Time Out Dubai Restaurant Awards 2013 details - Timeoutdubai.com

The Exchange

Best Steakhouse Winner 19 Comments

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Walking into The Exchange feels a little like escaping from the outside world: the atmosphere is hushed, the vibe effortlessly understated, with plush carpets underfoot and intriguing artworks on the walls. Tables are few, but large, and are spaced widely apart – the overall impression is of luxury and comfort, rather than a venue trying to cram in as many punters as possible. The menu offers steak measured in ounces, not grams, so ordering can be a little like guesswork for the uninitiated. Luckily, the staff are quick to showcase their knowledge and are more than willing to offer professional recommendations on cuts and cooking temperatures. The beef is divided into Premium Gold Angus and Contry Hill wagyu options; the latter commands a premium price, but we’d recommend giving it a go if your wallet can stretch to it. The silken wagyu is gorgeously flavoursome and expertly cooked, while the sides – from fingerling potatoes and truffle fries to indulgent mac and cheese – are thoughtfully prepared and presented. Admittedly the final bill won’t be small, but rarely have we eaten in a steakhouse this good, where the food excels enough to justify the price.
All major credit cards accepted. Open daily 7pm-midnight. The Fairmont Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road, www.fairmont.com/dubai (04 311 8316).

By Time Out Dubai staff
Time Out Dubai,

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Posted by: Dr. Raji Mathew on 05 Jul ' 13 at 09:21

Edited by TimeOutDubai.com

Had a most enjoyable evening on 26.6.2013 when I dined here. After being escorted to the table, menu brought and the dining concept explained. After all queries answered, it was decided to forego the starters as I was ordering a 20 oz. Chateaubriand meant for two and truffle and parmesan fries as sides. First up came the diet Pepsi with lemon and also some papers and magazines to while away the time as the Chateaubriand was likely to take 45-50 mins. to prepare. Two types of bread - brown and the other with cheese and butter brought to the table. Also 3 types of salt -black rock, pink Hawaian and sea salt kept at the table. I wolfed down two slices of the cheese filled bread before I forced myself to stop. Then, was brought a risotto ball with bell peppers as amouse bouche. It was crisp and fried on the outside and soft inside but didn't carry much flavour. Next came as a compliment, a beautifully laid out plate of salad. The chateaubriand was finally wheeled on a large trolley, sliced as desired and the remaining covered and kept heated. It was ordered medium done and was made so. Horseraddish and peppercorn sauce kept in separate bowls and in a touch of class a little of hot English mustard, tarragon, beetroot with red pepper, grainy mustard and Dijon sauce was presented on a long plate separately. The English mustard and the tarragon got my vote so more of those were brought. The meat was soft with a distinct pink centre and easy to cut but without much juice or flavour so the sauces were used liberally. The truffle & parmesan fries I didn't find so great as the fries didn't uniformly have the flavouring. A masterly chocolate cigar with caramelized sesame seed looking like cigar ash to dip into was served to end the evening. Service was very efficient and prompt.

Posted by: Frédéric on 25 Feb ' 12 at 17:52
  • Best for: Romantic

Edited by TimeOutDubai.com

First, I want to say that the booking process was very good and call for a kindness. The restaurant is located on the 2nd floor. It has fifty seats for large spaces between tables are available. The setting is cozy, classy with wide dark brown leather armchair. They even see the handbags shoulder strap of my bag of small tables next to us ..... After we have welcomed, the teacher takes us home to our table. Throughout the evening, the servers will be very caring, efficient but unobtrusive. The card gives way to the meat of different origins (Australia, United States, New Zealand) and various pieces (fillet, sirloin, "ribs", etc..). Fish, crustaceans or p.exemple chicken is also offered. Our choice fell on tonight: - 1 x Salad "Caesar" - 2 x 10oz filet mignon (bearnaise sauce for my guest, pepper and béarnaise for yours truly) - 1x Truffle and Parmesan Fries - 1x "backed potato ' - 2 red martinis - 2x flat waters - 1x sparkling water - 2x Coffee In the preamble, the waiter brings thick slices of fresh bread and warm cheese and onions with butter, excellent! As my guest chose a salad with it brings me as a "starter" a tomato cream served in a cup of coffee. A delight, and what nice touch. Then, to cleanse the palate, a lemon sorbet is offered, presented on a block of ice, as that beautiful. Finally, the main course, the 10oz Filet Mignon, one meat tender. A delight. The pepper sauce or béarnaise was perfect served on the side. With my "backed potato", melted butter was gently placed on a potato and sour cream sauce proposed separately. Grandiose. For my guest, excellent fries with truffle and parmesan. Perfect also. For dessert, wonderful surprise for my birthday cake stuffed with a candle and wrote Happy Birthday, accompanied by a mango sorbet. Finally, with coffee pastries and chocolates. In summary, a complete success without a false note

Posted by: Nic on 06 Sep ' 11 at 09:56
  • Best for: Romantic

The service and food are AMAZING! Staff are very attentive. The 4 course beef tasting menu is to die for and good value! Looking forward to next visit.

