite of UAE royalty, it’s not hard to see why this dish is one of the most popular on the menu. Served up in the quaint, low-key surrounds of Shabestan (if you have a Persian grandma, her house probably feels as cosy as this, and if you don’t, you’ll want one), two different styles of lamb kebab deliver a hint of charring and a fragrant wallop of Persian seasoning alongside a giant mound of butter-topped fluffy rice. Hearty, homely, and well worth venturing Creekside for. Dhs155. Radisson Blu Hotel Dubai Deira Creek, Deira (04 448 0960).
Chicken keema at Ravi Restaurant You won’t find fine-dining by any means at Ravi Restaurant, but you will certainly find fine food, most notably in the form of this chicken keema. The Pakistani eatery is wholly no frills, and when this dish is served atop the plastic tablecloth, there really is no place we’d rather be. The minced chicken is cooked in a tomato-based curry sauce and is flavoured with aromatic Pakistani spices. It’s also fired up with a generous helping of green chillies. We recommend enjoying it piled high on a warm roti. This dish is hard to beat. Dhs24. Near Satwa Roundabout, (04 331 5151).
Chicken Mousakhan at Mama’esh This quirky little café in Business Bay is open pretty much all the time, and you’ll always find people in it. Whether you fancy tea, coffee, breakfast, or even a full meal later in the day, this place delivers. While you might be tempted to go for the mama’esh the place takes its name from (and you wouldn’t be disappointed if you did) we love the chicken mousakhan – a mountain of Palestinian rolls stuffed with the meat, sumac, pine nuts and onions. It’s a real winner. Dhs26. Bayswater Tower, Business Bay (04 453 8166).
Cream chicken at Carnival by Trèsind Quirky Indian eatery Carnival by Trèsind is renowned for its unique and interesting dishes (more often than not complete with a plume of dry ice). And although Parmesan cheese might not be the first ingredient you expect to see on the menu at an Indian restaurant, this is worth trying nonetheless. Rosemary chicken is mixed with a creamy cheese fondue and finished off in a whole Parmesan cheese wheel. A rich dish, the chicken is delicately flavoured and perfectly cooked. Dhs145. Burj Daman, DIFC (052 242 4262).
Fake Carpaccio at Cuisinero Uno Vegetarians, you can now have your carpaccio and eat it. New kid on the block Cuisinero Uno, at the Steigenberger Hotel in Business Bay, has a menu packed with veggie dishes, and this one is a standout (burnt leeks with brown butter coming a very close second). After treatments including roasting and dehydrating, watermelon takes on a chewy, meaty texture, which, coupled with its natural sweetness, pairs perfectly with blobs of crème fraîche, crushed pine nuts and crispy fried rocket. A treat – and a great-value one at that. Dhs38. Steigenberger Hotel, Business Bay (04 431 7816).
Fresh prawns al ajillo at España We weren’t wowed by everything on the menu of this contemporary Spanish restaurant that opened down at the Jumeirah Creekside Hotel earlier in 2017, however, the classic prawns al ajillo are worth a visit alone. This traditional tapas dish is big enough to share, although you might not want to. A light, fresh garlicky sauce houses a warming kick from a dash of chilli, while the plump prawns are deliciously tender. The veggies are vibrant and crisp, too. Mop it all up with the crunchy bread that’s artfully arranged on top and you could be in Spain (almost). Dhs65. Jumeirah Creekside Hotel, Garhoud (04 228 1777).
Guacamole at Loca Anyone who’s anyone does a tableside song and dance with avocados these days, but Loca in Jumeirah was one of the first to roll out performance art-meets-dining in Dubai, and it’s still the best in town. Served with a basket of warm tortilla chips, it’s best enjoyed on a Friday afternoon, when the brunch crowd bring the atmosphere (and excellent people-watching opportunities) and local band Big Mouth bring the brilliant tunes. If you need a little something extra, the homemade jalapeño poppers are a spicy, molten marvel. Dhs65. Dubai Marine Beach Resort & Spa, Jumeirah 1 (04 346 1111).
Hollywood Rolls at Katsuya by Starck Vibrant, tasty and light, the Hollywood rolls are the restaurant’s signature sushi dish that nod to the brand’s Californian roots. The maki rolls are an excellent combination of tempura shrimp, avocado and spicy albacore, making for a smashing flavour and texture combination. True, prices are on the steep side, but it’s all prettily presented and super-fresh, so worth diving into if you fancy some upmarket Japanese cuisine. Dhs75. Jumeirah Al Naseem, Madinat Jumeirah, Umm Suqeim (04 419 0676).
