Dubai is a brilliant city for a blow-out. Try these 17 luxury dishes
Amy Mathieson and Paul Clifford
Beef short rib at La Serre Bistro & Boulangerie
Not even the birth of a first child can be more thrilling than when a fork glides effortlessly through a 50-hour cooked beef short rib that’s so soft and juicy it threatens to slide right off the plate. And it’s exactly what you’ll find at this fancy French haunt in Downtown. When paired with a side of gloriously creamy gratin dauphinois, it’s absolutely show- (and possibly heart-) stopping, and worth every dirham. Dhs295. Open daily noon-3.15pm, 7pm-11.15pm. Vida Downtown Dubai (04 428 6969).
Beef wellington at Bread Street Kitchen This king of dishes is done better at Bread Street Kitchen than anywhere else in the city. The beef remains pink in the centre and it’s encased by rich duxelles and perfectly golden pastry. The truffle mash it comes with is pretty special, too. Dhs260. Open Sat-Thu noon-4pm; Fri 12.30pm-4pm (brunch); Sat-Wed 6pm-10.30pm; Thu-Fri 6.30pm-11.30pm. Atlantis The Palm, Palm Jumeirah (04 426 2626).
Black cod at Nobu
Not an unexpected entry, but we’d be remiss to leave it off any list of “worth-the-expense” eats. The black cod is a legendary dish at this popular global brand for a reason; it’s really, really good. The meaty fish is soaked in a miso marinade, leaving it rich, buttery and decadent. It’s definitely one for your “must-eat” list. Dhs220. Open Sat-Wed 7pm-11.30pm; Thu-Fri 7pm-12.30pm. Atlantis The Palm, Palm Jumeirah (04 426 2626).
A huge wheel of 24-month-aged Parmesan being ferried to the side of your table heralds the arrival of this deliciously rich dish. Steaming spaghetti and crispy veal pancetta are swirled around, melting a layer of cheese from within. It’s scooped into a bowl and topped with a slow-cooked egg boasting a beautiful, custard-like yoke. Come hungry. Dhs258 (minimum of two people). Open Sat-Wed 7pm-2am; Thu-Fri 7pm-3am. The H Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 336 4444).
Chilean sea bass at Billionaire Mansion
Sea bass is a fish on trend, and although this one comes with a heftier price tag than most, you’d expect nothing less from a restaurant with the word “Billionaire” in its name. It’s a classy, grown-up dish with delicate flavours. The Chilean sea bass fillet sits atop a bed of roasted cherry tomatoes and olives. The sweetness of the tomatoes works perfectly with the tangy olives and the flaky white fish, which will have you eating it slowly to savour each mouthful (and your dirhams). Dhs342. Open daily 5pm-3am. Taj Dubai, Business Bay (04 510 3100).
Crab masala bhuna at Rang Mahal
Just saying the name of this dish out loud makes us want to eat it. Pricey it may be, but there’s an impressive amount of meaty crab crammed into this dish. It looks and tastes as great as it sounds, too. Dhs240. Open daily 6pm-11.30pm. JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai (04 414 3000).
Hot seafood platter at Ossiano
Served in a giant copper cooking pot, this sharing platter is one of the best seafood dishes we’ve had the fortune of eating in Dubai. Coming in at a sizeable Dhs950 (for two), it’s certainly worth it for a treat in this elegant venue, which recently won Best Romantic restaurant and took home the Highly Commended gong in the Seafood category at last month’s Time Out Dubai Restaurant Awards. The floor-to-ceiling aquarium adds to the sense of occasion, which will only increase when the pan’s lid is lifted, revealing scallops, prawns, lobster and plenty of fresh fish. It’s served alongside vegetables and a petite side dish of light and tasty asparagus risotto. The portion size is generous, so you won’t feel cheated, either. Dhs950. Open Sun-Thu 6.30pm-11.30pm; Fri 7pm-11.30pm. Atlantis The Palm, Palm Jumeirah (04 426 2626).
Langosta al Josper at Coya
Crowned Time Out Dubai’s Best Latin American restaurant this year – and among the city’s best restaurants generally – it’s little surprise that a dish from Coya made it onto this list. A beautifully balanced plate of food, sweet, tender crustacean is partnered with a savoury, tangy chimichurri – a real palate-pleasing pairing. While there are certainly more affordable dishes on the menu (not to mention many more extravagant ones), you’ll be glad you splashed out on this. Dhs390. Open Sat-Thu 12.30pm-3.30pm, 7pm-midnight, Fri 12.30pm-4pm, 5pm-12.30am. Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach, Jumeirah Beach Road (04 316 9600).
Linguini au Homard Épicées at Bagatelle Dubai
Or, whole Josper-roasted spicy lobster, served with bottarga and linguini, cooked in cream and lobster stock. Sounds pretty special and is. Get it to share between two (if you can face giving half of it up). Dhs420. Open daily 8pm-11pm. Fairmont Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 354 5035).
Lobster tempura maki rolls at Novikov We love tempura. We love maki rolls. And we really love lobster. So this dish, in our eyes, is a strong all-rounder. An interesting and fun sushi dish, it’s not hard to see why it takes pride of place on a famously eclectic Asian menu. Possibly the most expensive sushi you’ll ever eat, in a good way. Dhs270. Sun-Thu noon-3pm, 6pm-2am, Fri-Sat noon-2am. Sheraton Grand Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 388 8744).
