The Time Out Dubai review process

Ever wondered how Time Out Dubai’s Restaurant Award winners are decided? Here’s what you need to know

The Time Out Dubai review process

Held annually since 2005, the Time Out Dubai Restaurant Awards are the most respected accolade an eatery can receive in the region.

Our judging process is unlike any other, and the most trusted by both the hospitality industry and diners across the city.

Here’s why.

Time Out Dubai’s core values

Restaurants, chefs, trends – all of these things change daily in Dubai. But the principles on which the Time Out Dubai brand and its Restaurant Awards were founded have not, and never will.

Anonymity: Time Out Dubai’s team of reviewers visit restaurants throughout the year, always booking under a pseudonym and always paying for their own meals. This ensures they experience every meal as a regular paying customer, and receive no special treatment.

Integrity: Good, bad or ugly, Time Out’s reviewers tell the truth about their experiences. Time Out Dubai’s Restaurant Awards shortlists and winners are formed on the basis of multiple reviewers visiting venues, ensuring that no nomination is the result of a single visit by a single reviewer. Each is a collective decision made by the team over the course of a year.

Independence: Time Out’s team of reviewers are not influenced in any way by Time Out advertisers, partners or friends.

Expertise: Time Out reviewers are serial “doers”. They’re out every night of the week, in all corners of the city, to ensure they’re real local experts. And with a team comprised of nationalities from all over the world, who’ve lived and dined in countries all over the world, there is no dish too daring, no trend too twee, for them to sink their teeth into.

Value for money: The Time Out Dubai brand is committed to telling its readers the best things to do and places to eat in town, saving its readers both time and money. A restaurant’s value for money offering is assessed with every review. We do not set a limit on the cost of the final bill, there is no numeric cut-off point. It is the overall quality of the dining experience, measured against a number of criteria, that determines a restaurant’s value.


Time Out Dubai’s criteria

In order to maintain Time Out Dubai’s core values, the brand’s reviewers always dine anonymously, always pay for their meals, and always judge an outlet against a set criteria.

• Quality of food
• Level of service
• Restaurant setting
• Ambience and atmosphere
• Selection of beverages (*where applicable)
• Overall value for money


Time Out Dubai’s reviewers

With arguably the best job in the city, Time Out Dubai’s team of reviewers is made up of full-time employees of the brand, who dine out all over the city every single week of the year.

As part of the wider Time Out Dubai brand principle that all staff are true local experts, Time Out reviewers have in-depth knowledge of the city’s ever-evolving, fiercely competitive food and dining scene.

Comprised of nationalities from every corner of the world, Time Out reviewers are united in their passion for food, from exploring seven-course degustations to scarfing seven dirham shawarmas, all in the name of unearthing the best quality and best value dining experiences for Time Out’s audience.

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