If you could only eat one dish in Dubai what would it be?
They say: Local chefs and foodies’ choices
Arva Ahmed, blogger and founder, Frying Pan Adventures (@fryingpantours) Cheese and zaatar manousheh at Breakfast to Breakfast My last meal would undoubtedly be from the restaurant facing my 1980’s apartment on Al Rigga Road, Breakfast to Breakfast. This non-descript Lebanese bakery stretches out an extra thin manousheh dough on request. Smeared with bubbling hot akawi cheese and zesty zaatar, their manousheh has placated my growling stomach on many an irritable morning or ravenous late night. Dhs13. Al Rigga Road, Deira (04 222 3566).
Miso black cod at Zuma My favourite restaurant in Dubai is Zuma. You have to start with a bowl of chilli edamame beans while you browse the menu. I love the steamed spinach with sesame, seared salmon sashimi, yellowfin tuna sashimi and miso black cod for main. It always has a fantastic restaurant feel and is a great place to go on date night or with a group of friends. Dhs175. DIFC (04 425 5660).
Shawarma at Al Mallah First of all I absolutely love shawarmas and Al Mallah has one of the best in Dubai, plus crispy falafel that they make fresh right in front of you. And finally a ‘Tahiti’, which is chopped up strawberries, banana and pineapple with strawberry juice over it, topped with vanilla ice cream (carb overload!). Al Mallah is a place I grew up going to and whenever I drive past I can’t help but beep my horn for the luxury of having one of their guys come to your car and take your order. Dhs7. 2nd of December Street, Satwa (04 398 4723).
Elena Kinane, founder, Greenheart Organic Farms
Marinated beetroot salad at La Petite Maison It would have to be the marinated beetroot and gnocchi with tomato at La Petite Maison. Both dishes look deceptively simple, but are prepared to perfection and each taste reveals a new level of complexity of flavours. It transports me back to summers in Provence. Dhs35. DIFC (04 439 0505). Elizabeth Stevenson-Hocks, founder, Jam Bar Smoked meat sandwich at Maple Leaf Restaurant I’d hit up Maple Leaf Restaurant for an original smoked meat sandwich with extra pickles (they are very, very special to me), a side of coleslaw (quintessential eastern Canadian, a must) and a root beer (or two), followed by a very long nap. From Dhs30. Jumeirah Beach Road (04 338 3001).
Francois Xavier Simon, chef de cuisine, Reflets par Pierre Gagnaire
‘I love the 80s’ prawn red curry at Smiling BKK There is so much originality at this restaurant, especially in the names of the dishes on the menu. I love the ‘I love the 80s’ red curry with prawns, so I would order this for my last meal in Dubai. Dhs39. Al Wasl Square, Al Wasl Road (04 349 6677).
Gabi Kurz, Executive Wellbeing Chef, Talise Nutrition (@TaliseNutrition) Arabic food, various My last meal in Dubai has to be Arabic food! If it has to be a restaurant, then I’d choose one of the hidden gems spread around old Dubai serving great and humble food in a very simple way. I’d love to do a private tour with Frying Pan Adventures and revisit the best falafel spots, and have freshly made kunafa. Private tours from Dhs350 per person. www.fryingpanadventures.com.
Gary Rhodes, celebrity chef, Rhodes W1 and Rhodes Twenty10 (@GrosvenorHouse)
Potato gnocchi with ossobuco ragu at Bussola We usually show up at least twice a month and we are always welcomed with a big smile. Chef Marco, who is a lovely man, will always pop out and say hello knowing more or less what we’re going to order. Marco sources many of his ingredients direct from Italy and the burrata here is the best in town! However, my favourite dish is the potato gnocchi with ossobuco ragu, with a little sprinkling of freshly grated Parmesan. This week, Bussola closes for refurbishment for the summer, but I can guarantee I’ll be tucking in the night before. Dhs99. The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina, Al Sufouh Road (04 399 4141).