Osso bucco at Roberto’s The Italian classic is treated with the respect it deserves at this classy DIFC eatery. The veal shank here is from Canada and is braised slowly until the meat falls off the bone. Serving it with fragrant saffron risotto and a vibrant gremolata is just perfect. Dhs215. Open daily noon-2am. Gate Village 1, DIFC (04 386 0066).
Peking duck with Beluga caviar at Hakkasan This is not your average crispy duck, and certainly not your average price tag. The signature Peking duck at this famous worldwide chain is roasted whole and served up with 16 pancakes and a choice of sauces, including black bean, ginger and spring onion or XO (a spicy Chinese sauce). Oh, and 30g of beluga caviar, for good measure. Don’t fancy the caviar? A regular Peking duck is a mere snip at Dhs910. Dhs1,960. Jumeirah Emirates Towers, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 384 8484).
Roasted langoustine at STAY by Yannick Alléno
As with most of Alléno’s dishes, this is a work of art. The starter comes in at Dhs220 but for those who appreciate the finer things in life, or those who can afford them regardless, it will be worth it. The French mastermind serves the sweet langoustine on a crisp tartlet and finished with decadent caviar and gold flakes. Dhs220. Open daily 7pm-11pm. One&Only The Palm, Palm Jumeirah (04 440 1030).
Seared king scallop and foie gras at Pierchic Dubai diners love a bit of foie gras, so it’s fitting that this unique take on surf and turf is served at one of the most popular romantic (and expensive) seafood restaurants in the city. The meaty pan-seared scallops work perfectly alongside a rich, indulgent foie gras. It also comes with the additional flavours of butternut squash, golden raisins and liquorice, for a sweet/savoury twist. So good it will almost distract you from the stunning sea views (and, quite possibly, your date). Dhs210. Open daily noon-3pm; Sun-Wed 6pm-11pm; Thu-Fri 6pm-11.30pm; Sat noon-11pm. Jumeirah Al Qasr, Madinat Jumeirah, Umm Suqeim (04 432 3232).
Surf & Turf at The MAINE Oyster Bar & Grill
This long-standing classic combo is always a winner in our eyes, especially when it’s served up at this super-cool US-style oyster bar. Highly Commended in the Seafood category at the recent Time Out Dubai Restaurant Awards, you know the Caribbean rock lobster tail is going to be top quality. Pair it with a 200g Australian Angus fillet and you’re going to be one happy diner (albeit with a lighter wallet). Dhs395. Open Sat-Wed noon-midnight; Thu-Fri noon-1am. DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Dubai – Jumeirah Beach, The Walk, JBR (04 457 6719).
USDA Prime tenderloin (240g) at J&G Steakhouse Nowhere near the most expensive cut of meat on the menu (that accolade goes to the massive Dhs1,250, 1.2kg tomahawk) but about as perfect as a steak can get. There’s no need for any sauce, this fillet is so tasty, and cooked perfectly by the chef. Dhs245. Open daily 6.30pm-midnight. The St. Regis Dubai, Al Habtoor City (04 435 5577).
Whole king crab leg at La Cantine du Faubourg It should come as no surprise to find one of the most elegant dishes on this list in one of the most elegant restaurants in town. Head to this chic French haunt in Dubai’s Jumeirah Emirates Towers to try a beautifully simple plate of whole king crab leg, served only with sides of aioli and spicy mayonnaise as optional dips. Skip the dips and let the meat’s natural sweetness sing. Dhs285 (one leg), Dhs510 (two legs). Open daily noon-1am. Jumeirah Emirates Towers, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 352 7105).
No cash to splash?
Check out Dubai’s ten best budget restaurants, where Dhs150 will get you a meal for two
Ayubowan From hoppers to rice and curry, try classic Sri Lankan dishes at this JLT spot. Open daily 10am-11pm. Lake Point Tower, Cluster N, JLT (04 452 1007).
Betawi cafÉ You’ll be hard-pressed to find more authentic Malaysian eats anywhere in Dubai. Open daily noon-10pm. Lake Terrace Tower, Cluster D, JLT (04 454 2329). Other location: Karama (056 759 8118).
Bu Qtair Expect freshly caught fish served with rice or paratha and a fragrant sauce. Open daily noon-11.30pm. Street 4D, near Burj Al Arab (055 705 2130).
Busaba Eathai Tuck into classic Thai dishes, from fish cakes to green mango salad. Open daily noon-midnight. The Beach, JBR (04 428 1421).
CafÉ isan Brilliant Thai dishes from the Isan region. Expect a fragrant, flavourful feast. Open daily noon-11pm. Cluster M, JLT (04 513 5289).
Calicut Paragon A stalwart on Karama’s famed Indian food scene, don’t miss the crab curries. Open Sat-Thu 7am-12.30am; Fri 7am-11am, 1pm-12.30am. Karama (04 335 8700).
Raju Omelet This spot specialises in eggs done Indian-style. A brilliant place for breakfast. Open daily 8am-11.30pm. Al Quoz (04 388 3355); Karama (04 388 5522).
Ravi Restaurant Whether you go dhal, butter chicken, tandoori or jalfrezi, it’s hard to go wrong at this legendary Satwa spot. Open daily 5am-2.30am. Satwa Road, Satwa (04 331 5353).
Yalla Momos Sink your teeth into Nepalese dumplings (momos), with fillings from cheese to shrimp. Open daily noon-midnight. Karama (04 385 2233).
Zaroob Moreish mezze, fantastic feteer and more Middle Eastern street foods await. Various locations including Sheikh Zayed Road (800 927 662).