Big portions, main dishes and desserts… here's the best food you can try in Dubai
By Paul Clifford07 December 2016
Time Out has no problem telling it like is, and we’ve tried so much food in the city that quite frankly it’s alarming. And while once a year at our restaurant awards we share the best restaurants to go to, based on service, ambience and a multitude of things, we thought it would be nice to zone in on individual dishes. Here are some menu items that make the trip to a restaurant completely worth it on its own.
A brilliantly thought-out dish of half a chicken marinated in an “adobo” paste of chillies and spices that will delight your taste buds. If the aromas haven’t already enlivened your senses, each flavoursome morsel is even more delightful than the last. Be sure to savour every bite. Dhs110.
Food can sometimes be art, but it must always be fun. That seems to be the mantra at Tresind, and the duck pancakes are the epicentre of that ethos; an assemble-it-yourself effort with the pancakes pegged to a miniature “clothes line” and juicy spiced duck, pickles and a heart-stopping hoisin sauce. Dhs130.
A hot dog? At a Japanese restaurant? That’s right. This chilli dog, made with beef is a triumph, and as you’ll have seen from our cover, looks amazing, too. Topped with chilli beef, kimchi mayo and crispy onions, it isn’t traditional, but it is very, very tasty. Dhs50.
The roasted duck in this red curry adds an intense flavour to the thick, creamy mix. It’s lifted by the sweetness of cherry tomatoes and pineapple chunks and given a kick from the heat of red chillies and the earthy, fragrant Thai basil. Dhs125.
This restaurant prides itself on simplicity, but its standout dish comes loaded with complexity and is pretty as a picture. Perfectly pink lamb chops sit proudly atop a deliciously seasoned celeriac mash, while a drizzle of pomegranate molasses sauce is flicked about the plate with Jackson Pollock-style abandon. Instagram-a-ding-dong. Dhs95.
A fancy name for mac ’n’ cheese, but this is a fancy version of the comfort food. It’s creamier and cheesier than others and comes with truffle oil and cecina beef, which work perfectly with the decadent sauce. An example of taking a standard twist and elevating it. Dhs90.
A wok-fried dish of beef tenderloin, baby potatoes, cherry tomatoes and onions, this is our highlight of the excellent menu at Totora. The beef is juicy and tender, the potatoes have just the right amount of give and the soy dressing works perfectly with the sweet tomatoes and still-crunchy onions. Dhs130.
A beast of a burger, this monster serving spills out of the bun and over the metal tray it comes on. It may be messy, but it’s worth getting your hands dirty for the slow-cooked pulled beef brisket, topped with mac ’n’ four cheeses and barbecue sauce. This sports bar from the team behind Tom&Serg is a brilliant place for top-quality bar food. Dhs75.
A dish that perfectly sums up the creative, playful nature of this excitable younger brother of Tresind. A galouti-style spiced minced mutton is formed to look like a lamb chop, married with a lamb gravy and served with fermented bread. Dhs148.
If you’ve never tried pho, this three-beef rendition is all the introduction you need. The salty-sweet broth comes packed with rice noodles, veg, tender slices of brisket and steak (minced and moulded into balls). Every mouthful is so flavoursome and moreish, you’ll want to drink the soup straight from the bowl. Go for it, we say. Dhs38.
It may only be one bite (okay, maybe it takes two), but what a bite it is. Crispy pita houses truffle butter and is topped with lightly seared wagyu beef. Have we spoiled the surprise? We just couldn’t keep this one to ourselves. Dhs58.
This steak is a cut above the rest. The 340g piece of meat is big on taste and the meat is tender, juicy and full of flavour. Accompanied by a classic selection of sauces that enhance the mouth-watering taste, it doesn’t get much better than this. Dhs215.
We’ve raved about the black cod and Chilean sea bass, now it’s time for a more meaty dish from the exquisite Zuma menu. These pretty strips of just-seared wagyu beef and peppery cress and are drizzled with a salty, sweet, citrus dressing with ginger, coriander, lemon grass and chilli. A perfect mouthful. Dhs78.
A restaurant that serves some amazing cuts of meat takes this Grade 4 wagyu brisket and slow cooks it for six hours. What comes to the table are slices of smoky tender meat, topped with a sweet, spicy hickory sauce, a rich side of mac ’n’ cheese and chargrilled corn on the cob. We have returned to The Rib Room time and again for this. Dhs175.
Okay, so it’s served on a wooden board but even the most hardened “We Want Plates” fanatic would be won over by this dish. Golden and crispy outside, juicy and succulent inside, this fried chicken also comes with an intriguing Brussels sprout slaw. Dhs90.
There are lots of top-quality street food-style eats at this DIFC joint, but we can’t get enough of this burger. The still-blushing pink meat comes as a thick slab and it’s topped with an onion ring, Portobello mushroom, truffle mayo, spinach and a sauce good enough to splash on a canvas and call a work of art. Dhs70.
Looking like something you could whip up quite quickly, but tasting like something so beyond your capabilities there’s no point you even trying. This Cipriani signature appetiser is Italian cooking just like mamma used to make. If your mamma had a Michelin star. Thin-sliced veal is coated with an anchovy, capers and tuna sauce. Just yes. Dhs98.
These crisp, glazed dumplings are exquisite. Packed full of top-grade wagyu beef, shiitake mushrooms, celery, truffle oil and a decadent, rich foie gras, and topped with a sticky, sweet, kabayaki sauce, these little parcels of deliciousness are a joy to eat. One portion simply will not be enough. Dhs99.