Equally impressive for lunch or for dinner, La Petite Maison continues to live up to its reputation of being one of the finest French spots in town. The menu is extensive and endlessly appealing, and could easily lead to some serious over-ordering were it not for a staff honest enough to advise when greed is getting the better of you (a rare trait among restaurants across the world). So, you'll just have to make some tough choices and make a follow-up reservation to sample the rest later. Our suggestions would absolutely include the lamb cutlets, which are the finest we've had in this city, the spectacular burrata with tomatoes and basil, the octopus in lemon oil, the mushroom risotto and the lobster tagliatelle '“ each dish being served by the friendly and knowledgeable staff when it's ready. Nestled in the ever-expanding hubbub of DIFC, competition for La Petite Maison springs up regularly, but right now it seems to have them well under control.
It's far from cheap, very French and bombards you with so much food it gets borderline Monty Python by the end (fortunately, a final 'œwaffer-thin mint' isn't ultimately forthcoming). But, if you're after a food experience in the city, Reflets should figure a long way up your shortlist. Gagnaire's three Michelin-starred molecular reputation pervades everything from the superb cuisine to the charming service. From the second you arrive, via private lift, the decadence begins. Before starters comes a stunning selection of seven amuse-bouches (per person!), which is replicated with sweeter iterations before pudding. The dishes in-between can be hit and miss '“ on our most recent visit the lobster we had been personally introduced to shortly before he was lobbed into the pot turned out to be a little bland the second time we made his acquaintance. Overall, though, this is a must-try splurge. Just make sure you go in with a full wallet and an empty stomach.
The brainchild of French masterchef Yannick Alleno, STAY (the abbreviation standing for Simple Table Alleno Yannick, apparently) is about as must-try an experience as you can find in the city. Decor and service are stunning, the former a large space that still feels intimate and the latter knowledgeable and friendly. It's one of those places where the waiters have a tendency to assemble dishes on your plate in front of you, placing items so delicately they might be made of explosives '“ that they do so and avoid pretension is testament to their charm and skill. The sheer romance of it all gets upped further when the food arrives. Consistently excellent, from delicate seafood raviolis to melting wagyu beef, it is a masterful menu executed perfectly and delivered with flair. And that's before you get to the ‘dessert library', a temple to puds near the back of the restaurant where the pastry chefs prepare dishes in front of guests, and encourage them to try before choosing. It's a lovely touch and a magic end.