Key West Seafood Sliders at Key West Top tip? Visit Key West early to catch the sunset, it’s simply stunning. And as you’re already there you might as well grab a bite to eat, right? The blackened fish fillets are deliciously juicy and fresh, with a charred, smoky taste. They’re piled up with peppers into a squid ink bun, which we defy you to eat slowly. Match them with spicy sweet potato fries and a dash of the team’s special homemade hot sauce and pretend like you’re in the Caribbean for the evening. Dhs75. Nikki Beach Resort & Spa, Pearl Jumeira (04 376 6000).
Khyber chicken tikka at Khyber The jewel in Khyber’s crown is without a doubt this chicken tikka, which is cooked slowly in a clay oven. Chefs from the flagship Mumbai restaurant flew over to the outlet at DUKES Dubai on the Palm Jumeirah to personally teach the authentic North Indian recipe and technique to the kitchen’s staff. The flavour infiltrates the entire cube of meat, and has just enough of a spicy kick without blowing your socks off. A slather of the accompanying mint dip makes for an impeccable finish, completing what is arguably a tough course to follow. Dhs90. DUKES Dubai, Palm Jumeirah (04 248 2150).
Lemongrass chicken skewer at Mr Miyagi’s Rarely does Dubai see a new restaurant and bar launch arrive to such monumental popularity, but Mr Miyagi’s (and its Cobra Kai bar) was the talk of the town when it threw open the doors earlier this year. When we eventually managed to elbow our way to a table, these chicken kebabs, wrapped around sticks of lemongrass, were exactly what we’d hoped for. Fragrant, spicy and succulent, they’re the brilliant bar snack you’ve been waiting for. Dhs45. Media One Hotel, Dubai Media City (04 420 7489).
Limeño ceviche at Ají Ceviche is one of the most refreshing dishes to eat outside on a perfectly sunny day by the beach, and the setting at Ají, on the terrace overlooking the golden sands and sparkling waters of the Arabian Gulf, down at Club Vista Mare, is spot on. The limeño ceviche comes as precision-cut cubes of the freshest, meatiest sea bass, doused in a liberal mix of zesty citrus juices, with coriander adding a sweet edge and tempering the tart flavours. The addition of onion and sweet potato lift this dish from brilliant to sublime. Dhs60. Club Vista Mare, Palm Jumeirah (04 552 0244).
Linguine alla Nerano at Quattro Passi This classic Italian dish is a favourite for many reasons. One being it’s cheesy and rich without being heavy. It’s surprisingly light, fresh and incredibly moreish (carb-lovers, take note). Basically just courgette, cheese and garlic, this is a simple plate, of which its flavour belies its few ingredients. Stemming from the Amalfi coast, this linguine alla neraon is almost like a holiday in a bowl. Twirl the pasta strands around your fork and try not to wolf it down too impolitely. Dhs95. FIVE Palm Jumeirah Dubai (04 455 9988).
Lobster and prawn vol-au-vent at Flamingo Room by tashas This delightfully retro dish is everything you’d want from a vol-au-vent, and more. Flaky, buttery pastry that’s robust without being heavy, filled with a decadent and yet not overbearingly creamy sauce that’s gloriously moreish. A generous helping of sizeable, meaty chunks of lobster and prawn complete the line-up, while the tasty sauce is studded with fresh green peas for a dash of colour. Dhs255. Jumeirah Al Naseem, Umm Suqeim (04 244 7278).
Malouf’s Ouzi at Zahira Earlier this year, we called chef Greg Malouf’s signature ouzi genre-definingly good. And we’re sticking to our guns. To quote ourselves (pardon the navel-gazing), “the nut rice is so rich, complex and savoury, the lamb so pink yet slide-off-the-bone perfect that we’ll never be able to stomach one of the city’s ubiquitous buffet versions again”. We’re still yet to find anything that comes even close to rivalling this absolute diamond of a dish. Frankly, we could say the same for much of the menu (looking at you, giant Gulf prawns with tangy green chermoula). Dhs145. The H Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 501 8606).
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Millefoglie at Via Veneto When it comes to traditional, tasty and decent-value Italian dishes, Via Veneto on Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard is serving up some excellent options. Our advice? Don’t go heavy on the pizza and pasta (it’ll be a challenge, they’re really good) and leave room for this buttery, sweet millefoglie. You won’t regret it. The flaky, light pastry layers house prettily piped orange blossom-flavoured whipped cream. It’s not too sweet, it’s not too heavy, in fact it’s just right, and that’s why you shouldn’t miss it. Dhs44. Manzil Downtown, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard (04 242 7882).
Mushroom gnocchi at Sean Connolly Mushroom gnocchi, surely it can’t be that good, we hear you ask. To be frank, we didn’t think it could be that special either, until we tried this offering from Australian chef Sean Connolly. The rich ricotta pillows are soft and indulgent, while the amalgamation of meaty mushrooms add earthy depth of flavour and texture to the dish. It’s a hearty, warming offering and is an excellent vegetarian option at this superb Dubai Opera restaurant from the top Aussie chef. Dhs170. Dubai Opera, Downtown Dubai (04 362 7312).