Brain fry at Ravi Restaurant If I truly had one last meal in Dubai it would be at the first South Asian restaurant I visited here: Ravi. This place is so down to earth sometimes I wonder what it’s doing here. I can dine on a dime with at least six different flavoured naan breads from their workhorse of an oven. But, I make a beeline for the butter naan, then smoky chicken tikka on the charcoal grill and my absolute favourite is the brain fry. This dish reminds me of the brain omelettes I had as a kid growing up in a Lebanese household. Dhs18. 2nd of December Street, Satwa (04 331 5353).
India Abadee, International co-ordinator at Nth Degree Club (@NthDegreeClub)
Spiced lamb chops at La Serre My last meal in Dubai would have to be at La Serre at Vida Downtown. Since arriving in Dubai I’ve loved this restaurant, its chic design and fresh Mediterranean flavours. On many occasions Chef Izu will leave the kitchen to greet guests and speak about the food and menu, which is a really special touch. I can’t go past the tarte flambée and the spiced lamb chops. Dhs185. Vida Downtown Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard, Downtown Dubai (04 428 6969).
Jason Atherton, executive chef, Marina Social (opening in 2015) (@_SocialCompany)
Deep fried baby squid at La Petite Maison If I had one meal left in Dubai I would head straight to La Petite Maison. It’s one of my favourite places to eat. I love the simplicity of the food, it is light and fresh and the ingredients are always top quality. I would order the deep-fried baby squid to start – it’s my favourite dish on the menu – and I always order it every time I am there. I would then have the whole sea bream baked en papillote (steamed in a wrapper) and then to finish off, I’d order the tarte fine for dessert. Dhs45. DIFC (04 439 0505).
Karen McLean, blogger and food consultant, Secret Squirrel Food
Chawan mushi dessert at Zuma The chawan mushi from Zuma is my absolute favourite dessert. I loved that it sounded so foreign on the menu and when I tried it, it was the most amazing dessert. I always encourage people to try new things because you never know what to expect. Dhs48. DIFC (04 425 5660).
Markus Thesleff, Founder, Whissle Hospitality (@OKKUDubai) Shish taouk at Al Safadi I have very happy memories savouring the Arabic mezze at Al Safadi on Sheikh Zayed Road – especially the shish taouk and moutabel. The food is deliciously unpretentious yet the restaurant finds itself with some very glamorous neighbours – a hidden gem. From Dhs16. Sheikh Zayed Road, next to Dusit Thani Dubai (04 343 5333).
Cacio e pepe with black truffle at Roberto’s One of my absolute favourite dishes is the cacio e pepe spaghetti with black truffle at Roberto’s. This simple dish from the Roman countryside literally just means ‘cheese and pepper’. The version at Roberto’s adds black truffle to the recipe, making it outstanding. One bite and I am back in Italy. Dhs80 (without truffle). Dhs105 (on request for 3g of black truffle). DIFC (04 386 0066).
Matt Wade, coffee roaster, Coffee Planet (@MyCoffeePlanet) Coconut breezer at Govinda’s The first time I visited Govinda’s, I had scoured Karama for a while in the heat in an attempt to celebrate with a dear vegetarian friend who was leaving the country. On arrival, the warm welcome of the staff, with bottles of water at the ready, was an utter relief. Now being a regular, I have a routine – as soon as I sit down, I order a coconut breezer. Fresh coconut, malai and coconut water served in a green coconut with a neon straw and an umbrella. Brilliant. Govinda’s is no gimmick though, it uses all completely natural ingredients based on savik and ayurvedic principles of being good to the brain and body. Dhs26. 4A Street, Karama (04 396 0088).
Niki Robinson, F&B Director, Taj Dubai (@TajHotelDubai) Burrata at La Petite Maison Put simply, this dish typifies why it is all about great ingredients when it comes to creating amazing restaurants. Despite the fact that La Petite Maison is very much a sharing kind of place, I resolutely refuse to share this dish whenever I have it. Dhs95. DIFC (04 439 0505).
