The Shortlist

Okku, The H Hotel
Nominated for Best Japanese
© ITP Images
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There’s no doubt that Okku deserves its place among Dubai’s top Japanese restaurants. Its dark, atmospheric interior is instantly likeable – the kind of place you’d imagine they’d choose for a scene in a James Bond movie, the blue-lit jellyfish tank prominently on display behind the bar imposing and impressive. Food-wise, there’s much to choose from; Okku’s ‘small plates’, such as the intensely flavoured duck salad or the delicate sashimi salad, whet the appetite, while the larger plates offer something more substantial – like the exquisite steamed sea bass, a great alternative to the ever-popular miso black cod. Our recommended approach is to go for variety, sharing each delightful dish with your fellow diners. Everything, from the slick, superior service to the sustainable seafood policy, is commendable, so it’s a shame that Okku is let down by its maki rolls, which don’t quite match the refinement of the rest of the menu, as well as the lack of space between tables, which prevents a private, intimate dining experience. These are, of course, minor objections, but they stand out all the more because everything else is flawless.
Open Sun-Thu noon-3pm, 7pm-11.45pm; Fri-Sat 7pm-11.45pm. The H Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road, (04 501 8777).

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