PB&C bar at Mint Leaf of London This pudding is maybe a bit of a leap from the modern Indian food that’s served at the swanky Mint Leaf of London in DIFC, but for sheer pleasure, the PB&C Bar absolutely deserves its place on this list. Essentially, this dessert is a fancy Snickers-style bar. The chocolate log encases a generous and indulgent helping of peanut butter and nougat, making it a rich sweet that’s full of contrasting textures and complementing flavours. Save room for the decadent treat, as it’s truly one not to be missed. Indian? Perhaps not. Delicious? Certainly. Dhs70. Emirates Financial Towers, DIFC (04 706 0900).
Phla neua makheua pro at Wise Kwai A Thai spot that has flown relatively under the radar since opening, but one that deserves some recognition. Staff are excellent, the décor is quirky and the dishes are playfully presented and full of flavour. This dish is in the “salad” section, but is a far cry from a bowl of limp supermarket leaves. Fiery grilled beef is piled high among chunks of aubergine. If the chilli scattered atop the meat isn’t enough to tell you this is going to be spicy, the red Thai dressing will come as a surprising kick of heat. Dhs55. Dusit D2 Kenz Hotel, Barsha Heights (04 567 2247).
Pintxo de queso de Cabra at Toro + Ko The menu actually calls these pintxo de queso de cabra, cebolla caramelizada, miel de trufa. While it may be a mouthful to say, a pintxo is actually a small bite (as opposed to tapas, meaning small plate), but the three little morsels that make up this dish are no less mighty for their diminutive size. Slivers of toast are topped with gooey goat’s cheese, caramelised onions and truffle-infused honey, and you absolutely don’t want to miss them. A little bit of Barcelona in City Walk. Dhs58. The Square, City Walk (04 590 5433).
Po Boy-ish at Cook Hall We’re fans of pretty much the whole menu at this cool, industrial-style gastropub – the kitchen really knows how to turn out some truly comforting bar food. Time and again we return to this tasty, tasty sandwich. A buttery, toasted brioche bun is packed full (and we mean full) of plump prawns, dripping in a spicy sauce. It’s incredibly messy to eat, we won’t lie. Just make sure you have stacks of napkins on your table at the ready, and don’t be shy about licking your fingers as you devour these pockets of deliciousness. Dhs75. The Westin Dubai Al Habtoor City, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 4352 5577).
Roast chicken with satay sauce at Hakkasan There’s a reason why Hakkasan is world-famous, and this dish is a prime example of why we love it. Huge juicy chunks of chicken are served in a delightfully crispy skin, swimming in a rich, thick and flavoursome peanut curry. The dish is pleasantly saucy – mix in the rice after the chicken is gone and mop up every last drop with absolute fervour. The plate is completely mouth-watering, and we are yet to find anything that compares in the city. We’re bowled over by this dish. Dhs112. Jumeirah Emirates Towers, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 384 8484).
Roast foie gras at Jean-Georges When not prepared expertly, foie gras can be one of the most gone-wrong tastes imaginable. But not so at Jean-Georges, and coming from a chef in possession of three Michelin stars, you’d only expect this to be the case. This offering is proof of Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s prowess. The butter-soft, roasted foie gras comes with a purée of lychee and a dust of black olives and rose, perfectly blending sweet and salty flavours with delicately soft textures. It’s an unusual dish, but it’s one you should introduce your taste buds to. Dhs95. Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach, Jumeirah Beach Road (04 457 3779).
Sali marghi at Moombai & Co. We love this quirky new Parsi-style eatery, which opened at the end of summer 2017 in The H Dubai on Sheikh Zayed Road. It delivers fresh food, fun and friendly staff and brightly coloured interiors. And we love the delightful sali marghi even more. Moombai & Co. serves up traditional street food dishes and curries, which it describes as “the soul of Indian cuisine”, and we urge you not to miss this one. A simple, homemade chicken curry topped with straw potatoes, the gravy is rich and tasty and we can’t get enough. Dhs80. The H Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 501 8607).
Salmon & haddock fishcake at Great British Restaurant Go for the salmon and haddock fishcake at Great British Restaurant, and we defy you not to be blown away. The ingredients are well-balanced – the tartare sauce only slightly sharp, and complementing the flaky, light, smoky fish brilliantly. It seems like such a simple dish, but all the right flavours, textures and accompaniments elevate it to something quite special. Dhs55. DUKES Dubai, Palm Jumeirah (04 275 9061).
Salmon tiradito at Waka Restaurant and Bar You’ll have heard a lot about Waka in the past few months. Probably for its “wakamole” (inner groan), but and definitely for its tiradito. It’s a dish of raw fish whose closest cousin is sashimi. Waka’s version of this Peruvian-Nikkei hybrid comes with cubed raw mango, adding a welcome sweetness. Famed for its pretty-as-a-picture presentation, Waka’s tiradito is all served up alongside micro herbs and edible flowers that look almost too good to eat. But tuck in – you won’t regret it. Dhs48. The Oberoi Dubai, Business Bay (04 444 1407).