Noura El-Imam, Founder of Yogalates Bliss Khoresht fesenjan at Anar I would have khoresht fesenjan (Persian pomegranate and walnut stew with chicken) – the fusion of tangy thick pomegranate molasses and wholesome crunch of walnuts mixed in with the most succulent chicken and steamed rice is outstanding. I had it on the last day of yoga training that I was hosting with a teacher visiting from Canada – a memorable celebratory night, with stunning views of the Burj Al Arab. Dhs125. Souk Madinat Jumeirah, Umm Suqeim (04 368 6505).
Confit lamb and quinoa salad at The Sum of Us If I had one meal left in Dubai, I’d hit up my new local eatery The Sum of Us for its awesome confit lamb and quinoa salad accompanied by freshly roasted coffee. Seriously, I’m a real foodie, and after ten years in the UAE, I appreciate the vast range of fantastic restaurants we have in Dubai. But the mixture of the entrepreneurial, creative, metropolitan ambience of a new Tom&Serg joint, blended with the fact the food is fresh, healthy and so tasty, leads my goldfish-esque memory to think of no other dish right now that I’d rather have than that. Dhs66. 6 Street, Trade Centre 1, behind Sama Tower, Sheikh Zayed Road (056 445 7526).
Shankleesh at Al Qasr If I had one meal left in Dubai I would go to my favourite Lebanese restaurant in town: Al Qasr at Dubai Marine Beach Resort. I’d eat some fresh mezze to start – including my favourites; shankleesh with zaatar and garlic-fried spinach. For my main I’d have grilled lamb skewers. Dessert would be Ashta clotted cream topped with strawberries and honey. Dhs32. Dubai Marine Beach Resort & Spa, Jumeirah Beach Road (04 346 1111).
Roberto Rella, restaurateur, TRE by Roberto Rella
Veal chop Milanese at BiCE Ristorante My last meal would be at BiCE Ristorante, because this is where my Dubai journey started. It will always have a special place in my heart, as it does for my mother ‘Mamma Rella’ as well, who made BiCE her second home and family. Still among the best Italian restaurants in UAE, one cannot miss the classic thin pounded Veal Chop Milanese ‘Via Borgospesso’ and the much-loved ‘Super Tuscan’ with it. Dhs270. Hilton Dubai Jumeirah Resort, The Walk, JBR (04 318 2520).
Sally Prosser, blogger, My Custard Pie (@mycustardpie) Aloo paratha at Ravi Restaurant It’s good (not the best Pakistani food I’ve ever eaten, in fact it’s become a bit of a cliché), but if I had one last dinner to eat in Dubai it would still be at Ravi in Satwa. We’ve taken so many visitors there over the years and they love it. I even celebrated my 40th birthday and my daughter’s 16th there. I’d order the aloo paratha, chicken tikka, chicken achari and rice. Dhs4. 2nd of December Street, Satwa (04 331 5353).
Sarah Bladen, blogger, On Cloud Zen (@sarahbladen) Choco petit pot at Comptoir 102 I’d go to the French store Comptoir 102. I love the fact that they source their vegetables locally (from Greenheart Organic Farms) and serve creative gluten-free, dairy-free, organic, raw dishes. I’d pick a freshly prepared main dish (such as the avocado crostini) and for dessert, I’d go for their super-delicious choco petit pot. I’d wash it down with a green smoothie and a cup of organic coffee. Dhs25. 102 Jumeirah Beach Road (04 385 4555). Scott Price, chef and concept development manager, Taste Kitchen Foie gras at table 9 by Darren Velvick If I had one last meal in Dubai I guess it would have to be at table 9 by Darren Velvick. The restaurant has had a huge impact in Dubai over more than a decade and produced some really great chefs and managers that are making their own mark all over the UAE. It gave Nick and myself such a massive opportunity to express our own ideas with a great team. We’d eat pressed foie gras with Szechuan pepper, duck crackers and ginger bread, followed by roast john dory, crispy squid, pak choi and green chilli salsa, and to finish our rhubarb and custard dessert. Two courses from Dhs250. Hilton Dubai Creek, Deira (04 212 7551).
