61 best Dubai restaurants

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It’s been a busy year for Time Out. Collectively, the team has eaten at 473 restaurants across town, reviewing and scoring them according to the quality of food, service, and atmosphere – a long, painstaking (not to mention fattening) process that garnered 20 shortlists, from which two highly commended venues and one overall winner was picked for each category. From these, we also chose an outright winner for Best Restaurant. Of course, we’re not complaining – if anything, our eating feats illustrate the diversity of Dubai’s restaurant scene, as well as showing just how far it has come over the past year.

There seems to be a new opening every week – whether it’s a high-end restaurant, a cosy café or a hidden gem serving authentic, affordable fare. These new restaurants, and the hundreds of established spots we’ve revisited, contribute to Dubai’s ever-growing, always-exciting dining scene, meaning plenty more top-notch restaurants for you, the diner, to check out. With this in mind, happy reading and bon appétit!

Bar Food

Winner
Caramel

DIFC (04 425 6677).

Highly Commended
RED Lounge Raffles Dubai

Oud Metha (04 314 9770).

The Terrace Park Hyatt Dubai
Deira (04 317 2222).

If DIFC is the king of the business lunch, Caramel holds court for the area’s workers who demand quality from their after-hours snacks and drinks. Leave the office behind in favour of delicate spicy tuna rolls and
light yet substantial kobe sliders. Intimate lighting and bustling, plentiful waiters make for a busy atmosphere even when the restaurant is sparse. True to its name, Caramel is as sweet as it gets when it comes to bar food.

This year’s highly commended accolades go to The Terrace and RED Lounge. The former adopts a less-is-more attitude; classics such as salads, burgers, fish and chips are presented as a gourmet take on pub grub, while the latter takes a distinct Chinese theme, serving innovative and delectable dim sum dishes.

Brunch

Winner
Mina A’ Salam

Dhs365 (soft drinks), Dhs425 (bubbly and selected house beverages), free for children under 12.
Fri 12.30pm-4pm. Al Muna and The Wharf, Mina A’ Salam, Madinat Jumeirah (04 366 6730).

Highly Commended
Traiteur

Dhs395 (soft drinks), Dhs495 (house beverages), Dhs595 (premium bubbly).
Fri 12.30pm-4pm. Park Hyatt Dubai, Deira (04 317 2222).

Spectrum on One
Dhs295 (soft drinks), Dhs395 (house beverages), Dhs550 (bubbly).
Fairmont Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 332 5555).

In a year that has seen many of the top-tier brunches hike their prices past the Dhs500 mark, the Mina A’ Salam brunch has kept its fee relatively affordable, while staying true to its culinary principles. No matter how many times you visit this sprawling Friday feast, you’ll always find something new to sample, whether it’s the quesadilla stand, jaw-dropping cheese room or counter packed with traditional Chinese dim sum.

Another waterside to catch our attention is Traiteur on the creek, which serves ups high-end French fare from a sizzling open kitchen – everyone must visit at least once (it’s a worthwhile treat). Spectrum on One is back on our radar – its huge array of quality cuisine and convivial atmosphere make it worthy of the highly commended award.

Budget

Winner
Aryaas

Bank Street, opposite BurJuman, Bur Dubai (04 357 7800).

Highly Commended
Calicut Paragon

Opposite Lulu Centre, Karama (04 335 8700).

Ravi Restaurant
Satwa Roundabout (04 331 5353).

The size and stark simplicity of Aryaas’s Bur Dubai branch is more than compensated for by warm service and delicious food. Try the rava idli and kal dosa to start, followed by appam, chettinadu paniyara and the special masala. Each dish is light and delicate in its own right, but together they prove a formidable feast.

Over in Karama, another Indian restaurant that serves high-quality food at low costs is Calicut Paragon – try the steaming parathas. And, try as we might, we just can’t wean ourselves off Ravi’s consistently excellent and ever-so-cheap fare (try the chicken jalfrezi).

By Time Out Dubai staff
Time Out Dubai,

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