Scallop ceviche at LIMA Dubai This Peruvian dish is so popular that it was sold out when we first visited Lima earlier this year – so we went back again. Corn, tiger’s milk – lime juice, onion, coriander and chilli – provides a traditional ceviche base for fresh, beautifully prepared scallops, accompanied by seared cherry tomatoes and diced red onion. Set in The Square (the licensed area of City Walk), this London export has established itself in Dubai, and we think it’s certainly worth a visit, even if just to try this delicious ceviche. Don’t just take our word for it. Dhs65. City Walk, Al Safa Street (056 500 4571).
Short rib beef doughnut at Seafire Fusion food can be a risky business, but this one needs no assessment with a furrowed brow. Slow-cooked beef short rib might pop up on the menu at many a Dubai eatery, however, we doubt you’ll see it in this format anywhere other than Seafire. The tender meat is perfectly encased in soft, savoury dough, topped with charcoal Parmesan dust and served with a sweet, sticky barbecue sauce. It’s perfect, and enough to make a grown man weep with joy. Dhs85. Atlantis The Palm, Palm Jumeirah (04 426 2626).
Thai flatbread at Miss Wàng Miss Wàng is a great spot for some traditional Asian dishes in a laid-back, urban setting. There’s karaoke, graffiti-style décor, live music and best of all, authentic street food, all of which is excellent. The star of the show here, however, is the Thai flatbread. A kind of Asian pizza, if you will. A layer of crunchy veggies (think carrots, bean sprouts et al) is mixed with chunks of tender chicken and smothered in molten mozzarella, finished off with a generous drizzle of peanut sauce. An odd combination? Possibly. A must try? Definitely. Dhs42. Majestic Hotel Tower, Bur Dubai (04 501 2567).
The All-American Burger at Black Tap Since Black Tap exploded onto the Dubai dining scene earlier this year, our Instagram feeds have been flooded with outrageous freakshakes, and our bellies full of giant burgers. The menu is extensive (not to mention surprisingly brilliant value for money), with even vegetarians and vegans catered for, but when the carnivores are forced to choose just one, it has to be the All-American version. A juicy patty, soft bun, lashings of American cheese and a tangy pickle. What’s not to love? Dhs75. Jumeirah Al Naseem, Madinat Jumeirah (04 422 9904).
Tomato kefta at Elia Forget about stuffed vine leaves and tiropitakia, Elia has got the tomato kefta absolutely nailed down. These lightly fried Santorini tomatoes sit somewhere between bhajis and fritters on the fried food scale, and it’s almost ineffably tasty. Surprisingly light and intensely flavoursome, we almost wish we could spend all night filling up on this delightful starter (and we would if the rest of the menu wasn’t quite so appealing). Pair them with tyrokafteri (spicy feta cheese dip), and this is one excitement-inducing start to your meal at a brilliant Greek eatery. Dhs25. Majestic Hotel Tower, Bur Dubai (04 501 2690).
Veal tongue at folly by Nick & Scott We’ll get straight to it, folly, in Dubai’s Souk Madinat Jumeirah, is excellent. We like lots on its menu, from the smoked clams to the octopus, but this veal tongue has impressed us most. Conservative diners need not be alarmed. Smooth, tender slivers of meat sit artfully topped with crispy capers, peppery microgreens and sharp Parmesan (along with a few extra nuggets of that savoury meat). If you like roast beef, you’ll love this. Go on, try something different. Dhs45. Souk Madinat Jumeirah, Umm Suqeim (04 430 8535).
Vegan veggie bowl at Tom&Serg For something wholesome, filling and unfathomably delicious, this is the one. The bowl contains an inventive almond hummus, green beans, avocado, cauliflower, broccoli, sprouts, seeds and the café’s light, creamy, “green goodness dressing”, and it’s a riot of flavour. The dish is just as much a feast for your eyes, as it is your stomach. It’s a giant serving of health that’s well worth the price. Dhs52. Al Joud Centre, Al Quoz (056 474 6812).
Slow-cooked lamb shoulder at The Restaurant The Restaurant at Address Bouleveard might not be uniquely named, but the slow-cooked lamb shoulder served up here is certainly a stand-out dish. Succulent lamb falls off the bone and apart in the mouth, with a sumptuous crispy outside giving way to perfectly cooked tender meat beneath. The shoulder is served with toasted freekeh and refreshing pomegranate, while glazed apples add a delectably sweet finish. A splendid choice for the sophisticated meat-lover. Dhs145. Address Boulevard, Downtown Dubai (04 888 3444).