DIFC

This design-conscious café-shop-intellectual space from Lexus is one of the coolest conceptual spots in Dubai.

Designed by interior designer Masamichi Katayama, the man behind the Tokyo outpost, there are clear Japanese elements in this project – just visit the toilets for the most obvious. But these are blended with features that characterise the UAE perfectly – the ceiling reflect the country’s ubiquitous sand dunes. There are also artistic, futuristic, automotive elements in the design, to remind you that you’re in a creative space delivered by a luxury car brand, after all. It’s a truly unique spot in Dubai.

Intersect is the kind of place you’d come to for a light bite to eat over a bit of creative confab at breakfast or lunch, and this, the café does well. With the Intersect eggs Benedict, you get one with salmon and one with smoked brisket, meaning you don’t have to choose. And it’s a true reward – eggs perfectly runny, brisket tender and smoky.

The business lunch offers great value, too, at Dhs98 for two courses and Dhs110 for three. The steak sandwhich is decent, though it won’t blow your mind, but the Chilean sea bass is a standout, with it’s zesty, yuzu-dressed turnips and smoked onion purée.
For something a bit different, this is one for the must list.

The bottom line
Creative, inventive café serving good grub.

04 457 6719 Jumeirah

This US-style oyster bar and grill is fast becoming a hotspot in JBR. Coming Highly Commended in this category, it also has a lively ladies’ night and a popular business lunch among its offerings. But we’re here to talk food. Whether you sit inside or out, the vibe here is great. We love the terrace for its high tables and casual vibe (the lobster roll is great for a snack). But for a more formal evening, such as a meal with friends or family, then inside is great too. There is a typically American feel about the place, from the oyster bar in the corner to the dark wood furnishings, and of course, the menu. The oysters are great here. However, the menu holds further treat. Everywhere seems to do a cephalopod dish these days, but the chargrilled octopus here one of the best we’ve tried. It’s tender and meaty, not a bit rubbery or stringy, and sits atop a tomatoey, tangy puttanesca sauce. The smokeyness of the grill really comes through. The linguine with prawns is a classic, and the grill part of the menu is also done with style if you opt for a steak.You won’t leave disappointed.

Straddling the line between steakhouse and Latin American restaurant, Gaucho is one of the most consistently good venues in Dubai. The stylish dining room has plenty of cowhide in it, should you somehow forget what the main draw is. And we always find the steaks here are of the highest quality. They’re presented to you by a waiter who talks about the different cuts and breeds and how each one tastes. We love the Tira De Ancho, a spiral cut rib-eye dressed in chimichurri sauce. Aside from steak, whole sea bass is a good sharer, grilled red prawns are sweet, charred and absolutely lovely, and the small plates feature a good selection of ceviches, tiraditos and other Latin staples, such as empanadas and causas.

Chinese +971 4 702 2325 Garhoud

Everything about Long Yin is elegant, from the regal jade green chairs to the ornate dragon-shaped chopstick holders. That doesn’t mean the venue is only suitable for formal occasions, as the clientele of families, couples and friends suggests. Long Yin is well-established on Dubai’s Chinese restaurant scene and that experience comes across in the service and the meticulous preparation of all its food. There are 34 fried and steamed dim sum to choose from –slightly overwhelming – but rest assured, all are skilfully crafted and prepared. If we had to recommend one, the Szechuan-style chicken and prawn siu mai stand out for their multitextured composition and spicy undertones. Long Yin’s meals genuinely taste as healthy as they do delicious. The crispy noodles and mixed seafood and the Vietnamese wok-fried beef cubes are prime examples of this – fresh, appetising, filling and wholesome.

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