Restaurant awards asian

056 273 0030 Jumeirah

This unassuming Asian fish restaurant at Jumeirah Fishing Harbour has been wowing us ever since it opened last year. In fact, it was so good, we named it our Best Casual Newcomer in 2017. Natural progression led it to pick up the gong for Best Asian in the 2018 Restaurant Awards, and for good reason.

From former Zengo chef Akmal Anuar, dishes showcase Asian flavours and ingredients perfectly. Singaporean chef Anuar takes weekly deliveries of some of the finest seafood Japan has to offer, and that is obvious in the superb dishes.

It really is small, with only around 25 seats inside and a few tables outdoors overlooking the gently swaying boats. The two chefs are parked in one corner, preparing each dish ordered from scratch. And they really know their way around fresh fish – the spicy tuna rolls show a brilliant way with flavours and textures.|

Staff are friendly and helpful, and the menu is always concise.

Although the seafood is what we’d always recommend here, there are plenty of meaty options that are top-notch to try, too. The beef carpaccio has tons of flavour and good bite, plus there’s a lovely, spicy sauce spooned over it for an extra kick.

Lamb ribs fall off the bone with a gentle shove. They have just the right amount of fat running through them to give that extra injection of flavour, too, and are delicious.

With its brilliant use of the continent’s flavours and ingredients, it’s no wonder 3 Fils tops this category.

The bottom line:
Excellent dishes in an unassuming venue.

04 336 4444 Sheikh Zayed Road

This swanky Asian, set high on the 36th floor of The H Dubai, is the ideal place for a fun, swish night out. As soon as you enter you’ll be wowed by the sparkling vistas out from the floor-to-ceiling windows and the classy, low-key vibe.

The signature dishes here should not be missed. The cuisine is “Mediterrasian”, a blend of light, fresh Mediterranean flavours with the bold, powerful tastes of Asia, and the kitchen does this tremendously.

PLAY’s Pita Surprise – baked crispy pita bread filled with wagyu beef and truffle paste, a Time Out Dubai favourite – is a simply stunning dish. Unique, fun and wonderfully indulgent, the crisp crunch of the casing houses a marvellously creamy, smooth filling. The sushi and sashimi are also delightful, fresh and tasty, too.

Main dishes range from entrecôte with café de PLAY butter – a tender cut of meat enhanced by that unique, tasty spread – grilled sea bass and black cod to oven-baked marinated saffron chicken. However, the spaghetti carbonara with veal pancetta made tableside in a giant Parmesan wheel is a showstopper. Not strictly Asian, it’s a dish served with flair and fun, and encapsulates what’s PLAY is all about.

Sit back and take in the ambiance, and don’t arrive too early – this place ramps up later in the evening. Book later to enjoy the top atmosphere alongside those views and that food.

The bottom line:
Creative dishes and striking views

American 04 317 6000 Dubai Marina

There are some restaurants in Dubai that come and go in the blink of an eye and there are others that refuse to be budged from the city’s dining scene, seemingly immune to fads or an often fickle market. Buddha-Bar falls into the latter category. In fact, it perhaps suffers due to its familiarity, but when you walk in you can’t help but be impressed by the huge, atmospheric venue.

The sweeping high ceilings, moody lighting, red furnishings and massive windows allowing views of Dubai Marina, make for a fairly awesome setting.

There’s a big bar area as well as the vast seating area, and if one thing goes against the venue it’s how open and exposed you can feel while sitting at the table.

The food certainly doesn’t disappoint, however, with almost every part of the menu offering something excellent.

Go for the maki rolls or dim sum, and you won’t be disappointed, and some of the meat main courses are very good, too. The traditional Thai curries are a hit, too. Noodle and rice dishes don’t have the same wow factor, but are decent, filling options.

Is the food on trend? Not particularly? Is it worth the prices? Perhaps not. But there’s something about Buddha-Bar that keeps drawing people back in. We think it’s the overall package – the good vibes, tasty food and impressive setting amount to something more than the sum of its parts.

The bottom line
Well-presented food that mostly hits the mark, but you pay for the privilege.

Asian +971 4 567 8304 Palm Jumeirah

For many Dubai residents, heading to Palm Jumeirah represents something of a journey, especially to a venue almost at the end of the Crescent. Mekong, however, is worth the drive. Set in the beautiful Thai-style Anantara resort, the dining room is a grand space, all red and gold with vibrant Asian imagery on the walls. Service is welcoming without being overbearing and if you need help navigating the menu, which mostly features cuisine from Thailand, but takes detours to Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia and China, it is there. You can expect to pay prices in line with the super location, especially if you’ve eaten any of the dishes in their home countries. Thai dishes really shine, and if you’re not too adventurous, the curries are great, especially the massaman, which has a rich, creamy sauce and the ever-present hum of Thai basil. Deep-fried sea bass is another highlight, as are the various dim sum. This former Time Out award-winning restaurant isn’t somewhere you’d eat weekly, so get dressed up, try something new and enjoy.

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