Time Out Dubai Restaurant Awards 2018 winners - in pictures
The city's top restaurants have been revealed - here are the best in town
Time Out Dubai staff
BEST ASIAN WINNER: 3 Fils This unassuming Asian fish restaurant at Jumeirah Fishing Harbour has wowed us since quietly arriving on the dining scene in late 2016. In fact, it was so good that we named it Best Casual Newcomer last year. The natural progression has led it to pick up the gong for Best Asian. From former Zengo chef Akmal Anuar, dishes showcase Asian flavours perfectly. Chef Anuar takes weekly deliveries of some of the finest seafood Japan has to offer, and that is obvious in the superb dishes. Open Mon-Wed 1pm-11pm; Thu-Sat noon-midnight. Jumeirah Fishing Harbour, Jumeirah 2 (056 273 0030).
BEST CHINESE WINNER: Hakkasan One of the leading Chinese restaurant brands in the world, the Dubai branch of Hakkasan serves up delicious dishes in a cool setting. A carefully crafted menu boasts items such as a roasted chicken in a delicated peanut sauce, while dim lighting sets the mood. The menu is top-notch and, although pricey, this is one that’s worthy of special occasions. Open daily noon-4pm; 7pm-1am. Jumeirah Emirates Towers, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 384 8484).
BEST EUROPEAN WINNER: folly by Nick & Scott A creative and modern restaurant from chefs Nick Alvis and Scott Price. There are a variety of dining areas, including a spectacular terrace with expansive views across Madinat Jumeirah. However, for a one-off dining experience, book into The Kitchen Bar for a tasting menu of signature dishes that will blow you away. Open Sun-Thu noon-2.30pm; Fri-Sat noon-3.30pm; daily 5pm-11pm. Souk Madinat Jumeirah, Umm Suqeim (04 430 8535).
BEST FRENCH WINNER: La Petite Maison Year after year this beautiful restaurant nestled in the heart of DIFC continues to exceed our expectations. From its glorious lamb chops to its rich and creamy dauphinoise potatoes and fresh salads, whatever you pick you won’t be disappointed. Always busy, always buzzing and unfailingly excellent, this is a top-class restaurant with heaps of Gallic charm that you simply shouldn’t miss. La Petite Maison retains its 2017 title. Open daily noon-3.15pm, 7pm-11.15pm. Sheikh Zayed Road, DIFC (04 439 0505).
BEST INDIAN WINNER: Trèsind If we’re talking about taking something and giving it a twist, then Trèsind does it better than anywhere else in this cuisine. It’s molecular gastronomy, Indian style. Another dual winner – having taken this award in 2017 as well – it’s interactive, and you’ll get to see the chefs make the food live at your table if you choose well. From the inventive and immaculate presentation, to the plumes of dry ice, it’s fun, it’s surreal but most importantly the food is just as crazily good as the experience. Open daily noon-3pm; 7pm-11.30pm. Nassima Royal Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 308 0000).
BEST ITALIAN WINNER: Il Borro Tuscan Bistro This classy Italian works with ingredients supplied by the original estate in Tuscany, and this is reflected in the taste and quality. Simple, yet delicious, the fresh produce does the talking in the dishes here, all of which are served up in an upmarket, yet unstuffy environment. Inside boasts white tablecloths and olive trees, while outside you’ll enjoy views over the Turtle Lagoon. We’ve waxed lyrical about the stunning burrata on many an occasion, but there’s nothing that doesn’t impress here. Go and see for yourself. Open daily 12pm-3.30pm, 7pm-1am. Jumeirah Al Naseem, Madinat Jumeirah (04 275 2555).
BEST JAPANESE WINNER: Zuma A multi-award-winning, stylish, popular space offering excellent Japanese food that’s every bit as good as you’ve heard. Main courses, especially the black cod, are world-famous for good reason and really shouldn’t be missed. You’ll be blown away by the amazing sushi, robata and tempura, too. Stop off for a drink at the cool bar area and you’ve got a brilliant date night right there. We could go on, but you get the picture. Sun-Thu noon-3.30pm, 7pm-midnight; Fri 12.30pm-4pm, 7pm-1am; Sat 12.30pm-4pm, 7pm-midnight. Gate Village, DIFC (04 425 5660).
BEST LATIN AMERICAN WINNER: LIMA Dubai LIMA Dubai, from chef Virgilio Martinez, opened in City Walk last year. Its sister restaurant, LIMA Fitzrovia, is the first and only Peruvian restaurant to win and retain a Michelin star, so it landed here in Dubai with high expectations. And it’s massively lived up to them, with the food wowing us every time we visit. From the ceviches to the anticuchos and tequeños, everything is prettily plated and delicately flavoured. The service is some of the best we’ve experienced and the lounge has some stunning décor, too. In a city that does Peruvian very well, LIMA has the edge. Open daily noon-midnight. City Walk, Al Safa Street (056 500 4571).