Date and rocca salad at Mezze House If I had one meal left in Dubai it would have to be at Mezze House. I’d order the date and rocca salad to start (I’ve never tasted a more satisfying salad – everything from the dates to the walnuts and pomegranate impresses), followed by the mixed grill and I’d end with the Arabic ice-cream with ghazle (white cotton candy). In my opinion, it’s the best Lebanese food in Dubai. Dhs35. Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Boulevard, Downtown Dubai (04 420 5444).
Timothy Hocks, founder, Taqado Mexican Kitchen (@timothyhocks) Shakshuka at Baker&Spice Chef Vince does amazing development work under the direction of Yael. The baking is exceptional, the best in town. But the one dish that would have to be my last meal in Dubai is the shakshuka. Many have tried to copy it – all have failed. From Dhs80. Souk Al Bahar, Downtown Dubai (04 425 2240).
Tomas Reger, restaurant consultant and pop-up chef Falafel plate at Al Mallah The last restaurant I would visit before leaving Dubai would be Al Mallah, to have the falafel plate with an avocado shake. It was one of the first places I visited in Dubai and have gone there ever since with all of our visitors. Dhs14. 2nd of December Street, Satwa (04 398 4723).
Grilled branzino at Cavalli Caffè My current favourite restaurant in Dubai is definitely Cavalli Caffè at The Beach. It’s close to my home and the food is phenomenal because they use the freshest ingredients. My favourite dish is the grilled branzino. The fillet of sea bass looks impressive when it lands on your table, and it’s so tenderly cooked that it just falls apart. You have got to try it, it’s amazing. Dhs160. The Beach, JBR (04 551 9671).
Uwe Micheel, Director of Kitchens at Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek (@RadissonBluDXB) BBQ spare ribs at Cactus Jack Well this is a very difficult question, but as I am loyal to traditions, for my last Dubai meal, I’d probably go to Cactus Jack. I have been there many times with my family over the past 15 years or so – we share mixed starters and I would always have ribs. Dhs105. Millennium Airport Hotel Dubai, Airport Road, Garhoud (04 702 8888).
Prawn mango curry at Calicut Paragon My last meal in Dubai would be at Calicut Paragon in Karama. I love Keralan cuisine and this restaurant does some amazing seafood dishes. My favourites are the masala fried pomfret and prawn mango curry. Dhs25. 20 B Street, Karama (04 335 8700).
Yannick Alléno, executive chef, STAY by Yannick Alléno
Miso marinated black cod at Nobu If I had only one meal left I’d go to Nobu at Atlantis The Palm. The dish I would order is the miso marinated black cod. The sweetness of the miso combined with the plumpness of the fish creates an unbelievable dining experience. Dhs220. Atlantis The Palm, Palm Jumeirah (04 426 2626).
We say: The Time Out Dubai team’s choices
Benita Adesuyan, community, sport & outdoor and film editor Home-made Snickers at At.Mosphere A good dessert leaves a lasting impression and this wonderfully deconstructed Snickers, with peanuts and caramel rolled into a tube of smooth dark chocolate and finished with flecks of gold leaf will make you want to reschedule that flight out of Dubai. It’s simple but utterly delicious. If I have one last meal in the city, this is the sweet end to it. Dhs120. Burj Khalifa, Downtown Dubai (04 8883828).
Chanelle Tourish, music & nightlife editor Single Shack Burger and fries at Shake Shack This simple cheeseburger might not seem that spectacular, but the ‘Shack sauce’ makes it. Having first tried it in the original Madison Square Park venue in New York as a junk-food-obsessed 15 year-old, I’ve had a love affair with it ever since. If I ever found myself leaving the city, I’d make sure to get my fill first. Dhs26 (Single Shack burger); Dhs14 (fries). Various locations including The Beach, JBR (04 419 0435).
