Dubai’s best new casual restaurants 2019

These are the top new casual restaurants and places to eat in Dubai as revealed at the Time Out Dubai Restaurant Awards 2019 in association with Dubai Food Festival

Dubai’s best new casual restaurants 2019

WINNER

Mama Zonia          
The winner of this category blew us away immediately. A new opening in Pier 7, this cool spot is kitted out with loads of jungly foliage and vibrant colours. There are ace views over Dubai Marina and the food is as good as the setting. The scallop nigiri is one of the best dishes we’ve had.
Open daily noon-2am. Pier 7, Dubai Marina (04 240 4747).

HIGHLY COMMENDED

Streetery by Zen     
Set up by the team behind Dubai’s popular Thai food delivery brand Zen, this newcomer to JLT’s Cluster D features a series of different kitchens dedicated to cooking up dishes from Asia’s foodiest hotspots. Try Malaysian and Singaporean favourites (don’t miss the sambal prawns and crispy spring onion pancakes), Chinese barbecue and Thai curries. It’s all really tasty, and pocket-friendly, too. 
Open daily 11am-11pm. Lake level, Cluster D, JLT (04 587 3373).

Villamoré
Fancy digging into some super-fresh seafood while checking out the stunning sea views across Palm Jumeirah? Villamoré, which is decked out in crisp whites and blues, is the spot for you. This al fresco restaurant is a charming spot at the Emerald Palace Kempinski Dubai (and not remotely as ostentatious as the hotel that it’s housed in). With views out over the beach, it serves up delicious Mediterranean dishes, and the antipasti room is a thing of dreams. Don’t miss the tasty fish, either.
Open daily noon-2am. Emerald Palace Kempinski Dubai, Palm Jumeirah (04 248 8890).

SHORTLISTED

Han Shi Fu
This funky Asian fusion gastropub with multiple dining areas and a resident DJ is operated by the same team as Din Tai Fung, offering classic Chinese dishes from Taipei, Hong Kong and Shanghai, albeit with a modern twist. It’s not as impressive as its sister restaurant (which we awarded Highly Commended in our Best Chinese category at the 2019 Restaurant Awards), but there are plenty of quirky dishes (Hello Kitty bao et al) on the massive menu.
Open 11am-1am. Aloft Deira City Centre, Deira (04 228 1075).

Hillhouse Brasserie
If you’re looking to dine at a golf club, there are plenty of options in Dubai. However, this chic, casual eatery at the new Dubai Hills Estate is a top option. With views across the greens, the vibe is relaxed and family-friendly, while dishes are inventive and tasty. Brits, don’t miss the salmon fishcake, it’s a taste of gastropubs from back home.
Open daily 7am-11.30pm. Dubai Hills Golf Club, Al Khail Road (800 666 353).

Ketch Up
Love burgers? This fun new spot on Bluewaters Dubai has your name all over it. Enjoy an all-American-inspired menu in Ketch Up’s stylish but laid-back setting with steaks, burgers, smoked meats and five varieties of ketchup (of course). Buns are baked daily on site, and the patties are delicious. It’s an excellent place for all the family if you’re exploring the new area across from JBR.
Open daily noon-midnight. Bluewaters Dubai (056 163 7463).

Kizmet
If you like quirky food, this menu will delight you. Set next door to Dubai Opera, the interiors are cosy and chic while the menu is a mish-mash of dishes from Europe. While not all of it shines, highlights include a deliciously lemony scallop risotto.
Open Sat-Wed 9am-1am, Thu-Fri 9am-2am. Dubai Opera, Downtown Dubai (04 338 8717).

Mohalla
Meaning “my community” in several different languages and cultures, Mohalla is an ode to the authentic street cooking of rural India with all its variety, spices, flavours and colours, in an arty, warm, urban interior. A special mention must be reserved for the raj kachori –  a ginormaus spicy chaat bowl is filled with potato, dal crisps and chutneys. It’s more than enough to feed two and costs just Dhs35.
Open Sat-Thu 9am-11pm, Fri 8am-11pm. d3, Ras Al Khor Road (800 664 2552).

Stoke House
This casual bar and restaurant comes from the team behind Reform Social & Grill and you can tell. A laid-back golf course spot, there’s a classic pub grub menu, offering steak, burgers, fresh seafood and salads. Our pick? The homemade pies. Dig in while relaxing at table on the terrace for a chilled-out weekend.
Open daily 6.30am-11.45pm. Trump International Golf Club, DAMAC Hills (04 245 3939).

Urth Caffé
The first Urth Caffé was set up in 1991 at Manhattan Beach in LA, and it now has outposts around the world. Here in Dubai it serves up some excellent cakes and breakfasts – especially the avocado toast.
O Open daily 8am-midnight. City Walk, Al Safa Street (04 589 7413).

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