BEST LEBANESE WINNER: Al Nafoorah This luxurious restaurant serves up top-class Lebanese cuisine in an elegant, timeless setting. The menu is executed with flair, and it’s a worthy winner in this category for the second consecutive year. Open Sun-Thu noon-3.30pm, 6pm-11.30pm; Fri-Sat noon-4pm, 6pm-11.30pm. Jumeirah Emirates Towers, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 319 8760).
BEST MENA WINNER: RÜYA Winner of our Fine Dining Newcomer in 2017, this high-end Turkish spot from celebrated chef Colin Clague has some excellent traditional dishes and stunning views from a pretty terrace across Dubai Marina. Classic fare is presented with a modern twist, all expertly executed. Don’t miss the cheese and egg pide, a constant favourite with the Time Out Dubai team. Open Sat-Wed 6pm-1am; Thu-Fri 6pm-2am. Grosvenor House, Dubai Marina (04 399 9123).
BEST NORTH AMERICAN & CARIBBEAN WINNER: Miss Lily’s This funky Jamaican restaurant is a massive hit in its native New York, and that popularity has been replicated here in Dubai. The cool, underground vibe, with pumping music and vibrant décor makes for a top night out. But it’s not all about the party – the food lives up to its end of the bargain and we can’t get enough of the jerk fish tacos. Feeling adventurous? Try the traditional goat curry. Upbeat, fun and one we want to return to time and again for good times and good food. Open Sat Tue 7pm-1am; Wed-Fri 7pm-2am. Sheraton Grand Hotel Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 354 4074).
BEST THAI WINNER: Thiptara This elegant restaurant has prime views across to The Dubai Fountain. However, it doesn’t rest on its laurels and rely on the setting for its popularity – as is proven in taking this award for the second year running. Dishes are expertly prepared and palate-pleasing. Prices are high, but so is the quality of the food, and it’s sure to be a meal you won’t forget in a hurry. Open daily 6pm-11.30pm. Palace Downtown Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard (04 888 3444).
BEST AFTERNOON TEA WINNER: At.mosphere Restaurant and Lounge For a truly elegant afternoon tea experience, this is the one to book. The setting is, of course, mesmerising, being 122 floors up in the Burj Khalifa. Opt for a window seat and on days when the sky is clear, the views across the city are simply breathtaking. A live violinist provides the soundtrack and sets the mood for a relaxed and refined afternoon. The food is dainty yet substantial and, most importantly, delicious. This afternoon tea might be costly, but it’s worth booking for a special treat and really should be tried at least once. Dhs440 (sparkling grape, non-window seat), Dhs515 (sparkling grape, window seat), Dhs680 (bubbly). Daily noon-4.30pm. Burj Khalifa, Downtown Dubai (04 888 3828).
BEST BAR FOOD WINNER: Lock, Stock & Barrel Winner of Time Out Dubai’s Best Bar Food Award two years in a row now, the team here are certainly doing a lot of things right. Whether you’re after a massive flatbread, spicy wings or just in the mood for some fully-loaded nachos, then this is the bar for your snacking needs. The space itself is lively and fun, plus with pool tables and live music to go alongside that lip-smacking (and possibly belt-busting) grub, you’re on to a winner. Open Sun-Thu 4pm-3am, Fri-Sun 2pm-3am. Grand Millennium Hotel, Barsha Heights (04 514 9195).
BEST BREAKFAST WINNER: Reform Social & Grill Hugely popular for its proper pub grub, roast dinners and family-friendly vibe, Reform Social & Grill has also made a very successful foray into breakfasts in the past year. The weekend versions are top-notch, with the Breakfast of Champions a thing to behold with its monster servings of fried eggs, bacon, sausages, beans et al. And what’s brekkie without that trendy green fruit? This pub also does a mean smashed avocado on crumpets. Retro. Open daily 8am–midnight. The Lakes (04 454 2638).
BEST BRUNCH WINNER: Zuma You’ll need to book weeks in advance for this superb brunch (don’t say we didn’t warn you). Picking up the Brunch of the Year gong for the second year in a row, this world-famous Japanese pulls out all the stops time after time. Dig into a range of sushi, sashimi, salad and maki rolls from the cold buffet before moving onto a hot section packed full of rotaba and tempura. Mains are served to the table and include that global superstar – the black cod. See our review on page 36. Dhs473 (soft drinks), Dhs625 (house beverages), Dhs688 (bubbly). Dhs236 (kids under 12). Fri 12.30pm-4pm. Gate Village 6, DIFC (04 425 5660).