Chloe Rees, senior sales manager Fried buttermilk chicken with comeback sauce at Fümé This is so good that I once had it twice in one weekend. Designed as a sharing platter – that you will probably just consume by yourself – the fried buttermilk chicken with comeback sauce is one of the many appetising dishes on the menu at the trendy Pier 7 eatery. Another favourite is the beef cheek rendang curry with paratha or the crispy duck, watermelon and cashew salad with hoisin sauce. Delicious; comfort food at its best. Dhs54. Pier 7, Dubai Marina (04 421 5669).
Holly Sands, deputy editor Manakish at Al Reef Lebanese Bakery Hot, salty, gooey cheese folded into a freshly baked flatbread from the legendary Al Reef on Zabeel Road is the enduring memory of my Dubai childhood, so it would have to be my final meal before leaving for a second time. Such a momentous occasion being the perfect excuse for gluttony, I’d order two, the second stuffed with that classic Levantine concoction of spinach studded with onion and drenched in lemon, and all yours for less than the price of a fancy takeaway coffee, too. Dhs7 each. Zabeel Road, Karama (04 396 8999).
Leah Simpson, digital editor Risotto ai funghi at Solo Bistronomia & Vino Bar Despite being a vegetarian dish, the mixed wild mushrooms make this meal feel meaty and fulfilling. The risotto’s intense flavours are achieved with a parmesan fondue, which is incredibly rich, but not to the point of overpowering. No rice dish – or any dish for that matter – in Dubai has come close to this kind of indulgence for me. Dhs96. Raffles Dubai, Wafi, Oud Metha (04 370 8999).
Chris Hough, sub editor Wagyu filet mignon at JW’s Steakhouse It may not be the fanciest steakhouse in the city, and that’s a large part of its charm. JW’s Steakhouse is cosy and full of character, with huge leather armchairs and plates adorned with silver bull horns. For one last meal before leaving Dubai, I’d sink into one of those comfy chairs and order the wagyu filet mignon complemented by a rustic side of sautéed new potatoes. Sure, you can have more exciting meals in Dubai, but few with so much character. From Dhs295. JW Marriott Hotel Dubai, Abu Baker Al Siddique Road, Deira (04 607 7977).
Melanie Smith, chief sub editor Pargo a la Trufa at Coya This ceviche contains red snapper, black truffle, chives and ponzo – a citrusy soy-based sauce. It’s the positively overwhelming and indulgent truffle flavour that makes this healthy eat the winner for my last meal in Dubai. The Peruvian dish would perfectly set me up for yet another great adventure abroad. Dhs78. Coya Dubai, Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach, Jumeirah Beach Road (04 316 9600).
Paul Clifford, guides and supplements editor Prawn and lobster bisque at Moana You can taste the fresh stock used in this oh-so-smooth soup, but it is in no way overpowering. The juicy prawn lying at the bottom of the bowl is incredible and the sweet, pink lobster tastes as good as you hope it will. Eating this on the terrace, looking out over the Sofitel’s beach to the sea beyond is fine fishy dining. Dhs75. Sofitel the Palm, Palm Jumeirah (04 455 5656).
Penelope Walsh, eating out editor Truffle scented labneh at Qbara For me, leaving Dubai would mean two things. Firstly, eating my own weight in Lebanese and South Indian food beforehand. Secondly, reliving two of my favourite experiences of joy, surprise and expectation beautifully subverted. Firstly with a beach shack dinner of curried fish and butter-slathered roti at Bu Qtair. And the final, final dinner? Divine black truffle-scented labneh and ice-fresh heirloom crudités at Qbara; a dish so exciting, I riffed on it at home for months, and will probably continue to. Dhs55. Wafi, Oud Metha (04 709 2500).
Sofia Vyas, features editor Naan bread at Saleh Mohd. Bakery As a teenager, these tiny little hole-in-the-wall eateries – of which there are several to stumble across – were the only redeeming feature of trailing around after visiting relatives on the mandatory walking tour of Old Dubai, or of being dragged on a weekend shopping trip to Satwa. Fluffy, chewy, light, crispy and burnt around the edges, but all the better for it, these naan breads were, and remain, one of my favourite things about growing up in the city. Dhs2.50. 11th Street, opposite Satwa Mosque, off Satwa Road (no number).