Posted by: Mamta Tahilramani on 28 May ' 11 at 16:32
  • Best for: Romantic

Excallent in all ways possible. From the decor to food to staff. This is the best steak restaurant in Dubai, by far.

Posted by: Tony on 25 Apr ' 11 at 18:54
  • Best for: Family friendly

I started eating at the Exchange Grill when the Fairmont first opened and always enjoyed great steaks and top-notch service whether I had taken family or friends. My other favourite steak venue was La Parilla.
Having been in Dubai so long, I don't eat-out as much any more so, it had been a couple of years since I last took my family to the Exchange Grill. Thankfully, they have not let their standards slip one bit.

Having tried many of the 5-star steak venues (including most of the Time Out rated ones), I still think this is still one of the best in Dubai. On this occasion, I tried the Beef Progression set-menu. The wagyu steak tartare was superb. I was not quite as taken with the beef cheek (an acquired taste and texture). The main course combination of tenderloin and striploin was perfectly prepared though I think rib-eye would have been tastier in combination with the fillet. Desert was beautifully prepared and excellent in its palette of flavours. My family tried more conventional meals such as the Tomahawk Steak and Fillet Mignon, all cooked to perfection. I was not so taken by their specialty fries but, they were better than some of highly-lauded "best in the world" nonsense that I had served at another expensive steak restaurant. The free smoked-salmon, tomato soup and lemon sorbet tasters that my family received whilst I went through my courses, were all delicious and a wonderful touch.

All-in-all, the Exchange Grill is a credit to the best steak dining in Dubai. It may be on the pricier side but, you have to pay for the best.

Posted by: John on 20 Feb ' 11 at 12:48

This place does the best steaks in the country - and I've pretty much eaten at them all.

And the truffle and Parmesan chips are probably the best chips in the UAE.

For once I agree with with the Time Out eating out awards - this is the best steakhouse, and by quite some distance.

Posted by: Dr. Raji Mathew on 09 Feb ' 11 at 07:00
  • Best for: Romantic

Dined last on August 18th. The Exchange Grill has quite a reputation among the Dubai steakhouses so it is with much anticipation that I ventured there. Well spaced out interiors, nothing extravagant.

Ordered for a crab bisque. Thick, soft slices of bread made of onion, cheese and olives were served with butter. The crab bisque was thick, tasted wonderful and was served in a powl -I just coined that term. It's a plate in which the centre portion forms a bowl and it just bowled me over. Raspberry sorbet resting on a block of cylindrical ice was served. Again, the presentation was top-notch. Since many fine dining restaurants offer sorbet as a palate cleanser, I presume there must be some scientific or culinary sense to it. It misses me completely,though. Wonderful though this all was, the reason I came was what the restaurant is famous for - the steaks. Opted for the 18oz. angus T-bone steak. That's when all the charm of the place just vanished. Agreed, it may not be as exquisite as the wagyu, which was almost double the price but this meat was lacking in flavour, was the sturdiest chunk of meat and chewy. Could have been frozen and not fresh considering that it was the middle of the week and that too during Ramadan with not many patrons. Even bison meat at the Meat Company had tasted better as also angus meat at other steakhouses I've lately been visiting. Neither the horseraddish nor the mustard sauce as also salt and pepper could do much. Some potato fries in different forms were served separately. Had a Corona to go with the steak. Petit feurs were served at the end as dessert which was very nice too. It seems everything except the steak was good.

Paid around Dhs.330 and came away feeling disappointed as I had expected it to be truly one of the best steakhouse in Dubai. JW's Steakhouse, fortunately, was much better which is where I had headed.

Posted by: Ben on 23 Jan ' 11 at 13:30

Went in for a lunch meeting. Service was horrible, at the entrance it said 'please wait to be assisted' and we waited... and waited... after 15 minutes I just walked right in and found no staff around the restaurant either. So I had to make my way into their kitchen, where I found someone and asked if we could be seated.

After placing the order, the food took about an hour to arrive. After trying 4 of their salt shakers, one of them finally worked.

The steaks were amazing!! the presentation of the food was good too.

IF I go back, it would be for the food - nothing else.

Posted by: Josephine S. on 18 Dec ' 10 at 13:49

This restaurant came highly recommended by one of my friends that is a long time resident of Dubai, having just moved here I was not familiar with the Fairmont and I was pleasantly surprised!

From the moment that you enter the Hotel the friendly doorman greeted us and showed us the way to the restaurant. As we proceeded to the elevators there was a charming lady in pink waiting for us in the lobby escorting us up to the second floor, even though it was only a quick trip she impressed us by knowing our reservation and acknowledging that we were celebrating a birthday. (Turns out that every Thursday there is a special ladies night in the adjunct wine bar where they serve 20 DHS cocktails!!!) When we arrived on the second floor we were immediately ushered to the table where it became clear that these people know what they were doing. The service was so smooth and well executed that you were never left unattended but you did not feel uncomfortable by all the attention. It was great to experience a restaurant where you can truly relax and enjoy the diner with my partner. They did not try to sell me the most expensive items, but knew to offer food and wine pairings that were reasonable and a perfect combination. Halfway through the meal the manager came over to check is everything was ok and there was absolutely nothing that we could comment on, it was exquisite.