BEST BUDGET WINNER: Ayubowan One of the first things you’ll notice about Ayubowan is the amazing smell – scents of curry and fresh spices greet you as soon as you walk through the large wooden doors. The restaurant is small but welcoming, and you’re guaranteed top service. The Sri Lankan dishes are authentic and excellent, and most importantly – wallet-friendly. Curries start from as little as Dhs20 and are on the large side, so bring your appetite for a cheap and delicious meal. Open daily 10am-11pm. Lake Point Tower, Cluster N, Jumeirah Lake Towers (04 452 1007).
BEST CAFÉ WINNER: Jolie Boutique & Café As expected, the flower theme is strong at this cute, kitsch café in City Walk. A home-grown concept, this beautifully presented eatery boasts a foliage ceiling, a flower stall and delightful dishes, all of which come accompanied by a rose for you to take home. However, it’s not all about the aesthetics, as charming as they are. Dishes are top-notch, too, from the avocado and halloumi on toast to the crêpes stuffed with chunky lobster meat. Oh, and don’t miss the freshly baked cakes either. What a treat. Open daily 9am-11pm. CIty Walk, Al Safa Street (050 170 5657).
BEST OUTDOOR WINNER: Boardwalk If you haven’t taken a mosey on down to Dubai Creek then this is an ideal pit-stop. With a massive terrace jutting out over the water, the views are sublime. The vibe is deeply laid-back and it’s the perfect place for a winter afternoon soaking up the sunshine. Order a pizza and sit back and admire the views. Open daily noon-midnight. Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club, Deira (04 295 6000).
BEST PUB FOOD WINNER: Reform Social & Grill We’ve talked about the breakfasts and now we’re back with the main event – pub grub. The proper British dishes here are as popular as the expansive pub garden which, in the winter, is a hotspot for The Lakes community. Dig into fish and chips, pies, fry-ups, the list goes on and it’s all top. It also does a mean roast. All bases are covered, and well. Open daily 8am-midnight. The Lakes (04 454 2638).
BEST BEST ROMANTIC WINNER: Thiptara What’s more romantic than dining on a terrace set above the water, with half-hourly performances from the world-famous Dubai Fountain for entertainment? None, which is why we’ve awarded Thiptara the most Romantic Restaurant in Dubai. Not only is the Thai food incredible – it’s also a worthy winner of our Thai Restaurant of the Year – this elegant restaurant has stunning views and a warm, intimate vibe. A showstopper of a date restaurant. Open daily 6pm-11.30pm. Palace Downtown Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard (04 888 3444).
BEST SEAFOOD WINNER: Ossiano Seafood, under the sea. Not literally, but it’s as close as you’re going to get, thanks to the massive floor-to-ceiling aquarium that covers one huge side of this classy Atlantis The Palm restaurant. Not just for tourists – though most certainly one for the to-visit list if you’re in Dubai – this stunning restaurant serves up equally admirable seafood dishes. All are beautifully prepared and of exceptional quality. Push the boat out and try the tasting menu, it’s pricey but it won’t let you down. See our review on page 35. Open daily 6.30pm-11pm, Sat 1pm-3pm. Atlantis The Palm, Palm Jumeirah (04 426 2626).
BEST STEAKHOUSE WINNER: J&G Steakhouse If you’re after a steak in Dubai, look no further than J&G Steakhouse. This cool, dimly lit space with dark woods and leather seating serves excellent meat but also does seafood very well. Alongside spectacular steaks, you’re treated to a classy-yet-contemporary vibe, with jazz playing in the background, exceptional hospitality and a broad, sophisticated menu. It comes with a price tag, but it’s worth it. Open daily 6.30pm-midnight. The St. Regis Dubai, Al Habtoor City (04 435 5577).
BEST CASUAL DINING NEWCOMER WINNER: BB Social Dining This cool restaurant boasts funky interiors and lovely al fresco terraces. Take a seat on the roof for a cosy meal and you’ll be thrilled. The menu has innovative, fun dishes, with quirks on the usual such as edamame hummus and cauliflower popcorn. It prides itself on its bao buns and bowls (as the BB suggests), while the desserts are awesome, too. Open Sun-Wed noon-1am; Fri-Sat noon-1am. Gate Village 8, DIFC (04 407 4444).
BEST FINE DINING NEWCOMER WINNER: Flamingo Room by tashas This charming new venue bowled us over immediately. We love the quirky décor, showpiece lighting and pearly pink interiors. There’s an al fresco terrace overlooking the Turtle Lagoon, too. From the retro lobster vol au vent to the melt-in-the-mouth beef carpaccio, dishes are exquisite in both taste and presentation. Gold stars all round. Open Sat-Wed noon-4pm, 7pm-11.30pm; Thu-Fri noon-4pm, 7pm-midnight. Jumeirah Al Naseem, Madinat Jumeirah (04 244 7278).
Restaurant of the year winner: Il Borro Tuscan Bistro
Outstanding Contribution Sebastian Nohse, Director of Culinary at JW Marriott Marquis Dubai