You say: Time Out Dubai readers’ choices
Aafia Sulaiman, Indian Shawarma at Bilad Al Sham This shawarma is like happiness wrapped in a bread. I’ve been living in this country ever since I was born and I’ve never got bored of the shawarma at Bilad Al Sham. I couldn’t leave Dubai without trying it one more time. Dhs6. Next to Union Co-operative Society, Al Qusais (04 261 3332).
Anu Chowdhary, Indian Soto Betawi at Betawi Café Betawi is an Indonesian, family-run hidden gem in Bur Dubai. When I visit, they make me a vegan version of the Soto Betawi – a coconut milk-based soup with tofu, served with rice, pickled mixed vegetables and super-hot sambal. An explosion of flavours and textures – it is the perfect last meal! Dhs28. 4B Street, behind Park Regis Hotel, Karama (056 759 8118).
Claire Hall, British Smoked Salmon Benny at Eggspectation I love this café because it’s by the beach and always signifies the start of the weekend with friends. This dish is my favourite as the eggs are perfect (medium when asked) and the fruit on the side makes me feel like it’s not too sinful. Dhs66. The Beach at JBR, The Walk, Dubai Marina (04 430 7252).
Clare Lawrence, British Thai green curry at Thiptara It would be impossible to leave Dubai without that view from Thiptara of the spectacular, twinkling Burj Khalifa. Thiptara is Thai for ‘magic on the water’, and to me it feels like the perfect spot to enjoy fountain views, legendary Dubai service and an aromatic dish of Gaeng Kiew Wan Gai. Dhs128. The Palace Downtown Dubai (04 428 7961).
Emma Hall Phelan, British Curry fish at Bu Qtair I would go to Bu Qtair at the Burj Beach, because you can’t beat it for fresh, rustic, and flavourful fish. The price can’t be beaten either. From Dhs40 (small sherry). Street 2D, off Jumeirah Beach Road (055 705 2130).
Frank Arno, Dutch Fajita at Taqado Mexican Kitchen As I’m getting ready to repatriate I’m contemplating the culinary experience Dubai has been. My last meal before I hop on my flight back home will be the fajita at Taqado Mexican Kitchen on Sheikh Zayed Road. For months I waited for this new branch of the Mexican street food spot to open in my neighbourhood, and it has been bliss. It only took a few weeks to fill my loyalty-card! I seriously think I’ll move to Mexico next. From Dhs28. City Tower 1, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 325 9660).
Genevieve Perreault, Canadian Pulled beef brisket bun at Fümé I’m leaving Dubai at the end of June after eight years here, and this probably will be my last meal before I go. Fümé’s beef brisket melts in your mouth – just like Mum’s home cooking, except with a much better ambiance, and a view of the Dubai Marina, too. Dhs60. Pier 7, Dubai Marina (04 421 5669).
Jamie Westley, British Chateaubriand at Seafire If I had one meal left in Dubai it would definitely be the chateaubriand at Seafire. The whole spectacle of the huge fillet steak arriving on a silver serving trolley adds to the experience, but the main reason is the quality of the meat, as well as the side orders and great service. Dhs695 (700g for sharing). Atlantis The Palm, Palm Jumeirah (04 426 2626).
Orna Ballout, British Dynamite Shrimp at P.F. Chang’s Whenever I visit P.F. Chang’s I wonder how many shrimps they go through, as almost every table seems to have a portion of Dynamite Shrimp. I crave it all the time, so needless to say, it’s my ultimate last meal. Dhs47. The Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai (04 419 0210).
Tracey Morar, Australian Pan roasted lobster at Cut by Wolfgang Puck I love this dish because I ate it the last time my family came to visit me in Dubai and we got to sit at the chef’s table. I have amazing memories from that one night. If that had been my last night in Dubai, then I’d be leaving with no regrets. Dhs425. The Address Downtown Dubai (04 888 3444).