Overall it was one of the best dining experiences that I have had and we will certainly go more often!

Posted by: Harry Smith on 23 Jun ' 10 at 10:38

Amazing food and service!! Ashley ames must be sadly mistaken or not have a clue what great food and service are.
Staff was amazing and the food was top quality US beef.

We will return in the very near future

Posted by: MARIE De' Silva on 23 Jun ' 10 at 10:29
  • Best for: Romantic

Definitely the person that wrote these negative comments about this steakhouse doesn't know about food.
I had dinner last night and it was one of the best experience that I ever had.
The entire evening was absolutely amazing.

Posted by: Joseph Jacques on 23 Jun ' 10 at 09:51
  • Best for: Romantic

amazing food and service! For sure I will come back and will definitely recommend to all of my friends!

One of the best steaks in the world! Kepp it up!

Well deserved Best steakhouse in Dubai!

Posted by: dubaious on 16 Jun ' 10 at 05:24

This was possibly the worst steak I have ever had. Not only was the cuisson off (our steaks arrived medium/ well done instead of medium rare,) I would bet a sizeable sum that the steaks are frozen, defrosted then cooked. I can think of no other explanation for the pasty texture of the meat. Given that we ordered rib-eye, the meat was particularly tasteless. The appetizers were equally flavorless and common. The beverage list was limited and uncreative showing only over-priced options. An appalling experience. There is no excuse for bad cooking.

Posted by: Ashley James on 17 May ' 10 at 18:38

possibly the worst steakhouse in Dubai.....ever..... food is bland..starter was some smoked salmon on a plate and a piece of bread from a packet placed on a side plate....hardly the sign of a great steak house. staff were rude when we entered the restaurant and no one to greet us. the manager just walked up and said whats your name???? you get a better greeting at mc donalds for a big mac. service was unattentive and restaurant was empty all evening ...i wonder why??? definately stay away my favourite is MJ's Steakhouse - Al qsar far better

Posted by: Ahmed AL Haidan on 03 Mar ' 10 at 08:32
  • Best for: Romantic

BEST Steakhouse in DUBAI.... best service..... best decor

im definitely taking my girlfriend :)

Posted by: B Jones on 03 Jul ' 09 at 15:06
  • Best for: Romantic

I have read allot of reviews about this wonderfull restaurant and all have highly rated it. It wasn't untill i had a family friend recommend it to me that i wondered why i have not dined there yet.

Well now I have!!! WOW!

Yes there are no amazing views of the man made marvells but they sure make up for it. From the moment my wife and i entered we had the most amazing dining experience to date, we have dined all over the world, yet what sticks in my mind the most was not the amazing and unfaulted service but the food quality and standard.

We were amazed when the polite young Australian chef matthew visited our table and offered us some assistance in selecting some of the kitchens favourites. In the end he directed our attention to the chefs 4 course surprise menu. We were not dissapointed. He and his team prepared 4 of the most tasty and beautiful plates we have had in a long time.

It was a culinary experience we will have to return for very soon.

Posted by: Sam on 19 Apr ' 09 at 17:25
  • Best for: Business lunch

I am lucky I went the for a business dinner as the prices are a bit steep. I loved the Wagyu rib eye (700) and the seafood platter (300+). Extremely attentive service .

Posted by: Jeff H. on 20 Mar ' 09 at 10:27

It has been about 6 weeks since we were last there and it still comes up in conversation. We have eaten everywhere, but rarely do I remember every bite of food as I do from The Exchange Grill. The attention to detail in presentation and service, like most good restaurants in Dubai, is spot-on; but what sets it apart was just how damn good their steaks are aged and cooked. I was wavering on where to give marks for value, as The EG is never an economical night out. However, as it was a meal that went well beyond simply feeding us, I cannot put a value on it. It is worth every dirham. At the expense of neglecting newer establishments on the Dubai scene, we are eager to return and explore other cuts of meat instead. The EG is certainly in our top five restaurants of Dubai.

Posted by: Dave on 09 Feb ' 09 at 14:39

Absolutely one of the best dining experiences you can have in Dubai. Compared to Meat Co. it might seem expensive but in reality for fine dining it is one of the best value restaurants I've had the pleasure of dining in. Much better than Ramsays Verre in both service and quality of food. I will be planning many return visits to this fantastic eatery. The comment about the decor is a bit unfair its not bad just not great either. It of course lacks any kind of view from the restaurant apart from a slight glimpse of sheikh zayed road. If this restaurant was placed in any of the sight seeing locations it would be other worldly...but then again they probably wouldn't have to work so hard on the food and service. 5 STARS all the way


Highly Commended